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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
The long-term resident status gives the same rights as Portuguese nationals in terms of:
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.
- Immigration and Borders Service (SEF)
- Institute for Employment and Professional Training (IEFP)
- Authority for Labour Conditions (ACT)
- High Commission for Migration (ACM)
- Ministry of Internal Administration (MAI)
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MNE)
- Portuguese embassies and consulates abroad
- Ministry of Solidarity, Employment and Social Security (MSESS)
- Ministry of Justice (MJ)
- Ministry of Education and Science (MEC)