If you’re legally resident in Portugal, namely you’ve come here on another visa or have settled citizen status as an EU citizen, you can apply to bring your spouse, partner, or family to live with you in Portugal through the Family Reunification Visa (D6).
Any family member you bring over will essentially have generally the same rights and length of residency as you. If you’re on a 2-year residency permit, for example, your spouse or partner would be granted a permit for the same 2-year period. If you’re allowed to work, they will also be allowed to work as well.
The slight difference is if you already have permanent residency, which you may have if you’ve already lived in Portugal for 5 years. In this case they normally won’t be granted permanent residency straight away, but would be granted a 2-year visa instead.
After 2 years, however, assuming the family tie conditions are still the same (e.g. you haven’t divorced in the meantime), that family member would be able to renew their visa for a longer period of time.
Who can you bring to Portugal?
The Family Reunification Visa is quite flexible and allows you to bring the following family members to Portugal:
- Spouse or Partner (see the section below for clarification)
- Children (including adopted children)
- Children or adopted children of your spouse or partner
- Dependents (such as parents or siblings in your custody)
While it’s always easier if you can produce a marriage certificate, the D6 visa isn’t just aimed at married couples but those in a “stable union” as well. Essentially, as long as you’ve been cohabiting and living in the same way as a married couple for 2 years or more, Portuguese law grants non-married couples the same right as those who’ve officially tied the knot. This is irrespective of the sexuality of the couple.
Obviously, a stable union is something that you’ll need to prove and it isn’t as straightforward as showing a marriage certificate. Documents that can help you prove this include:
- A declaration stating that you’ve been living together at the same address for the past 2 years or longer.
- Utility bills and other documents registered to the same address.
- A registered domestic partnership (if you state/country recognises this).
If you’re struggling to prove family ties, the family member could consider applying for another visa like the D7 visa instead.
Family Member Rights
Like you, the family member(s) would normally have access to healthcare (providing they have a numero utente) and the right to work and study in Portugal. They also have the right to travel within the Schengen Area, although this is often dependent on you travelling with them at the same time.
Applying for the Family Reunification Visa
The person who has residency in Portugal is the person who applies for the Family Reunification Visa. Applications are made through SEF (Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras) either directly or via a lawyer. Regardless, you need an appointment.
If applying directly, this can be done online, by telephone (808 202 653), or through CNAI.
Appointment times can take several months, and so it’s worth checking if you can get an appointment faster at a SEF office in another city or town.
You can make the application while the family member is in Portugal or you can make it while they’re still abroad. The documents required will be slightly different depending on whether that family member is in the country or not.
This means that you can fly the family member into Portugal on another visa, such as the Schengen Tourist visa, and begin the application while they’re here rather than waiting for the Family Reunification Visa to be granted.
If you do decide to apply with the family member already in Portugal, you will need to provide proof of entry and to essentially show that they’ve entered the country legally and haven’t stayed here beyond what their visa allows.
Documents & Criteria
You will need to bring the following documents to your appointment. A more up-to-date list can be found on SEF’s website.
Person with residency in Portugal
- Residência documents of family member with residency in Portugal
- Portuguese fiscal number (NIF) of family member with residency in Portugal
- Proof of subsistence (copy of a recent Portuguese bank statement)
- Proof of address (property deed, rental contract, or Atestado de Residência).
Documents for family member obtaining residency in Portugal
- Certified copy of passport
- Criminal records check (valid for 3 months) for all the countries you have lived in for more than 1 year.
- Marriage certificate (original) or proof of cohabitation in the case of couples
- Fee (€15 in 2021)
Proof of subsistence
As with all visas, a priority of SEF will be to make sure that this person (or persons) will not become a burden on the Portuguese state. This means that you will need to prove that you have sufficient income to support any family member that you’re bringing over.
In simple terms, this means that your income is equal or greater than the Portuguese minimum wage (€635 per month in 2021) and you also have at least 50% more (€317.5) to support a second person.
Documents that are in a language other than Portuguese will need to be accompanied by a certified translation. This translation is valid for around 3 months on average, so don’t get the documents certified until you have a confirmed appointment with SEF as sometimes it can take more than 3 months to get an appointment.
Portuguese Citizenship Eligibility
Coming to Portugal on the Family Reunification Visa puts you on the path to Portuguese citizenship: After 5 years of living in Portugal, you are eligible for both permanent residency and to apply for Portuguese citizenship (which comes with the Portuguese passport).