What Are My Accommodation Options for the D7 Visa?

Written by:
Last updated on June 7, 2024 | Est. Reading Time: 6 minutes

Are you dreaming of moving to Portugal but struggling to find suitable accommodation? Don’t worry: you’re not alone!

For many residency visas, like the D7 (often called the passive income visa) and D8 (often called the digital nomad visa), you’ll need a place to call home in Portugal before you even apply for that all-important residency visa. It might sound like putting the cart before the horse, but it’s just one of those unfortunate hurdles you’ll have to jump over in order to make Portugal your new home.

Don’t worry, we’re here to help make the process a breeze!

What Counts as Suitable Accommodation?

  1. Purchased Property: If you’ve already bought a home in Portugal, you’re all set! Just show the property deeds when applying for your visa.
  2. Invitation from a Portuguese Resident: Know someone living in Portugal? They can write you a notarised letter of invitation or fill out a “term of responsibility” form. Don’t forget to include a copy of their ID!
  3. Renting a Property: For most folks, renting is the way to go. Typically, you’ll need to sign a lease for at least 12 months, although some consulates may accept a six-month lease [source]. Keep in mind that finding a landlord willing to rent for a six-month period can be a bit tricky.

Important Tips for Renting

  • Make sure the lease agreement is registered with Finanças, the Portuguese tax authority. This is the landlord’s responsibility, but it’s important to double check.
  • The lease should be in Portuguese, but consider getting a translated copy in your native language to ensure you understand everything.
  • Have a lawyer review the lease before signing on the dotted line. Better safe than sorry!

What About Airbnb and Hotels?

In the past, Airbnb and hotel bookings were often accepted as proof of accommodation. However, this is no longer the case for most visa applications (although it can depend on the consulate). It’s best to stick with a traditional rental or purchased property.

How to Find a Rental

There are two main ways to find a rental for the D7:

  1. Rent sight-unseen over the internet
  2. Come to Portugal on a scouting trip with the aim of finding somewhere to rent.

Renting Online

While some Portuguese rental agents may be hesitant to sign agreements with overseas tenants, it’s becoming increasingly common. Larger agencies like Remax or Century 21 are often more familiar with D7 requirements than private landlords.

Here are some popular ways to find rentals online:

  • Classifieds websites: Check out Idealista, OLX, and Custo Justo for a wide range of listings.
  • Facebook groups: Join expat communities or property-focused groups to connect with potential landlords.
  • Airbnb and Flatio: Reach out to hosts to see if they’re open to long-term contracts.

While you can’t physically tour the properties, virtual tools like Google Maps can give you a sense of the neighbourhood. Just keep in mind that some details may have changed since the map was last updated.

Scouting Trips

If you prefer a more hands-on approach, consider taking a scouting trip to Portugal. This allows you to view multiple rental properties, get a feel for different areas, and find a place that truly feels like home.

The downside? You’ll need to factor in travel costs and carefully plan your trip dates.

We are retired US citizens and started our visa process right when the requirement for accommodations changed to an annual lease. Everyone said it is next to impossible to find one, especially in the Algarve. I found one in Vilamoura, however, our scouting appointment was still 2 weeks out April 2023. Well, our amazing realtor and landlord held the 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom 4th floor condo with lift for those two weeks (WOW) The realtor actually showed up at the appointment and showed us the beautiful condo and underground parking. ALL furniture, kitchen dishes, pots and pans, coffee machines, down to the linens are included in the price. NOW the best part, we still needed to apply for our visa and didn’t think we would return to Portugal until January of 2024!!! No problem just pay one month’s deposit and we will hold it (UNRENTED) until January! The rental agreement was sent via e-mail to consider with our attorney and they made changes to our advantage! We have signed legal documents and are ready to go to our VFS San Francisco appointment! We have been blessed step by step in our process. Good luck to fellow adventurers traveling to the beautiful country of Portugal!

Donna

Buying a Property

While renting is a popular choice for those applying for residency visas like the D7, some may consider buying a property instead. Owning a home in Portugal can certainly satisfy the address requirement for your visa application, but is it the best decision for you? Let’s explore some factors to consider.

Take Your Time

Many seasoned expats recommend against buying a property until you’ve lived in Portugal for a year or two. Why? Because it takes time to truly understand which area suits your lifestyle best. You might dream of a quiet countryside retreat, only to realise you prefer the convenience and amenities of a small town or city, or vice versa.

Living in Portugal for a while can help you make a more informed decision about where to put down roots.

Know Portugal Well?

On the other hand, if you’ve already spent significant time in Portugal and have a clear idea of where you want to settle, purchasing a property could be a viable option.

When you’ve explored different regions, experienced the local culture, and found a place that truly feels like home, owning a property can provide a sense of stability and belonging.

