Immigrate to Portugal from Canada

Updated on Thursday 28th May 2020

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Portugal is a country with many advantages, with its warm, temperate Mediterranean climate being an important plus for Canadians looking to move to another country where they can work, study or even retire.
 
Those interested in the steps needed to immigrate to Portugal from Canada can read this article and reach out to our team of immigration lawyers in Portugal for more detailed information as well as advice based on their particular situation.
 
Foreign nationals have more than one option when moving to Portugal long-term for the purpose of obtaining permanent residence. The naturalization option is one of the most common as it implies lawfully living in the country for a certain amount of time, after which an individual can apply for permanent residency. This is different from citizenship and our immigration experts explain the main options further down in this article.
 

Ways to immigrate to Portugal from Canada

 
Canadians who wish to enter Portugal and stay for less than ninety days are not required to have a visa. The residency visa allows the holder to have two entries in the country and it is valid for a period of four months. There are several types of residency visas, according to the purpose of the stay: 
  1. Working in Portugal: Canadians can stay in Portugal based on  residency visa provided that they are employed or if they perform an independent business activity
  2. Higher education teaching:  a residency visa is granted for those highly qualified professionals or those who will engage in higher education teaching (including for highly qualified cultural purposes).
  3. Study: a residency visa for research, study, volunteer or school exchange purposes; for bachelor’s, master’s, Ph.D., Post-Doc studies.
  4. Investment: this type of residency permit is subject to slightly different regulations and it is granted to those investors who will conduct an investment activity through a Portuguese company, who purchase real estate in a total value of approximately 500,000 euros or who engage in capital investments.
Regardless of the type of visa they decided to apply for, Canadians will need to submit the needed visa application documents with the Consulate General of Portugal in Montreal, the Consulate General of Portugal in Toronto, or the Consulate General of Portugal in Vancouver. One of our Portugal immigration agents can provide you with complete details about the visa application requirements so that you may prepare the proper documentation and the visa application will be approved. A fee will apply for a residency visa. The general documents needed to apply for a residency visa in Portugal include the following:
  • the filled in official form
  • the passport and two recent passport photos,
  • valid travel insurance,
  • criminal record certificate,
  • proof of means of subsistence. 
 
When the applicant is moving to Portugal for the purpose of employment, the work contract needs to be provided as well as a professional certificate. When the Canadian applicant will perform an independent work or will come to the country as a migrant entrepreneur, he will need to either provide the contract or service provider proposal for liberal professions or bring the adequate proof that he has performed certain investment operations or that he has the intention and the ability to invest in Portugal. Specific documentation is also needed for professional activities, highly qualified activities, cultural activities as well as for those who wish to come to the country for higher education, volunteer or internship purposes.
 

The residence permit for investment purposes in Portugal


The residence permit for investment, also known as the ARI or Golden Visa, can be a suitable option for those individuals or entrepreneurs who have the means to make the minimum investment. Our team of Portugal immigration specialists lists some of the most important benefits below:
 
  • the holder can live and work in Portugal, provided that he stays in the country for 7 or more days during the first tear and 14 or more days in the years that follow;
  • the investment visa also grants the holder the ability to benefit from a visa exemption for traveling within the Schengen Area.
  • the investment residency program also allows the applicant to apply for Portuguese citizenship by naturalization.
  • the holder has the ability to apply for family reunification purposes.
 
The following types of investments are accepted for the Golden Visa:
 
  • a capital transfer with a value of 1 million euros or above (the investment can be an individual one or through a limited liability company in which the applicant is a shareholder); there are several possible investment routes, such as acquiring public debt instruments from the Portuguese State, acquiring transferable securities or bearer securities and others;
  • creating at least 10 job positions and the investment is proven by showing the individual employment contracts;
  • purchasing real estate property of at least 500,000 euros or more;
  • purchasing real estate with a value of 350,000 euros when the construction is more than 30 years old or it is located in urban regeneration areas and it will be subject to refurbishing; 
  • a capital transfer of 350,000 euros or more in research activities performed by public or private research institutions involved in the national technological or scientific system;
  • a capital transfer of 250,000 euros or more for the supporting the arts or for the reconstruction or refurbishment of national heritage;
  • an investment of 350,000 euros or more for the acquisition of units of investment funds or venture capital for the capitalization of companies, when at least 60% of the investment is in commercial companies that have their head office in Portugal;
  • a capital transfer of 350,000 euros or more for the incorporation of a Portuguese company, together with creating at least five jobs; an alternative is to reinforce the capital of an already existing Portuguese company, combines with creating or keeping a minimum of five jobs, for a minimum period of 3 years; our immigration lawyer in Portugal can give you more details.  
 
As a general rule, all foreign nationals who decide to apply for a residence permit for investment purposes can conduct the investment activity as an individual or through a company incorporated in Portugal or in another EU Member State. 

Canadians who are interested in knowing more about the residency via investment, or the golden visa program, can reach out to an immigration lawyer in Portugal from our team. We can provide complete details on the situations in which an investment can be a manner in which that entrepreneur can also obtain a temporary residence permit as well as the possibility to apply for family reunification purposes. the investment residency program also allows the applicant to apply for Portuguese citizenship by naturalization. The investment visa also grants the holder the ability to benefit from a visa exemption for traveling within the Schengen Area.
 

