Visas for Portugal

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Before expats make their move to the country, it is 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 nothing but their passport. 
Although EU citizens are entitled to live and work in Portugal without a visa, there are still some documents that will be required to obtain the necessary residency permit which is not only necessary for a stay over a period of six months, but is useful as it provides proof of residence.
Non-EU citizens travelling to Portugal for a short stay or holiday may need to apply for a Schengen visa, which takes approximately 30 days. If non-EU citizens plan on settling down or working in Portugal, they will need to take the necessary steps to obtain either a business, work or residency permit.

Tourist visas for Portugal

Portugal is one of the European countries which is signatory to the Schengen Agreement. Nationals of other partner countries that are also signatory to the agreement do not need to apply for a tourist visa prior to arrival. 
Nationals of the following countries do not require a visa to visit Portugal: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia and Sweden. 
Citizens of the UK, US, Australia and New Zealand are also entitled to stay in Portugal for 90 days or less without a visa.
Citizens of certain countries will be required to apply for a tourist visa before arriving in Portugal. The processing time for a tourist visa is around 30 days and travellers can apply at the Portuguese embassy or consulate in their home country. However, it is best to apply well ahead of time and it is possible to submit more than three months prior to the date of departure. 

Schengen visas for Portugal

As Portugal is part of Schengen territory, once a person is granted this visa they can visit multiple destinations that are signatory to the agreement. Those who do plan on travelling to a number of Schengen countries will find it is best to make their application at the consulate of the country in which they plan to spend the largest amount of time.

It is important to note that under the Schengen Visa people are not granted permission to work or carry out any form of business activity.

Residence permits for Portugal

While EU citizens are not required to have a residence or work permit for Portugal, it is useful for all expats to obtain one because it will act as a useful proof of residence for obtaining a local driver's licence, opening a bank account and for tax purposes. 
Only nationals of EU member states are allowed to apply for a residence permit from within Portugal. All other expats must apply at a Portuguese consulate in their home country.
The documentation required for applying for a residence permit for Portugal includes:
  • A valid passport with at least two blank pages, valid for six months from arrival in Portugal
  • Two current passport photographs
  • Notarised letter from an employer stating the duration of employment (if expat plans on taking up a job in Portugal)
  • Proof of health insurance
  • Police clearance certificate
There are two types of residence permit for Portugal, both issued by the Immigration and Border Control Department. A short-term residence permit is valid for periods from 90 days up to one year. A long-term residence permit is valid for a period of five years and can be renewed for up to 10 years. It is important to have a valid passport for the entire duration of the intended residency in Portugal.

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