Travel & Expat Lifestyle Magazine

Moving to Portugal

Portugal is the Westernmost European country, is mainly developed with a high standard of living, even with one of the lowest GDP per capita of Western Europe. Its capital is Lisbon, and it is largely ethnically homogenous with a single religion of Catholicism and single language of Portuguese. The population is 97% Portuguese and 3% legal aliens, so keep in mind that it is not the easiest country to gain residence.


Members of the EU, Switzerland, Andorra, Liechtenstein and Malta must have an identity card to enter Portugal. Citizens from certain countries, such as the United States, Argentina, Brazil and South Korea only need a passport to stay up to 90 days. Citizens of many developing countries must have a visa and passport. Short-term visas can last up to 30 to 90 days, or a year, depending on your course of action in Portugal.

To obtain a short-term visa, you must submit the following documents:

  1. Valid visa application form, signed
  2. 1 recent photograph
  3. Valid passport
  4. Certificate of confirmed tickets that show departure
  5. Proof of funds
  6. Valid re-entry permit to your country
  7. Photocopy of alien registration certificate
  8. Certificate of employment of vacation, depending on your circumstance
  9. Appropriate fees

Work Visas

If you have Portuguese parents and were born in Portugal, or you are married to a Portuguese citizen, or you are a member of the EU or EEA, you do not need a work permit. If you are from the EU or EEA, you are required to have a residence card. It is not difficult to obtain one, but it does require much bureaucracy, you must keep it on you at all times when you are in Portugal.

If you are not a national of the above-listed criteria, it is very difficult to get a work permit. Usually, companies are required to offer all their jobs to European countries, and may only offer the job to foreigners if no one in these areas can fill it. Furthermore, when you are in the process of getting a permit, labor authorities may find someone to take your job from the EEA.

To obtain a work permit in Portugal, you are required to speak Portuguese fluently. You must also submit the following documents:

  1. Visa application form
  2. 2 recent photographs
  3. Declaration of intent
  4. Proof of funds
  5. Police records, translated into Portuguese
  6. Valid passport, 2 photocopies
  7. Certificate of good health
  8. Certificate to prove adequate housing in Portugal
  9. Fees
  10. Work contract
  11. Approval by Portuguese Ministry of Labor

Click here for some information about EU/EEA options about finding work in Portugal.

Student Visas

Citizens of certain countries may stay in Portugal for up to 90 days and study without a student visa. However, if you are from one of these countries, or intend to stay for over 90 days, you are required to submit the following:

  1. Valid passport
  2. Certificate of enrollment
  3. Completed application form
  4. One passport photo
  5. Copy of itinerary or acceptance letter
  6. Proof of departure
  7. Proof of funds
  8. Proof of health insurance

Student visas are valid for your duration of study.

Click here for information about study abroad in Portugal.

Moving Pets

You must obtain a PETS Passport to move your pet into Portugal. Your pet must be microchipped or tattooed, and vaccinated against rabies.

Click here for more details, and details about specific countries.

Other Information

Click here for information about retiring in Portugal.

Click here for information about buying property in Portugal.


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