Portugal is one of the best remote working destinations in Europe, and the Portugal digital nomad visa is easy to get.
Ever since the financial crash of 2008, Portugal has taken a pragmatic stance on immigration. The government has introduced a range of residency visas aimed at enticing skilled foreigners to Portugal’s shores.
Foreigners are welcome in Portugal to run businesses, work remotely, or just live a peaceful life using their own sources of passive income, such as a pension.
During the 2020-21 COVID-19 pandemic, Portugal became a top choice for digital nomads from all over the world, because of its natural beauty, outdoor lifestyle, affordable cost of living, and straightforward residency pathways.
I’ve been working remotely in Portugal for almost three years. I’ve been through all the immigration processes, tested out lots of co-working spaces, and have even been to the famous Digital Nomad Village in Madeira.
I’m confident that Portugal is one of Europe’s top destination for digital nomads.
In this article we’ll cover:
- The different types of Portugal digital nomad visas (yep, there’s more than just one)
- What you’ll need as a digital nomad in Portugal
- The best destinations in Portugal for remote working
- Top insider tips for remote workers in Portugal, from those who live this life every day
Let’s dive in!
What is a digital nomad visa?
A digital nomad visa is a short-term visa that bridges the gap between a tourist visa and a long-term residency visa.
It allows the holder to legally work remotely, usually for companies outside in a foreign country.
The digital nomad visa takes away the need for “visa runs”, where the digital nomad would cross the border to “reset” their tourist visa allowance.
This setup allows the digital nomad to support themselves without taking jobs from residents of the country of temporary stay.
Digital nomad visas have become very popular in the wake of the pandemic, with many countries around the world announcing new digital nomad visas.
So far, at least 11 European countries have created digital nomad visas, with several more in the pipeline.
Let’s take a look at the different ways to get a Portugal digital nomad visa.
Types of Portugal digital nomad visas
Portugal has long been ahead of the game when it comes to making life easy for remote workers.
As a result, it already has several types of visas that meet the requirements of a typical ‘digital nomad visa’.
Broadly speaking, the types of Portugal digital nomad visa fall into two categories.
Which one you choose depends on:
- 1) How long you wish to stay in Portugal.
- 2) Your type of income and business structure.
Let’s examine each option in detail.
Category #1. Portugal Temporary Stay Visa
SEF has now removed the application link for this visa from its website. I spoke to a Portuguese immigration lawyer to find out why. They informed me that although the temporary stay visa has been approved, it’s not yet in force. The government is still “preparing the requirements.” I will update this article when further news is announced.
The Portugal temporary stay visa is valid for stays of up to 1 year. It allows you to work as a self-employed freelancer or online business owner.
You can travel freely in and out of Portugal on this visa (although you must adhere to other immigration requirements in the Schengen zone). The temporary stay visa can be renewed for two-year periods.
To be eligible, the main factor is proving that you have sufficient income to support yourself during your stay in Portugal. For 2022, that’s a minimum of €705 per month (equivalent to Portuguese national minimum wage).
Ideally, you’ll have more than the bare minimum, because the cost of living in Portugal is beginning to increase, especially in major cities such as Lisbon and Porto.
The purpose of this minimum income is to show that you have enough to cover your living costs for the duration of your time in Portugal, including food, accommodation, and so on.
You can show proof of the required minimum income by completing a statement of responsibility from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Portugal. You may also be asked to show your bank statements and invoices for further proof.
The temporary stay visa is a great fit if you want to try out Portugal for a short time, without committing to becoming a proper resident.
It’s the perfect Portugal digital nomad visa for those who want to travel frequently while keeping Portugal as their base.
You can find all required forms and documents for the application for the Portugal temporary stay visa here, at the official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Portugal.
Here’s a list of required documents:
- Official form;
- Passport or another travel document, valid for an additional 3 months following the duration of the intended stay;
- Two identical passport photographs, up-to-date and in good condition, allowing proper identification;
- Transport document (return ticket);
- Document certifying the third-country national is in a regular situation when the applicant is from a different nationality than that of the country where the visa is being requested;
- Valid travel insurance covering necessary medical expenses, including emergency assistance and repatriation;
- Form authorizing access to Portuguese criminal records by the Immigration and Border Services (SEF);
- Criminal record from the country of origin or country of residency for over one year (minors under 16 years of age are exempt from producing any criminal record related document);
- Proof of means of subsistence, as stipulated by law;
- Proof of subsistence means can be made through a statement of responsibility, signed by a Portuguese national or by a foreign national legally resident in Portugal.
