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What do I need before leaving?

PT PORTUGAL
Are you a non-EU citizen living in Portugal and would you like to bring your non-EU family members to live with you there? You can find information below on the conditions to fulfil and procedures to follow, as well as the rights your family members can enjoy during their stay.


If you hold a residence permit, you are entitled to apply for family reunification.

If you hold a temporary stay visa you may - in some exceptional circumstances - apply for prorogation of permanence to relatives. The exceptional circumstances must occur after a legal entrance in Portugal and the validity of that prorogation of permanence may not exceed the duration of your temporary stay visa.

Family members already living in Portugal are entitled to family reunification provided they have entered the country legally.

Your family members include:
  • your spouse or companion provided that the relationship is recognised by the law;
  • your minor, dependent children including adopted children and those of your spouse/companion;
  • your dependent parents and those of your spouse;
  • your children who are under your care and/or the care of your spouse and who are studying in Portugal;
  • minor brothers or sisters who are under your custody.

 


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Where to apply Applications must be submitted to the SEF, supported by documents proving the family relationship, the fulfilment of all the conditions required to obtain family reunification, copies of travelling documents and criminal record certificate.
Documents required You must prove sufficient means of subsistence for you and your family members and accommodation. You must provide relatives’ consent to a criminal check by SEF if the relative has lived in the national territory for more than one year over the last five years.

Depending on the circumstances, other documents may be required, such as:
  • proof of incapacity;
  • a certified copy of an adoption or custody decision;
  • a certified copy of birth certificate;
  • evidence of being an unmarried couple.
Duration of validity of permits If your residence permit is temporary, your family member will be granted a renewable permit for the same duration.

If your residence permit is permanent, he/she will be issued a permit valid for two years, renewable.
Appeals If your application is rejected, you may challenge the decision before the administrative court. You will be notified of the refusal decision as well as the reasons for the decision, the right to appeal and the deadline for making an appeal.

 


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Autonomous status After two years under the initial residence authorisation and if the family ties persist, your family member shall have his/her own independent right to residence permit.

Your spouse may obtain an independent residence permit upon initial application if the marriage has existed for five years or more.

Your minor children who are living in Portugal are entitled to an individual residence permit before the end of the two-year period.

In exceptional cases, such as divorce, death of a spouse, death of an ascendant or descendant relative or conviction due to a crime of domestic violence and provided that the family member is an adult, an autonomous residence permit may be issued before the end of the two-year period.
Long-term residence Two types of permanent status can be obtained in Portugal - a national permanent residence permit or an EC long-term residence permit:

Permanent residence permit

The national permanent residence status can be obtained at the SEF of your area of residence after at least five years of legal temporary residence, if during this period you have not been convicted of a prison sentence exceeding one year.

You must prove that you have basic knowledge of Portuguese, sufficient means of subsistence and accommodation.

The national permanent residence permit must be renewed every five years. The status is valid for an unlimited period of time.

Long-term residence permit

The EC long-term residence status can be granted by the SEF of your area of residence after five years of continuous and legal residence.

In order to obtain this status you must prove that you have:
  • sufficient and stable financial resources to support yourself and your family members, without recourse to the social assistance system;
  • adequate accommodation;
  • health insurance coverage; and
  • fluent knowledge of Portuguese.
The long-term resident status gives the same rights as Portuguese nationals in terms of:
  • access to professional work;
  • access to the employment and work conditions established by law;
  • access to education and vocational training;
  • recognition of diplomas, certificates and qualifications;
  • access to social security, social welfare and social protection services;
  • tax exemptions or reductions;
  • access to health care;
  • free access to all Portuguese territory.
The EC long-term residence permit is valid for five years and is automatically renewed upon application.

An application may be refused on grounds of public order, public security and the risk that may result from that person remaining on the Portuguese territory.

All decisions may be appealed before the administrative courts.

More on long-term residence

 


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