Portugal’s Digital Nomad Visa: Updated for 2024

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Written by: | Last updated on April 9, 2024 | Est. Reading Time: 13 minutes
This article is available in: de_DEen_USes_ESfr_FRpt_PT

Are you a freelancer, digital nomad, or remote worker in search of your next adventure? How about a new life in Portugal, with the opportunity to apply for Portuguese citizenship after less than five years?

If you earn more than €3,280 per month on average, either through a remote job or freelancing, you may be able to take advantage of Portugal’s D8 visa (or digital nomad visa as it’s often called).

Overview of Portugal’s Digital Nomad Visa

The Digital Nomad Visa allows non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens to live and work remotely in Portugal. Applicants must demonstrate an income of at least four times the Portuguese minimum wage (approximately €3,040 per month as of 2024). 

This visa doesn’t just allow you to spend more time in Portugal, but offers all the benefits that come with having residency in Portugal. These benefits include:

  • Ease of travel within Europe: Getting to live in Portugal and travel throughout the Schengen Area without being confined to the 90/180 days Schengen Visa rule.
  • Public healthcare: Having access to the Portuguese tax-funded public healthcare service (and potentially more affordable private health insurance, should you wish to opt for this).
  • Pathway to citizenship: After five years of residency, you will be able to apply for Portuguese citizenship, which means getting your hands on the very coveted EU passport. That passport will then allow you to live, work, and retire throughout the EU—not just Portugal.

Although often referred to as the digital nomad visa, this is just a nickname and the D8 isn’t limited to those that work in tech. If you work for a foreign company or have foreign clients, you could qualify. It’s open to anyone who actively earns an income that comes from outside Portugal.

The D8 is both a “temporary stay” and “residence visa” for digital nomads: one allows you to stay for up to a year and the other is a long-term stay visa. Most nomads opt for the long-term stay visa.

  • The renewable residence visa (most popular): This option is valid for 24 months initially and then renewable for 36, totalling five years. After 5 years, you will also be able to apply for Portuguese citizenship.
  • The temporary stay option: This option allows you to live in Portugal for up to 1 year. It’s ideal for those that want to stay for less than 12 months but more than the typical 90 days allowed by the Schengen Visa.
Temporary StayResidence Visa
Duration12 Months24 Months
RenewableYesYes (for 36 months)
AccommodationMin 4 month leaseMin 12 month lease
Minimum Salary€3,280 p/m*€3,280 p/m*
Portugal Bank Account RequiredSome ConsulatesYes (not required at all consulates)
Police ClearanceYesYes
Family ReunificationNoYes

Requirements

The main requirements for the D8 are:

  • Age: Applicants must be over 18 years old.
  • Monthly Income: Earn more than €3,280 (net) per month on average for an individual (this is equivalent to four times the Portuguese minimum wage).
  • Criminal Record: Have a clean criminal record (crimes with less than one year of prison time can be overlooked).
  • Portuguese NIF Number: A nine-digit Portuguese tax number.
  • Portuguese bank account (not required by all consulates): A Portuguese bank account. This should be funded with one year’s savings.
  • Proof of address in Portugal: Normally that’s a registered rental contract (typically one-year, but sometimes six months), deeds to a property, or a letter of invitation from a Portuguese resident. For the short-term stay option, you only need to provide a 4-month lease.
  • Insurance: You will need qualifying travel insurance for your initial four-month stay in Portugal (while you wait for your AIMA appointment) and then health insurance when you attend your interview with AIMA.

The following are examples of some companies that can obtain you a NIF number & Portuguese bank account.

CompanyAverage DeliveryBankCostWebsite
Anchorless.io3-4 WeeksMillennium BCP€389.25 with code PORTUGALIST25Visit Website
E-Residence3-4 WeeksNovobanco€336 with code PORTUGALISTVisit Website
Bordr3-4 WeeksMillennium BCP$460 Visit Website
visas.pt2-3 WeeksNovobanco€395Visit Website
Novomove2-3 WeeksNovobanco€349 with code PortugalistVisit Website

As well as the above, you will also typically need:

  1. Motivation Letter: A letter explaining why you want to move to Portugal.
  2. Flight Itinerary: Some consulates require a ticket, and some just the itinerary.
  3. Signed Portugal Release to check Portuguese Criminal System: This is a document (found here) which allows the Portuguese government to run a background check in Portugal. 