Category #2. Portugal National Visas
Portugal’s national visas are for those who prefer a longer stay in Portugal, with the goal of becoming an official resident.
National visas are perfect for digital nomads who’d prefer to keep Portugal as a long-term base.
There are several types of national visas available, depending on your type of income and business activity.
Neither are specifically labelled ‘Portugal digital nomad visa’, but either could serve the purpose.
Both types of national visas have two stages:
- 1) The embassy stage, which must happen at the Portuguese Embassy in your home country.
- 2) The residency permit stage, which happens after you arrive in Portugal.
You submit your application at the Portuguese Embassy in your home country. If successful, they grant you a double-entry visa valid for four months.
In this timeframe, you have to enter Portugal and complete the second stage – applying for a residency permit.
Portugal D7 Visa – Passive Income or Remote Work
For digital nomads who work remotely or have passive income from abroad, getting Portugal residency via the D7 visa is very straightforward. It’s an excellent option for a Portugal digital nomad visa.
Types of passive income that are eligible for the Portugal D7 visa include: pension income, dividends, rental income, or royalties.
A salary from remote work outside of Portugal MAY (depends on embassy) also make you eligible to apply for the D7 visa (which isn’t the case with many passive income residency routes in other countries).
So how much income do you need to apply for the D7 visa? Portugal specifies that D7 applicants should show evidence of passive income that’s at least the equivalent of the Portuguese minimum wage.
At present, this is €705 per month for one applicant. If you want to bring a dependent spouse or children, you’ll need another 50% of income to account for your spouse, and 30% more for each dependent child (under 18).
However, the cost of living in Portugal is rising all the time. The minimum wage typically isn’t enough to live comfortably in the major cities.
It’s best to have at least €1,000 a month for one applicant plus the 50% and 30% for a spouse and children.
You’ll also need to show proof of having sufficient savings to support you in Portugal in case you lose your passive income source. This should be deposited in a Portuguese bank account.
You’ll need to have at least 12 months’ worth of the minimum salary, plus the 50% and 30% for dependent spouse and children (if applicable).
The more passive income and savings you can show, the stronger your application will be.
Portugal D2 Visa – Entrepreneur or Independent Service Provider
For those who don’t have a source of regular passive income, the D2 visa is another national visa that fits the bill as a Portugal digital nomad visa.
The D2 visa is a great fit if you want to open a new business in Portugal, set up a Portuguese branch of an existing business, or move to Portugal to run a business that’s already here.
Getting residency with the D2 visa mainly depends on having a viable business (or business idea) that you can run in Portugal. The business can be anything from a coffee shop to a wellness retreat to a real estate agency – there are no restrictions.
There are two main route to getting residency with the D2 visa. The first is the entrepreneur route, which will require you to incorporate a company in Portugal and hire a Portuguese accountant.
You’ll also need to show evidence of having sufficient financial means to set up and run the company. As you’re incorporating a company in Portugal, you’ll need to pay Portuguese corporation tax every year, along with social security contributions.
The second route to the D2 visa is the independent service provider route. This option is a good fit for those who wish to provide services to domestic or international clients. It has fewer requirements compared to the entrepreneur route.
You don’t have to incorporate a Portuguese company, nor do you need an accountant. You’ll need to show proof of having contracts with clients, along with proof of relevant experience and/or qualifications in your field of work.
A residency application for the D2 visa is most likely to succeed if you have a strong business plan that shows how your firm will profit in Portugal.
The Portuguese authorities want to know that your company or service activities will provide enough money to sustain you while you live in Portugal.
In general, applying for the D7 visa is more straightforward compared to the D2.
We highly recommend that you seek to establish a source of passive income, such as by setting up an online business, so that you can take this easy route to Portugal residency.
