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A Quick Guide To Portugal’s ‘D’ Visas

Portugal’s ‘D’ Visas.

Portugal has become an increasingly popular destination for expats over the past few years, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s a beautiful country with property tending to be available at a price cheaper than the average of the UK or US equivalents. The cost of living is also cheaper than the majority of UK areas outside of London.

Luckily, whether you’re looking to make a permanent move, or just spend some time in Portugal, the country has a range of visa options available to help you take that all important step. Here is a guide to Portugal’s ‘D’ Visas.

D1 Visa (subordinate worker visa)

The D1 visa, also known as the Subordinate Worker Visa is designed for those who have been offered employment in Portugal. If you have been offered and accepted employment with an organisation within Portugal, then this Visa gives you leave to enter the country and remain there for more than 12 months while employed.

When making the application for this visa type, you will need to provide evidence that you have accepted employment with a Portuguese organisation in order for the application to be processed.

D2 Visa

If you’re more interested in being your own boss, then the D2 visa may be the right one for you. Also known as the Entrepreneur Visa, it allows those who wish to create their own business, invest in an existing Portuguese business or create a branch of an existing business on Portuguese soil.

Eligibility for this visa is dependent on a few factors such as evidence of savings that total 12 months of Portugal’s minimum wage. At the time of writing this would be around €8000 for each person applying. You’ll also need to supply a detailed business plan to help demonstrate that your business is viable and sustainable.

D3 Visa

The D3 visa serves a similar function to the D1 visa, but targets workers with a higher level of qualification in their chosen fields. Like the D1 visa, you’ll need to be able to prove and offer of employment from an organisation based in Portugal.

The main differences between the D1 and D3 visa’s is the level of occupation they relate to. The D3 visa will require you to hold a position which you would traditionally need a higher level qualification to obtain. This includes but is not limited to, roles such as directorships and high level management positions, scientific research posts, legal professionals and cultural professionals.

The visa itself has a very small window of eligibility, lasting only 4 months. At this point however, a D3 visa holder is able to apply for a residency certificate to remain in Portugal.

Another difference from the more general D1 visa, comes in form of an additional income requirement. For the D3 visa, the wage which you will earn from your new position, must be at least 1.5 X the average gross Portuguese salary.

D4 and D5 study visas

We’re going to group the D4 and D5 visas into one section, simply because they’re both related to study within Portugal.

The D4 visa is known as the short term student visa, and as the name suggests, it allows foreign nationals to enter the country and undertake short courses of up to 3 moths duration. The D5 visa on the other hand allows a student to study in Portugal up to a year at a time.

For both variations of the study visa, you’ll need to have proof of a placement for study from a Portuguese higher education institution. This could be in the form of a letter showing your acceptance for study, or a similar document proving an accepted commitment to study.

The D5 visa does also allow students to work while studying. During term time, they are eligible to work up to 20 hours per week, and during holiday periods, full time hours are possible. If you intend to work alongside study while using the D5 visa however, you will need to authorise this with the Foreigners and Borders Service.

D6 Visa

The D6 Visa is also known as the ‘family reunification visa’ and is designed to allow family members of current visa holders to move to Portugal to live with them. There are limits to the relations that are eligible to apply for this type of visa, primarily consisting of the following list.

Family members include married or registered partners, minor children (including adopted children and younger siblings under the residents custody), children under the care of the applicant, dependent children who are of age and enrolled in an established educational institution in Portugal and first-degree relatives dependent on the applicant.

If the resident is in Portugal under a student visa, there is less eligibility. In this case the list is limited to a spouse, their children or adopted children.

D7 Visa

The D7 ‘passive income’ or ‘retirement visa’ is designed for those who are able to move to Portugal and contribute to the economy without holding an employed position or running a business within the country.

As this visa is based on the passive income you can utilise, from sources such as pensions, real estate, savings interest or royalties, there are minimum income levels you must meet in order to be eligible. How much you’ll need to earn is dependent upon your situation. As a single applicant, you must show a passive income of at least €820 per month (or €9,840 per year). If you are applying with a spouse, you’ll need to meet an additional 50% of the original requirement, totalling €14,760 per year. Additionally, if you have a child who is dependent on you, you will need an extra 30% of the original requirement, amounting to €2,952 per year (or €246 per month).

Additionally, as the visa exists to attract people who wish to resettle in Portugal, there are some limits to the amount of time you can spend outside of the country while resident under this visa type. This will vary over time in line with your residence permits as you progress towards permanent residence. Initially, you be able to spend a maximum of 6 months outside Portugal in a 2 year period. Subsequently this will become a maximum of 6 months over a 3 year period, with a permanent residence permit allowing you a maximum of 24 months in a 5 year period.  

D8 ‘Digital Nomad’ Visa

The D8 ‘Digital Nomad’ Visa offers flexibility for those who wish to work remotely or in a freelance capacity while living in Portugal. The D8 visa is available in 2 distinct varieties, one lasting for 12 months with the ability to renew, and a second which grants 2 months of residence with a possible 36 month renewal.

As digital nomads are unlikely to stay in one place for too long, the income requirements of this visa differ slightly from others we’ve covered in this article. Rather than the €8,460 a year that other visa’s require, the D8 visa demands a provable income of at least €3,040 p/m. As this income may be made up of a variety of sources, you may need to provide evidence of several contracts or long term work to evidence this amount.

D9 (Golden) Visa

The last visa on our list is the D9 ‘golden’ or ‘investment’ visa. As its name suggests, this visa is aimed at those who wish to gain residence in Portugal via investment through one of a few specified routes. Although there are several ways in which this investment can be made, the type of investment chosen will determine the minimum amount of money required to secure the residence permit.

The smallest amount of capital required would be a €250,000 donation to an arts or heritage organisation. Investment in job creation, creation of a venture capital fund or a real estate investment would need a minimum of €500,000. Capital transfer on the other hand would require a total of at least €1.5 million to be transferred into an account in Portugal.

Although these are large sums of money, the D9 visa does have the added benefit of requiring a lot less time spent in Portugal itself to maintain your residence status. The initial residence permit only requires you be present in Portugal for a minimum of 14 days during its 2 year validity. Subsequently, this time span changes to a minimum of 21 days in ever 3 year period.

Residence permits

D visa’s are considered temporary stay visas and are designed to allow entrance into Portugal through a specific route. As a result, the D visa serves as the means to obtain a Residence Permit. Once you enter the country, you must contact the Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras (Portuguese borders service) in order to obtain the residence permit, as it is this document which will enable to you remain in Portugal for the full length of time indicated by the ‘D visa’ route you have chosen.

This article is not an exhaustive list of the factors you will need to meet in order to obtain residence in Portugal through one of the above routes, rather it is designed to help you establish which route is right for you. As such, we would recommend that you seek the advice of qualified professionals who would be able to provide you with further details and advice.

Jake Carver is a writer for the Immigration Advice Service.