FAQs: Getting EU Citizenship

Here’s a selection of frequently asked questions

This section will be updated regularly.
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General 🇪🇺

What is Digital Émigré?

Digital Émigré was created to help investors and remote workers get residency in EU countries, so they can eventually gain EU citizenship and all the freedom it brings.

What sort of visas does Digital Émigré help with?

We publish guides to help people get residency visas for EU countries via remote work, passive income (often known as retirement visas), or investment. We don’t focus on work visas, as those typically require you to have sponsorship from an employer based in the target country.

How can I get personalized advice on my situation?

We offer EU citizenship video consultations, which you can book here. In this one-on-one session, we will discuss your personal situation and goals. You’ll come away knowing which country is the best option for you to get EU citizenship, and with a concrete plan on how to achieve it.

What’s the difference between EU residency and citizenship?

Being a temporary resident in a country gives you the right to live there for a certain period of time. After a certain number of years (this differs by country), you can apply for permanent residency as the next step. Permanent residency gives you additional rights and you won’t need to renew your permit so often. However, only EU citizenship (i.e. naturalization in a country) will give you full freedom of movement, with the right to live, work, study, do business, and retire in any of the EU/EEA countries.

I’m British. Can residency in an EU country restore my freedom of movement?

Unfortunately not. Only EU citizenship can do that. If you’re British and you want to regain freedom of movement, the only option is to naturalize as a citizen of another country in the EU. Here are the easiest EU countries to get second citizenship.

Portugal 🇵🇹

Portugal is our top choice for EU citizenship, so we get a lot of questions about it. Here are the most common ones.

Portugal D7 Visa Questions

What is the Portugal D7 visa?

The D7 visa, otherwise known as the retiree visa or passive income visa, is a way to become a resident in Portugal using proof of passive income from outside the country.

What sort of income is eligible for the D7 visa?

Portugal uses a broad definition of ‘passive income’. In practice, most forms of income originating from outside of Portugal will be eligible. That includes investment income, royalties, pensions, rental income, and dividends, as well as salary from remote employment.

How much income will I need to be eligible for the D7 visa?

You will need to have at least the Portuguese minimum wage (€705 per month) in income, plus another 50% for any dependents over 18, and another 30% for each dependent under 18. You will also need proof of enough savings to cover you and any dependents for the first year in Portugal.

Is salary-based income counted as proof of income for a D7 visa?

Some embassies will accept salary from remote work for the D7 application, while others won’t. We recommend checking with your specific embassy, or working with an immigration lawyer. In all cases, the income must originate from a source outside of Portugal. You may also need to provide proof that the job can be conducted remotely.

I have substantial savings, do I still need to show monthly regular income?

Yes, proof of regular monthly income is required. The minimum is €705 per month for the main applicant, plus 50% more for the dependent spouse, and 30% more for each dependent child. However, we recommend a minimum of €1,000 to allow for rising costs of living in Portugal.

How do applicants open their bank account in Portugal before their D7 application is approved?

You can use an online service like Bordr.io to open the account for you, or our lawyers can open one for you as part of the D7 handling service. This process uses Power of Attorney.

Do I need to hire an immigration lawyer to handle my visa application? 

It’s not a requirement, but many applicants prefer to have an experienced professional handle their application, to improve chances of success and reduce stress. Our legal partners in Lisbon offer a full D7 handling service, including both the visa and the residency permit.

Can I get an EU Blue Card while on the D7 visa?

The Blue Card relates to work contracts physically located within the EU, as opposed to remote work. You could try this website to enquire further: https://www.apply.eu/BlueCard/Portugal/

Are there travel or entry restrictions if I need to leave Portugal while on the D7 visa?

The initial D7 visa is double entry, so you can make one trip out and back if needed, while waiting for your residency appointment. Once you have your residency permit, you can travel back and forth freely.

Does having residency status in Portugal affect my original citizenship?

No. Citizenship and residency are two different things.

Does residency in Portugal make it easier to travel to other EU member countries?

That depends on your passport and whether you need a Schengen visa to enter the EU. If yes, then Portuguese residency will allow you to travel freely in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in 180, without applying for a Schengen visa. If you don’t need a Schengen visa (e.g. UK, US, Canada, Australia), then Portuguese residency won’t make any difference. You’ll have the same right to travel freely in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in 180.

How long does the D7 visa process typically take?

From submitting your application at the embassy to receiving your passport with the D7 visa, it takes approximately 6-8 weeks, depending on the individual embassy. 

Portugal NHR Questions

What is NHR?

NHR stands for ‘non-habitual residency’, which is a special tax scheme created by the Portuguese government to encourage skilled workers and foreign pensioners to live in Portugal and contribute to the economy. In return, Portugal offers them preferential tax treatment on certain types of income for a period of 10 years.

Is NHR a type of visa?

No. NHR is only a tax scheme. It has to be used in conjunction with one of the residency options, such as the D7 visa, Portugal Golden Visa or Portugal HQA Visa. Tax residency is compulsory for D7 visa holders, but optional for Golden Visa and HQA visa holders). You can also use NHR in conjunction with residency under EU freedom of movement rights (for EU passport holders only).

Can anyone get NHR?

Only if they haven’t been resident in Portugal within the last five years. There are no restrictions by citizenship. Portuguese nationals can also get NHR, if they’ve been out of the country for over five years.

Do I have to be a Portugal tax resident to get NHR?

Yes. You can only submit an NHR application once you have registered a Portuguese address with the tax authorities.

Do US citizens who are tax resident in Portugal have to file taxes in both the US and Portugal?

Yes, because the US imposes citizenship-based taxation. However, as the US and Portugal have a double tax treaty, it’s unlikely that you would have to pay taxes to both countries. You should consult a tax advisor for more specific information for your situation. 

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