Visas and Residence Permits

Useful Information

Photo:  Município do PortoCC BY-NC-SA - Some Rights Reserved

ID card / Passport

Anyone entering or leaving Portuguese territory must pass through the border control points that exist for that purpose and during the hours in which they are open. Anyone entering Portuguese territory or leaving it, from or to a country which is not party to the Schengen Convention must pass through these border control points.

Citizens of the EU, Andorra, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Malta, Norway, Romania and Switzerland only require an ID card to enter Portugal. If they are under 18, besides an ID card, they must also show permission from their parents allowing them to travel.

For stays that are no longer than 90 days, a passport which is still valid for more than three months after the end of their stay is necessary for visitors from Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, South Korea, Costa Rica, Croatia, El Salvador, United States, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mauritian Islands, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Uruguay, the Vatican, Venezuela and the Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China.

Visitors from countries not mentioned above require a visa to enter Portugal, which can be requested from the Portuguese consulate or embassy in the respective country, for stays up to a maximum of 90 days.


Uniform Schengen visas

Uniform Schengen visas allow citizens from third-party countries who require a visa to enter and transit within the countries that make up the Schengen area. These visas are called uniform because the regulations governing them are common in all of the member countries of Schengen Convention. They are designed for short-term stays of up to 90 days and are intended for tourists.

Under the Schengen Convention, passengers originating from or travelling to another Schengen country are regarded as taking an internal flight and do not need a new visa.

Further information at:

Long-stay visas

Long-stay visas, regulated under the national legislation in force, may be for temporary stays or residence, depending on the length of the stay, and permit their holder to remain in Portugal for the purpose intended: study, internship, work, medical treatment, etc.

  • Temporary Visas

Temporary visas are valid, as a rule, for 4 months and for multiple entries, though the sub-category of visa should be analysed to be sure it is suitable for the purpose intended, namely:

  • Medical treatment
  • Accompaniment of a family member undergoing medical treatment
  • Employee transfer between fellow World Trade Organisation (WTO) countries
  • Temporary employment or self-employment, or company contract or service provision as a self-employed worker
  • Exercise of scientific research, teaching at an institute of higher education and highly- qualified work
  • Exercise of amateur sporting activities
  • Stays in Portuguese territory for periods longer than three months in exceptional cases, duly justified, specifically to attend a study programme at an educational establishment, student exchanges, non-paid or voluntary professional internships, of less than or equal to one year in duration, or for the purposes of complying with international commitments under the World Trade Organisation or those stemming from international conventions or agreements to which Portugal is a party.
  • Residence Visas

Residence visas are valid for 2 entries and 4 months, during which the respective visa holder should request a residence permit.

Residence visas can be issued to students and workers, namely:

  • For the purposes of
    • research work; teaching at an institute of higher education; PhD studies; or, highly-qualified work (employment contract, service provision or research grant)
    • highly-qualified work performed for an employer
  • For studying, student exchanges, professional internships or voluntary work
  • Under higher education student mobility programmes
  • To undertake professional activities for an employer
  • To undertake self-employed activities or in the case of entrepreneurial immigrants
  • For family re-grouping
  • For pensioners, clerics and people with sufficient income

Further information at:

Visas can be requested online at:

Foreign Nationals and Borders Service (Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras)

​For matters related to your documentation while in Portugal, you should go to the customer service department of the Foreign Nationals and Borders Service (SEF) at the branch office or regional department in your area of residence.

  • Foreign Nationals and Borders Service (SEF) - North
    Rua Barão de Forrester, 978
    4050-272 PORTO
    Apartado 4819
    Tel. +351 228330200
    Fax: +351 228330299
    09:00 -12:00

You can book an appointment in advance by phone or online at one of its various customer service offices. The ability to book by phone in advance via the SEF Contact Centre (Centro de Contacto do SEF), allowing you to choose a day and a time, has eliminated queuing and waiting times.

  • SEF Contact Centre
    T. +351 808202653 (fixed network)
    T. +351 808962690 (mobile network)
    Working days - 08:30-17:30

For further information and support with residence procedures for foreign citizens in Portugal, you can also contact the National Immigrant Support Centre (CNAI) or phone Immigrant SOS Hotline (linha SOS Imigrante), which provides information in 8 languages and assistance by sociocultural mediators:

  • CNAI - Porto
    Rua do Pinheiro, n.º 9
    4050-484 Porto
    08:30–16:30 / Sat 09:00-13:00
    T. +351 222 071 274/5
    Fax: +351 222 073 818
  • Line SOS Immigrant
    Tel. 808 257 257 (valid in Portugal)
    Tel. +351 218 106 191 (mobile network and from abroad)
    Mon-Sat – 08:30-20:30

Published 23-05-2013