Bordered by Spain and the Atlantic Ocean, Portugal is quickly becoming one of Europe’s most important hubs for startups and tech. With an economy that keeps growing, Portugal is a popular destination for digital nomads and workers at major tech companies, including Microsoft, Amazon, and Google.
Known for its mild climate, Portugal has a lot of great job opportunities for foreign nationals who want to work and live in the country.
However, it is important to understand the visa and permit process in Portugal to ensure that you are compliantly following government standards when trying to work there. Expats will need a work permit before they are legally allowed to work and reside in Portugal.
This article goes over how immigration to Portugal works for foreign employees, as well as gives employers an overview of the Portuguese immigration process. Here’s a look at everything you need to know about work visas and permits in Portugal.
Visas in Portugal are also known as Portuguese residence visas. Citizens from the EU, EEA, and Switzerland do not need a work permit to live and work in the country.
The work visa also acts as a residence permit. For those coming to work here for longer than 6 months, a residence certificate or permit is required for immigration.
After five years of residence in Portugal, expats can apply for Portuguese permanent residency, and, after 6 years, for citizenship. Once you qualify for either of these options, you will no longer need to keep applying for a new work permit in order to gain employment and will be free to move around the job market in the country.
For remote workers, there are two different types of visas that the Portuguese government has just begun to offer that allows remote employees to work for a company as a foreigner.
The first option is the D1 Visa, which is the more basic option of the two.
To qualify for a D1 visa, you need to:
Have a written work contract with a Portuguese company
Need to be paid minimum of 705 (EUR) monthly
Be employed with the company for a minimum of 1 year
In addition to the D1 visa, there is also the D3 visa available for highly qualified and experienced workers.
To qualify for the D3 visa, you need to have proof that you:
Have a written contract with a Portuguese company
Need to be paid a minimum amount of 1,600 (EUR) monthly to maintain the cost of living in Portugal
Hold a degree from a university
Be employed by the company for a minimum of 1 year’s stay, with the option to renew after 1 year
Both of these visa options allow expats to be legally employed as a foreigner in Portugal, while also enjoying the luxury of remote work.
Recently, the country has done away with it's previously controversial Golden Visa Program that allowed investors to obtain residency permits if they purchased residential real estate worth at least $500,000 EUR.
The change was made to combat the growing housing crisis within the country. Lawmakers decided to introduce a digital nomad visa instead for remote workers in other countries to live and work in Portugal temporarily if they made at least four times the national minimum wage or $3,244 USD.
A work permit in Portugal is required in order to obtain a residence permit as a foreigner. The work permit application must be started before arriving in Portugal. Most non-EU nationals will need a permit before they begin their employment.
Permits are only available to non-EU nationals with a job offer, unless they are married to a Portuguese citizen. Once your work permit is approved, you can obtain a visa or residence permit.
To begin the work permit and visa process, there are many requirements that foreigners need to meet for immigration. Most non-EU citizens will need to be hired by an in-country company and the employer must complete the necessary paperwork for your work permit. This process must be approved by the Portuguese Labor Authorities before the visa process officially begins.
Once the permit is approved, foreigners will need to begin the application for a work visa if required by their nationality or if the employment is for 6 months or less. If you plan to work in Portugal longer than six months, you will need to apply for a Portuguese residence permit.
To apply for a work visa, the following is required:
Employment contract between employer and employee
Proof of a health insurance policy covering expenses up to 30,000 (EUR)
Passport and copies of any previous visas
Flight reservation details
Visas are valid for the length of time foreigners plan to work and stay in Portugal short-term, or long enough for you to apply for a residence permit.
Once you are approved for a work permit/visa, you must register with the social security department and receive an individual tax number.
The entire process can take anywhere from a few weeks to 2 months, so giving yourself ample time to prepare your application is crucial. Foreigners will not be able to begin working in Portugal without 1) an approved visa application form or 2)without paying the visa fees before arriving.
Leaning on your personal relationships and professional network will help you find a job more quickly. It is recommended that you travel to Portugal at least once to try to understand the culture better. The national language is Portuguese, so English speakers should make sure they either know the language or are willing to learn it.
For foreigners, using recruiting websites and job boards is a great first step to beginning the process of marketing yourself to potential employers. Most importantly, the CV is the focal point of the job application, so tailor your application materials to what potential employers are expecting. Be sure to also hone in on your skills.
As an employer in Portugal, remember that non-EU citizens will almost always need a work permit in order for their visa application to be approved. You will need to provide your future employee with all of the correct information about their work permit, as well as the right information for them to work in Portugal.
Also, you will need to obtain (and later, give) the Portuguese Labor Authorities copies of the employees work contract, as well as help workers enroll in social security.
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