Weighing the Pros and Cons

Before making a decision, consider the following:

  • Financial implications: Can you afford the upfront costs and ongoing expenses of homeownership?
  • Long-term plans: Do you see yourself living in Portugal for many years, or is there a possibility you might want to relocate in the future?
  • Maintenance and responsibilities: Are you prepared to handle the upkeep and any unexpected repairs that come with owning a property?

Ultimately, the decision to buy a property in Portugal depends on your individual circumstances, goals, and familiarity with the country. If you’re unsure, it may be wise to rent first and give yourself time to explore and understand your preferences. If you’re confident in your decision and have the means to purchase a home, it can be a rewarding way to establish roots in Portugal.

Remember, whether you choose to rent or buy, the most important thing is to find a place that feels like home and supports your Portuguese residency journey.

The small print: Portugalist may generate a commission from mentioned products or services. This is at no additional cost to you and it does not affect our editorial standards in any way. All content, including comments, should be treated as informational and not advice of any kind, including legal or financial advice. The author makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors or omissions or damages arising from its display or use. Links to external websites do not constitute an endorsement. [Disclaimer Policy]
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.

Spotted a mistake? Suggest a correction

There are 33 comments on this article. Join the conversation and add your own thoughts, reviews, and stories of life in Portugal. However, please remember to be civil.

Comments

  1. Hello James, thank you very much again for this great resource! It is becoming my Bible. Could I please check with you if the consulates accept a letter from a friend (Portuguese citizen) stating that I will be living with them for 1 year while I find a permanent accommodation? Also, would you happen to know how long does a consulate typically hold your passport for while they process your visa? I am considering applying either in Britain or Russia as I am a citizen of both countries. Thank you very very much for your help!

    Reply
    • Hi Inessa, I also tried the method of using a letter from a friend stating that I would live with them. I contacted my nearest embassy about this beforehand, and they said no via email, so I’m doing the 1-year rental contract now.

      I have read that some embassies might accept this method, so best way is to get this info from your embassy beforehand. And I was told processing time could be between 2-6 months. (I’m applying from the embassy in New Delhi, India)

      Reply
      • Hello Dikshant,

        Have you applied for the visa? How did you manage to get a 1 year rental contract? Can you please let me know about this.
        I am in the same boat and was thinking about Airbnb, did you check with the embassy if they accepted Airbnb?

        Thanks

        Reply
  2. This is the trickiest issue I see on the D7 application process; I am quite sure we would cover all requirements; however, there is always the possibility of the application being denied or rejected, leaving, as indicated above, loosing 7 months of committed rent (anywhere from 3500 to 7000 Euros), not an easy decision risking this kind of money. Any suggestions or advice?

    Reply
  3. The embassy here in Washington DC, through VS Global, requires a Portuguese bank account with $12,500 on deposit and a one-year lease. Obviously to do either one of these things you need a NIF number first. I was able to get an NIF while still in the states by working through an attorney familiar with the process; however, it was not inexpensive, I paid approximately $750 EU. I actually did this back in 2021 and began making regular deposits into my Portuguese bank account at Millennium Bank every month until I exceeded the required amount. I will be going over in a few weeks to rent the apartment and then we’ll submit all of my paperwork to VS. Also, I organized my submission documents into folders corresponding to the documentation that was required. The thought was to make it as easy for them as possible. Good luck with your applications and I wish you well. HD

    Reply
  4. Does anyone understand the process to verify that you lived in Portugal for the required 6-8 months after you are granted your D7 residence permit? Do you need to enter the EU through Portugal? If you have a home in another country in the Schengen area (e.g. France or Spain), could you travel within the EU during those 6 months and still have them count? Do they just verify that you have a rental agreement? Thanks for any advice!

    Reply
  5. Hello,
    We are looking at buying a property in a development that isn’t finished yet, would the purchase of this property cover the requirements for D7 visa? or would we still need to show a year long rental lease? We are looking to relocate early 2023 , our potential home isn’t due to be finished until early 2024 ……..does anyone know what we’d need to show to be able to stay in the country while our home is being finished?

    Reply
  6. Hi everyone,
    Are there any restrictions on a region of Portigal to rent and stay for the purposes of D7 visa regime? Does Madeira fit into the D7 regime requiremenrs?
    Thank you

    Reply
  7. Hello, please could you tell me which company does the virtual address? A link to their website would be really useful . Many thanks

    Reply
  8. I came to know that booking done through uniplace website is being considered by many embassies for D7 visa. But I am yet to confirm from embassy at new delhi

    Reply
  9. Is it an absolute requirement that a rental agreement must be for 12 months when submitting to Washington DC? This is the last piece of our puzzle. We have secured a 6 month rental in Lagos but are getting nervous that it is an absolute requirement to have a 12 month lease. We went to Portugal this summer and were not able to find a 12 month lease during the time we were there. Our plan is to purchase a property with cash during our first 6 months in Lagos. Do you think this will be a problem? Thank you very much.

    Reply

Leave a Comment