Portugal Work Visa And Work Permit: Requirements And Application Process

Mar 1, 2023

13 min read

In recent years, Portugal has become a popular destination for many reasons. Working in Portugal is amongst one of those popular reasons. If you wish to travel to Portugal for work, you may need to apply for a specific Portuguese Work Visa. In this detailed guide, you will find everything you need to know about work visas in Portugal.

Everything You Need To Know About Portugal Work Visa

Before we can dive deep into the ‘How To Apply For A Portugal Work Visa’, let us look at all the information you should know before applying. Such as:

What Is A Portugal Work Visa?

There is no official term for a visa that allows you to work in Portugal. In essence, a Portuguese Work Visa is either a short-stay visa that allows you to work in Portugal for a time not exceeding 90 days or a temporary residence permit that allows you to work in Portugal for a time exceeding 3 months.

A temporary residence permit can be renewed after 2 years for an additional 3 years. After 5 years, you can apply for permanent residence or Portuguese citizenship. Once you are a Portuguese citizen, you do not need to apply for a "Portugal work visa."

In this post, we will keep using the term "Portugal Work Visa".

Portugal Work Visa For A EU/EEA Or Switzerland Citizen

If you reside in an EU country or a country that forms part of the European Union, you do not need to apply for a specific visa to work in Portugal. Citizens from these nations are allowed to travel, work and live in Portugal without a visa. However, if you plan to stay in Portugal for more than 3 months, you will need to obtain a Residence Certificate (Cerificado de Registo).

Portugal Work Visa For A Non-EU/EEA or Swiss Citizen

If you are a Non-EU/EEA or Swiss citizen, you will most likely need to apply for a Portugal Work Visa to work in Portugal. To be able to do this, you will first need to secure a job in Portugal. Once you have done this, you can start the process of applying for a Portuguese Work Visa.

In accordance with Portugal's regulations, employers need to advertise new job opportunities to Portuguese or EU/EFTA citizens. After advertising the job for 30 days, the Institute of Employment and Vocational Training in Portugal (IEFP) will classify them as jobs that can be filled by non-EU citizens.

What To Know Before Applying For A Portugal Work Visa?

There are a few simple things to know before applying for your Portugal Work Visa.

You will need a job offer/work contract - Before starting the application process for a Portugal Work Visa, you need to have a work contract from your employer in Portugal. The contract should include where you will work, what company you will work for, and what work you will be doing.

Your employer needs to apply for a Work Permit on your behalf - Your employer will need to apply for your Work Permit at the Portuguese Labor Authorities. The permit will indicate what work you will be doing and where you will be doing that work.

If you decide to relocate or apply for a new job, you need to reapply for a Work Permit. This is because your Work Permit specifies where you will be working and what work you will be doing. If your Work Permit does not match your current job position or location, you might get in trouble with the Portuguese Authorities.

Once your work contract or work permit is approved - If your employment is less than 6 months or your country of origin requires you to do so, you will need to apply for a Portuguese Work Visa. In the segment below, we will look at the different types of Portugal Work Visas you can apply for.

Those planning to work in Portugal for a longer period, need to apply for a Residence permit.

What Are The Types Of Portugal Work Visas?

There are 2 main types of work visas that Portugal offers. These are known as "Temporary Stay Visas" and "Residency Visas." The two types of visas differ in validity and allow multiple entries into the country. The most common Portuguese national work visa types are:

  • Portugal Work Visa

A Portugal Work Visa is the most common work visa for employees working in Portugal. It is a standard residence permit that is valid for 1 year and is renewable for up to 5 years. If you have a work contract that exceeds 1 year, you will most likely apply for a Portuguese Work Visa.

  • Independent Work Visa

If you wish to work in Portugal independently, you can apply for a Temporary Stay or Residency Visa. However, a Temporary Stay Visa will allow you to work in Portugal for up to a year. Note that when applying for this visa, you are not allowed to work for a company in Portugal. All revenue generated should be external or online. A Temporary Visa is also known as a Digital Nomad Visa or an Independent Work Visa. If you are self-employed, then this is the perfect visa for you.

  • Highly Qualified Work Visa

A Highly Qualified Work Visa is issued to individuals who conduct scientific research or other highly qualified activities. Examples of Highly Qualified Workers include scientists, medical professionals, and engineers. Additionally, personals that are in the higher education teaching / professorial activity, highly qualified subordinate activity, show business, and performing artists can also apply.

