Living & Working

Living and Working in Portugal - Click on one of the headings in this site for access to information about living; working and studying in Portugal.


Banks

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Company Formation Services

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International Schools & Language Schools

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Insurance Companies & Consultants

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Moving to Portugal

  • Expatriate resources for relocating to Portugal Removal / Shipping & Forwarding Agents
  • Assistance services to Expatriates

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Office Space

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Portuguese Recruitment & Employment Agencies

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Visas

Temporary Visas

All foreign nationals wishing to enter Portugal must possess identifying documents. EU nationals may enter with either passports or identity cards. Non-EU nationals must have valid passports to enter for short stays. Entry visas are required for non-EU nationals from countries with which Portugal has no reciprocal agreement regulating the rights of entry.


The government of Portugal issues the following types of visas through its embassies or consulates located abroad:
  • Transit visas: Holders of transit visas may enter Portugal en route to another country that has granted admission to the individual. These visas are valid for five days.
  • Temporary stay visas: Temporary stay visas allow their holders to enter Portugal to receive medical treatment, escort a family member to Portugal to receive medical treatment or to take a course. These visas are valid for up to one year.
  • Study visas: Holders of study visas may attend courses, perform scientific research to obtain a degree and obtain training in Portugal. These visas are valid for up to one year.
  • Short-term visas: Short-term visas allow their holders to enter Portugal if other types of visas are not applicable. These visas are valid for up to one year.
  • Residence visas: Residence visas allow their holders to enter Portugal for the purpose of requesting residence permits. These visas are valid for six months.
  • Work visas: Work visas allow their holders to work in Portugal.

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Work Visas and Self-Employment


EU nationals may undertake employment without permission. All other foreign nationals who wish to work in Portugal must apply for work visas. A non-EU national may not engage in employment until a work visa is issued. Work visas allow their holders to engage in dependent employment, self-employment, or sporting- or entertainment-related professional activities.

In granting work visas, consideration is given to the type of work proposed, the availability of local and EU workers capable of performing the work, the level of salary and the availability of accommodation. Work visas granted to conduct dependent employment activities are valid for up to one year, and may be extended for an additional two-year period. The duration of the employment for which the visa is requested should not exceed an initial two-year period. Visas must be renewed by the visa holders' employers in January of each year.

The application procedure for a work visa is similar to that required for a residence visa, except that the applicant must possess a signed employment contract with a Portuguese employer. However, for employees from certain non-EU states, a signed contract is not required. In all cases, the employment contract must be registered with the Ministry of Employment, and must prove that the foreign national is required by the company for a fixed period.


In addition to an application, the following documents, all of which must be translated into Portuguese, must be provided to the authorities to obtain a work visa:
  • Passport copies
  • Photographs
  • A medical certificate
  • Details of a criminal record (if applicable)
  • Proof of financial means
  • A signed employment contract (if applicable).

Before the work visa is issued, the employer must inform the Employment and Professional Training Institute (IEFP) of the job offer and the Labour Inspection Institute (IGT) must issue a favourable opinion.

To change jobs after a work visa has been issued a new employment contract must be registered and approved.

With the exception of certain sensitive industries, setting up a business in Portugal, either as a single proprietor or as a company is not restricted. Portuguese commercial law does not prohibit foreign residents or non-residents from serving as directors of Portuguese companies.


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Residence Permits


Non-EU nationals wishing to take up residence in Portugal must apply for residence permits. Applicants must initially apply for residence visas at the Portuguese consulates in their home countries. Temporary residence permits are valid for two years, and are renewable for consecutive three-year periods. Permanent residence permits must be renewed every five years.

EU nationals intending to stay in Portugal for a period over three months may apply for residence cards, which are valid for an initial period of five years. This card is primarily intended for identification and statistical purposes.

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Family and Personal Considerations


Family Members

The working spouse of a work visa holder does not automatically receive a work visa; an independent work visa application must be filed. The work visa application must demonstrate financial means and adequate accommodation.


Marital Property Regime

The default marital property regime in Portugal is a system of community property for assets acquired during the marriage, except inherited assets. A prenuptial agreement may amend the default regime.

Portuguese marital property regimes apply only to assets in Portugal owned by persons married under Portuguese law. Unmarried heterosexual couples who live together for five or more years are treated as married for certain purposes. A partner in such a relationship may have the right to occupy a property owned by the other partner, but not the right of ownership.

The concept of establishing a marital domicile in Portugal does not exist.

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Forced Heirship

Forced heirship rules apply in Portugal, and a legal share of an estate automatically devolves to a surviving spouse, descendants and other relatives.


Driving Licences

EU nationals may drive legally in Portugal with their home country driving licences. Non-EU nationals may drive legally using their home country driving licences in Portugal for six months. After six months, a non-EU national must obtain a local Portuguese driving licences by submitting a copy of the home country driving licences, two photographs and an identification card. An applicant must also take a medical examination.

Portugal does not have driving licences reciprocity with any country other than EU-member states.

Source: Doing Business in Portugal – 2003 by Ernst & Young in 26 June 2003
Last updated in August 2003 by the British-Portuguese Chamber of Commerce

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