Minimum Stay Periods: Portugal’s D7, D8, and Golden Visa Compared

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Last updated on June 4, 2024 | Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes

Are you contemplating the move to Portugal, drawn by its attainable residency visas, lower cost of living, and the promise of a more relaxed lifestyle?

Over the past few years, Portugal has become one of the most popular places for people to move to, but one question everyone has is: how much time do I actually need to spend in Portugal?

Even if you plan to spend the majority of your time in Portugal, you don’t want to be limited by physical stay requirements. You may want to go back to your home country once or twice a year, for example. If it’s your first time living in Europe, as it is for many Americans, you may want to take the time to explore other European countries, like Spain, Italy, and France.

So, what are the minimum stay periods? Yes, however the amount depends on the residency permit.

The D7 & D8

The D7 (sometimes called the passive income visa) and D8 (sometimes called the digital nomad visa) are two popular residency visas.

The D7 is aimed at those with a regular passive income, such as income from a pension, social security, rental income, or dividends. The D8, on the other hand, is aimed at those with an actively-earned income, such as a salary from a remote job or freelancing income.

However, even though they’re aimed at two different groups of people, they have the same physical stay requirements:

According to Lisbon-based 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.”

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.” 

The Golden Visa

The golden visa is different to most other residency visas as you only need to spend an average of seven days per year in Portugal. This makes it perfect for those that value flexibility, want to travel the world, or that aren’t ready to fully move to Portugal just yet.

However, this flexibility comes at a cost. Unlike the D7 and D8 residency visas, the golden visa requires an investment (or donation). As of 2024, the most common route is to invest €500,000 in a fund (or funds). The golden visa also attracts higher legal and government fees.

However, the benefit is the minimal stay requirements, particularly if you aren’t ready to move to Portugal just yet.

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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.

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