  • EU Blue Card

An EU Blue Card is issued to those who have sought-after skills. It is an extremely popular option for professionals who reside outside the European Union. Note that to be eligible for an EU Blue Card, you will need to provide supporting documents that prove your education, skills, and experiences.

If you wish to know more about the types of visas Portugal offers, you can check our complete Portugal visa guide.

What Is The Validity Of The Portugal Work Visa?

Depending on the type of Portugal work visa for a temporary type work permit or residency work type permit, the validity period will differ.

For example, if you have applied for a temporary stay visa, you can live in Portugal for less than a year, allowing multiple entries during the validity of the visa. In addition, you can apply for a Short Stay or Temporary Stay Work Visa if your work period does not exceed one year. This visa is used for seasonal work or work purposes that require a short-term stay.

Whereas National Work Visas, known as residency or long-stay visas, allow you to work in Portugal for a period exceeding one year. National Visas are the most common visas used for work purposes.

With a Portugal residency visa, the holder is allowed two entries during a 4 months period. During this period, the visa holder must apply for their residency permits at the Immigration and Border Services (SEF). The residency permit can then be granted for up to 5 years, depending on the permit type.

What Are The General Document Requirements For A Portugal Work Visa?

The documents required for your Portugal Work Visa are divided into 2 sections. The work permit requirements and the work visa application requirements.

Required Documents For A Portugal Work Permit

After you have received your work contract, your employer will need to apply for your work permit. The documents required include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • A valid Portuguese Residence Visa

  • Proof of accommodation in Portugal

  • A valid passport or government-issued travel document

  • 2 recent passport photos. These must be colored passport photos.

  • Clear criminal record

  • A work contract between the employer and employee

  • Proof of registration with Portugal Social Security

  • Company tax statements

  • Proof that the position could not be filled by an EU/EEA or Swiss citizen

The required documents mentioned above should only be viewed as a guideline. These documents are submitted by your employer and may not be the same as the documents required for your Portugal Work Visa application.

We recommend that you contact your employer and ask what documents they require from you when submitting your work permit application.

Required Documents When Applying For A Portugal Work Visa

Once your work Portuguese Work Permit is approved, you must apply for a Portuguese Work Visa. Head over to your nearest Portuguese Consulate or Embassy to start your application.

Listed below are the documents required for a Portugal Work Visa:

  • A filled-out Portuguese visa application form

  • A valid passport or government-issued travel document

  • 2 colored passport photos

  • Proof that you are financially able to support yourself during your stay in Portugal

  • A clean criminal record from your country of origin

  • A document permitting SEF to check your Portuguese criminal records

  • Proof of health insurance or valid travel insurance. This insurance should provide coverage in Portugal

  • Proof of accommodation in Portugal. It can include a rental agreement or hotel reservations

  • Your employment contract

  • If you are already in Portugal: A visa that proves you are legally allowed to enter Portugal

  • If you are applying from your home country: Proof that you are allowed to stay in Portugal, such as a residence permit or any other relevant visas.

These are the most common documents required when applying for a Portugal Work Visa at the Portuguese Embassy. There are some Portugal work permits where additional documents may be required. We recommend you contact your Portuguese Consulate/Embassy to check what documents you need for your specific Portugal Work Visa.

We recommend that you start gathering all your documents as soon as possible. It will make the process easier in the long run.

How To Apply For A Portuguese Work Visa - Step-By-Step Instructions

Once you have gathered all the necessary documents, you can start the Portugal work permit application. Let us look at the steps you must follow in detail:

Step 1 - Applying For Your Portugal Work Permit

Once you have signed the contract for your new job, your employer will need to apply for a Work Permit at the Portuguese Labor Authorities of the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF) on your behalf.

Ensure that you provide all the documents required from your employer. They will submit the relevant documents and inform you once your Work Permit is approved.

Step 2 - Applying For Your Portugal Work Visa

After you have received your work permit, you can start your Portuguese Work Visa application.

Fill out the application form - Ensure that all the information you provide is accurate and correct. Missing or incorrect details can lead to your visa being denied. Check that the personal information you provide matches the information found on your passport or travel document.

Collect all your documents - Start collecting all your documents. Ensure that you have the original documents and copies. You will need to submit these later in the application process.

Note that all the documents you provide should be in English or Portuguese. If your documents are not in one of these languages, you can translate them by a certified translator.

