Portugal is sunnier than anywhere else in Europe and this is not the only thing it has going for it. With unemployment numbers dropping further each year and a steadily growing economy, the future in this Western European country looks bright. 

Of course you’d want to live in Portugal for the great weather, scenery and beautiful cities. But it’s not just the Portuguese social life that is appealing. Working conditions in Portugal are attractive with 22 days annual leave on top of a number of national holidays. People are open and friendly towards foreigners and long lunches and dinners are part of everyday business. 

With a shortage of high skilled employees and different industries growing, trying your luck in Portugal could really boost your career and be a great next step. 

Lisbon is the ideal place for people looking to work for big international companies and the local government is encouraging entrepreneurs to start their own business. 

While speaking another European language, like French or German, will definitely help you if you’re looking for opportunities in the tourist industry, with just English there are still plenty of options open to you. 

You can live and work freely in Portugal if you are a citizen of the European Union or European Economic Area (EEA).

Here are some of the ways to live in Portugal if you are a citizen of a non-EEA country:


The Portugal Golden Residence Permit Program is one of the most popular Residency by Investment programs in Europe and for good reasons.  Not only can you live and work in Portugal but you also get visa free access to all Schengen countries.  You are only required to stay in Portugal for a period of 7 or more days, in the first year, and 14 or more days, in the subsequent years.  After 6 years you can becomes a naturalised citizen and get a Portuguese passport. 

To be eligible you need to invest in one of the following ways:

  • Invest more than €500,000 in real estate.
  • Invest in real estate to the value of €350,000 or above if the construction of the building dates back more than 30 years or it is located in an urban regeneration area.
  • Invest more than €350,000 in shares, investment funds or in venture capital fund of funds geared to the capitalisation of companies, whose maturity at the time of investment is at least five years.  60% of the investment should be realised in companies whose head office is located in Portugal. 
  • Invest more than €350,000 in a commercial company whose head office is in Portugal, combined with the creation or keeping of 5 new permanent jobs for a minimum period of three years.
  • Transfer €1,000,000 of capital funds to Portugal.
  • Invest €350,000 or more in research activities conducted by public or private scientific research institutions.
  • Invest more than €250,000 in artistic output or supporting the arts or for reconstruction or refurbishment of the national heritage.
  • The creation of at least 10 jobs.

Startup Visa

Officially launched in March 2018, the Startup Portugal programme aims to attract smart entrepreneurs for the purpose of generating wealth and employment through innovation and know-how.  If you are an entrepreneur who wishes to develop or launch a startup in Portugal this may be the visa for you.  There is no upfront capital requirement other than having to prove living expenses of €5146,08 per annum per person.  The application is based on the degree of innovation, the scalability of the business, the market potential,the capacity of the management team and the potential for creating jobs.  Other requirements are:

  • The startup needs to be technology focused,
  • The startup needs to show potential to create jobs and to generate a turnover of 325,000€/ year.

To speak to our Portugal immigration expert click here

Portugal Passive Income Visa (for retirees, religious or persons of independent means)

Agree to base yourself in Portugal for 8 months of the year (or six consecutive months), prove a passive income of €20,000 per annum and you could be eligible for a Portugal Passive income visa. Examples of passive income is rental income, dividends, investment income and a pension.  While there are no published exact guidelines on income requirements, our local experienced partner believes that this level of income should be sufficient. The visa gives you free access and circulation in the Schengen area, and freedom to live and carry out work in Portugal. You also have the option to become “non-habitual resident” of Portugal for tax purposes, which offers excellent taxation rates for 10 years.

Work or Business Visa

If you have a recognized university degree or professional experience as well as a work contract or binding job offer, you may be eligible for an "EU Blue Card".   The Blue Card is a four-year temporary work and residence permit.  This also gives you free movement within the Schengen area and enables your family to join you.   If you do not have a work contract or job offer, you can register on the EU Blue Card Network, where European employers can view your details and connect with you around job opportunities.  This is also where you apply for the EU Blue Card.

Alternatively, if you intend on working for longer than 6 months and do not meet the EU Blue Card requirements, you need a residence permit.  To obtain a residence permit, you must prove that you have a signed work contract or promise of a work contract and the required experience and qualifications for the job.  You must also prove sufficient means of subsistence, travel insurance and a return ticket.

Through your Family

If your spouse is a citizen or permanent resident of Portugal, you are probably eligible for residency.  Please note that your status of spouse needs to be legally recognised in this country.

See the citizenship section below for more information on residency or citizenship based on descent.

Working Holiday visa

Citizens of Argentina, Australia, Chile, Japan and South Korea aged 18 to 30 can apply for a two-year working holiday visa for Portugal.

Student Visa

Student and researcher Visas are available to citizens of certain countries.  For more information click here

Citizenship by Descent

If one or both of your parents were citizens when you were born, you are probably also a citizen.

Portuguese Sephardic Jews. If you are a descendant of the Portuguese Jews who were a Sephardic community and were expelled in the Portuguese Inquisition  you can apply for naturalisation.

Citizenship by Naturalisation

Once you have lived in Portugal for six years, you can apply for citizenship.  As part of the application you need to pass a language skills test and meet other requirements.

If your spouse is a citizen you can apply for citizenship after living together in Portugal for a period of 3 years.  

The passport for Portugal allows you to travel to 160 countries without a visa.

Its global rank is 11.