Portugal has a number of attractive visas and schemes that are designed to entice third country citizens (people from outside of the EU), particularly affluent or self-sufficient people, to Portugal. The most famous two are probably the golden visa and the non habitual residency (NHR) tax regime, but equally enticing for many is the D7 visa.
The D7 is enticing because it’s very attainable. While the golden visa requires an investment of several hundred thousand euros, the D7 is aimed at those that are retired or living off their own income https://vistos.mne.gov.pt/en/national-visas/general-information/type-of-visa#people-living-on-their-own-incomeand have an income that’s above the Portuguese minimum wage, which, as of 2021, is around €665 per month https://www.garrigues.com/en_GB/new/minimum-monthly-wage-increases-eu-665-january-1-2021-onwards or €7,980 (665×12). Family members can be added to the application as well, although your income will need to be higher if there’s more than one applicant. The visa is also suitable for religious purposes.
After five years of holding a temporary residency permit you can apply for both permanent residency https://imigrante.sef.pt/en/solicitar/residir/art80/ https://moviinn.com/services/visas/types-of-visa#own-income-visahttps://www.cscadvogada.com/residency/d7-residence-visa-for-foreigners and Portuguese citizenshiphttps://eportugal.gov.pt/en/servicos/pedir-a-nacionalidade-portuguesahttps://moviinn.com/services/visas/types-of-visa#own-income-visa. Other benefits include:
- Permanent via-free entry and circulation in the Schengen Area https://www.belionpartners.com/portugal-passive-income-d7-visa
- Access to Portugal’s Non-habitual tax regimehttps://www.belionpartners.com/portugal-passive-income-d7-visahttps://www.sovereigngroup.com/portugal/portugal-passive-income-d7-visa/
- Access to the Portugal’s public health service https://www.portuguese-nationality.com/residency/the-d7-visa-portugal
- Access to schools and education services https://www.portuguese-nationality.com/residency/the-d7-visa-portugal
- Ability to carry out work activity as an independent professional https://www.portuguese-nationality.com/residency/the-d7-visa-portugalhttps://www.belionpartners.com/portugal-passive-income-d7-visa or as an employee https://www.sovereigngroup.com/portugal/portugal-passive-income-d7-visa/
- Rights as a resident under the Portuguese legal system https://www.portuguese-nationality.com/residency/the-d7-visa-portugalhttps://www.belionpartners.com/portugal-passive-income-d7-visa
- Family reunification https://lamarescapela.pt/en/what-is-d7-visa/ https://moviinn.com/services/visas/types-of-visa#own-income-visa
Besides the financial requirements, the other main requirement is to not have a criminal conviction that would carry a one-year jail sentence or more in Portugal https://www.uglobal.com/en/questions/applying-for-d7-visa-with-a-dismissed-criminal-record/.
Some people apply for the D7 themselves, while others use an immigration lawyer to handle the application for them.
Accepted forms of income
People apply for the D7 with many different forms of income, but some of the most accepted types include:
- Real estate https://www.portuguese-nationality.com/residency/the-d7-visa-portugal and rental income https://www.sovereigngroup.com/portugal/portugal-passive-income-d7-visa/ https://tom-bradford.com/the-portugal-d7-visa-for-those-with-passive-income/
- Intellectual property https://www.portuguese-nationality.com/residency/the-d7-visa-portugal
- Financial investments https://www.portuguese-nationality.com/residency/the-d7-visa-portugal
- Pensions https://www.portuguese-nationality.com/residency/the-d7-visa-portugalhttps://www.sovereigngroup.com/portugal/portugal-passive-income-d7-visa/
- Dividends https://www.sovereigngroup.com/portugal/portugal-passive-income-d7-visa/ including dividends from a company that you don’t play an active role in the management of https://tom-bradford.com/the-portugal-d7-visa-for-those-with-passive-income/
- Income from a remote job https://www.portugalist.com/d7-savings/
Applications with savings alone and no other form of income are less likely to be accepted, even if you have hundreds of thousands in savings. There are exceptions, and it may depend a little on the consulate you apply through, your age, and pure luck, but overall this is a more challenging route.
Which family members can you bring?
- Spouse or partner https://www.sovereigngroup.com/portugal/portugal-passive-income-d7-visa/
- A minor or incapacitated child https://www.sovereigngroup.com/portugal/portugal-passive-income-d7-visa/
- Children older than 18, who are single and studying in an educational establishment in Portugal https://www.sovereigngroup.com/portugal/portugal-passive-income-d7-visa/
- Dependant parents of the main applicant or their spouse https://www.sovereigngroup.com/portugal/portugal-passive-income-d7-visa/
- Minor siblings, who are legally deemed to be in the care of the main applicant https://www.sovereigngroup.com/portugal/portugal-passive-income-d7-visa/
How much do you need to support yourself in Portugal?