There are cases where you must legalize certain documents. You can legalize your documents through an Apostille Stamp or through the Portuguese Embassy in your home country. The Apostille Stamp, or certificate, is attached to your original document. The stamp confirms that the document presented is legitimate and authentic.

Schedule and attend an appointment at the Embassy/Consulate - You will need to schedule an appointment at your local Embassy/Consulate. At the appointment, you will submit your documents and attend an in-person interview. After a successful interview, you will receive your Portuguese Work Visa. If you are nervous about your appointment, we can help you pass your interview with ease.

Step 3 - Applying for your residence permit in Portugal

Your work visa will grant you entry to Portugal and is only valid for 4 months. You will need to travel to Portugal within 4 months to start the application process for your residence permit.

Register for social security and get a tax number - The first thing you need to do is register for social security in Portugal. You can register for your social security at the Portuguese Social Security Office.

Your tax number (NIF) can be acquired before you travel to Portugal. Remember you will need to have a Portuguese Bank Account before applying for your NIF. If you do not have any one of these, you can easily apply for it in Portugal. We recommend using Bordr as it is the fastest and easiest way to get your NIF and Portuguese Bank Account.

Book an appointment at SEF (Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras) - Once in Portugal, you will need to book your appointment at SEF. Here you will attend another interview. After you have passed your interview, your biometric data will be collected, and you will receive your residency permit.

When applying for your visa at the Embassy, they will make the SEF appointment for you. The Embassy officials require you to provide details of your departure date and where you will be living in Portugal. If you are not sure of any of these, you can schedule your appointment as soon as you are in Portugal.

What Is The Portugal Work Permit Visa Processing Time?

The Portugal work permit processing time depends on individual visa application, and it is based on its own merits. In certain instances, the Portugal work permit processing time could be shorter than the general time if all the information and documents provided are correct.

The Portugal work permit processing time could be anywhere between 60 days to a few months. Generally, SEF takes about 30-60 days to process the Work Permit application. After that, you can expect the Embassy to issue an entry visa after 2-3 months.

What Are The Portugal Work Visa Fees?

When applying for a Portugal work visa, you must expect to pay multiple fees for different reasons. There could be more costs related to the visa application process, such as making copies, traveling, mailing or courier, etc. Some of the fees related to a Portugal work visa are:

  • €90 for your temporary visa that allows entry to Portugal.
  • To apply for a residence permit that allows work in Portugal costs around €83. These are the cost related when submitting your application form at SEF
  • To receive the residence permit for work purposes from the SEF costs around €72

If you do not wish to apply for a work permit, you can check out our blog on Portugal D7 Visa for an alternative route to Portugal residency.

And if you're looking to go sightseeing before your work starts, you can check out the Portugal Tourist Visa blog. Or, you can apply for your Portugal/Schengen Visa quickly and hassle-free using Atlys.

Written By: Richard Nathan
Fact Checked By: Nikhita Rathod

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Is My Portugal Work Visa Valid For?

If you have a Portuguese Work Visa, you are allowed to work in Portugal for 1-2 years. If you wish to work in Portugal longer, you need to renew your permit before it expires.

Can I Get Residency Permit With A Work Visa In Portugal?

Yes, you can get a permanent residence permit in Portugal after you have lived in the country for five years with a temporary resident permit. If you are a permanent resident permit, you do not need to apply for a work permit.

Can I Gain Citizenship With A Portuguese Work Visa?

Essentially a Portuguese Work Visa is a residence permit that allows you to work in Portugal. After 5 years in Portugal, you can apply for permanent residence or Portuguese Citizenship.

Do I need A Portuguese Work Visa If I Am A Portuguese Citizen?

No. Once you are a Portuguese citizen, you do not need to renew or apply for a new work visa.

Can I Work In Portugal Without A Work Visa?

If you are an EU/EEA or Swiss citizen, you can work in Portugal without acquiring a work visa. Note that if you intend to stay more than 3 months, you need to obtain a Residency Certificate.

Unfortunately, if you are a non-EU citizen you need to apply for a specific work visa if you wish to work in Portugal.

What Are The Requirements For An EU Blue Card?

​The most common requirements include:

  • Your country of residence should not be in any of the Schengen member states.
  • Employment contract or binding employment offer.
  • ​You will need to provide documents that support your qualification and necessary experience.

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