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Types of visas in Portugal: Study, work and invest

Updated: Jul 27, 2021

Nuno Albuquerque e Mariana Boçon | N-Advogados

In recent years, Portugal has been one of the most popular destinations for Brazilians to travel, but also to live, work, invest and study.

For those who intend to stay in Portugal for tourism or business trips for a period of up to 90 (ninety) days, no visa is required[1].

However, if the citizen wants to stay in Portugal for more than 90 days, it is necessary to apply in advance for a Visa in Brazil corresponding to the intended purpose. Currently, visa applications are made at VFS Global, official partner of the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs[2].

With regard to residence visas, each type of visa has specific requirements and documentation, so it is important to check the conditions in the applicable legislation (Law No. 23/2007, of 4 July). However, in general, we list here the main residence visas for Portugal:

1. Work Visa

a) Work (Visa D1): visa for those who have an effective contract with a Portuguese employer or the promise of an employment contract.

b) Service providers (Visa D2): visa for self-employed professionals working with the provision of services such as doctors, lawyers, and also for entrepreneurs who wish to set up a business in the country. This visa is intended for immigrant entrepreneurs who intend to carry out an investment operation in Portugal, namely, the creation of new companies or franchises, which have economic, social, scientific, technological or cultural relevance for the country.

c) Highly qualified activity (Visa D3): To apply for a D3 visa, you must hold leadership or management positions, such as executives and directors of companies, or be a specialist in intellectual and scientific activities, such as engineers, scientists and information technology professionals, proving that you have adequate qualifications or experience.

2. Study or Internship Visa (D4 Visa)

This visa is especially aimed at foreign citizens who intend to become students of higher education in Portugal for a period of more than 1 (one) year, and are considered valid for this purpose, entries in university and polytechnic education, in public institutions and private, as well as for MBA, Master and Doctorate.

3. Startup Visa

Another recently implemented visa is the StartUP Visa, which allows a citizen from outside the European Union to apply to open an innovative company in Portugal and obtain a residence permit in the country. The start up connects to an existing company in Portugal, which functions as an incubator and provides support for the sustained growth of the business.

Applications started in 2018 and is monitored by the Agência para a Competitividade e Inovação (IAPMEI), responsible for the analysis, selection and certification of orders.

Among the necessary requirements to apply for a visa, it is necessary to:

  • check that the project or startup is focused on technology;

  • the beneficiary citizen:

  • may not have had a regular residence in the Schengen Area in the recent past;

  • must have sufficient funds in your bank account in the total amount of € 5,146.08 for 12 months (per person);

  • the startup should have the potential to generate a turnover of 325 thousand euros per year or asset value above this amount per year, within 5 years after the start of the contract with the chosen incubator.

4. “Own income” visa (Visa D7)

This visa is indicated for retired foreign citizens who have sufficient income and who are able to stay in the country with their own retirement, financial investments or income from property and real estate.

To apply for a D7 visa in Portugal, you must demonstrate that you have a regular and reliable income, guaranteed for a period of not less than 12 months and the respective proof of sending to Portugal.

The minimum necessary income varies according to the number of people who make up the applicant's household, to be counted in the following terms:

  • First adult (applicant): 100% of the current minimum wage (€ 635) = € 7,620 / year;

  • Second adult: 50% of the current minimum wage (€ 317.50) = € 3,810 / year;

  • Each child and youth in charge of the applicant of the applicant: 30% of the current minimum wage (€ 190.50) = € 2,286 / year.

5. Golden Visa

Golden Visa can be applied to all non-EU foreign citizens who carry out an investment activity, personally or through a company incorporated in Portugal or in another Member State of the European Union and with a permanent establishment in Portugal, and who meets at least one of the quantitative requirements provided for in the applicable legislation:

a) To acquire real estate with a value of 500 thousand euros or more

Purchase of one or more properties in the country, provided the sum of the properties is at least 500 thousand euros.

b) Acquire old real estate, in urban rehabilitation areas, for a total amount of 350 thousand euros or more

In the case of the purchase of properties that have been built more than 30 years ago, or are located in an urban rehabilitation area and that rehabilitation works are carried out on these assets, the total amount needed to obtain the Golden Visa is 350 thousand euros.

Additionally, this value can also be reduced by 20% (280 thousand euros) if the properties are located in low density territories.

c) Transfer capital equal to or greater than 1 million euros

This modality corresponds to the transfer of capital to a deposit account in a credit institution in Portugal, for the purchase of public debt instruments of the Portuguese State and/or for the acquisition of book-entry securities with a value equal to or greater than 1 million euros.

d) Create at least 10 jobs

Golden Visa can also be obtained by those who generate at least 10 jobs in Portugal. This requirement can be reduced to 8 jobs when carried out in low density territory.

e) Investing in small and medium-sized businesses

Also eligible for Golden Visa are those who intend to invest at least 350 thousand euros in investment funds or venture capital for the capitalization of companies.

f) Investing in scientific research

Since 2015, it has become possible to grant the Golden Visa in Portugal to anyone who invests at least 350 thousand euros in scientific research in public or private scientific research institutions, integrated into the national scientific and technological system. The value of this investment can also be reduced by 20% (280 thousand euros) when it is made in low density territory.

g) Invest in artistic production, preservation or conservation of cultural heritage

Whoever intends to invest 250 thousand euros in artistic production and in the preservation or conservation of the national cultural heritage, also becomes eligible for Golden Visa in Portugal. The value of this investment can also be reduced by 20% (200 thousand euros) when it is made in low density territory.

In addition, Golden Visa facilitates the acquisition of Portuguese nationality after 5 years of residence, as it provides for a minimum time requirement to stay in the country. So, the foreign citizens with Golden Visa must stay in Portugal for a period of not less than 7 days in the first year, consecutive or interpolated, and 14 days, consecutive or interpolated, in the subsequent periods of 2 years.

However, it is important to consider that, according to legislation approved by the Portuguese Parliament in early 2020, there are changes in the Golden Visa concession rules, so that for the real estate investment hypothesis it should be limited to the interior and the autonomous regions of Portugal. Therefore, in the future, it will not be possible with this visa to invest in real estate in the regions of Lisbon, Porto and Algarve.

On the other hand, it should be noted that, due to the crisis installed by the reflexes of Covid-19, these measures are not yet being applied, so the rules mentioned here remain in force.

[1] However, the rules for tourists will change - and directly affect Brazilians, even on short trips to Portugal because of the ETIAS, which will be required from 2023. Until then, the rules of not requiring a visa for tourism of up to 90 days in Portugal.

[2] Visa applications must be processed at one of VFS Global's Visa Application Centers based in Nova Lima / MG, Brasília / DF, Rio de Janeiro / RJ, Salvador / BA or São Paulo / SP.


Nuno Albuquerque e Mariana Boçon

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