Upon arrival to Portugal
You will need to make an appointment at your local Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras (SEF) office to complete the process for a Titulo de Residencia (residence permit). You will need to go to your nearest SEF office in person to request the appointment, which could be scheduled up to 30 days later. The appointment itself takes less than an hour, but you might spend the entire day waiting, as many SEF offices give you an appointed time to get an appointment, not to meet with the official. This is when all your extra copies and application forms will be required.
Be prepared and save yourself time:
Some SEF offices request that you provide two additional passport-style photos while others have photography equipment on site that they prefer to use. Some offices will instead choose to access your biometric data from the Portuguese consulate where you applied.
You will also be required to show proof of accommodation, such as a rental contract or letter from a hotel. Bring copies of birth certificates for each applicant. If the SEF doesn’t ask for them, they might be required later to register locally for bank accounts, etc.
Documentation requirements are subject to change depending on the whim of the officials with whom you are working, so being prepared with all of your original documents can save you time or a return visit to the SEF.
Receiving your titulo
Within two weeks of approval by the SEF, your Titulo card will arrive at your Portuguese address or you’ll receive a note from the post office to pick it up. Your residence permit is valid for a provisional one year. If you wish to extend your stay in Portugal, you may renew your permit for an extra two years. This can be done twice, and is done via appointment with the SEF office just as when applying for your original permit.
Permanent residency visa
After 5 years residing in Portugal, you can apply for a permanent residence permit, renewable every 5 years. A minimum language proficiency (A2 level) is now required to obtain a permanent residence permit in addition to ongoing financial means, proof of accommodation, criminal record check and health coverage requirements which you must provide at each renewal. An appointment must be made at the SEF office either by telephone or online.
To work in Portugal as a non-EU citizen you will also need a work permit (Autorização de Trabalho). You do not need to apply for this however, as your employer can do so from the local labour office. It is advisable that you confirm this with them.
This article was written by Susan Stults Korthase