How to Move to Portugal: A Guide to Portugal’s Different Residency Visas

Are you considering a move to the sunny shores of Portugal? You’re not alone! Over the past few years, Portugal has become a top destination for expats from around the world. But what makes it so appealing? Is it the warm weather, stunning beaches, or affordable cost of living? The answer is all of the above – and more!

One of the biggest draws of Portugal is how attainable it is, especially for those without an EU/EEA/Swiss passport. Portugal offers some of the most accessible residency visas in the EU, and has one of the fastest paths to citizenship – you can apply after just five years of legal residency.

For EU/EEA/Swiss Citizens

If you’re lucky enough to hold a passport from an EU/EEA country or Switzerland, congratulations – you can skip the visa process altogether! You have the freedom to live, work, and study anywhere in Portugal.

To make it official, you’ll need to visit your nearest câmara municipal (town hall) to get your CRUE or Certificado de Registo de Cidadão da União Europeia. Here’s what to expect:

  • Go to the town hall after you’ve been in Portugal for 90 days (but within 30 days of the 90-day mark)
  • Take a senha (ticket) when you enter and ask the security guard if you’re unsure which one to take
  • Bring your ID (passport or European ID) and proof of address
  • Some town halls may require additional documents like a NIF (tax number) and Portuguese bank account, so check with your local câmara or ask recent expats in the area

What about spouses, partners, and children? The good news is that EU law dictates that certain family members (such as spouses or dependent children) are legally allowed to move with you. They will have to register separately, but the process if much easier than obtaining a residency visa such as those listed below.

For Non-EU/EEA/Swiss Citizens

Don’t have an EU/EEA/Swiss passport? No problem! Portugal has a variety of visas designed to make your dream of living in Portugal a reality.

Here are the most popular options:

  • D1 Visa (Employment Visa): For professionals with a job offer in Portugal. The employer must prove they couldn’t find a suitable Portuguese or EU candidate.
  • D2 Visa (Entrepreneur Visa): Ideal for entrepreneurs who want to start a business, transfer an existing one, buy a company, or invest in a Portuguese company. No minimum investment required!
  • D3 Visa (Highly Qualified Activity Visa): For highly qualified professionals with a job offer of at least 12 months and a salary 1.5 times the Portuguese minimum wage.
  • D4 Visa (Student Visa): For students studying in Portugal for a year or more. Also suitable for interns, volunteers, and those attending professional courses lasting over a year.
  • D5 Visa (Student Mobility Visa): For international students already studying in Europe who want to transfer to or study in Portugal for a period.
  • D6 Visa (Family Reunification Visa): For non-EU citizens residing in Portugal who want to bring family members (spouse/partner, dependent children, dependent parents).
  • D7 Visa (Passive Income Visa): Perfect for retirees or those with a regular passive income like pensions, rental income, royalties, or dividends. You’ll need to show a monthly income of at least €820 (as of 2024).
  • D8 Visa (Digital Nomad Visa): Designed for remote workers with a regular income from outside Portugal. You’ll need to show a monthly income of at least €3,280 (4 times the Portuguese minimum wage).
  • D9 Visa (Golden Visa): Want to fast-track your residency? Invest a minimum of €500,000 in Portugal (or donate €200,000-€250,000 to a qualifying organization) and get your golden ticket to Portugal.
  • CPLP Visa: Citizens of Portuguese-speaking countries (Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe, Guinea-Bissau, East Timor, Equatorial Guinea) can get a 1-year residence permit, renewable for 2-year periods.

So what are you waiting for? Start planning your move to Portugal today! With its welcoming culture, stunning scenery, and accessible residency visa options, it’s no wonder Portugal has become the go-to destination for prospective expats worldwide.

Boa sorte (good luck) on your Portuguese adventure!

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There are 3 comments on this article. Join the conversation and add your own thoughts, reviews, and stories of life in Portugal. However, please remember to be civil.


  1. So which one is appropriate for a student who wishes to attend the Curso Anual de Portugue^s para Estrangeiros at Coimbra or Lisbon University ?

    This Course is full time, and for one or two semesters.

    But even if you sign up for both semesters that is from late September to early June. Not quite a year.

    But there must be a Visa appropriate to this Course otherwise how could anyone from outside the EU attend it ?

  2. Any chance a professional salary from work outside of Portugal/EU, but only for a few times a year, could be approved for a D7? In essense, work 3-4 months outside Portugal/EU, then live in Portugal 8-9 months of the year?


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