A Digital Nomad visa, as the name suggests, is designed for digital nomads. Digital nomads are specialists who work remotely using modern technologies and are not bound to any particular location or time zone. As a rule, such people work from home, cafes, coworking spaces, or public libraries.
Most digital nomads are freelancers. They mostly work in IT, web-based journalism, photography, design, business, marketing, and social media. In other words, any job where access to equipment and a stable Internet connection is enough to do it.
However, it would be wrong to assume that a Portugal Digital Nomad visa can be granted only to freelancers. If you are on the payroll and work remotely, you are also eligible for this immigration route.
Therefore, a Portugal Digital Nomad visa suits two categories of applicants:
Every year, more and more foreign investors, entrepreneurs, young specialists, and retirees relocate to Portugal. The country is famous for the breathtaking coastline of the Algarve and the beauty of its cosmopolitan cities, such as Lisbon and Porto. The hospitality of locals, mild climate, and relaxed lifestyle have also contributed to the popularity of Portugal among foreign freelancers.
Since 30 October 2022, freelancers and remote staff workers can relocate to Portugal on a new Portugal Digital Nomad visa. Foreign nationals can stay in the country and apply for temporary residence if their average monthly income exceeds the country’s minimum salary by at least four times, i.e. it is not less than €3,040 ($3,380).
A Portugal Digital Nomad visa was specifically designed for remote workers so that they can stay and work in Portugal for one year or longer if they apply for temporary residence.
In recent years, the Portuguese government has been actively developing reliable and high-speed Internet infrastructure, partially thanks to the Golden Visa investment program that was launched in 2012. Digital nomads whose job depends on the quality of the connection will appreciate the Internet speed from the Portuguese providers.
In this article, Imperial & Legal’s specialists will give you a detailed overview of a Portugal Digital Nomad visa.
The COVID-19 pandemic became a catalyst for remote working. Portugal was not the first country to introduce a digital nomad immigration route. However, it is the one that offers the most favourable conditions for digital nomads.
A Portugal Digital Nomad visa allows you to work for clients from anywhere in the world and live in Portugal. For example, you can work for a company in Singapore, the UK, or the USA while staying in a beautiful Mediterranean country.
There is another benefit of a Portugal Digital Nomad visa that is also referred to as a Portugal Freelancer visa. With this visa, you can travel visa-free across the whole Schengen area.
A Portugal Digital Nomad visa provides a good alternative to a Portugal D7 Passive Income visa because it can be used not only by wealthy rentiers but also by remote company workers and freelancers.
It is not difficult to apply for a Portugal Digital Nomad visa. All you need to do is visit either a Portuguese consulate in your country or the Portuguese Immigration and Border Service (SEF) if you are already in Portugal. The following documents are required for visa application:
A Portugal Digital Nomad visa is ideal for foreign remote workers who have a sufficient monthly income (at least €3,040).
There are two immigration options that you can choose from when you apply for a Portugal Digital Nomad visa:
Both options are beneficial for digital nomads: some want to come to Portugal on a short-term project while others plan to spend more time in the country and obtain Portuguese residency.
This visa is for remote workers who want to stay in Portugal temporarily for up to one year. This option is perfect for expats who plan to stay in the country for a short period.
A Portugal residence permit allows you to stay in Portugal for up to five years. Initially, the permit is issued for two years and can be extended for three more years.
After five years of stay in Portugal as a temporary resident, a digital nomad can apply for permanent residence and even get EU citizenship if they meet all the requirements. With an EU second passport, you will be able to live, work, and study in any EU country.
Note that for both immigration options on the Portugal Digital Nomad immigration route, you need to fulfil the same income requirement – you must earn at least €3,040 per month.
There are at least four visa categories that can be used by digital nomads to relocate to Portugal if for some reason they do not want to apply for a Portugal Digital Nomad visa. For all the below visas, the application procedure is the same: you get a short-stay visa that is valid for 120 days. If you plan to stay in Portugal longer, you need to visit the SEF and apply for a two-year residence permit.
A Short-term Work visa is a perfect choice for digital nomads intending to work in Portugal temporarily.
A D7 Passive Income visa targets the foreign retiree. However, it can be used by any person who receives passive income in the form of dividends, deposit interest, etc. This visa category may suit digital nomads and remote workers only if they have any sources of passive income.
If you get a residence permit, you will be granted full access to the Schengen area. For this, you will have to prove that you have enough passive income to support yourself and any accompanying family members.
