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A Guide to Moving to Portugal

If you plan on moving to Portugal, there are a few things that need to be handled before arriving in the country and others that are dealt with after arrival, depending on your particular case. The mandatory visas and permits, how your family members can join you as well as how to find a property to rent or buy as soon as possible are issues that need careful consideration and it is recommendable to start by being informed on the specific requirements according to your nationality and how you are planning to come to the country, either for work or retirement purposes.
 
Working with a team of experts can be very helpful when moving to a new country. Our agents have worked with many foreign nationals and can help you much in the same way as an immigration lawyer in Portugal would.
 
We can help you handle some of the matters even before you come to the country, such as preparing the necessary files, to be ready for submission to the relevant Portuguese authorities and contacting renting or moving companies to make the transition as easy as possible. If you do not speak the language yet (an ability that will be required later on for the purpose of obtaining residency), our team of Portugal immigration agents can help you in all of the required communications with the authorities or with other agencies or businesses, as needed.
 

Conditions for moving to Portugal


Deciding to start a new life in a different country is an important one and it is usually based on several issues, in some cases starting with economic and business opportunities. For residents Brazil, for example, moving to Portugal is the easiest option when they decide to relocate to a European country. However, many other foreign nationals can prefer moving to Portugal compared to other EU countries. In some cases, the decision will have to do with the weather, which can be an important criterion, especially for those who are perhaps interested in moving to Portugal for retirement purposes. The country’s many beaches and overall mild climate can be important for the decision to relocate here.

Regardless of the primary reasons why Portugal has become the first option for relocation, all foreign nationals must fully understand the requirements for staying in the country long-term. The conditions are somewhat more permissive for EU nationals compared to those from other countries, however, it is always recommended to consult with an expert, such as an immigration lawyer in Portugal from our team, to find out what are the exact requirements according to the country of origin. 

Foreign nationals can either choose to stay in Portugal for short-term purposes or for long periods of time, a situation in which they are required to apply for residence. Some of the situations for obtaining residence include the following:
  1. Working in Portugal: the residence permit can be awarded to employees with or without a residence visa and for teachers, the self-employed or highly qualified workers.
  2. Investing in Portugal: for capital transfers, investments in real estate, or the creation of at least ten new job positions.
  3. Opening a business in Portugal: the startup visa, for foreign nationals who wish to become entrepreneurs in Portugal and open a new business.
  4. Studying in Portugal: for those who wish to attend higher education studies, for researchers as well as for those attending professional qualification courses. 
  5. Family reunification: spouses, minors, first-degree ascendants in the direct line of the resident or underage siblings can apply for a family reunification visa.

The permits awarded for working in Portugal can be for individuals who have applied for a job and have been accepted as well as for those who are transferred as a result of an intra-corporate transfer (this permit is awarded for an intra-corporate transferee) or for mobility workers. The administrators or workers in branches opened in a secondary office in an EU state will receive a different permit.

The permanent residence permit is awarded after a foreign national has spent five years lawfully living in Portugal and renewing the residence permit as needed after its expiration date. The conditions differ for those foreign nationals who are awarded a residence permit for investment purposes and their families. The golden visa or the permit for making a minimum investment in Portuguese real estate can be a convenient manner in which some entrepreneurs can receive a residence permit.
 

Assistance for applying for residence in Portugal


The application procedure for a residence visa for Portugal depends on the purpose of the stay. Below, our Portugal immigration specialists describe the process for obtaining one of the most common types of permits, the residence permit for employed workers with a residence visa.
 
An individual interested in obtaining this type of permit is required to schedule the application via the electronic platform and submit the standard form and the enclosed documents with the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) directorate or regional delegation. The documents needed for a residence permit for employed workers in Portugal with a residence visa are the following:
 
  • two identical photographs;
  • passport;
  • residence visa, valid;
  • evidence of sufficient means of subsistence and evidence of accommodation;
  • permission for SEF to check the criminal record;
  • labor contract according to the law in force;
  • documents proving that the applicant is registered with the tax authorities and is a regular social security payer. 
 
A different type of permit is the one for intra-corporate transferees or the residence permit for workers transfers within the company. For this permit, the applicant is expected to provide evidence of having worked in the company or group of companies for a minimum period of three to twelve months (for managers and specialists) or three to six months (for trainees). Evidence of having the proper qualifications and professional experience is also required. Moreover, the hosting company is to provide documents that prove that it complies with the Portuguese legislation for remuneration and working conditions. In some situations, when the applicant is transferred to certain certified companies, he is exempted from submitting part of the required documents.
 
