How to live in Portugal

Live in Portugal

Portugal is currently appointed as one of the best countries to live in.

This is not only because of the excellent climate, good food and friendliness of the Portuguese, but also because the country has a number of advantages for those who decide to move to Portugal, particularly in the post-Covid-19.

Read more about Portugal’s good response to Covid-19 here.

 

Among the various advantages of living in Portugal are the following:

  • Accessing to quality education and professional training, namely with 7 of its Universities being among the best in the world according to QS World University;
  • Enjoying a highly qualified National Health System at a low cost;
  • Living in the 3rd safest country in the world and the 1st in Europe according to the Global Peace Index;
  • Being in one of the best countries to live in, enjoy retirement or visit after Covid-19 according to Forbes magazine – see more information on this topic here;
  • Benefitting from the political stability, as well as religious, racial, sexual tolerance etc. that the country has;
  • Accessing to the Portuguese Passport, which is considered the 4th strongest in the world according to the Passport Index site.

In fact, Portugal has long since ceased to be just a good holiday destination for foreign citizens, to become an excellent destination to live in.

Besides the extraordinary coastline that covers practically the entire national territory and invites visitors to take a dip in the Portuguese beaches and the fact that the country has been considered the European country that best knows how to receive foreign citizens according to InterNations, it is not for these reasons that foreigners choose Portugal as their country of residence.

Foreigners are moving more and more to Portugal due also to the opportunities the country presents for business and wealth creation.

It should be noted that currently Portugal:

  • Is among the 10 best cities in Europe to invest in real estate according to PwC and Urban Land Institute;
  • Presents a specific tax regime for people who have not lived in Portugal in the last 5 years and that allows, in most cases, the non-taxation of income obtained abroad – Read more about the Status of Non-Habitual Resident here.
  • It is classified with a country where it is easy to develop business;
  • Occupies only the 106th position among the countries with a higher cost of living;
  • It ranks 37th among the most competitive countries in the world due mainly to skilled labour, opportunity cost and stability of infrastructures.

Recognizing all the positive characteristics of the country, it comes as no surprise that there are several foreigners with the will to obtain Portuguese citizenship or a residence visa / permit to live in Portugal. These are, in fact, the two possible ways for those who want to live in the country.

Below we explain how to obtain a residence card and the Portuguese passport.

 

Residence Visas to Portugal

When obtaining a residence visa for Portugal, the foreign citizen will enjoy several rights. Besides living in a country that stands out for its security and tranquility, you will be able to move and do business freely in the European Union, as well as bring your closest relatives to work, study or develop your business here.

You can learn more about the process of bringing family members with you here.

There are several types of visas, depending on the activity that the foreign citizen wants to develop in Portugal.

These are:
  • D1 (Residence Visa for Subordinate Professional Activity) – suitable for those who want to live in Portugal and work here by signing an employment contract with a Portuguese company;
  • D2 (Residence Visa for Independent Professional Activity and for Entrepreneurial Immigrants) – suitable for those who want to work as an independent worker (e.g. lawyer), as a service provider (e.g. freelancer or digital nomads) or start their own business with the creation of a company in Portugal;
  • D3 (Residence Visa for Research Activity or Highly Qualified) – suitable for those who have been admitted to a research centre or exercise a highly qualified professional activity.
  • D4 (Residence Visa for Study, Student Exchange, Professional Internship or Volunteer) – suitable for students of higher education (degree and master), internships or volunteers for a period longer than 1 year.
  • D5 (Residence Visa in the Field of Mobility of Higher Education Students) – suitable for students integrated in an Exchange Programme between Universities.
  • D6 (Residence Visa for Family Reunion Effects) – suitable for family members of those who have already acquired the residence card in Portugal and wish to live in Portugal with the latter.
  • D7 (Residence Visa for Retirees or Income Holders) – suitable for retirees who want to live in Portugal with the income from their retirement and for holders of income from movable or immovable assets that allow them to live in Portugal without having to work to receive this income (passive source income).

 

Important note: if none of these scenarios applies to you, perhaps the most appropriate solution is to obtain a Residence Permit through Investment/ Golden Visa. Learn more here.

You can get more information about some of these types of Residence Visas by following this link – https://www.lamarescapela.pt/en/immigration/

Unless it is possible to do so through other official services, the applicant for a residence visa for Portugal will have to go initially to the nearest Portuguese Embassy or Consular Representation to the area of residence.

The deadline for the decision on the application for a residence visa, except for exceptions provided by law, is 60 days.

The residence visa will have a period of 4 months, during which the Applicant must travel to Portugal and apply for a residence permit / residence card.

 

Residence Permit in Portugal

The residence permit is what allows the foreign citizen to legally live in Portugal.

