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Access to higher education in Portugal: Brazilian students

Updated: Jul 27, 2021

Nuno Albuquerque  e Mariana Boçon | N Advogados

Many brazilians plan to study in Europe in their academic and professional life in order to experience another culture, enhance the curriculum, as well as seek new opportunities.

In this sense, in the last few years, measures have been adopted between Brazil and Portugal that encourage and facilitate the process of entering higher education in Portugal for foreign students, namely for Brazilian students who wish to obtain a bachelor's degree and / or integrated study cycles leading to a master's degree.

Thus, under the terms of Decree-Law 36/2014, of 10 March, in its current and consolidated wording, Brazilian students who do not have Portuguese nationality can apply for higher education as international students, through a special access and admission contest.

The contest covers foreign students who hold a qualification / diploma that gives access to higher education in the country where it was conferred or a qualification legally equivalent to the Portuguese secondary education diploma.

In this regard, currently, more than 50 universities, polytechnic institutes and higher schools have an interinstitutional agreement with the National Institute of Educational Studies and Research Anísio Teixeira in Brazil, that allows the individual results of the National High School Examination (Exame Nacional do Ensino Médio - ENEM) to be be used in the selection processes of Portuguese educational institutions such as the contest for international students.

In this way, Brazilian students interested in undergraduate courses in Portugal can use the score obtained at ENEM to enter Higher Education in Portugal at the institutions listed in the link below:

The application, in turn, takes place annually [1], with the Higher Education Institution intended by the student and in the courses for which the institution has opened the mentioned contest.

Under the terms of the aforementioned Decree-Law, it is up to the competent body of each Higher Education Institution to approve a regulation that establishes which vacancies are available for the institution / course and their respective admission conditions, namely the specific academic qualifications for entry into the study cycle and the necessary documents.

However, it is important to take into consideration that this type of special contest for international students does not cover Brazilian students who:

a) Are also nationals of a member state of the European Union;

b) Are family members of Portuguese or nationals of a member state of the European Union;

c) Have legally resided in Portugal for more than two years, uninterruptedly, on January 1 of the year in which they intend to enter higher education, as well as the children who reside with them, being sure that the time of residence for study does not count for this effect;

d) Are beneficiaries of the status of equal rights and duties, on January 1 of the year in which they intend to enter higher education.

In these and other cases, it is important to check each specific situation in order to ascertain the possibility of the foreign student entering through the general regime of access and entry in Portugal, a situation in which it will be necessary to obtain the equivalence of the foreign secondary education course in Portugal and subsequently take the National Examination for Access to Higher Education.

[1] Unlike Brazil, the school year in Portugal starts in September.


Nuno Albuquerque e Mariana Boçon

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