- Your income (as the main applicant) needs to be the equivalent of Portuguese minimum wage, which is around €665 per monthhttps://lamarescapela.pt/en/what-is-d7-visa/
- Secondary applicants (namely a spouse or long-term partner) only require 50%https://atlanticbridge.com.br/en/visto-d7-como-viver-de-aposentadoria-ou-de-rendimentos-em-portugal/https://lamarescapela.pt/en/what-is-d7-visa/ https://tom-bradford.com/the-portugal-d7-visa-for-those-with-passive-income/of the main applicant amount
- Children under 18 require 30% of the main applicant amounthttps://atlanticbridge.com.br/en/visto-d7-como-viver-de-aposentadoria-ou-de-rendimentos-em-portugal/https://tom-bradford.com/the-portugal-d7-visa-for-those-with-passive-income/https://lamarescapela.pt/en/what-is-d7-visa/
It’s worth mentioning that while €665 per month is the average cost of living in Portugal, it would be difficult to live in many parts of Portugal, especially Lisbon and Porto, on that. Just finding an apartment in Lisbon for €665 would be a challenge. Most people living on minimum wage do not live particularly well and will most likely either be living with family or getting a lot of help from them.
One relocation company, Moviinn, suggests an annual income of around €30,000 for the main applicant and €50,000 for a family https://moviinn.com/services/visas/types-of-visa#own-income-visa. Many people seem to get accepted on less, however.
It’s also “advisable to hold a minimum amount equal to 12 months’ income within a Portuguese bank account” https://www.sovereigngroup.com/portugal/portugal-passive-income-d7-visa/ and show six month’s worth of bank statements https://simard.com.hk/immigration/portugal_d7_visa/
The D7 Process
The words D7 Visa and D7 Residence Permit are used interchangeably because essentially they’re part of the same thing, but it’s worth being aware of the difference.
The D7 Visa, or National Visa, gives you permission to come to Portugal for 4 monthshttps://tom-bradford.com/the-portugal-d7-visa-for-those-with-passive-income/ https://moviinn.com/services/visas/types-of-visa#own-income-visaor 120 dayshttps://www.portugalresident.com/best-ways-for-brits-to-be-able-to-live-in-the-algarve-after-brexit-from-tourist-visa-to-d7-visa-or-golden-visa-whats-the-best-solution-for-you/https://joeinpt.medium.com/portugal-d7-visa-application-process-5dfcbecf12f6. During that period you will book and attend an interview with SEF (Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras) https://www.sef.pt/en/Pages/homepage.aspx where you’ll be given your temporary residence permit. The D7 residency permit, or temporary residence permit, is then granted for two years https://lamarescapela.pt/en/what-is-d7-visa/https://tom-bradford.com/the-portugal-d7-visa-for-those-with-passive-income/ (some other, perhaps older, articles suggest one year https://www.portuguese-nationality.com/residency/the-d7-visa-portugal) and then renewed for three years https://lamarescapela.pt/en/what-is-d7-visa/. This permit can then be renewed each time until you’re eligible to apply for permanent residency in year five https://lamarescapela.pt/en/what-is-d7-visa/. Permanent residency is granted for longer periods of time (currently 10 years) but applicants must have at least an A2-level of Portuguese https://www.belionpartners.com/portuguese-language-test. After five years of living in Portugal, it’s also possible to apply for Portuguese citizenship https://www.belionpartners.com/portugal-passive-income-d7-visa. An A2-level of Portuguese is also required for Portuguese citizenship.
Step #1: Apply for the D7 Visa
You apply for the D7 Visa at the nearest Portuguese consulate https://www.embassypages.com/portugal (or VFS Global Office https://www.vfsglobal.com/en/individuals/index.html) in the country where you are resident. It must be applied for at the Portuguese consulate in the country of origin It must be applied for at the Portuguese consulate in the country of origin..
You will typically need:
- Application form
- Valid passport (valid for at least six months after your 120-day D7 visa ends)
- Two recent passport-sized photographs
- Motivational letter or personal statement explaining why you’re seeking Portuguese residency, where you’re going to stay, and how you’re going to support yourself (see below)
- Proof of financial means (e.g. pension, contract for a remote job)
- Criminal records check
- Authorisation for a Portuguese criminal records check
- Travel insurance with at least €30,000 coverage (see below)
- Proof of accommodation in Portugal (either a house deed, rental contract, or invitation letter if staying with friends) (see below)
You may also be asked for:
- Portuguese bank account, funded with sufficient funds
- 6 months of bank statements
- A NIF (número de identificação fiscal)
- Proof of legal status if in a country where you’re not originally from
- Marriage certificate and children’s birth certificates (if your partner and children are applying as well)
Note: The requirements change from time-to-time and consulates will often have their own particular requirements as will VSF https://visa.vfsglobal.com/one-pager/portugal/southafrica/english/pdf/d7-document-checklist.pdf https://www.vfsglobal.com/one-pager/portugal/uae/english/pdf/dsv-checklist-n.pdf https://www.vfsglobal.com/portugal/singapore/pdf/National-visa-application3.pdf.
Step #2: Come to Portugal, attend SEF Interview, and get your residence permit
If successfully granted, the visa gives you a 120 day (4 months) period in which you can move to Portugal, get settled, and attend an interview with SEF.
Don’t worry if SEF don’t give you an answer within the 120 days in which your visa is valid for Portugal. You are still able to remain in Portugal while you wait for the answer.