For those seeking more stability, the D2 and D7 are both great options for the Portugal digital nomad visa.
Residency in Portugal for EU citizens
If you’re an EU passport holder, you don’t need any sort of Portugal digital nomad visa to work remotely from here.
You can enter freely and stay for up to three months without registering.
If you wish to stay longer than three months, you should declare your presence at the local municipality office (camâra municipal) and get a temporary residency certificate (usually valid for five years).
Accommodation in Portugal for digital nomads
If you’re moving to Portugal as a digital nomad, finding the right accommodation will be high on your list of priorities.
Luckily, Portugal is well geared towards short-term stays, so you’re sure to find something that’s a good fit.
NB, if you’re going for a more long-term Portugal digital nomad visa option, like the D7 or D2 visa, you’ll need proof of a 12-month rental contract to apply for the visa.
There are plenty of Airbnbs all over Portugal, so you should have no trouble finding one that suits your budget.
Prices for short-term accommodation can get quite high in major tourists hubs such as Lisbon or the Algarve. Most Airbnb hosts offer discounts for longer stays, e.g. over one month.
But for stays beyond this, Airbnb can get expensive. You’d be better off exploring one of the other options, like Flatio or private accommodation.
Created for medium-term stays, Flatio is a worldwide service catering specifically to the needs of digital nomads.
Designed for stays of a few months or more, Flatio offers fully furnished, no deposit apartments at prices typically more reasonable than those of Airbnb.
It’s well worth checking out Flatio, as the service covers most major cities in Portugal, as well as digital nomad hubs such as Madeira Island.
#3. Private accommodation
Private accommodation can be a good way to find apartments at more reasonable prices compared to Airbnb or Flatio.
I’ve had good luck finding short-term private accommodation in Portugal on expat Facebook groups for the cities I’ve stayed in.
On the downside, private landlords will probably ask you to pay a security deposit.
Portugal doesn’t have any kind of deposit protection scheme, so you may end up losing your deposit in the event of a disagreement. Ideally, avoid handing over more than one month’s rent as a deposit.
#4. Co-living communities
Many digital nomads in Portugal are moving into some of the country’s co-living communities. In these shared spaces, each individual has their own bedroom, but share other facilities like the kitchen and bathroom.
There may also be organized co-working hours, from a large shared workspace. Co-living can be a good opportunity to combine the social and networking opportunities of co-working, with the benefits of reduced accommodation costs
But they won’t be the right fit for everyone, especially if you’re more introverted or used to living alone.
Here are some of Portugal’s most popular co-living set ups:
- Selina Secret Garden (Lisbon)
- Outsite (Cais do Sodre)
- The Sea Office (Costa da Caparica)
- Madeira Digital Nomad Village
If cutting costs is important to you, you might consider living in a hostel for a while. Portugal’s major cities have plenty to choose from.
Many hostels organize events and can be a good place to meet other digital nomads, but can be distracting for those who prefer a quieter environment.
#6. Serviced Apartments
These are typically found in larger cities or more touristic destinations, such as Madeira. They typically provide a fully furnished apartment with a kitchen, complete with cleaning and laundry services included.
Serviced apartments are a convenient choice for digital nomads, because everything is included in the monthly rent. They offer a more authentic experience compared to hotels or hostels, allowing you to prepare your own food and live like a local.
Living in a hotel isn’t for everyone, as it can be restrictive and quickly gets expensive.
Also, typical hotel rooms lack proper kitchen facilities, so you’ll be confined to eating hotel meals or going out to restaurants.
But a hotel might be a useful option, especially in the early days of your stay in Portugal.
Best destinations in Portugal for digital nomads
Portugal is fast becoming a top destination for digital nomads in Europe.
But which of the country’s beautiful places are the most well-suited to remote workers? Let’s take a look at some of the hotspots.
The Portuguese capital Lisbon has become the classic digital nomad city, and it’s full of facilities to cater to remote workers.
From co-working spaces to tech conferences and meet ups – Lisbon has everything you need as the perfect landing pad in Portugal.
In Lisbon, you’ll find plenty of digital nomads from around the world, along with great cafes, international food and non-stop events.
