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Portugal

Conditions

To enter Portugal as a worker for a period of less than a year, you must have a valid Seasonal Work Visa or a Temporary stay visa for seasonal work for a duration of over 90 days (see seasonal worker profile).

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.

Procedures

Where and how to apply

Temporary stay visa

A temporary stay visa allows you to work as an employee on a temporary basis (less than six months).

The Institute for Employment and Professional Training (IEFP) will first evaluate all offers for temporary appointment submitted by employers. Offers must be published on specific websites. If you want to apply for a temporary job, you must send the application to the employer.

If successful, you can apply for a temporary visa at the embassy or consulate in your country of origin or residence.

Documents required

You must prove that you have or have been promised a work contract on a temporary basis or that you have a declaration issued by the IEFP to the effect that the actual or promised contract is for a job offer available to non-EU nationals.

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 work contract.

Further information

More on temporary stay visas

More on applying for a visa

Where and how to apply

Residence visa for exercising a professional activity as an employee

For long-term employment, you must obtain a residence visa.

A residence visa does not automatically grant you a right of residence but allows you to enter Portugal for the purpose of applying for a residence permit, if the requirements are met.

If you entered legally and are already in Portugal, you may be exempted from the obligation to hold a valid residence visa.


A labour market test is applied when it is verified that job opportunities exist but have not been taken up by qualified Portuguese citizens, EU and EEA citizens, or non-EU workers who legally live in Portugal.

The Portuguese government establishes annual quotas on job opportunities.

Job offers are advertised on the internet by the Institute for Employment and Professional Training (IEFP) and are transmitted to the Portuguese embassies and consular posts abroad, which publicise them on specific sites and via diplomatic channels.

If you want to apply for a temporary job, you must send the application to the employer. The employer sends the employment contract to successful applicants or a promise of contract as well as a declaration issued by the IEFP that the job offer is included in the quota and was not taken up in accordance with the principle of preference by a local worker.*

Once you have a contract, or the promise of contract, you can apply for a residence visa at the embassy or consulate in your country of origin or residence.

(*) Article 193 of Law no. 75-B / 2020, of December 31 - State Budget Law for 2021, suspends the establishment of a global quota for the purpose of granting a residence permit, introducing temporary changes to the provisions of this article 59, in the same terms: "During the year 2021, the establishment of the global contingent for the purpose of granting a residence permit visa for the exercise of subordinate professional activity provided for in article 59 of Law no. 23 / 2007, of July 4th is suspended, and are applied the conditions provided for in paragraph 5 of the mentioned article.

Documents required

To obtain a residence visa, you must prove that you:

  • have signed a work contract;
  • have the promise of a work contract; or
  • have the necessary qualifications, competences and expertise for the job and that the employer has shown a specific interest in employing you.

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

You must present your application and supporting documents in person.

Refusal

The residence visa will be refused if you have been the subject of an order to leave Portugal and you are applying while the period of prohibition to enter is still running or if you are listed in the 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 residence visas

More on applying for a visa

Where to apply

Temporary residence permit

Once you have entered Portugal on the residence visa, you can apply for a 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:

  • a passport or any other valid travel document;
  • a valid residence visa;
  • evidence of sufficient means of subsistence, as per the provisions of Order number 1563/2007, of 11/12;
  • evidence that the applicant has adequate accommodation;
  • permission for SEF to check Portuguese criminal record – except for under 16 years old;
  • labour contract under the law in force;
  • supporting document(s) with the necessary information for checking the registration within tax authority;
  • supporting document(s) with the necessary information for checking the regular payment of social security.

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, also no previous conviction for a criminal offence which in Portugal is punishable by a prison sentence of more than one year.

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.

For 2020 and 2021, by a provisional measure, a temporary residence permit is valid for two years, renewable for successive periods of three years.

Because of the health emergency caused by the disease COVID -19, Order n.º 5793-A/2020, of 26 May and  Order n.º 10944/2020, of 8 November, implemented a simplified procedure for the decision of pending applications, incorporating a procedure for the automatic renewal of residence permits.

Order n.ºs 3863-B/2020, of 27 March, and 10944/2020 of 8 November provide that all third-country nationals with applications pending at SEF (submitted between March 18 and October 15), are deemed temporarily regular in the national territory. Third-country nationals in that situation have guaranteed access to every public service, specifically in obtaining the National Health Service user’s number and access to the NHS, as well as access to social benefits, rental contracts, employment contracts, opening of bank accounts and hiring of essential public services.

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

Working in Portugal - applying for residence in Portugal

Rights

Change of status

If you hold a temporary residence permit for exercising a professional activity, you may be authorised to perform a self-employed activity provided you obtain the necessary permission from the relevant Portuguese authorities.

Unemployment

If you lose your job, you will need to prove sufficient means of subsistence in order to renew your residence permit.

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 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 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

Acquisition of long-term resident status - Applying for residence in Portugal

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