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What do I need before leaving?

PT PORTUGAL
Are you a non-EU citizen wishing to work as a self-employed person in Portugal? You can find information below on the conditions to fulfil and procedures to follow, as well as the rights you can enjoy during your stay.


To enter Portugal for self-employed work for a period of less than six months, you must have a valid temporary stay visa.

For longer periods, you must obtain a residence visa. The residence visa does not automatically grant you a right of residence. Once in Portugal, you must apply for a residence permit.

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  Temporary stay visa
Residence visa for exercising a professional activity as a self-employed worker
Temporary residence permit
Where to apply Temporary stay visa

You must apply for a temporary stay visa at the embassy or consulate in the country of origin or residence.
Documents required You must hold a partnership agreement or a contract for services to carry out a professional activity as a self-employed worker on a temporary basis.

You must prove sufficient means of subsistence, travel insurance and a return ticket.

You must not have been the subject of an order to leave Portugal or an entry ban, nor of an alert under the Schengen Information System or on the SEF's Integrated Information System for the purpose of refusing entry.
Duration of validity of permits The visa is valid for the period of the professional activities.
Where and how to apply Residence visa for exercising a professional activity as a self-employed worker

For long-term activities, you must obtain a residence visa at the embassy or consulate in your country of origin or residence. A residence visa does not automatically grant a right of residence but allows you to enter Portugal for the purpose of applying for a residence permit, if the requirements are met.

The visa request will be evaluated taking into account the economic, social, scientific, technological and/or cultural importance of the investment.

In exceptional cases, if you are already in Portugal and upon proposal of the SEF's General Director or the Minister for Internal Administration, you may be exempted from the obligation to hold a valid residence visa.
Documents required You must hold a partnership agreement or a contract for services or a written proposal for such a contract and must hold a declaration from the relevant authority that certifies compliance with any special criteria required for practice of that activity (where applicable).

If you want to make an investment in Portugal you must make a declaration that you have conducted or intend to conduct investment activities in Portugal specifying the nature, value and duration of those activities. You must prove that you have conducted investment activities in the past or that you have the necessary financial means, including the necessary funds obtained from a Portuguese financial institution. You must also sufficiently identify and describe those activities.

You must prove sufficient means of subsistence, travel insurance and a return ticket.
Refusal The residence visa will be refused if you have been subjected to an order to leave Portugal and you are applying while the prohibition period is still running or if you are listed in Schengen Information System or in the SEF's Integrated Information System.
Duration of validity of Visa The residence visa allows you to stay in Portugal for four months so that you can submit an application for a residence permit at the SEF.
Further information More on visas
Where to apply Temporary residence permit

A temporary residence permit is an official document issued by the SEF which allows you to live in Portugal for a specific period of time. You must submit the application to the SEF of your area of residence.
Documents required You must:
  • have sufficient means of subsistence;
  • have formed a company according to Portuguese law or have formally declared to the finances authorities and the social security office that you are working as a self-employed person or that you have a contract for services to carry out a professional activity;
  • be registered with the social security office;
  • present, when required, a declaration from the relevant professional association confirming that you satisfy the necessary requirements for affiliation.

There must be no fact in existence that would have prevented the grant of the visa, if it had been known by the authorities before the visa was issued.

Granting of the residence permit to non-EU citizens for the purpose of conducting investment activities

The granting takes place on the basis of compliance with certain requirements according to Order no. 1661-A/2013, January 28 (Article 90-A of Act no. 23/2007 of July 4, as amended by Act no. 29/2012 of August 9).

This Order sets out the requirements for applying the specific legal mechanism of granting and renewing residence permit, with exemption of a residence visa, for the purpose of performing investment activities in National Territory (ARI), specifically with regards minimum quantitative requirements, minimum periods of permanence, and means of evidence.

Also entitled to apply for ARI, are all the non-EU citizens who hold share capital of a company with head office in Portugal, or in another Member-State of the European Union with firm establishment in Portugal.

According to Article no. 3 of this Order, for the purposes of obtaining ARI, the minimum quantitative requirements imply, at least, one of the following investments in national territories:

  • Capital transfer with a value equal to or above € 1 million;
  • The creation of, at least, 10 job positions; or
  • The purchase of real estate property with value equal to or above € 500 000.

The applicant should also:

  • fulfil the general requirements for the authorisation and residence (article no. 77 of the Aliens Act) except ownership visa for residence purposes;
  • be the bearer of valid Schengen visas; and
  • have his/her stay in Portugal regularised within 90 days from the date of the first entry into national territory.
Validity of duration of permit As a general rule, a temporary residence permit is valid for one year, renewable for successive periods of two years.
Refusal The residence permit will be refused if you have been the subject of an order to leave and you are applying while the prohibition period is still running or if you are listed in the Schengen Information System or in the SEF's Integrated Information System. It may also be refused for reasons related to public order, public safety or public health.

The residence visa is cancelled if the application for a residence permit is refused.
Appeals If your application for a residence permit is refused, 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.
Further information More on working in Portugal

More on residence visas

More on temporary stay visas

 


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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
Change of status As a self-employed worker, you may work as an employee provided that:
  • you have an employment contract or an employment relationship certified by a labour union or by an association recognised by the Advisory Council for Immigration Affairs (COCAI).
  • you have registered with the social security office as an employee and have complied with all your obligations.

 


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