Portugal has a number of attractive visas that are designed to entice third country citizens (people from outside of the EU/EEA/Switzerland), particularly affluent or self-sufficient people, to Portugal. Of these, the D7 visa (sometimes nicknamed the retirement visa or passive income visa) has quickly become one of the most popular residency visas to apply for.
The reasons for that is that it’s more attainable than other residency visas. The golden visa, for example, requires you to make an investment in Portugal – which, for most people, simply means buying a property – and that requires a lot of cash upfront. If you’re buying a property, the cheapest option is €280,000 plus fees. Not all of us have that kind of cash to invest.
|Minimum Stay Requirement||6-8 months per year||7 days per year|
|Financial requirements||Regular income (e.g. pension)||Cash to invest or donate, starting from €250,000|
|Family reunification possible||Yes||Yes|
It’s also seen as more attainable than other European residency visas, and so is seen as one of the easiest ways to move to Portugal due to the fact that you only need to show a regular income that’s more than the Portuguese minimum wage (which is just over €700 per monthhttps://www.theportugalnews.com/news/2021-12-03/minimum-wage-increasing-from-january/63948). In reality, there doesn’t seem to be an exact figure, €700 or otherwise, and this is merely the minimum amount. Some applicants successfully apply with just a little bit over €700 per month. Others are told they need more. What does seem to be clearer is the amount needed for the secondary applicants, which is 50% of the figure the main applicant requires, and 30% for children.
That income can come from several sources, but the most commonly suggested are:
- A pension or social security
- Financial investments (e.g. dividends)
- Rental income
- Royalties or intellectual property
Applying with just savings seems to result in rejections, but some people are successful.
“We only showed savings… no income. We are a family of two adults and one eight-year old. After setting up our Portuguese account we transferred 30,000 USD to that account for the three of us which converted to a little over 25,000 Euro. For US savings, we showed a savings account with an additional 39,000 USD along with a CD account where we have 100k USD. I am not sure it was necessary but we did not want to take the chance of getting rejected and having to appeal.” – Charli
In the past few years, many people with remote jobs or freelance income have successfully applied for the D7. However, it is expected that those people will apply for the new digital nomad visa instead.
The requirements change regularly, but not necessarily officially, and they don’t change across every consulate at the same time. A few years ago, you didn’t need a NIF or personal financial number, a funded Portuguese bank account, and a 1-year rental contract before applying. Nowadays, most applicants find that these things are standard – but, again, it seems to depend a lot on where you’re applying from.
Thankfully there are now several companies that can help you obtain a NIF and bank account remotely.
Funding the bank account with savings can be an issue for some as some people may have a qualifying regular income, but may not have any savings to hand. Another confusing issue is the amount required.
The address in Portugal requirement, which many people are being asked for, is a little challenging. This typically means:
- Renting a property in Portugal (either by visiting and finding somewhere or over the internet)
- Buying a property in Portugal
- Staying with a friend or family member and showing an invitation letter
Unfortunately, there aren’t many easy ways of getting around this particular requirement if it’s asked for. Most people either visit Portugal on a scouting trip and find a property to rent or rent a property sight-unseen over the internet.
The other requirements are, thankfully, not quite as challenging even if it can take a while to obtain all of these documents.
The required documents can vary slightly depending on the consulate, but for New York transplants Allison and Dustin and their children, they required the following:
- Visa application form (available from SEF)
- 2 X European passport-sized photos
- NIF number
- Funded Portuguese bank account
- Proof of means of sustenance
- Proof of accommodation
- FBI criminal record certificate
- Portuguese criminal record approval form
- Marriage and birth certificates
- International medical travel insurance
- Personal or motivational statement
- Flight itinerary
- Proof of legal status (if a third-party national living in another country)
- References (not all offices)
Although the government fees on the D7 are very low, that doesn’t mean it’s completely free. The following are some of the costs you should factor in:
- NIF and bank account costs: Around €300-€350 through companies like Bordr or E-Residence. Some law firms charge as much as €1,000 per NIF
- Application fees:
- Lawyer fees: If you use a lawyer, expect to pay more than €1,000 in legal fees, although this figure will typically include costs like your NIF, bank account, and application fee
- Criminal records checks: You’ll need to pay for criminal records checks in the country you’re living in now and, even though you haven’t lived there yet, Portugal
- Flight & accommodation costs: If you come to Portugal to find an apartment or just to see if it’s right for you, you’ll need to consider the travel costs of a short visit
- Travel and/or health insurance:
- Obtaining certificates: If you don’t already have copies of certain documents, such as birth and marriage certificates, you’ll need to request these
- Passport photos: A small costs, but still a cost
Do-It-Yourself or Use A Lawyer?
If you’re using a lawyer to apply, 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 for the first or main applicant.
The downside of using a lawyer is the additional cost. The upside is that they submit D7 applications on behalf of their clients on a regular basis and know what’s likely to be accepted and what isn’t. As mentioned, the requirements differ from consulate to consulate. Very few, if any, of these consulates specifically state what they’re looking for – but if you’re a lawyer who submits multiple applications per week, you’ll have a very good idea of what those are.
Pros & Cons of D7 Vs Golden Visa
If you have both savings to invest (e.g. in a property) and a regular income, you may be trying to decide which is better: the D7 visa or the golden visa. Here are a few of the pros and cons of the D7.
- Doesn’t require you to invest hundreds of thousands of euros in a fund, property, or anywhere else
- If you do buy a property, you don’t have to worry about the location eligibility rules that the golden visa now has (properties purchased in places like Lisbon, Porto, or most of coastal Portugal no longer qualify)
- Seemingly faster approval process than the golden visa
- Fees are much lower than the golden visa
|Golden Visa||Around €6,000 per person (excluding renewal fees)|
- Typically requires a regular income, ideally passive, such as a pension (although some people have been successful with just savings)
- Requires you to spend the majority of the year (6-8 months) in Portugal unlike the golden visa, which only requires you to spend an average of 7 days here
- Getting to live in Portugal
- Being able to apply for permanent residency and Portuguese citizenship after just 5 years
- Being able to travel within Europe’s borderless Schengen Area (D7 requirements and each country’s maximum stay requirements permitting)
- Ability to apply for Portugal’s NHR tax regime, which may offer lower rates of tax compared to what you’re paying now
- Access to Portugal’s national health service
- Access to schools and education services in Portugal
- Ability to work as an independent professional
- Family reunification
Want to read even more about the D7? We have a lot of articles.