Non-EU citizens moving to Portugal
If you are not an EU-national, you must provide the following documentation when applying for your visa. Note that some documents are only applicable to the type of visa (1, 2 or 3) you are applying for.
Personal statement (type 1 only)
Each applicant must present a personal statement that is be signed and dated. It should also indicate your reason for settling in Portugal, where you intend to reside and what type of accommodation you will have initially, i.e. a rental property or a property you have purchased. This can be as simple as “I wish to live in Portugal as a retiree because it is a beautiful country. I will live in Lisbon and rent an apartment for a few months while searching for something to purchase or rent long term”. The statement is judged on its likelihood of success.
Proof of financial means/sufficient funds (type 1, 2 and 3)
What constitutes as ‘sufficient’ varies; some consulates require each applicant to have €50,000 available in any combination of accounts, income and/or savings, while others request proof of at least the equivalent of €40 of funds per day for each day you plan to be in Portugal plus €75.00 per individual entry into the country. Depending on the proof of funds you are required to demonstrate, these assets must be accessible to you from Portugal over the next six months, the period in which a Temporary Residence Permit is valid.
You will need to provide original statements or electronic printouts and consider any combination of the following:
- Bank statements (dated within in the last 3 months and showing the name and address of the account owner(s)- applicants with joint accounts can use the same statements yet both names must appear); Travelers checks, letter of employment detailing income, international credit card showing credit limit; investment reports; income from property or non-property assets or from intellectual property.
- Company pension certificate (for retirees) or a notarized letter confirming a pension from the responsible authority and/or a Social Security Benefit letter.
- Tax return forms (for the self-employed) from the previous fiscal year or proof of previous economic activity and of an income during previous fiscal year.
If you fail to provide proof of sufficient financial means, you’ll be required to have a guarantor in Portugal. A guarantor is a Portuguese citizen or permanent resident who will guarantee your accommodation and financial support for a year as well as your return transit. A guarantor can be difficult to obtain due to the need for the guarantor’s name, financial number and address and the legal risk involved.
Criminal record certificate (type 1, 2 and 3)
This is obtained from your country’s relevant federal authority (e.g. FBI in the US) and requires that you complete a criminal background check. Note that this is only required of individuals over the age of 15. You must submit a recent, original set of your fingerprints with your application, which can be done at your local police department. A clean criminal record statement is required as part of your application package. Since it can take up to three months to receive your certificate, it is important to start this application early. Bring 2-3 copies of your certificate with you as your original remains with your application at the embassy. The certificate is valid for one year. You may also be asked to sign a request form for a criminal record check in Portugal, which the consulate will process for you.
Copy of marriage certificate or license (type 1, 2 and 3)
Naturally, this only applies if you are married. Also, about half of recent applicants have not been asked to provide this to their consulate.
Passports (type 1, 2 and 3)
You will need your original and a copy of the photo page of your passport. The personal data and dates of validity will need to be notarized. The passport must be valid for at least three months after the expiration date of the visa for which you are applying. The passport or travel document must be recognized by all parties of the Schengen Agreement.
Note: Passports must be issued within the last 10 years and must have at least two blank pages left. A passport older than ten years that has been extended for a period exceeding ten years from the date of issuance will not be accepted. Each copy of the passport photo page must bear a Notary seal. Bring a couple of extra, notarized copies with you for the Temporary Residence Permit process to avoid Portugal’s higher notary costs.
Proof of health & insurance (type 1, 2 and 3)
A letter from a doctor stating that you are in good health and free from any communicable disease is required; if your consulate doesn’t request this with your visa application, be assured that the SEF in Portugal will want it for your residence permit application. Regulations for the Schengen Visa state:
“...applicants shall prove that they are in possession of adequate and valid travel medical insurance to cover any expenses which might arise in connection with repatriation for medical reasons, urgent medical attention and/or emergency hospital treatment or death, during their stay(s) on the territory of the Member States. The insurance shall be valid throughout the territory of the Member States and cover the entire period of the person’s intended stay or transit. The minimum coverage shall be EUR 30,000 “(per applicant).”
If you have existing insurance coverage that includes the features noted above, your proof of health insurance can be in the form of an invoice or your annual statement showing the name of the insurance company, policyholder names, the dates during which this coverage is valid and proof of repatriation and evacuation coverage. If you don’t currently have insurance with these features, look into a travel insurance plan or an annual plan that covers you in Portugal with the above coverage requirements. Many sources provide travel insurance policies to support Schengen Visa applicants.
Proof of accommodation (type 1, 2 and 3)
You will need to show one of the following:
- a rental contract showing address, owner’s name and the contract period;
- a paid hotel confirmation stating name, address and telephone number of the hotel, including confirmation number;
- a home purchase agreement; or, a letter from someone with whom you will be staying.
If you plan to stay with family or friends, an official letter of invitation (termo de responsabilidade) signed by your host must be submitted. The host’s signature must be notarized by the local Portuguese authorities and a copy of his/her identity card included. The duration for a rental contract or hotel stay is not currently defined.
Travel reservations or tickets (type 1 only)
On average, around half of consulates require documentation that indicates your outgoing and return travel, with the return travel scheduled prior to the expiration of your one year of residency. While this is the case for some, other consulates do not require this proof, so it is important you ask.Some consulates accept reservations instead of purchased tickets, but a proof of purchase is often preferred and is specifically called for in the regulations. Buying a plane ticket when you are uncertain when you’ll get your visa may seem risky, but keep in mind that your visa is valid for four months, thus providing a wide travel window. It is reasonable to assume that the process will be completed within 20 weeks, so you can plan your departure based on that information. Many SEF offices in Portugal prefer to see return travel tickets because it indicates that you didn’t assume you’d be granted a permit.
These eight items cover all the documents that you need to submit in duplicate to the Portuguese Consulate that oversees your area.
EU-citizens moving to Portugal
If you are an EU citizen moving to Portugal you will only need to bring either a valid identity card or passport with you and you do not need a visa.
After living in Portugal for three months you will need to apply for residence. You will need to provide the following documents depending on your residency status:
A certificate of employment to prove your working status
Proof of your self-employed status
Comprehensive health insurance documentation must be shown, along with proof that you can support yourself financially without the need for income support. Financial resources may come from any source, e.g. savings or national pension from your home country.
If you are in Portugal as a student you must show your enrollment letter from the institution with which you will be studying. You must also provide proof of comprehensive health insurance (e.g. EHIC) and proof of sufficient income, e.g. student loan, Erasmus grant, etc.
This article was written by Susan Stults Korthase