An appointment for submitting the application can also be scheduled by telephone. Please remember that these documents apply for a particular type of residence permit. Most applications will require a general set of documents, as described below by our agents.
 
Standard forms, as well as fees, apply when submitting the application. 
 
Individuals who apply for a residence permit for investment will use the ARI Portal, also provided by SEF. This includes a simplified procedure for which only one visit will be required with the SEF bureau offices. All of the fees are paid in the Single Collecting Document and the applicant may select a date and time that will be convenient for him. An immigration lawyer in Portugal from our team can provide investors with more details about the procedure that applies in their case.
 

Documents required for immigrants


The general requirement for obtaining a residence permit in Portugal includes the submission of a special set of documents to the Portuguese Immigration agency. This is to be submitted personally or through a legal representative and it can be submitted to any regional directorate or delegation. The standard necessary documentation includes the following:
  • two recent photographs 
  • valid passport
  • valid visa, when needed.
  • proof of means of subsistence.
  • proof of accommodation in Portugal.
  • proof of registration with the tax authorities and of registration with social security and health insurance, when needed.

The residence permit is granted when the applicant is not convicted for a crime that is punishable in Portugal by a custodial sentence of more than one year. The applicant must also not be subject to a prohibition period for entering other countries as a result of being expulsed from his country.

Different fees apply according to the type of requested permit as well as for renewing existing ones. For example, the application fee for an investment permit will differ from that required for other types of residence permits.

Applicants should remember that each type of residence permit also includes additional documents, as per its type. For example, for investment purposes, the nature and amount of the investment need to be presented with adequate documents as well as for employment or for acceptance in a Portuguese education institution. One of our agents who specialize in Portugal immigration can help applicants gather all of the needed documents.
 

Expat services in Portugal

 
Part of the services we offer to expats in Portugal are described below:
 
- visas and permits: not all foreign nationals who move to Portugal need to obtain a visa, but a work permit will be needed for expats; we can help you find out which ones you need and apply for them.
- residency: it is a natural process to apply for permanent residency after having lived in the country for a number of years; we can also assist those investors interested in the golden visa program – an easier way to acquire permanent residency.
- work: you can either look for a job before moving to Portugal or after you arrive here; regardless of your case, our agents can help you understand the Labour Law principles.
- financial and administrative: we can help you obtain the Portuguese NIF (fiscal identification number) and handle a number of other issues such as opening a bank account, concluding services and rent agreements, and others.
 
Our Portugal immigration agents can help you with all of these services and others. The needs of an individual moving to a new country will always be unique, however, our team will work with you to find the most suitable and the fastest solutions in order to make your transition as smooth as possible.
 

Moving to Portugal with the help of our immigration lawyer in Portugal

 
Having a team of experts as advisors during the immigration process can ease the experience and allow you to focus on the truly important issues at hand: starting a new life in your Portuguese city of choice. We can handle the administrative procedures and help clarify all of the processes for you so that you may move to Portugal with a clear and complete understanding of what is required of you as an expat and the rights that you have.
 
According to an immigration report issued by the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF), the statistics in 2018 were the following:
 
  • there was a 13.9% increase in the resident foreign population compared to the previous year.
  • there were 480,300 foreign citizens who possessed a residence permit, the highest number recorded since the foundation of the Foreigners and Borders Service.
  • new residence permit grants increased by 51.7% compared to the previous year, with a total of 91,154 new residents. 
  • compared to 2017, there was a 2.6% decrease in document fraud when applying for residence.
 
The most significant percentage of foreigners acquire nationality by naturalization (approximately 70%) while others through marriage with a Portuguese national (16%). According to the same report, the largest number of foreign nationals who acquire residence by marriage with a Portuguese citizen are Brazilians. 
 
The new regime for the entry, stay, exit and the removal of foreign nationals from the country intends to simplify the application procedure for residence permits. There are simpler schemes for students who wish to study in the country as well as for highly qualified entrepreneurs who intend on opening a business, developing new business models or investing in technology and innovation. The streamlined application process includes online submissions as well as appointments via the SEF Contact Center or via the online platform. The one-stop-shop online service provided by SEF includes online appointments, online certifications as well as an automatic pre-scheduling system. 
 
Our immigration specialists are able to provide complete services for foreign nationals willing to move to Portugal, irrespective of their country of origin and the manner in which they aim to obtain residence (through naturalization, marriage or otherwise). The increased number of immigrants on a year-on-year basis confirms the country’s attractiveness both as a destination for those who are looking to become employed and those who are looking to start a business.
 
Contact our immigration lawyer in Portugal for complete information about the Portuguese immigration rules for EU and non-EU nationals and how you can start the process as soon as you decide to move.
 

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