Want to Move to Portugal? Here’s 10 Ways You Could Obtain Residency

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Written by: | Last updated on December 26, 2023 | Est. Reading Time: 7 minutes

Over the past few years, you’ve probably heard a lot about Portugal. Thousands upon thousands of people are moving here to take advantage of the great weather, the lower cost of living, access to public healthcare, and all of the other benefits that come with living in an EU country.

With that in mind, here are 10 ways you could move to Portugal.

1. Hold EU/EEA/Swiss Citizenship

If you already have an EU/EEA/Swiss passport, you’re in luck: you have the right to live, work, and retire in Portugal, thanks to agreements between the various Portuguese communities.

Although you will need to show that you can support yourself financially, whether that’s through a job, self-employment, savings, or a pension, moving to Portugal as someone with citizenship from an EU/EEA country or Switzerland is fairly straightforward.

2. Be in A relationship With Someone That has EU/EEA/Swiss Citizenship

You might not have an EU/EEA or Swiss passport but if your partner does, this would allow you both to move to Portugal.

This applies to those who are married and those who are in a long-term relationship of 3 years or more. In practice, it’s much easier to show a marriage certificate than it is to show evidence of a long-term relationship, which typically means showing shared bills at the same address. Regardless, the law applies to both those in a long-term relationship and those who are married.

3. Qualify for the D7 or “Passive Income Visa”

There are a number of residency visas that allow you to move to Portugal, but the D7 is one of the most popular. The reason being: it’s one of the easiest to qualify for, particularly if you’re at retirement age.

The D7 visa allows an individual with a passive income that’s at least equivalent to the Portuguese minimum wage to move to Portugal. As of 2024, that’s €820 per month or around $900 USD. For couples, add another 50% and then an additional 30% for each qualifying child. This means a couple would need to show a passive income of at least €1,230 per month.

What counts as a passive income? Essentially income that you don’t have to actively work for. The most common example is a pension or social security, but it could also include dividends, royalties, or income from a rental property.

4. Qualify for the D8 or “Digital Nomad Visa”

One of the next most popular residency visas, particularly with younger applicants, is the D8 or digital nomad visa. This is aimed at those with an active income, such as a salary or freelancing income from clients, that comes from clients or a company outside of Portugal.

The income requirements for the D8 are quite a bit higher than the D7. Applicants need to show an average of around €3,280 per month, as of 2024.

5. Qualify for the Golden Visa by Investing in Portugal

Portugal’s golden visa is another popular way in which those from outside the EU/EEA and Switzerland can obtain residency in Portugal.

This visa is unique in a number of ways. Firstly, it only requires you to spend an average of 7 days per year in Portugal and in return you can meet your residency requirements, which later allow you to apply for Portuguese citizenship. This works well for those that don’t want to move to Portugal just yet, as it allows them to continue living and working somewhere else. And visiting Portugal for just 7 days a year means that you can avoid become a tax resident here should you wish to.

For those that wish to move to Portugal, however, the golden visa makes it easy for those that have cash to invest

6. Qualify for the D2 by Starting A Business in Portugal

Another way that you could move to Portugal is with the D2 visa, often nicknamed the entrepreneur visa. This visa is aimed at those that want to start a business in Portugal or move an existing business here.

Generally speaking, many lawyers will suggest you apply for another visa if you also qualify for something else, for example the D7. The reason for this is that this visa requires you to show a business plan, and the person reviewing your application will need to decide whether they think your business is viable. This means D2 visa applications are a little more up in the air than other visas.

That aside, there are a lot of reasons that the D2 is a great visa. One of these is that, like the D7, you only need to show that you can support yourself based on the Portuguese minimum wage. That means an individual would need to show a monthly income that’s equivalent to €820 per month and 1 year of savings or €9,840 (based on the minimum wage in 2024).

Another big benefit of this visa is that, unlike entrepreneur visas from other European countries, there’s no minimum capital investment requirement. Some sites suggest you have at least €5,000 to invest but in reality, you should expect to show as much income as you would realistically need to get this business off the ground.

7. Obtain “EU Citizenship” Through A Parent or Grandparent

If you qualify for a passport through your ancestry, this is absolutely worth looking into. Those with Portuguese parents or grandparents, for example, can obtain Portuguese citizenship, which would allow them to move to Portugal or anywhere in the EU.

However, it doesn’t just have to be Portuguese citizenship: if you have ancestry from another EU countries, such as Irish or Italian ancestry for example, that would allow you to move to any EU country, including Portugal.

In practice, obtaining citizenship through a parent or grandparent can take 1-2 years, and possibly longer if there’s a language requirement, but if you’re not in a rush to move to Portugal, this could be one of the easiest ways to obtain the right to live here.

8. Be Married to someone with residency in Portugal

It isn’t just EU/EEA/Swiss citizens that can bring their partners and family members to Portugal. Those who already have residency in Portugal can do the same.

If you are married or in a long-term relationship with someone who is resident in Portugal (i.e. already living there), you could apply for a family reunification visa which would allow you to move to Portugal and live with them. As well as spouses and partners, family reunification also covers dependent children or parents in many instances.

9. Get an Offer of Employment in Portugal

Most people that move to Portugal move with their own income, whether that’s a passive income such as a pension or a remote job. They could also move with a business idea, such as to start a guesthouse.

However, it is also possible to move to Portugal on a work visa. The D1 visa, for example, is aimed at professionals who can show acceptance of an offer of employment in Portugal. One challenge of this visa is that the company advertising the position will need to show that the position was promoted in Portugal and within the EU and that they were unable to find a suitable candidate who’s a Portuguese or EU citizen.

There’s also the D3 or Highly Qualified Activity Visa (HQA), which is aimed at highly qualified professionals from specific industries who wish to be employed in Portugal. It’s suitable for those that already have an offer of employment, providing that offer is for at least 12 months and the renumeration is at least 1.5 times the Portuguese minimum wage.

10. Come to Study in Portugal

Another way that you could move to Portugal is on a study visa such as the D4 or D5. The D4 is aimed at international students that want to study in Portugal for a at least a year or more.

The D5, on the other hand, is aimed at international students who are currently studying in another European country and that want to transfer their studies to Portugal or study in Portugal for a period (e.g. to spend a year studying in Portugal as part of a transfer or sandwich program).

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 james@portugalist.com or via the site's contact form.

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