So you’ve decided to move to Portugal? Great choice!
But before you pack your bags, there are a few things you need to know about the residency process.
In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about getting the Portugal D7 visa, including tips on how to make your application a success.
The information here is gathered from and double-checked with our network of immigration lawyers in Portugal (please note, this article is for general information only and doesn’t constitute legal advice).
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What is the Portugal D7 Visa?
The Portugal D7 visa allows foreigners from outside the EU/EEA/Switzerland to become resident in Portugal with income from abroad. It’s a good fit for those who wish to live full time in Portugal, such as for retirement purposes.
You might also hear people talking about Portugal’s digital nomad visa. Starting from October 2022, those with income from remote work salary should apply for this visa and not the D7.
If you have passive income, the D7 visa is a straightforward way to get residency in Portugal. Its simple requirements are suitable for a wide range of people. Chances are you’re already eligible, or can easily become eligible.
The Portuguese government has a policy of encouraging immigration in a bid to rejuvenate the country’s economy.
As a result, Portugal’s immigration processes are relatively easy when compared to countries such as the UK or the US.
Benefits of the D7 Visa
With a D7 visa, you can get residency in Portugal and access the following benefits:
- Visa-free travel across the whole Schengen area for up to 90 days in every 180 (if you’re from a country that needs a Schengen visa, the D7 visa will take the place of this).
- Access high-quality state healthcare, most of which is free or low-cost
- Bring your family to Portugal using the EU family reunification program.
- Full Portugal residency rights without the large investment needed for the Golden Visa.
- One of the lowest monthly income passive requirements for any EU country.
- Benefit from Portugal’s special tax program, the NHR (non-habitual residency) scheme.
- Study, work, or launch a business in Portugal.
- Residency in one of Europe’s most affordable countries in terms of cost of living
- Live a peaceful and secure life – Portugal is one of the world’s safest countries.
- Apply for Portuguese citizenship after just five years of residency.
Downsides of the D7 Visa
- Having a regular source of passive income is key – we don’t recommend applying with only savings, unless they can reliably generate the required amount of interest to meet the minimum requirements.
- Lack of flexibility in physical stay requirements – For the D7 visa, you’re required to make Portugal your primary country of residence and become a tax resident too. That means you should avoid being out of Portugal for over six months consecutively or eight months non-consecutively in any one year.
- Once you become resident, you’ll have to declare your worldwide income to Portugal every year
- The application process requires many documents and is subject to change according to the requirements of any specific embassy (each one has the right to set its own rules).
- You can’t apply for the D7 from within Portugal. Instead, you have to apply at a Portuguese Embassy or consulate in either your country of citizenship or legal residence.
- You can’t move freely to another EU country. That would require an entirely separate visa issued by the other country.
The basic eligibility requirements are as follows:
- Holding a non-EU/EEA/Swiss passport
- Having a clean criminal record
- Having a means of passive income sufficient to live on in Portugal
- Having proof of sufficient savings to support you and any dependents for at least one year
The passive income requirement is at least Portuguese minimum wage (€740 per month or equivalent), for a single applicant.
But Portugal is becoming increasingly expensive, especially in the major cities, so we recommend a minimum of €1,000 per month for a single applicant to improve your chances of a successful application.
You should add 50% of this sum for a dependent spouse, and 30% for each dependent child under 18.
You’ll also need to show proof of having sufficient savings to support you and your family during your first year of residency in Portugal.
You should deposit those funds in your Portuguese bank account before submitting your application.
The minimum amount is 12 x the minimum monthly income level, so 12 x €740 = €8,880. You should add 50% of this amount for a dependent spouse, and 30% for each dependent child under 18.
Types of income accepted
The following types of income are generally acceptable for the application:
- Pension income
- Income from renting a property
- Dividends from investments or from a limited company
- Intellectual property
Other essential requirements
NIF (Portuguese tax number)
The NIF is a central element of everyday life in Portugal.
It’s essential for your D7 visa application, plus many other things while resident in Portugal.
You’ll need to get your NIF before starting your D7 application.
You can do it yourself using an online service like Bordr.
Or, if you’re working with a lawyer for your D7, they will get it for you as part of the application process.
Portuguese bank account
You’ll need to open a Portuguese bank account before submitting your D7 application.