However, after gathering all the necessary documentation for this purpose and fulfilling all legal requirements, the Applicant may schedule an interview with the Immigration and Borders Service (SEF), if it has not yet been scheduled when the residence visa is issued.

At this interview the Applicant shall be accompanied by all the documents necessary for the examination of his/her file and if everything is in accordance, they shall collect the biometric data of the same for the issuance of the residence card.

 

Residence card

The residence card is the document that allows the identification of the foreigner in Portugal.

This card will be issued for a period of 2 years initially. At the end of 2 years, the Applicant will be able to renew it for another 3 years.

In order to renew your residence card the holder will have to respect certain rules, otherwise his/her residence permit will be cancelled.

There will be a cancellation of a residence permit when:

  • The holder has been the object of a coercive removal decision or a judicial expulsion decision from the national territory; or
  • The residence permit has been issued on the basis of false or misleading statements, false or falsified documents, or by using fraudulent means; or
  • There are serious grounds for believing that the holder has committed serious criminal acts or there are real indications that he intends to commit such acts, in particular within the territory of the European Union; or
  • For reasons of public order or security.

 

The residence permit may also be cancelled when the person concerned has been absent from the country for six consecutive months or eight interpolated months during the total period of validity of the permit without good reason.

Important note: if you are not willing to stay for such long periods in the country, the most appropriate solution may be to obtain the Residence Permit through Investment/ Golden Visa. Learn more here.

Please note that the absence beyond the limits set forth in the previous paragraph must be justified upon request submitted to SEF before the resident’s departure from the national territory or, in exceptional cases, after his/her departure.

Citizens who are absent for periods longer than those indicated above will not have their residence permit cancelled if they prove that during their absence from national territory they have developed a professional or business activity or a cultural or social nature.

If everything has gone as expected during the 5 years of residence in Portugal, the holder of the residence card may apply for the permanent residence permit or submit the application for the acquisition of Portuguese nationality proving his basic knowledge of the Portuguese language (level A2).

 

Permanent Residence Permit

The permanent residence permit has no limit of validity. However, the residence permit shall be renewed every five years or whenever there is a change in the identification details entered on it; and the holder shall not be absent from the country for 24 consecutive months or, within a period of three years, 30 interpolated months.

Absence beyond the limits provided for in the previous paragraph must be justified by a request submitted to SEF before the resident leaves the country or, in exceptional cases, after his/her departure.

Citizens who are absent for periods longer than those indicated above will not have their residence permit cancelled if they prove that during their absence from national territory they have developed a professional or business activity or a cultural or social nature.

 

Portuguese Citizenship

Obtaining the Portuguese nationality brings with it the advantage of obtaining a Portuguese passport and no longer having to worry about minimum periods of stay in the country, as well as a greater openness towards other countries to which you want to travel, as the Portuguese passport will give you access to 140 countries without the need to apply for a visa.

After acquiring Portuguese citizenship you will also be able to establish residence in any Member State of the European Union.

In addition to obtaining Portuguese nationality through residence in Portugal for a minimum period of 5 years (as mentioned above) there are other ways of obtaining Portuguese nationality, namely through a relative who is already Portuguese. Below are some examples:

  • Children of Portuguese;
  • Grandchildren of Portuguese;
  • Spouse of a Portuguese citizen;
  • Companion or partner in Stable Union with a Portuguese citizen;
  • Descendant of a Sephardic Jew.

Depending on the type of process involved, its conclusion may take from 2 months to 2 years.

You can obtain more information on each of these types of processes of nationality by following this link – https://www.lamarescapela.pt/en/citizenship/

 

Our working method

Regardless of the information provided previously, we always advise you to contact us directly so that we can follow up your case in a more personalised way, because all processes are different, and no two processes are the same.

In any case, we usually adopt the following working method:

  1. Free consultation with the lawyer to better understand the client’s situation and analysis of existing documentation;
  2. Formalization of the hiring of Lamares, Capela & Associados (LACA) services;
  3. Information on the necessary documents and the respective formalities to obtain them;
  4. Reception of the necessary documents, as well as the signed power of attorney in favor of LACA to monitor the process;
  5. Entry of the process by LACA;
  6. Regular follow-up on the status of the process and personal travel to the Public Services/ Entities representing the client or to accompany him/her;
  7. Conclusion of the process.
  8. Sending the Portuguese residence card or birth certificate depending on whether the client has filed a process to obtain a residence permit or Portuguese citizenship.

Contact us for more details.

Lamares, Capela & Associados is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy and we will only use your personal information to manage your account and provide the products and services you have requested. Occasionally, we would like to contact you about our products and services and also about other matters that may be of interest to you.

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Lamares, Capela & Associados is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy and we will only use your personal information to manage your account and provide the products and services you have requested. Occasionally, we would like to contact you about our products and services and also about other matters that may be of interest to you.
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