What about couples & families?

This amount is for an individual. But what if you are a couple or have children?

According to Sandra Gomes Pinto [source], “there is no specific regime for the digital nomad visa in terms of family reunification. So it should follow the general rules, and the general rules are that you have to show +50% of your income for your spouse and +30% for each child.”

However, Sandra notes that this is unfair on those applying via the digital nomad visa versus others like the D7 as those applying for the D8 already need to show four times the Portuguese minimum wage.

The €3,280 in itself is enough to support a spouse and around eight children. Sandra says some authorities may interpret this in a different way, allowing couples and families to apply with less income, but there is no legal reason to think they should do so.

Process

The process from initial application to applying for citizenship.

StepExplanation
ApplicationApply for the D8 visa
VisaFollowing a successful interview with your consulate, receive a residence visa which allows you to move to Portugal and stay there for 120 days.
PermitDuring that four-month period, attend an interview with AIMA. Shortly after, you will receive your residence permit (valid for 24 months)
RenewalAfter two years, attend another interview with AIMA (previously known as SEF) to renew your visa (valid for 36 months).
Renewal & Citizenship ApplicationAfter 36 months, renew you residence permit. Around the five-year mark, you will also be able to apply for citizenship through naturalisation (due to the new rules, this is likely to work out at less than five years). You can also apply for permanent residency at this point, should you wish.

Minimum Stay Requirements

According to immigration lawyer, Sandra Gomes Pinto, “Within the first two-year period, you should not leave Portugal for more than six months in a row or eight months in total. [source]”

However, Sandra notes that, to date, the authorities haven’t been very strict about this.

“This is something that’s only checked when you renew rather than when you leave each time. In practice, this isn’t something that has been checked in great detail. To date the authorities have mainly wanted to check that your life and new home is in Portugal rather than counting the exact days.” 

Applying for Citizenship

After living in Portugal for five years, you can apply for citizenship through naturalisation.

You might even be able to apply earlier. Starting in 2024, the time counts from when you apply for residency, not when you actually get your residency card like before. In the past, it could take 6-12 months to settle in Portugal and get your residency permit, which meant waiting an extra year to apply for citizenship.

Now, by the time you move to Portugal, you’ll already have a few months that count towards applying for citizenship [source].

Currently, the processing time for a citizenship application is around two years [source].

Alternative Visas

As well as the digital nomad visa, there are several other residency visas that may suit nomadic professionals who are looking for residency in Portugal as well as a path to citizenship.

  • The D7: This is aimed at those with a passive income, i.e. an income they don’t actively work for. If you have income from rental properties or investments, for example, this could be worth considering, especially as the minimum monthly requirements are lower.
  • The Golden Visa: This is aimed at those with cash to invest, typically €500,000 or more. The benefit is that you only need to spend an average of seven days per year in Portugal to maintain your residency.
  • The D2: This visa is aimed at those that want to start a business in Portugal. Although the minimum monthly requirements are lower, lawyers typically discourage people from applying for this visa as the requirements and more vague and the person reviewing it has a lot more discretionary powers to say yes or no.
  • The D3: A priority residence visa which aims to attract workers with high professional qualifications to Portugal. Unlike the D8, where you work for yourself or a company outside of Portugal, this would allow you to work for a Portuguese company.

Where Should You Live?

Although you can live anywhere in Portugal, there are a few spots that are particularly nomad-friendly.

rooftops of Lisbon

Lisbon: The most popular spot for digital nomads in Portugal, Lisbon is home to thousands of digital nomads as well as lots of coworking spaces, laptop-friendly-cafes, and other nomad essentials.

Beach in the Algarve

The Algarve: Although far less popular than Lisbon, the Algarve is quickly becoming a popular destination for digital nomads thanks to its warm weather and beautiful beaches. Lagos is the most popular hub, but there are also plenty of nomads in other towns like Portimão, Faro, and Albufeira.

madeira hills

Madeira: Since the introduction of the world’s first digital nomad village, Madeira has quickly become a popular destination for digital nomads in Portugal. While most people visit for a few weeks or months, the island is looking to attract entrepreneurs and remote workers who want to live there permanently.

