What Is a Portugal D3 Visa?
A D3 visa is a long-term work visa in Portugal for highly qualified foreign nationals who already have an employment offer or work contract from a Portuguese company or organisation.
EEA (the EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) or Swiss nationals do not need any permission to live and work in Portugal. However, foreign nationals from any other country will have to apply for a D3 visa to reside in Portugal and engage in highly qualified or cultural activities.
Eligible Indian citizens can apply for a D3 visa to travel to Portugal. After arriving in Portugal, they will need to contact Portuguese Immigration and Border Service (SEF) for a temporary residence permit, initially valid for one year and renewable every two years thereafter.
After five years of living and working in Portugal on a temporary residence permit, they can apply for permanent residence in Portugal or Portuguese citizenship, subject to the fulfilment of other relevant terms and conditions.
- What Is a Portugal D3 Visa?
- What Are the Benefits of the Portugal D3 Visa?
- Who Is Considered a Highly Qualified Professional for D3 Visa?
- Eligibility Criteria for a Portuguese D3 Visa
- Required Documents for a D3 Visa in Portugal
- Application Process for a Portugal D3 Visa
- D3 Visa Portugal Processing Time
- D3 Visa Fees
- D3 Visa Validity and Renewal in Portugal
- D3 Visa Route to Permanent Residence and Citizenship in Portugal
- How can Total Law Help?
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Are the Benefits of the Portugal D3 Visa?
A D3 visa holder can apply for a temporary residence permit in Portugal, which will allow them to:
- Reside and work legally in Portugal
- Bring eligible family members to Portugal under family reunification principles
- Enjoy visa-free movement in the Schengen Area
- Access public services in the country, e.g. high-standard health and educational infrastructure
- Enjoy the social security benefits available to Portuguese residents (e.g. unemployment benefits)
- Avail tax benefits as per Portugal’s Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) tax regime
- Claim EU citizenship birthright for their children born after they have legally resided in Portugal for 12 months
- Apply for permanent residence in Portugal or Portuguese citizenship after living and working in the country for five years on a temporary residence permit
Moreover, after residing legally in Portugal for 18 months, a highly qualified foreign national will be eligible to apply for a EU Blue Card.
The EU Blue Card programme was launched with a vision to portray Europe as an attractive destination for non-European citizens, who are highly educated and qualified professionals.
EU Blue Card holders can live and work legally in any of the EU countries, except Ireland and Denmark, and are entitled to equal salary and working conditions as applicable to EU nationals.
Who Is Considered a Highly Qualified Professional for D3 Visa?
As per the Portuguese Law on Foreigners, a highly qualified job involves “the exercise of an activity that requires specialised technical skills of an exceptional nature or an adequate qualification for the respective exercise of the function.”
A highly-educated or qualified foreign national eligible to apply for a D3 visa is someone who:
- Is qualified to hold a teaching position in any Portuguese higher education institution, e.g. science professors, researchers and PhD students
- Can perform activities that require specialised technical skills, e.g. science, healthcare and engineering professionals
- Is qualified to hold leadership or management positions with a Portuguese company, such as company directors, executives, professionals working in senior management positions, administrative managers etc.
- Is a legal, social or cultural professional with expertise in their respective fields
- Is an information and communication technology professional holding a Tech Visa issued by a Portuguese company certified by the Portuguese Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation (IAPMEI, I.P.)
Eligibility Criteria for a Portuguese D3 Visa
To be eligible to apply for a D3 visa, you must meet the following criteria:
- Valid job offer: You must have an employment contract or a promise of the same from a Portuguese company or organisation, valid for at least one year
- Required qualification: You must be able to demonstrate that the said job involves highly qualified activities, and that you have adequate qualification and/or experience to perform the same
- Minimum salary threshold: The estimated annual salary for the said job must be at least 1.5 times the national average gross annual salary in Portugal, or three times the Portuguese Index of Social Support (IAS) which is €480.43 per month as of 2023. This criterion is also applicable if you intend to apply for a EU Blue Card in future
Required Documents for a D3 Visa in Portugal
You will need to submit the following documents along with your D3 visa application:
- Completed and signed application form
- Passport or additional travel documents, valid for at least three months after the duration of the intended stay
- Two passport photos
- Valid travel and medical insurance, to cover necessary medical expenses and any medical emergencies, including repatriation
- Criminal record certificate from the competent authorities of your home country or of the country where you have been legally residing for past one year, with the Hague Apostille (where applicable) or legalised
- A document giving permission to SEF for criminal record enquiry
- Proof of accommodation in Portugal
- Certificate of residency status if you are applying from a different country rather than your home country
- Proof of means of subsistence, in compliance with legal requirements set by the competent government entity
- If you are going to be engaged in Portugal in teaching, highly qualified or cultural activities, then:
- Work contract or service provider contract from a Portuguese company; or,
- Invitation letter from a higher education or professional training institution in Portugal; or,
- Statement of responsibility provided by a certified company in Portugal; or,
- Invitation letter from a company/institute developing a relevant cultural activity in Portugal; or,
- Invitation letter from a Portuguese research centre
- If you are going to Portugal to undertake a highly qualified subordinate activity, then:
- Work contract from a Portuguese company
- For regulated highly qualified professions, proof that you are able to exercise that profession in Portugal
- For unregulated professions, proof that you hold high professional qualifications, adequate for the referred field of work or sector
Since India is a member of the Hague Apostille Convention, Indian nationals will not have to go through the Portuguese consular legalisation process for their public documents.
