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Work Visa in Portugal.

Learn about work visas in Portugal thanks to Horizons’ up-to-date guide.

Horizons is where real, local hiring expertise meets world-class customer service. Quickly and compliantly hire employees in more than 150 countries worldwide, without the need to open a local entity.

Types of work visas in Portugal

Only non-EU/non-EEA/non-Swiss citizens are required to get a work visa; however, if the EU citizen working in Portugal stays longer than 6 months, they are required to get a Residence Certificate (Certificado de Registo). 

For citizens who are required to get a Portugal work visa, there are several types including:

  • Work visa for skilled workers. You must have a job offer in one of the qualifying jobs or positions. For example scientists, medical professionals, IT experts, engineers or someone who works in a company in high-level or administrative positions.
  • Self Employed Work Visa. If you own a business or provide services, you can apply for a self-employment visa in Portugal as an independent worker.
  • Work visa for highly qualified people. If you have exceptional qualifications in your job and are paid at least 1.5 times the national average gross annual salary of Portugal.
  • Work visa for cultural activities. If you are involved in a cultural activity carried out in Portugal, in a project recognized by the competent Portuguese authorities.
  • Working visa for teaching. You are eligible for this visa if you have a job offer from an education, training or research center in Portugal.
  • “Tech” visa. You can apply for this type of work visa if you are employed by a company that is “in the field of technology and innovation”.

Required documents for a work visa in Portugal

The following documents are required to apply for a work visa in Portugal;

  • Your valid passport.
  • Passport-size pictures, following Schengen visa picture guidelines.
  • Proof of sufficient funds to sustain yourself.
  • Your criminal records from your country of residence. If you have lived in another country for more than one year, you have to get criminal records from there as well.
  • A document giving permission to the SEF to check your Portuguese criminal records.
  • Proof of health insurance.
  • Proof of accommodation in Portugal.
  • Your employment contract.
  • If you are already in Portugal: Proof of legal entry into Portuguese territory, such as a visa.
  • If you are applying from a country other than that of your origin: Proof of legal stay, such as a residence permit or a visa.

Process to get a work visa in Portugal

Getting a work visa when the employee is based outside of Portugal

There are three main parts to having a Portugal work visa processed:

  1. The employer applies for the Work Permit. They must do this after they have offered the job to you but before you travel to Portugal.
  2. The employee applies for a Work Visa at the Portuguese Embassy. Once the employee has a Work Permit, they must apply for a work visa at the Portugal Embassy, which they will use to enter the country.
  3. The employee applies for a Portugal Residence Permit. Once they have arrived in Portugal, they must apply for your Residence Permit for Work at the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF), which allows the employee to live in Portugal on a long-term basis. This can take up to 60 days.

Work visas in Portugal are generally valid for 1-2 years, at which point they will need renewed. After living and working in Portugal for 5 years on a work visa, the work visa holder will be entitled to apply for permanent residency.

Getting a work visa when the employee is based inside of Portugal

An employee on a working visa who wants to changs jobs must reapply at the SEF and provide an offer letter and proof of legal entry into Portugal (i.e. a visa from your original entrance).

Special notes about work visas in Portugal

Work visas in Portugal allow you to bring your family on a family visa; the family visa in Portugal entitles the holder to apply for work. If you bring your spouse to Portugal, they will need to apply at the SEF before being legally able to work, but if approved should have no problem earning income.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ):

The EU Blue Card allows holders to work and reside in any EU Country. Applicants of the EU Blue Card must have spent 3 years completing higher education in the EU, or have a minimum of 5 years of professional experience in the EU. Holders of the EU Blue Card must have a salary that is 20%-50% higher than the average.


Yes, Portugal work visa holders can bring their family members (ex. Spouse or dependent children) to Portugal. To qualify, the work visa holder must be able to prove that they have sufficient funds to provide adequate care and accommodation for your family members.

The Portugal work visa is valid for 1 year and can be renewed up to 5 years. After 5 years of working in Portugal on a Portugal work visa, the employee may apply for permanent residence in Portugal.

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