Portugal: Everything You Should Know About the Visa Processing

 Portugal: Everything You Should Know About the Visa Processing

To visit Portugal, you may need to apply for a Portugal Visa. Whether or not you have to get a visa depends on several factors, such as your nationality, the reason for your trip, as well as the time you intend to spend there. If you are from one of the countries which have a visa-free agreement with Schengen, such as the US, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and most European countries, then you can visit Portugal visa-free for up to 90 days. You only need to apply for a visa in the following scenarios:

  • If you are from a country that does not have a visa-free agreement with Schengen.
  • If you will stay in Portugal for more than three months.

If you want to visit Portugal for a short period of time (and you are from one of the visa-required countries) you will have to apply for a Portugal Schengen Visa. You can get a Portugal Schengen Visa for short-term visits, such as for tourism, business, family visit, etc.

Portugal is part of the Schengen Area, along with 25 other European countries. These countries have established free travel within their borders and have a common visa, known as the Schengen Visa. This means that if you get a visa for any Schengen country, such as Portugal, you can travel to the other countries in the Schengen Agreement as well. If you want to go to Portugal for a longer period of time (e.g. if you will work or study there), then you need a Portugal National Visa, not the Schengen Visa.

Visa Requirements For Portugal

The documents you have to submit for a Portugal Visa application are:

  • Your passport. It must be valid for at least another three months starting from the day you depart Portugal or the Schengen Area.
  • The Portugal Visa Application Form.
  • Passport-size pictures, in line with Schengen requirements.
    • They must be taken recently
    • They must have a white background.
    • Your face must be entirely visible.
  • Travel health insurance, in line with Schengen requirements.
    • It must be valid in all the Schengen Area.
    • Must cover at least €30,000 of medical emergencies and evacuation.
  • Proof you have paid the Portugal Visa Fee.
  • Your travel itinerary. You do not necessarily need to pay for the flight tickets, simply book them.
  • Portugal Visa Cover Letter. It must detail your reason for travelling, the dates of arrival and departure, if you will travel to another Schengen country, your planned activities, etc.
  • Proof of sufficient funds. You must be able to prove that you can sustain yourself financially for the duration of your trip.
  • Proof of accommodation in Portugal. This can be a hotel reservation or a letter of invitation (if you are visiting friends or relatives).
  • If you are employed:
    • Proof of employment – work contract if you have an employer or a certificate of business registration if you own a business or are self-employed
    • Work leave (if you have an employer).
    • Bank statements from the last three months
  • If you are a student: A certificate of enrollment from your university or school.
  • If you are retired: Your pension certificate.
  • Requirements for minors travelling alone:
    • Birth certificate of the minor
    • Copy of the passports of the parents or legal guardians.
    • Letter of consent signed from the parents or legal guardians
  • If you travelling to Portugal to visit relatives or friends:
    • Letter of Invitation from your family member or friend.
  • If you are travelling for business purposes:
    • Letter of Invitation from the company in Portugal. The letter has to state the duration and purpose of your trip.
    • Letter from your company, stating the relations between the two companies.
Please Note:
  • All documents have to be in English or Portuguese. If they are not, you must have them translated by a certified translator.
  • Any civil documents, such as birth certificates, have to be legalized by an Apostille Stamp or by the Portuguese Embassy.

When to Submit the Portugal Visa Application?

You should submit the application at least two weeks before you intend to depart. The earliest when the Portuguese Embassy will accept your application is three months before your trip. Ideally, give it longer than two weeks, if you do not want your plans to be distributed by a delay in visa processing.

Processing Time for a Portugal Visa Application

A Portuguese Visa is usually processed within 15 calendar days. However, depending on the circumstances, such as the time of year, whether you have all your documents in order, etc, it may take longer. So, you should apply about a month before you intend to travel, but no earlier than three months.

How Long Is the Portugal Visa Valid?

The maximum duration of time you can spend in Portugal with a Schengen Visa is 90 days. The Portugal Embassy or Consulate decides for how long they will issue your visa. The following types of visas are issued:

  • Single-entry visa. You can only enter Portugal (or the Schengen Area) once and stay for as long as the visa is issued (one week, two weeks, one month, etc). After you leave, you cannot re-enter.
  • Multiple-entry visa. You can enter Portugal (or other Schengen countries) multiple times within the time the visa is valid, as long as the total number of days spent in Schengen does not exceed 90.

Can I Extend a Portugal Visa?

Yes, you can technically extend a Portugal visa, but not for just any reason. Your application to extend the visa will only be accepted if you have a legitimate reason, such as an illness or natural disaster. To apply for a Portugal Schengen Visa extension, you will have to contact the Portuguese Immigration Services (SEF).

Remember that if you are in Portugal on a Student or Work Visa, you will have to apply for renewal of your Residence Permit, not a visa extension.

Portugal National Visas (Long-Term)

The Portugal National Visas are long-term visas, which lead to residency in Portugal, either temporarily or permanently (by means of a Residence Permit). The main types of Portuguese National Visas are:

  • Portugal Work Visa. This type of visa is issued for non-EU nationals who have found employment with a Portuguese company. Usually, in a skilled position.
  • Portugal Student Visa. This type of visa is issued if you are accepted into a Portuguese educational institution.
  • Portugal Family Reunification Visa. You can apply for this type of visa if you are not an EU citizen and want to join a family member who lives in Portugal, as a citizen or resident.
  • Portugal Retirement Visa. This type of visa allows you to live in Portugal as a resident, even if you do not work/study, provided you have enough funds to sustain your stay.

You can usually renew a Portuguese National Visa. The visas issued for work or family reunification also lead to permanent residence down the line, whereas you can apply for a work visa if you find employment after your studies in Portugal.


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