A D2 Business visa is designed for non-EU entrepreneurs to encourage investments in local businesses. To get a Portugal D2 Business visa, you need to demonstrate one of the following:
How can a visa applicant prove that they plan to establish a new business and have enough funds for this? As a visa applicant, you will have to submit documents showing that you have enough savings to set up a company or can get a loan from a Portuguese bank and prepare a comprehensive business plan. Note that along with the money to set up a company, you need to have enough funds to support yourself and your family in Portugal.
After five years of stay in Portugal on a Portugal D2 Business visa, you will be able to apply for a Portuguese permanent residency and then, EU citizenship.
A Golden visa provides an opportunity to get Portugal temporary residency by investment. If you invest €500,000 or more in the Portuguese economy, you will be able to travel across the EU countries visa-free. Your spouse and children will also be able to apply for residency.
Foreign investors can choose from several investment options: purchase of property, shared investment in an investment fund, registration of a new company and creation of jobs, contributions to cultural, historic, and scientific projects, investment in existing businesses, etc. However, there are rumours that the Portuguese government is going to amend the residency by investment program and exclude the investment into property.
The SEF assesses short-stay visa applicants by several criteria that depend on the applicant’s country of origin. Here is a list of requirements grouped by different jurisdictions.
Citizens of the above countries are eligible for a Portugal Digital Nomad visa if they earn at least €3,040 per month.
The EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens can stay and work in Portugal visa-free. However, they need to be registered as residents at the SEF, like all other immigrants.
The requirements for Green Card holders are almost the same as for ordinary US citizens. The only difference is that the validity of the applicant’s Green Card must exceed the validity of the short-stay visa by at least three months.
Applicants from all other countries must earn four times more than the minimum Portuguese monthly wage.
If you want to get a short-stay Portugal Digital Nomad visa, you will have to prepare a lot of documents and make a significant investment in the Portuguese economy. To avoid unforeseen expenses, it is recommended to find qualified legal support. The whole application process with Imperial & Legal will consist of five steps.
Along with an application form, you need to submit the accompanying documents confirming the information that you provided in your application. If you are a non-EU citizen, all your documents must be apostilled at the place of issue or notarised and apostilled.
You can fill in your application in Portuguese, English, or your native language (if you apply for a visa in your home country). All other documents must be translated into Portuguese and notarised in a Portuguese consulate.
Note that you need to have two copies of each accompanying document since they will be required at the stage of residence application.
Here is a list of documents for a short-stay Portuguese Digital Nomad visa:
If you want to add your family members to your application, you need to demonstrate your marriage certificate (apostilled) and birth certificates for your minor children.
You need to include your personal and financial data in an application form. Note that the information you provide must be the same as in your accompanying documents.
You also need to indicate how you want to get your passport back after your application is processed.
Your application must be accompanied by a cover letter. It should include the following information:
According to the rules, each applicant must write an accompanying letter. However, cover letters for dependants can be shorter and refer to the main applicant’s application.
All cover letters should be signed and dated by the applicant or their legal guardian.
You need to submit your application and accompanying documents and pay an application fee in a Portuguese embassy. In some countries, you can make an appointment with VFS Global, the official partner of the Portuguese immigration authorities.
You need to visit a Portuguese embassy or visa centre in person. Why? Your biometrics, fingerprints and photo, are required for a residence card.
An application fee is €180 per person. If your application is refused for some reason, you will not get your money back. To save you time and effort, it is recommended to contact an experienced immigration advisor from the start.
If you apply for the visa with the help of an immigration advisor, they will make sure that your documents have no errors and you will get your visa within the standard processing time. If you are concerned about how the processing goes, you can track it on the Portuguese government website with the reference number you get after submitting your application.
As a rule, it takes three to four months for the application to be processed. If your application is approved, you will get an email notification.
Your passport and visa can be collected from the place where you applied, or you can request to have them posted to you via a secure service.
A short-stay visa is issued for 120 days. During this period, you need to make an appointment at the SEF and register as a resident.
As a rule, the Portuguese immigration authorities book you an appointment while processing your application for the Digital Nomad visa. It is indicated in your visa documents. You can also book the date yourself on the official website. If your visit is scheduled after your short-stay visa expires, you need to inform the authorities about it so that they can officially confirm the date and extend your stay in Portugal.
At this stage, you will need to provide all the documents you submitted with your initial visa application. They must be translated into Portuguese and notarised. You also need to fill in a new application form, pay an application fee of €320, and prove that you have an NIF and a Portuguese bank account.
Here is the list of documents you need for your residence application:
It does not usually take long to submit the documents for a residence permit and the standard processing time is 90 days. The residence permit will be posted to you at your home address in Portugal.
Here are the timelines:
You will get your Portugal Digital Nomad visa in a maximum of 8–9 months.
The standard application fee is €180 per applicant. If you apply for a Portugal residency, you will have to pay another application fee of €320.