This is where your deposit your savings for the first year.
Just like the NIF, the bank account can be created either remotely using a service like Bordr, or through your lawyer.
Apart from being necessary for the D7 visa application itself, having a Portuguese bank account from the beginning will make your daily life in Portugal easier.
Proof of passive or remote work income
Being able to financially support yourself and your family while in Portugal is the key requirement for the D7 visa.
You’ll need two main types of documents to prove income for this.
Firstly, bank statements for at least six months showing the income going into your account. (Note: it’s fine to use your home country’s bank account for this purpose).
Secondly, you’ll need proof of where the income comes from.
For dividends, you could show dividend vouchers or a statement from your investment account.
For rental income, you could show proof of a contract with your tenants.
For a state pension, you could show your pension eligibility letter from your government.
Proof of savings
This one is easy – all you need to do is deposit the required amount into your new Portuguese bank account.
Proof of accommodation
In the past, many Portuguese embassies would accept an Airbnb or hotel booking for the D7 visa application.
That’s no longer the case with most embassies.
With increasing numbers of D7 visa applicants, embassies can afford to be stricter with their requirements.
Most now ask for proof of a 12 month rental agreement with a landlord in Portugal, or property deeds, before they will accept your D7 application.
Many real estate agents can arrange video viewings to help you feel more secure in moving forward with the rental.
Alternatively, if you have friends or relatives who already live in Portugal, you may be able to submit a letter from them inviting you to live with them temporarily.
You should submit this letter at the consulate along with the rest of your documents.
Timing for the start date of the rental agreement can be a tricky issue. There’s been some confusion about getting the correct start date and making it fit in with the overall application timeline.
Ideally, the contract should start before you submit the D7 application, because then it acts as proof that you actually have an address in Portugal. However, this is often a less than ideal situation for most people.
We recommend that you start your 12 months rental agreement around 60 days after your desired appointment date at your nearest Portuguese embassy or consulate. This takes into account the D7 processing timelines of most Portuguese embassies.
Health insurance cover
Once you become a Portugal resident, you can access the Portuguese state healthcare system.
But while waiting for your residency permit, you’ll need travel health insurance in place to cover you if anything goes wrong. You’ll need to make sure all members of your family are covered.
SafetyWing is our top choice for travel insurance, combining affordability with convenience.
We recommend taking out cover for at least six months, but preferably 12 months to allow for any delays in issuing your residency permit.
Criminal record certificate
You should apply for this in the country where you’ve lived for the last two years.
If you’re applying from the US, you’ll normally need to get an FBI level certificate rather than the state level one.
For those applying from the UK, you’ll need an ACRO police certificate.
For other countries, you’ll need to confirm the exact local requirements.
Typically, you’ll need a clean criminal record to be successful with the Portugal D7 visa application.
However, it’s still possible to apply with a minor crime on your record, as long as Portuguese law would only punish that crime with less than one year imprisonment.
If this is your situation, we highly recommend working with an experienced Portuguese immigration lawyer to handle your application.
Minimum physical stay requirements
There’s a lot of confusion about the minimum physical stay requirements with the Portugal D7 visa.
The basic principle is that residency with the D7 visa requires you to make Portugal your primary home and become a Portuguese tax resident. To do that, you’ll need to put a number of things in place.
Firstly, you’ll need a Portuguese address, likely the rental agreement or property deed you submitted for your D7 application.
Secondly, that address will need to be linked to your NIF on the tax authority website (note: this will happen after you successfully get your Portugal D7 visa and later your Portuguese residency permit).
In the initial stages, your NIF will be set up using your original address overseas, or the address of your lawyer.
You’re normally considered a Portuguese tax resident once your NIF is linked to a Portuguese address.
From that point on, you’ll need to declare your worldwide income to Portugal every year, between April and June.
To maintain tax residency in Portugal, you should avoid being out of the country for over six months consecutively in any one year, or eight months non-consecutively.
Many people ask us how Portugal can check this, especially if you’re spending time in the Schengen zone where there are no border controls. The answer is, they usually don’t check.
But the danger point comes when you renew your residency permit, when the immigration authorities may ask you to prove how much time you spent in Portugal during the previous year.
