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Work Visa And Work Permit Requirements In Portugal

work visa and work permit requirements in Portugal



Portugal is often seen as a destination for people retiring to the sun but it is also a destination for people wanting to work in Portugal.  What are the work visa and work permit requirements in Portugal if you are not an EU citizen?




Who needs to apply for a Portuguese work visa or permit?

Citizens of the EU/EEA/Switzerland do not need to apply for a work visa to live or work in Portugal, although if you plan to work in Portugal for longer than six months need a Residence Certificate (Certificado de Registo).

Non-EU nationals will generally need to obtain a work permit before they can undertake employment in Portugal.  It will be necessary to have a job offer to be able to obtain a Portuguese work permit, unless you are married to a Portuguese citizen. Once the work permit has been approved you can continue the process of applying for a Portuguese work visa or residence permit.

Before a company can offer a job to a non-EU citizen the job it has to be advertised to Portuguese and EU/EEA citizens for 30 days.  Only after this will the Institute for Employment and Vocational Training in Portugal (IEFP) will classify them as jobs that are available to be filled by non-EU employees.

If the role is for more than three months, the employer must then apply for a Portuguese work permit (Autorização de Trabalho) to the Portuguese Labour Authorities.  It should be remembered that the requirement to go through this process will make it more attractive to employ a Portuguese or EU citizen.

To apply for a work permit they will need to submit:

  • The employment contract
  • Company tax statements
  • Proof of registration with Social Security
  • Proof that an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen could not have filled the position.


Once the job contract and work permit has been approved, non-EU citizens will need to apply for:

  • a Portuguese work visa, if their nationality requires a visa to enter Portugal or employment is less than six months.
  • a residence permit, if they plan to work in Portugal for long-term. The type of residence permit you need depends on the basis on your employment.



Types of Portuguese work visas

Whether you need a Portuguese work visa depends on your nationality and the length of your employment. The following Portuguese work visas are available to non-EU nationals.


  • Short-term work visa in Portugal – This Portuguese work visa covers short-term contracts lasting less than six months. It is available to employees and self-employed workers subject to an evaluation by the labour authority. If you are engaged in scientific research, academic teaching, certain training and service provisions provided by members of WTO countries or highly qualified professional activities the temporary-stay visa can be extended up to one year.
  • Long-term work visa in Portugal – Non-EU nationals intending to work in Portugal longer than six months must apply for a long-term work visa. This is issued as a long-term Schengen Visa (type D) which means the holder can travel to other Schengen countries.

Bilateral agreements in place allow citizens of the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Israel to apply for the visa from within Portugal, provided the application is made within 90 days of arrival.   Other non-EU citizens have to apply at their consulate or embassy in their home country before travelling to Portugal.


Portugal Work Visa Requirements

Once you receive authorization to work in Portugal through the work permit you can apply for a work visa from the Portugal consulate or embassy in your country of residence. This visa allows you to travel to Portugal for work purposes and apply for a residence permit. The application process is as follows:

  • Locate the nearest Portuguese Embassy or Consulate.
  • Call or email to make an appointment to submit the application.
  • Collect the required documents.
  • Attend an interview to submit the documents.

The visa is valid for three to four months to give you time to apply for a residence permit.

The documents you need when you apply for a Portugal work visa are:

  • Valid passport.
  • Passport-size pictures.
  • Proof of sufficient funds to sustain yourself.
  • Criminal record from your country of residence as well as from any country where you have lived for more than one year).
  • Proof of health insurance.
  • Proof of accommodation in Portugal.
  • Employment contract.

All documents submitted must be in English or Portuguese translated by a certified translator and notarized.  Diplomas and formal documents will have to be legalized through an Apostille Stamp or through the Portuguese Embassy in your country.


Applying for a residence permit to work in Portugal

Once the work visa has been granted you can travel to the country to apply for a residence permit.  The standard residence permit is valid for one year and can be renewed for up to five years, after which the holder can apply for permanent residence in Portugal.

Once you arrive in Portugal, you will need to apply for a residence permit, register for social security and get a tax number.

  • To register for social security, you will need to go to the Social Security Office.
  • To apply for your residence permit you should visit the website of the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF) to book an appointment.  The Embassy or Consulate may make an appointment for you at the SEF, if you are able to tell them your intended travel date and where in Portugal you will be settled.


EU Blue Card

The EU Blue Card scheme acts as a Portuguese work visa and residence permit for highly qualified workers from non-EU countries. If you have a higher qualification, have an employment contract or binding job offer in an EU country for at least one year and have an annual salary (gross) at least one and a half times the national average salary of that country.

EU Blue Cards are valid for between one and four years and allow non-EU citizens to work in all EU member states apart from Denmark and Ireland. A Blue Card holder can apply for a residence permit for researchers or highly-skilled migrants once they have been living in Portugal for 18 months.


Qualifications for skilled work in Portugal

Third-country nationals pursuing skilled employment in Portugal can contact the Portuguese National Academic Recognition Information Centre (NARIC). They provide information on getting foreign qualifications and certificates recognized and accepted in Portugal.