Accommodation Options for the D7 Visa

/ Last Updated: September 7, 2023 / 33 Comments

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One of the challenges of obtaining some residency visas is the need to already have accommodation in Portugal before you move to Portugal. You can’t just arrive in Portugal and then look for a place when you arrive. Airbnb and hotel bookings, which were often accepted as a form of accommodation in the past, no longer are.

Suitable accommodation can take many forms. If you’ve purchased a property, that’s definitely acceptable: you just need to show the deeds to the property. Another option is a letter of invitation or term of responsibility form from a Portuguese resident, inviting you to come and stay with them. This letter typically has to be notarised to be accepted and you’ll likely need to send a copy of their ID with the document as well. 

For most people, however, the D7 accommodation requirement means a rental contract. There are several ways to get this, and some of the most common are:

  1. Rent a property online through a rental agency
  2. Come to Portugal on a scouting trip and find a property to rent

Renting Through an Agency

Although a lot of Portuguese rental agents don’t like to sign rental agreements with people who are outside of the country and have never seen the property in real life, this is becoming more and more common. Bigger rental agencies, like Remax or Century 21, will be more used to the requirements of the D7 than private landlords.

You don’t get to see the properties in real life, but you can still get a good feel for the property. Google Maps can help you get an idea for the neighbourhood as well, although be aware that some things might have changed since the map was made. 

Regardless of whether you view an apartment in-person or virtually, many Portuguese rental contracts have a clause that allows you to break a contract one third of the way through, providing 120 days notice is given. As contracts are typically at least a year in length, in practice this would mean you’re able to leave the contract after seven months. 

Finding a property on a Scouting Trip

Another option is to come to Portugal on a scouting trip and to rent (or even buy) a place while you’re here and then go back and apply for the D7. 

It can be a bit tricky to estimate the dates correctly and obviously there’s the cost of coming to Portugal, but the benefit is that you get to see lots of rental properties in person and find somewhere that you really like. 

Airbnb workaround

There is one way that you can use Airbnb to find suitable accommodation in Portugal and that’s to contact hosts to see if they’d be willing to give you a proper long-term contract (rather than the standard Airbnb lease). 

The benefit of this approach is that you can find a property that has lots of great reviews and, based on those reviews, you get a good idea of what your future landlord will be like as well. Many hosts will say no, particularly if you want to do this during the peak summer season, but others will be open to the idea. 

Written by

James Cave is the founder of Portugalist and the author of the bestselling book, Moving to Portugal Made Simple. He has visited just about every part of Portugal, including Madeira and all nine islands of the Azores, and lived in several parts of Portugal including Lisbon, the Algarve, and Northern Portugal.

You can contact James by emailing or via the site's contact form.

Originally published: August 2021 & Last Updated: September 7, 2023.