Your expenses will also include legal fees if you hire an immigration advisor, health insurance, and translation and notarisation costs.
Even if you work remotely but stay in Portugal for an extended period, you automatically become a Portugal tax resident. All your income will be taxed there and the maximum rate is 48%.
Fortunately, freelancers can use a special tax regime – a non-habitual resident tax regime (NHR). You can apply for NHR if you have not been a Portugal tax resident in the last five years.
The NHR regime allows foreign specialists to avoid taxation on the income that is sourced outside the country. The income on high-value-added commercial activity is taxed at 20%. Foreign-sourced pensions are taxed at a 10% rate.
You will be pleasantly surprised if you compare the cost of living in Portugal with other Western European countries. Affordability is what attracts retirees, freelancers, and entrepreneurs. A lunch in a café, a cup of coffee, or a weekly grocery shop are significantly cheaper than in France, Germany, or neighbouring Spain. For around €7–10, you will be able to have lunch with coffee and dessert in a local eatery. Public transport in Portugal, including inter-city routes, is also relatively cheap.
Of course, Lisbon has a higher price tag. However, in comparison to the capital cities in the UK, France, and Belgium, the city is still affordable.
The exact expenses will depend on the city where you stay and your lifestyle. For example, in the centre of Lisbon, a couple will need €2,000–2,500 per month. For cheaper accommodation, you should consider the Algarve or Porto where a couple will spend about €1,500 per month for the same living conditions as in Lisbon.
It is always nice to know in advance where you are going to stay. When it comes to choosing accommodation in Portugal, you should take your time and carefully review all the available options. The following questions can help you make the right choice:
Rent in Portugal depends on the location and type of property. For example, in Lisbon, some districts are more expensive than others.
The Portuguese real estate market has received considerable investment in recent years, especially in Lisbon and Porto. Foreigners can find brand-new accommodation through Airbnb. In the coastal areas, you can find nice hotels and hostels not far from the beach. Long-term rent can suit freelancers who plan to stay in Portugal for a longer period.
In the interior of Portugal, it is more difficult for a digital nomad to find an appropriate rental accommodation. However, you may still find some rental options from a quick Google search, through Booking.com, or groups for digital nomads in social networks.
Which Portuguese regions offer the best conditions for digital nomads? Actually, in Portugal, there are plenty of great places to live and work: from its capital Lisbon to the historic city of Porto, from the quiet Silver Coast to the sublime natural beauty of the Algarve.
Ponta do Sol, Madeira
As a rule, digital nomads hate bureaucratic red tape and unforeseen difficulties. Especially when their freedom of movement across the EU and rental preferences are at stake.
With Imperial & Legal, you will be able to delegate the most difficult tasks of the visa application process to our specialists. Besides, we will be able to assist you with searching for accommodation and organise your relocation smoothly so that you can concentrate on your work.
A digital nomad is a specialist who works remotely and is not bound to any particular location or time zone. Remote jobs are gaining popularity so that the chances of becoming a digital nomad increase year on year.
A lot of countries offer digital nomad visas. However, an immigration route by itself does not guarantee that foreign freelancers would want to relocate to your country.
A Portugal Digital Nomad visa is a good example of how additional benefits offered by the country increase visa popularity. On a Portugal Digital Nomad visa, you can live and work in Portugal with full comfort. Apart from the residence status, you also get access to convenient and modern infrastructure (co-working, training courses, and broadband Internet), a friendly community of freelancers, cheap rental accommodation, and a favourable tax regime. Warm weather all year round, surfing, and magnificent beaches are a nice bonus.
Yes, you can. It is possible to submit an application for a Portugal Digital Nomad visa to a Portuguese embassy or consulate in your home country. If you meet all the requirements, you will get a short-stay visa that will be valid for 120 days.
To obtain Portugal temporary residency, a visa holder will have to visit the Portuguese Immigration and Border Service (SEF) in Portugal. During 120 days of stay in the country on a short-stay visa, if you do not plan to leave, you need to apply for and get a residence permit that will be valid for two years.
To apply for a Portugal Digital Nomad visa, you need to earn at least €3,040 per month. This requirement is important since you will have to support yourself after you relocate to Portugal.
Expenses will depend on your needs and requirements. However, in general, Portugal is one of the least expensive Western European countries. As mentioned above, a couple needs about €2,500 to live comfortably in Portugal for a month. This amount is even lower than the Portuguese minimum wage. If you sign a long-term rental agreement, buy local products, and don’t go out a lot, you will be able to cut down your expenses even more.
We will work with you to find a customised solution for your immigration, second citizenship, business, tax and other needs.
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