Be careful. This article contains administrative information: legal requirements may have change since it was written. Your Portuguese embassy or consulate will provide you with the freshest rules and requirements that apply to your specific case.

First of all: where are you from?

Your answer to this question will determine how easily you will enter Portugal:

  • Case 1: If you are an EEA (the EU + Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland) or Swiss citizen, stop reading this article. You can enter Portugal, work and live there without a visa or a residence permit. Go, go, go!
  • Case 2: If you are a national from another country, you must apply for a residence visa from your local Portuguese embassy or consulate before moving.

Step 1: Ask for a Residence Visa

If you enter Portugal to take up employment as a qualified professional, for more than 12 months, you must ask for a residence visa. This visa does not allow you to live indefinitely in Portugal but allows you to enter Portugal to apply for a residence permit.

Your entry is conditioned to a labour market test led by the government to check if legal qualified workers living in Portugal (EU-citizens or not) can occupy this job. The result of this test is annual quotas on job opportunities.

If you already got your job, your employer will send you your contract or a binding job offer before you move to Portugal and also a statement issued by the Ministry of Employment that allows you to work in this position. These documents are a prerequisite before applying for a residence visa.

After you got this visa, you have four months to apply for a residence permit.

You can check the different types of visa on the website of the Portuguese Foreign Office.

Step 2: Ask for a Residence Permit

Once in Portugal, you must ask for a residence permit within the four months of validity of your residence visa. You must submit your application to the SEF of your area of residence. This residence permit will allow you to live and work in Portugal for an initial period of one year, and can be renewed for successive periods of two years.

As a Leon, depending on your personal situation, you can apply for different kinds of residence permits:

You can consult all the different kinds of residence permits on the SEF’s website.

To get this residence permit, you must meet some requirements:

  • have an accommodation;
  • have sufficient means of subsistence;
  • be registered with the social security office;
  • not be a criminal.

Focus: EU Blue Card

The EU Blue Card is a European scheme aimed to facilitate the entry of highly qualified foreigners. To be eligible for a EU Blue Card, you must:

  • have a valid work contract or binding job offer for highly qualified employment with a duration of at least 1 year;
  • earn at least 1.5 times the average Portuguese gross salary, i.e. 23,711 euros (2014 figure);
  • for regulated professions: present documents proving that the national legal requirements are met;
  • for unregulated professions: present documents proving that the relevant higher professional qualifications are met;
  • present a valid travel document, an application for a visa or a visa (if necessary), and a valid residence permit or a national long-term visa (if appropriate);
  • present a proof of sickness insurance (or a proof of having applied for it).

In Portugal, your Blue Card will be valid for 1 year but can be renewed for periods of two years.

After having asked for our Blue Card, you will receive it within 60 days.

If you are a Blue Card holder and have resided in Portugal for more than 18 consecutive months, you can apply for a Residence Permit for Highly Qualified Professional Activity.

You can check more information and all the documents required to apply for a Blue Card on the SEF’s website (in English and Portuguese).

Step 3: Living Permanently in Portugal

After a while, you might want to settle in Portugal on a long-term basis. To do so, you must ask for a Long-Term Residence Permit or Permanent Residence Permit. It will give you more advantages, such as the unrestricted right to live and work in Portugal.

To apply for a Long-Term Residence Permit, you must meet these requirements:

  • You have lived legally and continuously for at least 5 years in Portugal;
  • You can prove that you have sufficient and stable financial resources to support yourself and your family members, without recourse to the social assistance system, adequate accommodation, health insurance coverage and fluency in Portuguese.

The long-term residence status gives you the same rights as Portuguese citizens in terms of access to employment, access to education, recognition of diploma, access to healthcare, tax exemptions and reductions. It also gives you a free and unrestricted access to all the Portuguese and European territories. This status is valid for at least 5 years, and can be renewed.

To apply for a Portuguese Permanent Residence Permit, that gives you the same indefinite and unrestricted rights than Portuguese citizens, you need to meet these requirements:

  • You have lived legally and continuously for at least 5 years in Portugal;
  • You have a basic knowledge of Portuguese and you can prove you have sufficient means of subsistence and accommodation.

How much will you pay? 

  • The residence visa costs 99 euros.
  • The EU Blue Card costs 103 euros.


To get more information