The Portugal D7 Visa For Entrepreneurs and Self-Employed

Written By: Victor Zhu
Fact Checked By: Richard Nathan

Jun 13, 2022

4 min read

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I’m literally so excited I might just start slinging superlatives around in this post. Awesome! Stupendous!! Wunderbar!!! Good, now that I’ve got that out of my system… I was approved for my D7 residency visa this morning. Now, this may not sound like a big deal to you, but to me, it’s massive. In fact, up and till this morning I was pretty much resigned to the fact that my application would be rejected.

Reason is, I’m not some influencer or bitcointrepeneur or shopify hustler. I’m just a regular, young entrepreneur, making a very modest living by selling specialized crafts and jewelry. While I make more than enough to support myself in Portugal, I was still worried. Turns out I didn’t need to be. If you do your planning well beforehand, and you’re organized you should be fine. I was, and now I’m gonna tell you how I did it. Most of the posts and stories I came across were about retirees, or business owners going for the Golden Visa option and throwing around financial amounts that made my eyes water…

Little disheartening to tell the truth. That’s why I’m writing this, to show that if a girl like me can nervously twitch her way through a VFS interview and come out with a D7 visa on the other side, anyone can.

My Additional Documents For My D7 Visa Application

So apart from the basic required documents, as outlined in this National Type D Visa Guide I used I included the following:

  • My Motivation Letter, also known as a Personal Statement.

This is a basic requirement for any Portuguese D7 Visa Application. I used a template that I found on a Facebook group called “Americans & FriendsPT”. I also added my business’ logo and details to the letter, just to make it more “official” looking.

  • Proof of accommodation.

I submitted the 9 months (actually 3 different apartments at 3 months each) booking I had made on Airbnb. At the moment of writing, Airbnb has a special page that you can print out with all of the information, so I did that.

  • Means of my financial subsistence.

Explaining My Financial Situation

This was the part of my application that I was most worried about. Reading other people’s experiences made me worried too because some were saying they qualified and needed to appeal solely on this point. To add to my worry, I got an email from the Consulate when my application was first forwarded to say that I wouldn’t be eligible for the D7 based on remote work.

The point of reference used was Portugal’s annual minimum wage of something like 7900 euros. I had that much saved, split between multiple US accounts that I have international access to. My 2020 tax return also showed much more than that in self-employment income, which I highlighted.

After the email from the Consulate, I re-sent my bank statements digitally with bright red boxes around the ending balances for each of my accounts and typed out the math showing the sum of all of my accounts and assets. I also included information from my bank loan and an offer from Carvana to sell my car. If we're going by the minimum wage reference, then I would qualify for that in savings - But I wanted to bolster my application in any way possible.

I also included a statement from my very modest retirement account. I mentioned I would like to grow it for my long-term plans in PT. But it’s also available to me if for some reason I need cash. I included information about my international credit cards too - Essentially I showed the limits to prove that I have access to credit in an emergency situation and that my accounts are in good standing.

I redacted personal information like account numbers (save for the last 4 digits) and any transactional information that would be visible from the first page. I did not include a funded PT bank account but mentioned my plans to open one on arrival in PT. I was worried about this too but was willing to begin the complicated process of opening remotely if I had to appeal or provide more information.

When I mailed in my application, I had applied for my NIF with nifonline a few weeks before, but still didn’t have the number. I printed the request letter that they send for you to sign a few days after you send them your documents, which shows nifonline as the representative. My NIF came by email before the expected date, and I forwarded it to the Consulate. I got an email back that my application was forwarded for approval, and no more documents could be added unless SEF requested them.

And this morning it arrived, and boy am I a happy little camper. Throughout this process, I always tried to remain calm (easier said than done) and polite, and I believe this bought me a lot of leeway in explaining my financial situation. I also had all of my required documents marked and sorted in such a way that the VFS official had an easy task. The entire process took me about 10 weeks, but it was sooooo worth it!

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