A view of Porto and the Dom Luis Bridge from Vila Nova de Gaia

Porto: Long overshadowed by Lisbon, Porto is growing popular with remote workers and digital nomads that want a smaller, more affordable city.

ericeira broadwalk

Ericeira: Popular with surfers and those that want to live near Lisbon but not necessarily in it, Ericeira offers all the benefits of a small seaside town with proximity to a major city.

What About Those with an “EU Passport”?

If you hold a passport from an EU country like Spain or Ireland, you don’t need to apply for a visa to come to Portugal on either a short or long-term basis. However, if you’re planning on staying long-term, you will need to apply for residency and check what the tax implications are, particularly if you stay for longer than 6 months.

FAQs

What’s the difference between the D8 and D7?

In the past, many freelancers and remote workers successfully applied for the D7 using remote work or freelancing income. However, the introduction of the D8 clarified that:

  • The D7 is for those with a passive income (such as a pension, dividends, or income from a rental property) of more than €820 per month, as of 2024.
  • The D8 is for those with an actively earned income (such as a salary or remote job) or more than €3,280 net per month.

My income fluctuates. Can I still apply for the D8?

Yes. You will need to show an average monthly income that’s equivalent to four times the Portuguese minimum wage (€3,280 as of 2024). You can take the average over the previous three months.

Can I apply for NHR?

The old NHR regime ended in 2023 (with a transitionary period for some people in 2024). However, there is a new NHR regime, which some have dubbed NHR 2.0. The rules for this are less straightforward and so it is recommended you seek professional advice regarding eligibility. Besides the NHR regime, there are other tax regimes like “the simplified regime” which may even work better than a flat rate of tax.

How do I get my AIMA appointment?

Sometimes the appointment is given automatically and sometimes you need to get in touch with AIMA to arrange an appointment. If that’s the case, you’ll need to phone AIMA or, the easier option: have your lawyer call AIMA to get an appointment. Many law firms even employ people just to phone AIMA to try and get through because it’s such a challenge [source].

Where are the best places for a digital nomad to live?

While the D8 allows you to live anywhere in Portugal, there are a few hotspots including Lisbon, Madeira, Ericeira, and the Algarve (particularly Lagos). Of these, Lisbon is undoubtedly the most popular.

Can I move to Portugal if I have a criminal record?

The particular crime would have to attract a prison sentence of more than one year in Portugal to affect your D8 visa application. However, it is important that you write a personal statement that not only notes that criminal record but also the applicable Portuguese law [source].

Should a couple apply on the same application or two independent visas?

The challenge of applying separately is the costs. If a husband and wife apply for a D8, the amount required is the main amount + 50%. However, if there are two separate applications, each would have to show €3,280 (the amount for the main applicant) [source].

Can I work in Portugal on the D8 visa?

Yes. You can both work and own property in Portugal without any type of restrictions [source].

What happens if my visa is rejected?

According to the rules of Portuguese administrative law, you should be aware that before the authorities make a decision that might negatively impact your application, you have the right to present a case against that. Given the possibility of rejection, it’s recommended that you work with a lawyer [source].

Could a freelancer apply for the D2 instead of the D8?

You can. However, it’s more challenging because you have to have a business plan, capital investment, and approval. So from a legal point of view, it’s not as straightforward as the D7 or D8. With the D2, there are more discretionary powers and subjectivity, and this means there is more chance of getting rejected [source].

Can I apply for the D8 while in Portugal?

The D8 is one visa that you can apply for while in Portugal. However, from a practical point of view, the process doesn’t work very well and many lawyers don’t advise it.

You can also submit what’s known as a Expression of Interest or Manifestation of Interest while in Portugal, however this also takes a very long time and so isn’t generally advised.

Can you leave the country during your 4-month period?

“Once you have your four-month visa, which is stamped into your passport and you get so that you can move to Portugal and attend an interview with AIMA, you can leave the country twice. If you have already been in Portugal for four months and haven’t yet had your AIMA appointment, you should stay until you get your residence permit. 

We do have cases where people have left the country despite us recommending no and nothing has happened, however we prefer to be precautionary.”

If I rent a property, do I need a 6 or a 12-month lease?

It depends on the consulate. Some places accept a six-month lease, while others require a 12-month lease as a minimum. Note: that even if a six-month lease is allowed, it can be hard to find a landlord that wants to rent for that short a period [source].

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.