Portugal’s second city, historic Porto is rapidly becoming a top choice for digital nomads in Portugal.
While the weather is cooler and damper than Lisbon, Porto is more affordable than Lisbon and very well set up with co-working spaces.
If you want something a little more low-key than the capital city lifestyle, then definitely consider Porto.
Costa da Caparica
With prices in Lisbon on the up, many digital nomads are seeking out more affordable alternatives within easy striking distance of the capital. Costa da Caparica is a great choice for this.
You can be right on the beach and experience its sleepy beach town vibes, while still plugging into the resident community of remote workers from around the world.
If you need some big city excitement, then Lisbon is just a short train ride or easy drive away.
The mystical town of Sintra is another good digital nomad base within easy reach of Lisbon.
With its stunning scenery, cool temperatures and other-worldly vibes, Sintra used to be the summer escape for Portuguese nobility.
It now has an up-and-coming international remote worker scene, with a diverse mix of people from Inner Mongolia to Birmingham.
One of Portugal’s most popular surf towns, Ericeira is a great place to work close to the ocean.
It’s popular with digital nomads because it’s an easy 45 minute journey from central Lisbon.
If you’re into surfing alongside your laptop work, definitely check out Ericeira.
The tiny island of Madeira, hundreds of kilometres from mainland Portugal, has become one of 2022’s hottest digital nomad destinations.
Thanks to the Digital Nomad Village project, launched in 2021 in the midst of the pandemic, Madeira has put itself firmly on the map for remote workers worldwide.
Madeira is an ideal destination for remote working. It has fast Internet speeds, plenty of natural beauty and access to outdoor activities, and a year-round summer season. If you’re looking for a place to say goodbye to winter, Madeira is perfect for you!
FAQs: Portugal Digital Nomad Visa
What is a digital nomad visa?
A digital nomad visa bridges the gap between a tourist visa and a long stay residency visa. It allows remote workers to enter a country for stays typically up to a year, while earning their income remotely from sources outside the country.
Does Portugal have a digital nomad visa?
Portugal doesn’t have a specific digital nomad visa, but it has several residency options that fulfil the same purpose. The D7 Visa is a great fit for those who have passive income, while the D2 Visa is good for entrepreneurs who wish to start a business in Portugal. For shorter stays of less than one year, you should check out the Portugal temporary stay visa. EU citizens can move freely to Portugal and work remotely with no need for a visa.
Do digital nomads pay tax in Portugal?
If you stay in Portugal for longer than 183 days in a year, then you may be considered a tax resident. In that situation, you may have to pay tax on your worldwide income. However, you may be eligible for special tax status through Portugal’s NHR tax scheme. You should talk to a professional tax advisor to clarify your individual situation.
Do I need a visa to be in Portugal?
If you hold an EU passport, you can enter Portugal freely and stay indefinitely without a visa. Those from third countries with a special agreement with Portugal can enter without a visa for stays of up to 90 days in 180. Other nationalities will require a Schengen visa to enter Portugal.
Why is Portugal the best place to work as a digital nomad?
Portugal is the best place to work as a digital nomad because it has some of Europe’s fastest Internet speeds, along with diverse and beautiful destinations, from the lively city of Lisbon to the beautiful tropical island of Madeira. Portugal also has a good infrastructure for digital nomads, including many laptop-friendly cafes, co-working spaces, co-living spaces, and entrepreneurial networking events.
What’s the internet speed like in Portugal?
The Internet speed in Portugal is generally very good, especially in the large cities and on Madeira Island. At present, the highest internet speed you can get in Portugal is 1 Gbit/s. Standard internet service provides about 350 Mbit/s, with fibre optic internet still in the process of being implemented.
In this article, we examined the different ways to get a Portugal digital nomad visa.
Portugal offers a variety of ways for digital nomads to get residency, depending on the type of income and how long they want to stay.
We recommend the Portugal D7 Visa for those who want to make Portugal their main base for the longer term. Residency with the D7 visa can easily be renewed.
You can even use it as a pathway towards permanent residency or Portuguese citizenship.
We also explored the different types of accommodation in Portugal for digital nomads, along with some of the country’s best destinations for remote working, co-living, and co-working.