Residence in Portugal for family reunification
 

The following family members are entitled to family reunification under the Aliens Act (Articles 99 and 100):
 
  • the spouse;
  • underage children or incapable children who are under the guardianship of the couple or of one of the spouses;
  • minors who were adopted by a married or unmarried applicant (with a relevant decision from the authorities of the country of origin, subject to compliance with the rights and duties of natural affiliation and subject to acknowledgment of such decision in Portugal);
  • children who are under the care of the couple or one of the spouses and who study in a Portuguese educational institution;
  • children of age who are under the charge of one of the spouses (when the holder who is entitled to family reunification has a residence permit granted under Article 90-A)
  • first-degree ascendants in the direct line;
  • underage siblings who are under the custody of the resident (provided that such custody is issued by the relevant authority in the country of origin, a decision that also needs to be acknowledged by Portugal).
 
Family reunification for civil partnerships can also be recognized in the following cases:
 
  • the resident has a non-marital legally recognized partner, inside or outside of national territory;
  • in case of underage children, including children that were adopted by the legal partner, if the children are under their legal guardianship.
 
Individuals who apply for family reunification purposes will need to prove the family relationship by means of authenticated supporting documents that prove the family links as well as authenticated copies of the family member’s identification documents. In all cases, the documents that are issued by a foreign authority in a foreign language need to be accompanied by a sworn Portuguese translation (this translation is to be certified by a Portuguese Notary in the country or by the Portuguese Consulate in the foreign country where the document was issued). Our Portugal immigration agents can provide you with more information about the requirements for foreign issued documents.

Other documents that may be required for family reunification purposes can include, among others, the certified copy of the adoption decision for children, evidence of economic dependence for a first-degree relative in direct ascending line (under the age of 65), a certified copy of the custody decision, circumstantial evidence of unmarried partnership and other documents, as required in the applicant’s particular case.
 

Post-arrival steps and legal assistance for moving to Portugal 

 
Once they arrive in the country based on the visa they have applies for, Canadians will need to request a residence permit as well as the fiscal identification number from the Immigration and Borders Service (SEF). One of our Portugal immigration lawyers can help you with the necessary submissions as well as with handling all of the post-arrival steps.

In most cases, those who are interested in Portugal immigration will look for a property to purchase or to rent before they arrive in the country. However, the final decision will be made once they have seen the property or properties and they gave signed a sale or lease agreement. Visiting properties and opening a bank account are thus post-arrival steps.

Singing services and utility agreements will also be other steps that are commonly handled after arrival. Canadians who need specialized assistance in these cases can rely on the assistance of our team. In special cases, one of our agents can handle certain matters in front of the Portuguese authorities or services providers based on a power of attorney (which may allow for general or limited powers).

Canadians who move to Portugal with their families may also be interested in performing some pre-arrival verifications for a school or kindergarten in their area if they have children. Once they have begun their life in Portugal, foreign nationals will need to comply with the requirements for renewing the residence permit. Those who come to the country based on an investment visa, or the golden visa, will need to bring forward proof that they have stayed in the country for at least seven days per year, or as applicable. This is also one case in which the foreign national will need to provide proof of ownership for the property when the golden visa is based on a property investment of a certain amount. 
 

Long term residency in Portugal 

 
Canadians may become long-term residents after they have lawfully lived in the country for five years. When attempting to gain this status, they will also need to prove that they have stable financial resources in order to sustain themselves and their families, if applicable, without relying on social security. They must also have health insurance and accommodation in Portugal. Additionally, it is important to must forward proof that they are fluent in Portuguese, and sufficiently integrated into the community. 
 
The application for long-term residency is submitted to the Foreigners and Borders Service (in person) and a special form must be duly filled in. The form is accompanied by other documents, such as a valid passport, proof of income (payslip or employment contract), proof of health insurance, certificate of qualifications issues by a center qualified to do so for certifying the level of Portuguese language knowledge. Other documents may include proof of tax payment and social security payment. 
 
Long-term residents in Portugal enjoy the same treatment as Portuguese nationals in terms of having access to jobs in the country, rightful dismissal conditions and remuneration, recognition of diplomas, certificates or other qualifications, tax benefits and healthcare, social security and social protection, freedom of association, affiliation and membership in workers’ organizations, as well as other rights. An immigration lawyer in Portugal from our team can provide interested individuals with more details about these rights.
 

Canadians in Portugal

 
The number of Canadians living in Portugal is not as large as in the case of other foreign nationals (such as those from Brazil, for example). The numbers below were provided by the Foreigners and Borders Service and applied for the year 2018:
 
  • 882: total number of Canadian nationals living in Portugal;
  • 457: the number of men out of the total of Canadian nationals in the country;
  • 425: the number of women living in Canada on a permanent basis;
  • 145: the number of Canadians living in the country on a temporary basis (or in transit), out of which 76 men and 69 women.
 
The same report revealed that Canadians were more likely to use the electronic control services offered by the Foreigners and Borders Service. The implementation of the immigration and the asylum policies valid in Portugal fall under the responsibility of the Ministry of Internal Administration. One of our agents can provide interested Canadians with more information on the intervention of the Foreigners and Borders Service as well as the policies set forth by other agencies entrusted with regulating the influx of immigrants. 
 
Contact us for complete details about our services for Canadians moving to Portugal and our general expat services.