Overview of Portuguese Residence Permits
Residence permits allow non-EEA/non-Swiss foreign nationals to live, work and study in Portugal for more than 90 days. There are different pathways to obtain a Portuguese residence permit, such as through work, study, or family reunification.
Alternatively, you may take the investment route to Portuguese residency, or retire in the country. In addition, there are certain special circumstances under which Portugal issues residence permits to non-EEA/non-Swiss foreign nationals.
The eligibility requirements and supporting documents vary depending on which route you take to apply for a residence permit in Portugal. If you fulfil all stipulated terms and conditions, you will be issued with a temporary residence permit. These are usually valid for one to three years, and are renewable.
After five years of lawfully living in Portugal on a temporary residence permit, you will be eligible to apply for Portuguese permanent residence or citizenship, if you wish to remain in the country indefinitely. If not, then you can go on renewing your temporary residence permit provided you continue fulfilling the specified conditions.
- Overview of Portuguese Residence Permits
- Benefits of Residency in Portugal
- Am I Eligible to Apply for a Portugal Residence Permit?
- How Do I Apply for a Portuguese Residence Permit?
- What Supporting Documents Do I Need?
- Processing Time
- Residence Permit Renewal in Portugal
- Responsibilities of a Resident Permit Holder in Portugal
- What If My Application Has Been Refused?
- How Can Total Law Help?
- Frequently Asked Questions
Benefits of Residency in Portugal
A Portuguese residence permit comes with several benefits, such as access to Portugal’s high-quality education and healthcare infrastructure, legal and justice system, social security benefits (e.g. unemployment benefits in case you lose your job), and access to Portuguese job market.
As a Portuguese resident, you can also enter and exit Portugal freely, bring your eligible family members to Portugal under the family reunification principles, and obtain visa-free travel access to the EEA countries and Schengen Area.
It also paves your way to become a Portuguese citizen if you wish to do so. If you become a Portuguese citizen, you will get additional rights in Portugal such as the right to vote and the right to live, work and study in any of the EU countries.
A Portuguese citizen can also apply for a Portuguese passport, which ranks 14th in terms of global mobility, as per the 2022 Passport Index. A Portuguese passport allows you to travel either visa-free or on a visa-on-arrival basis to 188 countries.
Residence Permit Through Working in Portugal
A popular pathway to obtaining residency in Portugal is through employment. A Bangladeshi citizen can qualify for a residence permit in Portugal if they can secure an employment offer in the country, subject to fulfilling other specified conditions.
You can apply for a temporary residence permit for work in Portugal if you intend to engage in the areas of work mentioned below for more than a year:
- Subordinate work activity
- Independent work activity or migrant entrepreneur
- Teaching purposes, highly qualified or cultural activity
- Highly qualified subordinate activity
- Volunteer work
- For the exercise of a professional activity done remotely (suitable for digital nomads)
First, your Portuguese employer will need to apply to the Immigration and Borders Service (SEF) or at the Portuguese Labor Authorities for your work permit on your behalf. Post that, you will need to apply for a residency visa at the Portuguese embassy/consulate in your country of residence, to travel to Portugal.
Once you are in Portugal, you must apply for a residence permit at SEF within four months from your date of arrival in the country.
Foreign nationals who are self-employed, or ‘digital nomads’ whose earnings are solely from online activities, can also apply for a temporary residence permit in Portugal, provided they submit relevant supporting documents proving their employment status (i.e. self-employed or working remotely) and fulfil other specified conditions.
Residence Permit Through Studying in Portugal
If you are a non-EEA/non-Swiss student who wishes to study in Portugal, you may be eligible to apply for a residence permit in the country, provided you meet all other relevant conditions.
A Bangladeshi national who has been accepted into an educational institution in Portugal can avail of this pathway to residency in Portugal. They will also be allowed to work for up to 20 hours per week on a part-time basis during the semester. During semester breaks or holidays, they may work full time.
A non-EEA/non-Swiss student can renew their Portuguese temporary residence permit annually for as long as the duration of their course. However, if they want to live in Portugal even after their course is over, they will have to apply for and obtain a job in the country, so as to get a temporary residence permit for work.
Please note that your time as a student on a temporary residence permit in Portugal will not be counted while calculating your length of stay in the country for permanent residency purposes.
Portuguese Residence Permit Through Family Reunification
A Portuguese residence permit can also be obtained via the family reunification route. If you have a family member who is a Portuguese citizen or living in Portugal as a resident, you can apply for a temporary residence permit to join them in the country. You will be able to live, work and study in Portugal, and apply for permanent residence after five years.
In this context, a family member refers to:
- Spouses or civil partners
- Children under 16 years of age (both biological or adopted children are allowed)
- Children above 16 years of age who are dependent on their Portuguese citizen/resident family member
- Dependent parents and parents-in-law
- Minor dependent siblings under 21 years of age, if they are under the guardianship of their family member in Portugal
International students holding temporary residence permits in Portugal can bring only their spouses/civil partners and minor children.
