Immigration Lawyers for Portugal

Portugal is one of the most popular European countries that individuals choose to relocate to. It is estimated that 6.5% of Portugal’s population were born abroad, with many coming from the former Portuguese colony of Brazil but also a considerable number of British citizens choose Portugal as their country of choice in which to live and work.

Whilst Britain’s exit from the EU has altered the immigration process for British nationals, the Portuguese government has a positive attitude to immigration and has evolved procedures that encourage British citizens to make Portugal their new home.

Short Stay Visa – under three months

A visa is unnecessary for foreign nationals from countries that have an agreement in place allowing short stays of three months or under without a visa. The UK has such an agreement therefore British citizens do not require a visa unless they wish to remain in Portugal for longer than three months.

Short Stay Visa – up to 90 days

A short-stay visa, also known as a Schengen visa may be granted for a number of reasons, such as family visits, temporary work, business reasons, airport transit and tourism. This type of visa is categorised depending on the reason for your visit. This visa also permits, as the alternative name suggests, travel within the Schengen area. A short-stay visa can be applied for at a Portuguese embassy in Britain. An application can be made six months before your intended travel date but no later than 15 days before you depart.

The categorisations are as follows:

General Short Stay visa

The visa provides for a stay of up to 90 days for reasons of short-term work contracts, business, family visits and tourism. You will have to provide evidence of the following when applying: 

  • A valid passport or similar travel ID
  • A passport photograph
  • Evidence of health insurance
  • A return ticket
  • Evidence that you can financially support yourself during the course of your visit
  • Contact details of your hotel or place where you will be staying
  • Confirmation of the reason for your visit

Seasonal Work Visa

A seasonal work visa usually applies to work for a specific sector such as:

  • Agriculture
  • Forestry including hunting and fishing
  • Hospitality
  • Retail
  • Construction
  • Transport
  • Food, alcohol or tobacco sectors

Additional to the requirements outlined 

  • A contract of employment
  • A work offer with a Portuguese employer
  • With regard to regulated professions – evidence of compliance with Portuguese national legal requirements

Airport Transit Visa

This type of visa applies to individuals requiring transit through an international airport whilst moving from one flight to another. This visa is a mandatory requirement for passengers changing flights in a Schengen airport unless they are exempt from requiring an entry visa to Portugal.

You will need to submit the information outlined above with the exception of hotel or place of stay contact details and health insurance details.

Temporary Stay Visas

Temporary stay visas fall into a category that permits the holder to remain in Portugal for up to a year, as well as allowing multiple entries to enable you to leave and return to Portugal. Third-country nationals will require this visa if it is their intention to stay in Portugal for over 90 days but under 12 months. 

The exceptions to this requirement are the spouse, dependent or adopted children, parents or dependent minor siblings of Portuguese residents or EU nationals.

Applications should be made at your local Portuguese embassy at least 30 days prior to your travel date. It is advisable to make an application considerably earlier to avoid the possibility of an unexpected problem delaying the processing of your application.

There is a fee payable with the exception of the following:

1. Children under the age of six years

2. Children who are descendants of Portuguese residents

3. Children who are descendants of EU residents living in Portugal

4. Students who are permitted to study by a scholarship granted by


5. Highly qualified individuals involved in research projects

6. Patients and persons accompanying the patient under the

Cooperation Agreements in the Field of Health

The documentation required to be submitted is outlined above, 

Additional requirements in this category depending on the reasons for the visa are as follows:

  • Two passport photographs
  • A criminal record check accessible to Portuguese immigration authorities
  • A contract of employment or service contract
  • A letter from an appropriate academic or research organisation outlining the nature of the work of the academic or scientific research.
  • Evidence of compliance with legal requirements with regard to regulated professions
  • Documentary evidence provided by a sports federation or organisation if the visa is required for amateur sports.

Temporary Work Visa

Temporary work visas are issued for the following:

  • Long-term seasonal work 
  • Freelance or self-employed contracts
  • Scientific or academic research programmes
  • Amateur sports activity
  • Any other skilled work.

Study visa

A study visa can be obtained by a secondary student, graduate or postgraduate. In addition to the documentation outlined above evidence of acceptance on an accredited course at a Portugue education institution together with confirmation that the course does not exceed one year.

Internship, professional training, volunteering visa

A visa can be granted for unpaid internship, any type of professional training or volunteering for an Non-governmental organisation (NGO) that is Portuguese-based or a charity. Documentary evidence will be required regarding the training course, confirmation that the period of time will not exceed 12 month and with which organisation.

Medical treatment visa

A medical treatment visa can be for the applicant’s medical treatment or to accompany a family member during the course of their medical treatment. The following documentation is required:

  • A medical report relating to the patient from a doctor or specialist from the patient’s home country
  • Evidence that the treatment is to be performed in Portugal
  • Evidence of an accompanying person’s relationship to the patient.

Long Stay visas

A long-stay visa permits the applicant to stay in Portugal for over one year. This is also known as a residency visa. An application must be made to the Portuguese Immigration Service, Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras (SEF).

The documentation required by SEF is the same as is required for a Temporary Stay visa, however, the deadline is for making an application is 60 days. The exemption categories are also the same.

Work visa

Long-term permanent work placement requires the same general and additional information as a temporary work visa.

Study visa

A long-term study visa is granted for a programme lasting longer than 12 months in an educational establishment from secondary school and beyond. The additional documentation required for a study visa is the same as for a temporary study visa except that evidence is also required to demonstrate that the applicant is of a sufficient academic standard to meet the admissions criteria.

Internship, professional training, volunteering visa

Internship and volunteering (unpaid), as well as professional training, require the same documentation as a Temporary Stay visa.

Family reunion or reunification visa

Family members of third countries may join their relatives in Portugal by applying for a Family Reunion visa. The visa is available for the


  • Spouses and partners that are recognised legally
  • Dependent children adopted children and children of the spouse or partner
  • Dependent parents of both parties to a marriage
  • Dependent minor siblings
  • Children studying in Portugal who are under your care or the care of your spouse
  • Minor brothers and sisters who are in your custody.

An applicant must provide the following additional information:

  • Documentary evidence of the relationship between the family such as a birth certificate or marriage certificate
  • Evidence of notification to the Portuguese Immigration Service

(SEF) of family reunion authorisation.

Retirement Visa

Retirees who relocate to Portugal in their retirement years can apply for a Retirement visa. There is a requirement to have sufficient income to enable to support themselves without working or having recourse to the

Portuguese authorities or welfare services. This visa also includes individuals wishing to take up long-term religious placements that include accommodation, providing a letter from a religious organisation supports the placement.

Evidence is required of earnings, savings or pensions that enable the applicant to have sufficient financial support on a long-term basis.

The Golden Visa Scheme

The Golden visa is a scheme aimed at attracting foreign investors for more information please click here.