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Visas and Passports in Portugal

Author: Jim Newham
Submitted: August 2015


Portugal is a participant state in the 26-country Schengen Area. Technically, citizens of Schengen Area countries are able to enter Portugal without any travel documents. However, as an expat, you must always carry means of identification with you when you are out in public in Portugal.

If you are from any other country and intend to enter Portugal, you will always need a passport, or an equivalent travel document if you are a stateless person or refugee. All travel documents must be valid for three months after the date of your departure. In addition to a valid passport, you may need a visa to immigrate into Portugal.

Visa Requirements

Portugal is part of the European Economic Area (EEA), which comprises all the European Union countries plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein. Free movement of people is permitted within the EEA, plus Switzerland, which has similar agreements in place. This means that EEA and Swiss citizens never need a visa to enter Portugal. Family members of Portuguese citizens may also enter without a visa. Expats from both these groups need to register their presence if staying in Portugal for more than three months; see Settlement, Residence and Citizenship for more details on this. Note that family members of citizens of other EEA countries and Switzerland may still need a visa.

There are currently 44 countries and territories that have visa waiver agreements with the 26-country Schengen Area, of which Portugal is a signatory. Citizens of the 44 countries are permitted to move within the Schengen Area – and hence in and out of Portugal – without a visa for any 90 days within a 180-day period, providing they do not do any paid work.

Citizens of these countries who want to stay for longer than 90 days will need a visa, as will citizens of all other countries. Note that citizens of some countries will additionally require an airport transit visa. There is a full list of country and visa requirements on this website. In addition to these requirements, non-EEA citizens must also be able to demonstrate that they have the financial means to support themselves.

Visa Types

There are two categories of Portuguese visa: short-term and long-term. The main short-term visa is the Short-Stay or Schengen visa. A holder of this visa may move freely within the countries of the Schengen Area for any 90 days within a 180-day period, providing they do not do any paid work. If you have a Schengen visa, you can apply to extend it for a further 90 days.

The other main type of short-term visa is the Temporary Stay visa. There are seven subtypes of this visa; it is for lecturers, scientific researchers and certain other types of worker. The Temporary Stay visa is initially valid for up to four months. So long as a holder of this visa has a contract or evidence of a scholarship as applicable, they will be able to apply for a visa extension for up to a year. After this, extension for a further year may be possible. For more details, see this Euraxess webpage.

If you are not an EEA or Swiss citizen and intend to stay in Portugal long-term, you will need to obtain a Residence visa. This visa only lasts for four months and cannot be extended. Within 30 days of arriving in Portugal, you need to apply for a temporary residence permit. For more information on residence permits, see Settlement, Residence and Citizenship

Visa Application

The quickest way to apply for any Portuguese visa is online via the SE Comunidades portal. Alternatively, you can apply at your nearest Portuguese embassy or consulate. Visa application forms are available in English and several other languages. As visa application can take two months or more to be completed, it is a good idea to start the application process at least three months before you intend to move to Portugal.
Each person immigrating into Portugal will need a completed application form submitted, plus the following documents as a minimum:

Once the embassy has accepted the visa application, they forward it to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SEF) for approval. When the visa has been approved, the embassy will attach the visa to your passport as usual and you are permitted to enter Portugal.

Visa fees in Portugal are reasonable, although they vary depending on which country you come from. Note that Portugal does not have diplomatic representation in all the world’s countries. If you do not have a Portuguese embassy or consulate in your country, alternative representation can generally be found at the embassy of other EU member states.




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