Application Process for a Portugal D3 Visa
Before you can start with your application for a Portugal D3 visa, your prospective Portuguese employer must apply to SEF or at the Portuguese Labor Authorities for your work permit on your behalf. To do so, they will have to submit:
- Your employment contract
- Company tax statements
- Proof of having registered with Social Security
- Proof that your position could not be filled by an EEA or Swiss citizen
After receiving work authorization in Portugal, you will have to apply for a D3 visa in the Portuguese embassy or consulate in your country of residence. This visa will allow you to travel to Portugal for highly qualified work purposes and apply for a temporary residence permit after arriving in the country.
Indian nationals must apply for a D3 visa through the VFS Portugal Application Center, which is the official partner of the Embassy of Portugal in India.
Please note that the residents of certain Indian states (i.e. Goa and Maharashtra) and union territories (i.e. UT of Daman and Diu and UT of Dadra and Nagar Haveli) may apply for visas at the Consulate General of Portugal in Goa. Residents of other states or union territories will have to submit their request through the Embassy of Portugal in New Delhi.
D3 Visa Portugal Processing Time
Given the increasing demand for highly qualified workers in the country, the Portuguese immigration authorities have fast-tracked the D3 visa processing. A D3 visa is considered to be a high priority for the Portuguese embassy or consulate handling the application, and is usually processed within 30 working days.
To avoid any unnecessary delay in processing, you must ensure that you have filled up the application form completely and correctly as well as submitted all relevant supporting documents.
D3 Visa Fees
A D3 visa processing fee is €90 (subject to variation from country to country). This is a non-refundable fee, so you will not get this amount back even if your visa application is not successful.
A Portuguese temporary residence permit application will cost you €83. You will have to pay an additional fee of €72 to receive your residence permit from SEF.
Additionally, if your supporting documents are not in Portuguese or English, you will have to arrange for their certified translated copies. This cost may vary depending on your country of residence.
D3 Visa Validity and Renewal in Portugal
A D3 visa is valid for four months. After arriving in Portugal, please apply to SEF for your temporary residence permit within your D3 visa validity period.
You will also have to register for social security in Portugal and get a Portuguese tax number at this stage.
A temporary residence permit is initially valid for one year, and then renewable every two years. You will have to apply to SEF to renew your temporary residence permit in Portugal.
SEF has a pre-booking system for scheduling a date and time for customer service. You may book your appointment either by phone or online.
D3 Visa Route to Permanent Residence and Citizenship in Portugal
Highly-qualified foreign nationals can apply for permanent residence in Portugal, or Portuguese citizenship by naturalisation/residence, after five years of living and working in the country on a temporary residence permit.
On a permanent residence permit, you will continue to receive the same rights, benefits and privileges awarded to Portuguese residents, without the requirement to renew your residence permit every two years.
Portuguese citizenship comes with additional rights such as the right to vote in Portugal, the right to have a Portuguese passport (which will allow you to travel visa-free or on visa-on-arrival basis to 188 countries), and the right to live, work and study anywhere in the European Union.
How Can Total Law Help?
To attract international talent, Portugal has offered many benefits for D3 visa applicants, one of which being the fast-track processing of the visa applications.
However, to be eligible to apply for a D3 visa in Portugal, you have to meet the high standards of education, qualification and experience as set by the European Commission.
Moreover, you must be very careful while filling up the relevant application form and arranging for the supporting documents, to avoid a visa refusal on technical grounds.
Although you have the right to appeal a visa refusal decision in compliance with Portuguese domestic law, the legal route can prove to be a lengthy and expensive process. So, it is advisable that you get the D3 visa application process and supporting documentation right at the first time.
Speak to Total Law.
We have a team of expert and sympathetic immigration lawyers, who can help you with your D3 visa application regardless of your personal circumstances or the complexity of your case.
If you are seeking overall advice with your Portugal D3 visa application or you would like an expert immigration adviser to complete your application on your behalf, the Total Law team can help.
We offer document and application checking services if you just need a final check to confirm that your documents and application adhere to SEF regulations, as well as appeal services if required.
For more information regarding the immigration services we provide and how we can help you with your D3 visa application, please call us on +44 (0)333 305 9375 today to speak to one of our legal advisers.
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Yes. After obtaining your Portuguese residence permit through the D3 visa route, you can bring your spouse/civil partner, minor or dependent children, and dependent parents and siblings to the country under the provisions of family reunification principles.
No. Indian laws do not recognise dual citizenship. So, if you become a Portuguese citizen by naturalisation/residence after living and working in Portugal for five years, you will have to renounce your Indian citizenship and surrender your Indian passport.