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Portugal Work Visa | Ultimate Guide 2021

Ieva Miltina Ieva Miltina 19 July 2021
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The San Francisco of Europe. The land of heavenly Portwine and fado, and the dream destination for any surfer. Yes, I am talking about beautiful Portugal - a place might make your life really, and I mean REALLY enjoyable. But I am sure that anyone looking for more information about a Portugal work visa, like yourself, knows this already.

Moving to Portugal for a job has many benefits. Besides the visual appeal and the charm of the local culture, it has many other upsides that are more realistic. For example, the fact that especially in bigger cities most people speak somewhat English. Or the costs of living are relatively low. And there are quite many ex-pats that you can connect with to feel less lonely when moving there. Do not forget that the country has several busy international airports that will give you a chance to grab a flight to just about anywhere very easily (for example, to go back home for holidays). But there is a small catch - not every foreigner can simply move there without some groundwork. You must be wondering, "do I need a visa to work in Portugal?” now. And this is where I will be able to help a little because this article will be the ultimate guide for getting a Portugal work visa. Everything starting from the technical side, like Portugal work visa requirements, to some inside info like alternative options for the ones that are not directly eligible for the standard work visa. For example, is there such a thing as a Portugal post study work visa?

You will find it out soon enough, but let's start from the bottom.

Do I need a visa to work in Portugal?

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If you are from anywhere outside the EU, then the answer to this question is: most probably a bold YES. And the explanation is quite simple - if you want to perform any paid activities (short or long term), you will need to ensure you have a permit to do that. With that said, all the information further in the article will describe the procedures for nationals coming from outside of the European Union.

If you are from any EU country, then here goes short info for your prospects. You can live and work in Portugal without the need to apply for a visa. Nonetheless, after six months of employment, you will need to get a residence card.

What are the characteristics of a Portugal work visa?

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Ok, it is time we set the record straight. If we look at the name itself, then there is no such thing as a "Portugal work visa." And the visa in question is actually called Portugal National Visa. When applying for this, you can choose one of the purposes for stay, which might include some employment (or not). Once the visa is secured, you must apply for a Portuguese residence permit from within the country.

One more thing to keep in mind is the fact that Portugal has implemented a particular procedure that gives a chance for local or unemployed EU citizens to apply for a position before anyone from other countries does. It means that any position has to be announced, and only if in a time of 30 days nobody applies then third-country nationals are eligible to apply for the position. It is slightly different for the highly skilled ones. But keep this in mind, and when making arrangements around the job, ask the employers to give more details on this process to see your chances.

What are the types of visas I can apply for to be allowed to work in Portugal?

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As I mentioned in the intro part, there are several alternatives that you can choose from. A national visa is the first option. Under this type, you can apply particularly for employment in education, cultural activities, or as a highly qualified professional. Additionally, there are a set of visas that are intended for transferring employees within a company moving from somewhere else to work in the branch in Portugal.

The second option I highly suggest is a digital nomad or self-employed worker visa. This will be great for anyone with enough finances already in their account (or the ability to prove regular income) willing to join or start a business in Portugal. Alternatively, if you are willing to be a digital nomad in Portugal for a short time, then you might just get a tourist visa and reside there until it expires.

And then the third category is - post study visas. In some countries, after finishing one's studies, it is easier to apply for a work permit connected to the field of studies right after graduation. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a Portugal post study work visa on paper. The student permit will need to be changed to a residence permit based on your employment which is usually valid for one year and can be renewed for another two years twice for a total of five years.

What are Portugal work visa requirements?

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Besides filling the Portugal work visa application form, you will need to submit some documents to make your request complete. In each situation, it might be slightly different, but here are the most common entries you will need to provide.

• A valid passport (minimum 6 months validity after leaving Portugal)

• 3 recent photos and photocopies of the main page of your passport, ID card, and previous Schengen and Portugal visas

• Proof of employment in Portugal (contract or binding job offer) and job description by the Labors Office or company itself

• Proof of qualification and professional experiences (CV and all the certificates from education institutions)

• Confirmed accommodation proof

• Police record from your home country and, potentially, Portugal (no criminal activity within the last 5 years)

• Proof of financial means if the company is not taking care of your travel

• Medical certificate and insurance (to make sure you are not a threat to public health)

• Police Record

As I mentioned before - additional formalities might be required, but the easiest way to clear this is either asking the HR in your intended company or turning directly to the Portuguese embassy for a consultation.

How to get Portugal work permit?

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As you might have understood, a Portuguese work permit is something that goes closely along with the work visa you might want to obtain. In most cases, once you have found employment, your employer applies for a Portuguese work permit to the Portuguese Labor Authorities if the job is longer than three months. The procedure might differ depending on your intended position and the exact type of visa, therefore check the gameplan before applying.

So how do you get this permit? Usually, if no locals have applied for the position in 30 days (and the position is intended for employment longer than 3 months), then the employer will apply for your work permit (Autorizacao de Trabalho) in Portuguese Labor Authorities. After the contract is approved, you can start arranging everything you need for a work visa or a residency permit. But, again, your employer will be able to give you more information on procedures and formalities needed from you in particular. Additionally, remember that most applicants for a Portugal work visa apply online for their appointment in SAPA Portal. It is not available with an IP address outside Portugal, but you can send an email to confirm your foreign IP address with the administrator of the site.

What are Portugal work visa fees?

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The standard Portugal work visa fees are not too high. Depending on your nationality and place of applying, you will have to pay approximately 75-100 EUR.

What is Portugal work visa processing time?

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Before applying, you have to keep in mind that Portugal work visa processing time might take longer in some situations. Depending on the country of application, it will take 10-60 days to get your answer, which is why never leave this to the last moment. The good thing is - most applicants who want a Portugal work visa apply online means of communication. Applying online will save you some time for traveling to the embassy etc.

I hope this information on Portugal work visa has given you at least some insight into the world of Portuguese immigration bureaucracy. After all, knowing all of this ahead will save you much time and hiccups in the process. Meanwhile, I wish you all the best in the endeavors of a better future. And keep my fingers crossed that your filled Portugal work visa application form is so immaculate that the confirmation comes back in no time!

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Ieva Miltina
Ieva Miltina Activist and entrepreneur

Ieva Miltina is an activist and entrepreneur of many sorts. By profession project manager of marketing and culture events, in her heart she is a passionate traveler and a cook, soon to become a pastry chef. Deeply rooted in non-formal education she has been involved in youth work since her teenage years and up till nowadays holds a deep interest in innovative approaches to learning and personal development, which she transfers to people from all Europe during various international trainings. Always looking for new discoveries and adventures she happily shares her positive view on the world and the neverending stories with the people who cross her path. While studying hospitality and tourism management she wrote a thesis on home-chefs, which ignited her dream of owning her cozy and heartwarming home restaurant, which will hopefully materialize very soon. Meanwhile writing articles and doing food photography she is working towards another dream of hers - becoming a published author someday. 

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