Please note that if you opt for the family reunification route to obtain a Portuguese residence permit, your Portuguese citizen/resident family member must first submit an initial application at SEF before you can apply for a residency visa to travel to Portugal.
Portuguese Residence Permit by Investment
Portugal launched the Portugal Golden Visa programme in 2012, which is a route to Portuguese residency by investment for non-EEA/non-Swiss foreign nationals.
To be eligible for this route to Portuguese residence permit and eventually Portuguese citizenship, Bangladeshi citizens must:
- Make a qualifying investment in Portugal, such as:
- Real estate acquisition (may stop soon)
- Fund subscription
- Capital transfer (may stop soon)
- Company formation
- Reside in Portugal for an average of at least seven days per year, for five consecutive years
- Prove that they have at least A2 level of knowledge of the Portuguese language
An investor participating in the Portuguese Golden Visa programme is allowed to live, work and study in Portugal. They can also extend the Golden Visa to their family members under the family reunification principles.
The Portuguese Golden Visa programme will end in 2023. Portugal has not declared the exact end date yet.
So, please consult an immigration lawyer without further delay if you are interested in the Portugal Golden Visa opportunity before the application window closes. Call our immigration advisers today on +44 (0)333 305 9375 to discuss your options.
Portuguese Residence Permit in Special Situations
In certain other circumstances, a Portuguese residence permit can be granted to eligible non-EEA/non-Swiss foreign nationals. Usually, a special situation residence permit is granted in below scenarios:
- Ailing individuals whose health situation requires prolonged medical care in Portugal
- Applicants who served in the Portuguese Armed Forces
- Minors born in Portugal to resident permit holder parents
- Children of resident permit holders, who are over 18 years of age and are habitually living in Portugal for last 10 years
Retiring in Portugal
Financially independent non-EEA/non-Swiss foreign nationals seeking to retire in Portugal can apply for the D7 Visa. It is also known as a retirement visa or passive income visa.
This residence visa allows non-EEA/non-Swiss citizens having a regular passive income to apply for Portuguese residence. To be eligible, you must prove that you have an annual income of €8,460 or more from pensions, transferable equity, real estate, investments etc.
You will need 50% of that amount for your spouse/civil partner and 30% for each of your dependent children, in addition, to accompany you to Portugal.
A D7 visa holder can undertake professional activities in Portugal. Once you have the D7 visa, you can apply for a temporary residence permit. After five years, you may apply for permanent residence in the country or Portuguese citizenship.
How Do I Apply for a Portuguese Residence Permit?
The first step towards applying for a residence permit in Portugal involves applying for a residency visa from your country of residence to travel to Portugal. Non-EEA/non-Swiss foreign nationals must get in touch with the Portuguese embassy or consulate in their respective country of residence, to make an appointment for a visa interview.
However, please note that the Honorary Consulate of Portugal in Dhaka, Bangladesh does not issue Portuguese visas. Bangladeshi nationals will need to get in touch with the Embassy of Portugal in New Delhi, India to apply for a residency visa as well as legalisation of their public documents. The address is as follows:
Embassy of Portugal in India
No.4, Panchsheel Marg
New Delhi 110021
Please also keep in mind that to apply for a residency visa to travel to Portugal, you will need to visit the Embassy in Portugal in New Delhi in person. So, you must apply for a X-Double Entry visa at the High Commission of India in Dhaka, for travelling to India to attend your visa interview.
After arriving in Portugal, please apply to SEF for your temporary residence permit within four months, or within the period granted on your residency visa. You will also have to register for your social security number at a Portuguese registration office.
What Supporting Documents Do I Need?
To apply for a Portuguese residence permit, you will require to submit the below mentioned supporting documents:
- Completed and signed application form (when initially applying for your residency visa)
- Valid residence visa
- Two passport size photos
- Current passport
- Copy of passport’s biometric page
- Proof of accommodation in Portugal
- Medical insurance, where the insured amount is sufficient to cover your medical expenses including medical emergencies, or evidence supporting that you are covered by the National Health Service
- Criminal record certificate, issued by a competent authority of your country of residence (not required for minors), with the Hague Apostille (if applicable) or legalised
- A letter granting permission to SEF for criminal record enquiry (not required for minors)
- Proof of subsistence
- Employment contract (if applying for residence for work purposes)
- Acceptance letter from university and tuition fee payment receipt (if applying for residence for study purposes)
- Family certificate (if applying for residence for family reunification purposes)
- Proofs of qualifying passive income (if retiring in Portugal)
- Proofs of qualifying investments (if opting for the Golden Visa pathway)
- Any other document supporting your special circumstances, if applicable (if applying for residence citing special situations)
- Parental consent (for minors)
The legal guardian will need to complete and sign the application form on behalf of minors or incapacitated applicants.
