- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Portugal Guide (PDF)
Before expats make their move to the country, it's important to make sure they have the correct paperwork in order and have obtained the correct visa for Portugal, if necessary. As Portugal is an EU member state, citizens of other EU states can travel to the country with only their passports.
Although EU citizens are entitled to live and work in Portugal without a visa, there are still some documents which will be required to obtain the necessary residence permit. Residency permits are necessary for any stay longer than six months and can also be used as proof of residence for administrative tasks.
Non-EU citizens travelling to Portugal for a short visit or holiday may need to apply for a short-stay visa. On the other hand, those who plan on moving to or working in Portugal will need either a temporary-stay visa or a long-stay visa, depending on the duration of their stay in the country.
Types of visas for Portugal
Portugal is a signatory to the Schengen Agreement. Nationals of countries also signatory to the agreement don't need to apply for a tourist visa prior to arrival. Citizens of some countries such as the USA, Australia and New Zealand are also entitled to stay in Portugal for up to 90 days without a visa.
Visitors from other countries will be required to apply for a short-stay visa, also known as a Schengen visa, before arriving in Portugal. Applicants will need to submit proof of adequate funds, valid travel insurance and a booking for a return ticket.
As Portugal is part of the Schengen territory, once a person is granted this visa, they can visit multiple destinations that are signatories to the agreement. Those who plan on travelling to several Schengen countries should make their application at the consulate of the country in which they plan to spend the most time.
Nationals of third-party countries planning on staying in Portugal for longer than 90 days but less than a year will need to apply for a temporary-stay visa rather than a short-stay visa. Temporary-stay visas allow multiple entries into the country and are renewable.
Long-stay visas, also known as residency visas, are for stays of longer than a year and are renewable. Expats moving to Portugal for work will usually need to obtain this visa and a work permit.
Permanent residence and citizenship
After five years in the country, expats can apply for permanent residency in Portugal. Permanent residents can then apply for citizenship after an additional year. Some expats, such as those married to a Portuguese citizen, are eligible for permanent residency and citizenship earlier than those without such ties to the country.
*Visa regulations are subject to change at short notice, and expats should contact their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.
► Work Permits for Portugal is essential reading for expats planning on working in the country
"There was a lot of paperwork and documentation required. There's also a minimum income level required, but it is not excessive." Read more about Bob's expat experience in Portugal.
Are you an expat living in Portugal?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Portugal. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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