Step #3: Live in Portugal on your residence permit
Once you have your residence permit, you are then able to live in Portugal for a specified period of time (which is renewable).
Previously, this was initially for one year but it now seems to be granted for two years initially and then renewed for three years.
After 5 years of living in Portugal, you would be eligible to apply for permanent residency and also, should you wish, Portuguese citizenship.
Step 3: Apply for permanent residency and then Portuguese citizenship
After five years, you’re eligible for permanent residency and Portuguese citizenship. Permanent residency is (currently) renewable every 10 years https://eportugal.gov.pt/en/cidadaos-europeus-viajar-viver-e-fazer-negocios-em-portugal/viver-em-portugal/residir-em-portugal#respermanente rather than the typical two, so thankfully that reduces a lot of hassle.
When you first move to Portugal for that 120-period in which you wait for an interview with SEF, you’ll need Schengen travel insurance to cover you in case of emergency medical treatment or you need to be repatriated.
According to the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
“The insurance should be valid for the entire territory of Member-States and cover the entire duration of stay or transit of the visa applicant. The insurance should be valid only for the duration of the stay and not for the duration of the visa.
“The insurance should cover medical expenses including those of medical repatriation, medical emergency and/or hospital emergency, and the minimum required coverage is 30,000 Euros.”
AXA Schengen is a popular option, but it’s not the only one.
You also need to obtain health insurance prior to your interview with SEF, but, confusingly, some interviewers require it while most don’t. Some people have also been told that they need to keep up a health insurance plan for a period of time after the interview and becoming resident.
It’s confusing, but you may want to think about getting health insurance regardless. It’s not expensive in Portugal, and it means faster referrals and a better chance of getting English-speaking medical staff.
Proof of accommodation
Increasingly, more and more people are being asked to show a rental contract (or property deeds for a purchased house) at the visa application stage (i.e. before moving to Portugal). While some people manage to get away with 3-6 month contracts, even through Airbnbs or at hotels, others are being asked for as much as a one-year rental contract. This is obviously quite a demanding requirement.
You’ll need to speak to your consulate or VFS Global office to see what they recommend.
The Motivational Letter
For many people, one of the hardest parts of the application is the motivational letter or personal statement.
It’s a good idea to think about what the person on the other end might be looking for. They probably want someone…
- Who’ll be an asset to Portugal (this is where you sell yourself in terms of education and previous career)
- Who has ties to Portugal (mention any friends or family members who live here)
- Who’s really connected to Portuguese culture and really going to integrate here (mention any Portuguese courses you’re taking)
- Who has the means to support themselves (mention savings, assets, or a remote job)
Do It Yourself or Hire a Professional?
Although there is a lot of useful information on the internet about applying for a D7 Visa and Residency Permit, the truth is that it’s going to be a lot easier if you pay for an expert to handle the process for you.
Portugal is an extremely bureaucratic country, and unfortunately that means that the system has a lot of grey areas. Someone who manages this service for multiple clients, and has experience with these grey areas, will have a much better chance of getting your application through the system. They’ll also speak Portuguese, which definitely helps.
Costs vary from company to company, but expect to pay somewhere between €1,000 and €3,000, depending on the company and whether you already have certain requirements (like the NIF or a Portuguese bank account). If you have a partner or children, they will incur costs as well, but the costs will be lower than the first applicant.
Minimum Stay Requirements
You can travel around the Schengen Area on a D7 Visa, but how much time can you spend outside of Portugal?
There seems to be some debate around this. Most websites say “6 consecutive months or 8 non-consecutive months each year” https://www.sovereigngroup.com/portugal/portugal-passive-income-d7-visa/, however some say per year whereas others say “6 consecutive months or eight months interpolated over the total period of validity of the respective residence permit (i.e. the period of 1 year initially and every 2 years after its renewal)” https://atlanticbridge.com.br/en/golden-visa-ou-visto-d7-para-portugal-saiba-qual-caminho-seguir/.
If you need a residence permit with more travel flexibility, the golden visa only requires you to spend an average of seven days per year in Portugal. Of course, there’s a price for this: the golden visa not only requires an investment of €250k+ in property, funds, or scientific research, but lawyer fees are typically around €10k for the main applicant.
Is there a language requirement when applying for the D7 visa?
There isn’t. However, you will need to pass the A2 language exam if you decide to apply for permanent residency or Portuguese citizenship after five years https://www.belionpartners.com/portuguese-language-test.
Being able to speak Portuguese – or at least making a very decent attempt – will help you a lot when dealing with various departments in the Portuguese government. Nobody will expect you to speak much Portuguese when you come for your first interview and receive your residency permit, but being able to speak good Portuguese during your renewals will serve you well.
How long does it take to apply for citizenship?
You will be able to apply for Portuguese citizenship after five years https://lamarescapela.pt/en/what-is-d7-visa/. As many of the documents needed are the same as permanent residency, it makes sense to do both applications at the same time. In practice, it can take around two years for your citizenship application to be processed.
Is there an age limit to the D7 visa?
No, the D7 visa is available “regardless of age.” https://www.cscadvogada.com/residency/d7-residence-visa-for-foreigners
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