If it’s insufficient, then it’s possible they could refuse to renew your residency permit. That would interrupt your timeline to citizenship and cause a lot of other problems.
That’s why we only recommend the D7 visa for people who want to live full-time in Portugal.
If you need more flexibility, then the Portugal Golden Visa has much lower minimum stay requirements – just seven days per year.
Including family members on your application
You can bring dependent family members to Portugal with you using the D7 Visa. To do so, you’ll need proof of sufficient funds (both passive income and savings) to cover all of them. Here are the family members that can be included:
- Spouse or long-term partner (of more than two years)
- Dependent children under 18
- Dependent children under 25 (as long as they’re in full-time education)
- Dependent parents (either over 66 years old, or entirely financially dependent on you. Note: they would have to live with you while resident in Portugal)
Other relatives, such as siblings, aren’t eligible to join your application. They need to apply for their own D7 visa.
Also, if your spouse or long-term partner has their own source of passive income, we highly recommend applying for two separate D7 visas.
That typically means a faster processing time at the embassy, compared to applying with one main applicant and the second person as dependent.
List of required documents
- Non-EU/EEA and non-Swiss passport, with at least six months validity (for all applicants)
- Portugal D7 visa application form
- Two passport photos
- A Portuguese bank account (Bordr offers an online NIF and bank account opening service)
- Bank statements (from any bank) dating back six months, showing proof of regular passive or remote income
- Proof of accommodation (e.g. property deeds, tenancy agreement, or letter from friends in Portugal if you are staying with them)
- Proof of a clean criminal record in your current country of residence
- Private health insurance or suitable travel insurance for the first 12 months
The application process
Getting residency with the Portugal D7 visa is a two-stage process.
Stage 1: The Portuguese embassy
The first step takes place at the Portuguese embassy or consulate in your country of citizenship or legal residency.
First, you’ll need to book an appointment with the embassy, normally through VFS Global.
In the time before the appointment, you’ll gather the supporting documents for your application.
Make sure you give yourself enough time to complete this process before the appointment, especially the criminal record certificate, which can take time to arrive.
Once you’ve got everything together, the next step is to attend the appointment at the embassy and submit your entire application package to the embassy officials.
Once you’ve done that, there’s normally a waiting time of around 6 to 8 weeks (depending on the embassy) before your visa will be ready.
The embassy will normally send your passport back to you via registered mail with the Portugal D7 visa attached to a single page. This visa is double-entry and will be valid for four months from the date of issue.
During that time, you can travel to Portugal and complete the second stage.
Stage 2: Portugal Immigration and Borders Service (SEF)
The second stage of the Portugal D7 visa process happens once you enter Portugal.
You’ll use your D7 visa to enter the country at border control. The visa allows you to enter Portugal under the status of an applicant for D7 residency, rather than with the Schengen visa or the 90 day visa-free tourist allowance (e.g. for UK or US nationals).
Your appointment with the immigration and border service (SEF) should have already been arranged for you when your visa was issued.
To find it, examine your visa page in your passport. You should see a printed URL.
Typing that URL into a web browser will show you the time, date and place of your residency appointment with SEF.
To deal with a heavy backlog from the pandemic, SEF has been issuing appointments all over the country. So don’t be alarmed if your appointment is in a town far away from where you’re planning to live.
At this appointment, the SEF official will capture your photo, fingerprints, and signature. They will also ask you to confirm other details including your date of birth, your profession, your parents names, and your NIF number.
Then you’ll need to pay a fee for issuing the residence permit. Once that’s done, the residence permit will be processed and sent by mail to your Portuguese address.
The timeline for it to arrive can vary, and may take a couple of months.
Once you have your residence permit, you can access all the benefits of being a Portugal resident, including state healthcare, and the right to work or open a business in Portugal.
Renewing your residency permit
The residency permit that you receive in the second stage of the D7 visa process is classed as a temporary residency permit.
That means you’ll need to renew it several times before reaching the five-year mark.
Your first residency permit will normally be valid for a period of two years. You’ll need to renew it at this point. The second renewal lasts for three years.
Permanent residency and citizenship
Permanent residency requires you to renew after 10 years, while Portuguese citizenship lasts indefinitely.
Once you’ve been granted citizenship, you’ll be able to apply for a Portuguese passport.