Your documents must be in either English or Portuguese. You will need to arrange for certified translated copies if not. Moreover, since Bangladesh is not a member of the Hague Apostille Convention, your official documents must be legalised.
Do note that the above list is, by no means, an exhaustive one. SEF may ask you for additional supporting documents depending on your immigration situation.
The processing time for a residency visa is 60 days or more, and depends on your concerned Portuguese embassy or consulate.
To avoid any unnecessary delay in processing, please ensure you have filled up the application form completely and correctly, and have duly submitted all supporting documents relevant in your case.
A residency visa to enter Portugal costs €90, which may vary from country to country. You will need to pay a fee of €83 for submitting your residence permit application at SEF, and €72 to receive your residence permit from them.
If your supporting documents are not in Portuguese or English, you will have to arrange for their certified translated copies, the cost for which will be extra. Moreover, since Bangladesh is not a member of the Hague Apostille Convention, you will need to bear additional costs to get your documents legalised from the Embassy of Portugal in India.
Residence Permit Renewal in Portugal
A temporary residence permit is usually valid for one to three years, and can be renewed post that period. You will have to apply for a renewal at least 30 days prior to the current permit expiry date.
You will have to schedule an appointment with SEF by phone or online to renew your residence permit. Your permit will be renewed if you continue to meet the conditions based on which your initial permit was granted.
You will have to submit the following supporting documents along with your residence permit renewal application:
- Copy of your current residence permit
- Proof of subsistence
- Proof of accommodation in Portugal
- Proof that you have met your tax obligations
- Proof that you have not been convicted in a criminal case
A permanent residence is issued indefinitely, and you will not have to renew it unlike a temporary residence permit. However, you will need to update your permanent residence card every five years.
If you have obtained your residence permit in Portugal via the Golden Visa Programme, you will have to renew the same every two years.
Responsibilities of a Resident Permit Holder in Portugal
SEF has outlined a few responsibilities for a Portuguese residence permit holder, failure to comply with which may result in punitive action against the said permit holder according to the Aliens Act in Portugal.
You will have to inform SEF:
- If any change occurs in your civil circumstances or residential address, within 60 days of its occurrence
- If you are going to be absent from the country for more than six months consecutively, or eight months in a year
- If you are going to be absent from the country for more than 24 months consecutively, or 30 months in a three-year timeframe
- If you are on a residence permit for study purposes and you want to undertake a paid position or any independent professional activity in the country
In addition, you must respect general law and order, public security and public health directives in Portugal.
What If My Application Has Been Refused?
If your residency visa application has been refused, you may take the below course of actions, in compliance with Portuguese domestic law:
- Lodge a formal complaint at your concerned embassy/consulate within 15 days from receiving the visa refusal notice
- Appeal at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs within three months after receiving the notice
- Initiate legal action at the Administrative Court of Lisbon Circle within three months after receiving the notice
How Can Total Law Help?
A Portuguese residence permit can be obtained via different pathways. You need to choose your preferred route depending on your personal circumstances. Moreover, even if you meet the eligibility criteria, you must pay due diligence while filling up the relevant forms and arranging for all relevant supporting documents.
Appealing a residency visa refusal is a lengthy and expensive process. Instead, you should focus on getting the application right the first time. As such, it is advisable to consult an immigration lawyer before as well as during your Portuguese residence permit application process.
Total Law can help.
Our team of sympathetic immigration advisers have the required expertise and legal knowledge to assist you, regardless of your situation or the complexity of your case.
If you are seeking overall advice with your residency application or you would like an immigration expert to complete your application on your behalf, we are happy to help. Our legal team also offers document and application checking services, in case you just need a final check to confirm that your documents and application adhere to SEF regulations.
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There is no language requirement for obtaining a temporary residence permit in Portugal.
However, after living lawfully in the country for five years on a temporary residence permit, you will be eligible to apply for a permanent residence or Portuguese citizenship. You will have to prove that your knowledge of the Portuguese language is at A2 level or higher on the CEFR scale to apply for a permanent residence or Portuguese citizenship.
After living lawfully for five years in Portugal on a temporary residence permit, you can apply for either a permanent residence in the country or Portuguese citizenship.
In terms of right to live, work and study in Portugal, social benefits, entering and exiting the country freely, and travelling to Schengen countries without a visa, there is no practical difference between these two options.
Portuguese citizenship has additional benefits like the right to vote, the right to a Portuguese passport and citizen card, and the right to live, work and study anywhere in the European Union.
However, whether you want to apply for citizenship or permanent residence in Portugal will depend on your personal circumstances and immigration situation. You may want to discuss your options with one of our immigration experts on +44 (0)333 305 9375 to receive bespoke professional advice regarding this.
Yes. Since Portugal and Bangladesh both allow dual citizenship, you can keep your Bangladeshi citizenship along with your Portuguese citizenship.