Immigration to Portugal

Portugal is a European country located on the Iberian Peninsula in Southwest of Europe. The population of Portugal is estimated over 10 million and according to the statistics, the main religion in Portugal is Roman Catholicism. The official language is Portuguese.

Portuguese nominal GDP per capita is estimated at around 23 385 USD. The Official currency is Euro (EUR). Portugal is a member state of the European Union and was one of the original member states of Eurozone.

Non-EU and EFTA nationals that move to Portugal for more than 3 months will need a long-term Portuguese residency visa to have an opportunity to later apply for a Portuguese residence permit. Immigration policy in Portugal includes an international agreement with non-EU countries, like, the United States, Canada, Australia and other, which allows nationals of those countries to enter and stay in Portugal for 90 days within a six-month period without needing any visa for Portugal.

Immigration services

Application for Portuguese permanent residency has to be made to the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF) (, which is a security service in the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MAI) which is responsible for carrying out checks at the borders, preventing organized crime involving illegal immigration and helping with making documentation of foreigners.

Immigration service providers

A residence permit in Portugal is possible to acquire in many different ways. One of the options to acquire a residence permit is investing in Portugal and getting European Union residency. Another option to get a temporary residency permit in Portugal is to get a job in the territory or enrol in studies. To find the right solution it is a must to contact professionals that can think about the correct way to get to Portugal.

Here are three email address of companies which offer immigration services in Portugal:

  • E-mail:
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Lawful immigration

In order for immigration to Portugal to be lawfully correct, immigrants need to follow the requirements laid out by the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF). There are several possibilities, depending on the purpose of your visiting the country. Citizens of Schengen countries can travel to one country and another without a passport. They only need identification document required to enter Portugal. If a residence permit is obtained via options listed above, traveling to any Schengen country is possible without an additional visa. For immigrating to Europe and residing in Portugal for a longer period of time – residence permit needs to be acquired, which can be obtained by getting a job in Portugal, making a company, starting a study or investing.

Immigration law

The main immigration laws for immigrants from non-EU states in the Portuguese Republic are the Portuguese nationality act that regulates access to Portuguese citizenship that is gotten through from a Portuguese parent, naturalization in Portugal or marriage to a citizen of Portuguese.

Nowadays Portuguese nationality law from the year 1981 have changed: a shift occurred in years 1975 and 1981, which resulted in making it very difficult to access naturalization to first generation migrants, and their children and grandchildren. In recent time, Portugal created the Golden Visa Program that provides a way for non-EU residents to gain residence permit.

Immigration statistics

Since the year 1990 new waves of immigrants came from countries, like Ukraine, Brazil. Those communities nowadays also make up the largest groups of immigrants in Portugal. Other large groups are Romanians, Moldovans and Chinese.

Most popular cities by population

Lisbon is the most popular city by population in Portugal. The next largest cities by population are Porto and Amadora. More on data about the density of population:

The population of Lisbon had large growth rates form years 1500 to 1700. Lisbon has 517 802 inhabitants within the administrative center on the area which is only 100.05 km small.

The top 5 biggest cities of Portugal by population according to 2019 estimate are:

# City Population
1 Lisbon 547 631
2 Porto 237 559
3 Amadora 178 858
4 Braga 143 532
5 Coimbra 143 396

Migration in and out of Schengen area

The Portuguese Republic is a member state of the Schengen area. All countries of the Schengen Agreement have abolished passport and immigration control at countries common borders and for travel between member states. Member countries accept Schengen visas issued by other Schengen states. At the external borders when the first entry to the Schengen area is accruing, regular immigration control procedures are applied.

Third-country citizens holding long term visas may stay in the Portuguese Republic for more than 90 days within a 180 day period. A list of documents and grounds for requesting a visa can be found on the web site of Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF).

Types of visas in the Portuguese Republic

If staying in Portugal for a short period of time that is under 90 days, a third-country national or Non-EU citizen must apply for one a visa in order to make the visit legal. According to the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF), there are several different types of visas, which must be acquired depending on circumstances:

A-visa for Airport transit The visa is issued for travelers and visitors for transiting by airplane Passport copy is required and plane tickets
C-visa Short stay visa The visa is issued for short term stay in Portugal or transit used for business purposes and tourist purposes A certificate from your employer stating/allowing your business travel, invitation letter, bank statement, Memorandum and Article of Association in a certified copy of the original is required
Limited Territorial Validity (LTV) visa Allows traveling only in Schengen state and issued for emergency situations A local medical report, a medical attestation from the hospital or doctor in Portugal, confirming the date of your appointment as well as your medical situation and a receipt of medical fees is required
Portugal Temporary stay visa and resident visa These type of visas are given for various purposes to stay for 4 month period or longer Medical documents for health purpose, transfer proof for traveling purposes, employment proof for working in Portugal and other, but for a residence visa, there is needed self-employment or job proof, education proof and other

Residence permit

European Union and EFTA and also non-EU residents can apply for permanent residence in Portugal after five years. Application for permanent residency to Portugal has to be made to the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF).

Foreigners can try to apply for Portuguese citizenship after six years of residence in the country so there are many chances to live in Portugal and acquire a Portuguese citizenship and residence permit. Currently, the Portuguese Golden Investor Visa program offers residence permit acquisition on one of the following grounds:

1. Property Investment solution:

  • Applicants may acquire property valued at 500 000 EUR or more, or
  • Applicants may acquire property valued at 350 000 EUR or more for properties more than 30 years old or located in urban regeneration areas designated for refurbishing, or
  • Acquisition of property fitting any of the above requirements with a 20% reduction on the minimum amount of investment, if purchased on a low-density population area (400 000 EUR or 280 000 EUR).

2. Capital Investment solution:

  • Applicants may invest a minimum of 350 000 EUR in research activities;
  • Applicants may invest a minimum of 250 000 EUR in the arts or in the reconstruction or refurbishment of national heritage projects;
  • Applicants may invest a minimum of 500 000 EUR for shares in investment funds or venture capital;
  • Applicants must create 10 or more jobs.

Immigration documents

To read more about the various immigration, residency and citizenship documents in Portugal, please refer to the immigration documents section.


History of immigration to Portugal started in the 1500s. Immigration to the Republic of Portugal has grown since the year 1990s. EU member state citizens go to Portugal due to the attractiveness of the country, high income for foreign citizens, and looking for a better quality life.

In case you have questions or you need a free consultation regarding immigration opportunities to Portugal, feel free to contact us: