The D7 Portugal ‘passive income’ visa is an excellent option for online business owners and remote workers interested in relocating to Portugal.
In this guide, we’ll explore exactly who is eligible for this flexible visa, what the benefits are, and how to go about getting it.
Many people from outside the EU are familiar with the D7 Portugal visa option.
It’s designed for those who want to move to Portugal and already have sufficient financial means to support themselves, without physically getting a job in Portugal. It’s not the same as Portugal’s ‘golden visa’, and requires no investment of any kind.
Financial means come in many forms: income from a pension or rental properties, dividends from a (online) business, royalties, or savings. Although the D7 is often dubbed the ‘passive income visa’, it’s also suitable for freelancers and remote workers getting paid by companies outside Portugal.
There are many acceptable forms of income for the flexible D7 visa. But the central requirement is that the D7 visa holder can support themselves through income generated outside of Portugal.
How much income is needed for the D7 visa?
So how much income do you actually need to support yourself while living in Portugal? As of 2021, the Portuguese minimum wage is €665 per month. That might be enough to obtain the D7 visa, but it certainly won’t be enough to maintain a good standard of living in major Portuguese cities like Lisbon or Porto.
We recommend €1,000 monthly as the minimum for a single D7 visa holder, preferably €1,500 or €2,000. For D7, the more income you can show, the stronger your application will be.
The goal of the D7 visa is to attract new immigrants to Portugal who can support themselves without taking local jobs or relying on state benefits. It’s a very accommodating visa option and makes Portugal one of the most attractive EU countries overall.
For digital émigrés interested in moving to Portugal, the D7 Visa is one of the best options available. We highly recommend it, especially for our British readers after the post-Brexit transition period.
In fact, the D7 Portugal visa neatly embodies everything that Digital Émigré represents. It’s a perfect example of a country recognising the value that digital workers and business owners can bring, and creating a residency route to accommodate them. More countries ought to follow suit.
Is the D7 visa a route to residency?
If you’re looking at Portugal as a long-term option, as most émigrés are, you’ll want to know if the D7 allows you to gain temporary and eventually permanent residency.
Great news – it does!
The ‘D7’ tag covers two different (but related) things:
- The D7 visa
- The D7 residence permit
When you first decide to move to Portugal, getting the D7 visa is just your first step. You’ll need to apply for it at the Portuguese consulate in your current country of residence.
Then, after your application is accepted, the visa will be valid for 120 days. During this time, you can move to Portugal and find a property to rent or buy. You should then apply for the D7 residence permit within Portugal.
Getting D7 residency is the second step. Having residency will allow you to live in Portugal for longer periods of time. Your first permit will usually be valid for one year. You can renew it for two years each time after that.
Once you hit the magic five year mark, you’re eligible to apply for permanent residency. You could also apply for citizenship, subject to meeting language and criminal record check requirements.
Acquiring citizenship of Portugal would allow you to apply for a Portuguese passport, gaining full EU rights in the process.
Therefore, the D7 should be of particular interest to British digital émigrés, after the end of 2020. If you’re British, the D7 is the best first step towards regaining the valuable EU rights that Brexit stole. That includes freedom of movement across the entire Schengen zone.
- Live freely in Portugal
- Travel across the whole EU without any other visas
- Work remotely for employers or clients in other EU countries
- Access Portuguese state healthcare
- Remain in the Schengen area for over 90 days
- Build up time towards the five years required for Portuguese permanent residency or citizenship
- If you’re a British passport holder, you can eventually regain your EU rights under Portuguese citizenship
- You can’t move freely to another EU country. That would require a separate visa from the other country.
- You can’t exceed the maximum number of days outside Portugal (183 days in a calendar year)
What are the eligibility requirements?
- Holding a passport from a non-EU country
- Being free of criminal convictions
- Having a means of passive or remote income sufficient to live on in Portugal
Getting the D7 visa requires a significant number of documents. For British passport holders, this is where the huge disadvantage of leaving the EU becomes obvious.
To start with, you’ll need to book an appointment at your nearest Portuguese Embassy or Consulate. Do this as early as possible. Then once that’s done, you can start assembling the required documents.
- Non-EU passport, with at least six months validity
- D7 visa application form
- Two passport photos
- A Portuguese bank account
- Proof of regular or passive income (e.g. bank statements showing pension payments or dividends)
- Bank statements dating back six months
- Proof of accommodation (e.g. property deeds, tenancy agreement, or letter from friends in Portugal if you are staying with them)
- Proof of criminal record check
- Letter explaining why you want Portuguese residency
- Private health insurance
The Portuguese consulate will want to know that you’ve got sufficient income in your bank account for the duration of your residency permit. The most common example is bank statements that show you receiving income from a pension, dividends, or from a rented property.
It’s also a good idea to show evidence of having sufficient savings in the bank. This can provide a backup, if your primary income source dries up. So that means Portuguese minimum wage multiplied by the number of months of the D7 visa (four months), so €2,540 in total.
This is normally a rental agreement from a landlord in Portugal. You might get away with an Airbnb, if you can persuade the owner to draw you up a rental agreement. Or you could use a service like NomadX, which can provide rental agreements for short term stays.
Alternatively, if you have friends or relatives who already live in Portugal, they can write a letter inviting you to live with them temporarily. You can submit this letter at the consulate along with the rest of your documents.
There are also relocation services that appoint a power of attorney to find a property on your behalf without you being physically in Portugal. They can also help you open a bank account and get a NIF (Portuguese tax number).
You will need private health insurance to cover you for the four-month duration of the D7 visa. You could try Allianz or Cigna Global to start with. Once you’ve successfully obtained residency, you’ll be able to join Portugal’s state healthcare system.
If you still want to maintain private health care once you become a resident of Portugal, it’s worth checking out Portuguese insurance companies to find cheaper policies.
It’s important to present proof that you don’t have a criminal record in any of the countries you’ve lived in. This can take some time, especially if you’ve lived abroad, so leave a good runway to get it done. The consulate wants to know that you don’t have any convictions for crimes that would carry jail time in Portugal.
Once you have gathered all these documents, you can then attend your D7 visa appointment at your nearest Portuguese consulate.
The D7 Portugal visa and residency option is the perfect route into the country for digital émigrés.
If you’re British, it puts you on a clear and straightforward path to gaining a permanent foothold back in the Schengen zone. You can beat Brexit and regain your EU rights within five years, via Portuguese citizenship.
What’s more, you get to live in a warm and welcoming country that has sensible leadership, stays politically neutral and doesn’t get involved in international shenanigans.