Portuguese citizenship also gives you full rights as an EU citizen.
- Live, work, do business, study, or retire freely in the 30 countries of the EU and EEA
- Have a safe and secure escape route in times of crisis
- Access favorable EU tuition fees at top universities
- Have the reassurance of enhanced consular protection around the world
- Easily access national health care benefits, many free of charge
- Travel visa-free to at least 153 countries
- Benefit from EU privacy laws
- Pass your citizenship to your spouse and descendants
D7 Visa vs Golden Visa
Let’s now examine how the D7 visa compares to the Golden Visa.
This handy chart will help you decide which one would be a better fit for you and your family.
In general, the D7 visa is best for those who don’t wish to make a large investment and intend to live full time in Portugal.
The Portugal Golden Visa is best for those who need more flexibility – either to maintain their existing life in their home country, or spend time in Portugal on their own terms.
|D7 Visa||Golden Visa|
|Physical stay requirements||183 days per year||7 days per year|
|Tax residency in Portugal||Required||Optional|
|Passive income||At least €740/month||None|
|Citizenship timeline||5 years||5 years|
|Access to NHR tax scheme||Yes||Yes (if tax resident)|
FAQs: Portugal D7 Visa
How can I apply for the D7 visa online in Portugal?
You can’t apply for the D7 visa online in Portugal. Instead, you need to start your application at your nearest Portuguese embassy or consulate, in either your country of citizenship or legal residence.
How long does the D7 visa take?
Many embassies take from 6 to 8 weeks to process your D7 Visa after you submit your application. But that’s only the start of the process, you also need to complete the second stage at the immigration authorities within Portugal. It can take up to 6 months from beginning the D7 visa process to receiving your residency permit in Portugal.
Can you work in Portugal with the D7 visa?
Yes, once you receive your residency permit you can study, work, or open a business in Portugal.
What type of visa is the D7?
The Portugal D7 visa is a residency visa designed for people with independent means from passive sources.
How long is the visa valid for?
The initial visa is valid for four months. During that time you can use the visa to enter Portugal and apply for a residency permit. The first residency permit is valid for two years. After that, you can renew it for a further three years.
When should I start the application?
We recommend starting the application process at least two months before you plan to travel to Portugal.
How long does it take to complete the entire application process?
It normally takes 6-8 weeks to receive the visa. Then up to six months from starting the application to receiving your residency permit in Portugal.
What are the passive income requirements for the Portugal D7 visa?
Officially, at least €740 per month for one applicant. But we recommend a minimum of €1,000 (for the main applicant) to account for rising living costs across Portugal, especially if you want to move to Lisbon.
Can I apply while I’m in Portugal?
No, you can only start the application at a Portuguese embassy in your country of citizenship, or legal residence (if the latter is different from the former.)
Can I apply from outside my country of citizenship?
Yes, but only if you have legal residency in the country where you plan to apply.
Who can apply for the Portugal D7 visa?
Anyone who has sufficient passive income, is not a citizen of the EU/EEA or Switzerland, and who has a clean criminal record
Can I apply with savings but no passive income?
We don’t recommend this, unless your savings can generate sufficient interest to meet the passive income requirements.
Can I apply with cryptocurrency income?
Yes, but you’ll have to show proof of the cryptocurrency being converted into euros or other fiat currency.
Do I need a D7 visa if my spouse/partner is an EU citizen?
No. You can apply for residency in Portugal with your partner via EU family reunification.
Can I get Portuguese citizenship using the D7 visa?
Yes. You can apply for citizenship after five years of temporary residency, subject to meeting certain criteria
Can I use Airbnb for the accommodation requirement?
Not usually. Some embassies may still accept this, but more and more are asking for a 12 month rental contract.
How often do I need to renew my D7 visa?
The D7 visa itself is only used for your initial entry into Portugal. After that point, you’ll convert the visa to a Portuguese residency permit. The first residency permit is valid for two years, then you’ll need to renew it again after three years. At the five year point, you can choose to apply for permanent residency or citizenship instead.
This article has provided a detailed overview of the Portugal D7 visa, including the key requirements and what the application process involves.
The D7 visa is an excellent fit for those with passive income, such as pensions or dividends, who want to move to Portugal and live there full-time.