Portuguese immigration law

Entering and residing in Portugal – frequently asked questions. Part II – other useful information

How and where can I apply for

a residence permit?

THE REQUEST for a residence permit must be submitted at the regional branch of the Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras (SEF) in the foreign citizen’s area of residence.

This request is made through the completion and signing of an application form. Please note that the application form must be signed by a legal representative when it concerns minors under 10 years of age, handicapped citizens or people who are illiterate.

What documents should be

submitted along with the

application form when requesting

a temporary residence permit?

When requesting a temporary residence permit, the following documents should be submitted along with the application form (bring photocopies as well as originals):

• Three colour photographs;

• Passport or any other valid identification document;

• Valid visa (residence, work, study, etc.), except when it is not required *;

• Evidence of means of livelihood (employment or income, for example, work contract and payslips);

• Document verifying home address;

• Documents proving a family connection inPortugal, except when it is not required *.

• Certificate of consular registration, except when it is not required *.

* Note: If the foreign citizen requiring the residence permit is from the EU, the process will be much more straightforward, as the above mentioned visas, certificate of consular registration and evidence of family connection in Portugal are only required for citizens who are nationals of other countries (non-EU citizens).

What documentation is required

when requesting a permanent

residence permit?

In addition to providing evidence of means of livelihood and home address, requests for permanent residence permits must also be accompanied by:

• Certificate of Criminal Record;

• Copy of the submitted IRS Tax Declarations from the previous year or other evidence of income.

What is the deadline for the Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras (SEF)

to make a decision regarding the application for a residence permit?

The SEF will make a decision within a period of 60 days.

A blue receipt is issued which is considered as proof that the process has been filed. It is also considered a valid document from the authorities’ point of view.

Do I need to make any payment regarding the granting of a

residence permit?

Yes. If the application is for a temporary residence permit, the applicant must pay a fee of approximately 100 euros and if it is for a permanent residence permit the fee will be approximately 200 euros.

In what situations may I be

requested to show my residence permit?

There are several situations in which a residence permit might be requested, such as:

• When you apply for a loan at the bank;

• When buying a house or a car;

• When you are requested to show identification by police authorities;

• When applying for an electoral card;

• When applying for a cartão de utente

(health card);

• When you are working under an employment contract and there is an inspection at your work place carried out by IGT- Inspecção Geral do Trabalho (General Work Inspection).

Note: During the first three month period of a foreign citizen’s stay in Portugal, the authorities will not request a residence permit as this is the tourist visa period for all foreign citizens that enter Portuguese territory.

If I am living in Portugal and

have a residence permit, can

my family living abroad come

and live with me?

Yes. For a foreign citizen who has been in possession of a residence permit for at least one year, Portuguese legislation grants the family the right to a reunion for the members who are living outside of Portugal and, in exceptional cases, those already present in Portugal.

How is a family reunion


After submitting the necessary documentation at the SEF, the family member will be provided with a residency visa in order to enter Portugal. If your permit is temporary, your family member will be provided with a renewable residence permit of the same duration as the one you hold. If your residence permit is permanent, your family member will be provided with a residence permit valid for two years.

Both in the situation of a temporary and permanent residence permit, once two years have passed since the first permit was issued, and providing that family ties have been maintained, the family member will have his/her own independent right to a residence permit.

In exceptional cases, this period may be shorter, such as in cases of legal separation of people and assets, divorce, widowhood, death of a parent or child or when adulthood has been reached.

Which family members are

eligible for family reunion?

The following family members are considered eligible for family reunion:

• Spouse;

• Children who are minors or handicapped and that are the responsibility of one or both members of the couple;

• Minors adopted by the applicant or by his/her spouse, if they are the responsibility of the couple;

• Brothers and sisters who are minors, if they are wards of the resident.

What documents are required in order to submit a request for

family reunion?

A request for family reunion should be submitted to the regional branch of the SEF in the applicant’s area of residence, along with the following documents:

• A written request addressed to the Director General ofthe Foreigner and Border Service (SEF), which should identify the applicant and the family members involved;

• Applicant’s residence permit (original and photocopies);

• Passport containing a valid stamp verifying residence authorisation;

• Evidence of the stated relationship – a valid marriage certificate (original and photocopies) or birth certificate (original and photocopies);

• Authenticated copies of the family members’ identification documents;

• Evidence of suitable accommodation and sufficient means of subsistence to cater for the needs of the family, such as the original and copy either of the title deeds of a property or a lease agreement, or the original or copy of the applicant’s income tax declaration (IRS) for the previous year.

Note: any documents issued in the country of origin have to be authenticated by the diplomatic mission or consular post in the respective area of residence.

What is the deadline for the

Regional Director of the SEF to

make a decision regarding the application for family reunion?

The decision regarding the request for family reunion falls under the remit of the regional Director of SEF.

The Regional Director of SEF will notify the applicant in writing of the decision taken as soon as possible, and under no circumstances should he/she take more than nine months as from the date the application was submitted.

What happens if there is a

positive answer?

In this case, the SEF will notify the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the decision so that the latter can urgently issue an authorisation for the family member to enter Portugal.

The applicant is then notified of the positive decision within a period of eight days, receiving the information that the family member should go to a consular post of his/her area of residence, within 60 days, to lodge a request for a residence visa.

Useful contacts:

Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras

(Head Offices)

Rua Conselheiro José Silvestre Ribeiro, 4

1649-007 Lisbon

Telephone: 217 115 000 Fax: 217 161 595

E-mail: [email protected]Website: www.sef.pt

Ministério dos Negócios Estrangeiros

(Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Website: www.min-nestrangeiros.pt/mne/estrangeiro/a-b.html#b

Note: this internet site shows the addresses and contacts of Portuguese Embassies and Consulates throughout the world.


Note: this internet site provides information on the foreign diplomatic missions located in Portugal.

Alto Comissariado para a Imigração e Minorias Étnicas) (High Commission for Immigration and Ethnic Minorities- ACIME)

Rua Álvaro Coutinho, 14

1150-025 Lisbon

Telephone: 218 106 100Fax: 218 106 117

Email:[email protected]

WebSite: www.acime.gov.pt/

Comissão para a Igualdade no Trabalho e no Emprego (Commission for Equality at Work and in Employment- CITE)

Av. da República, 44- 2º Dto.1050 Lisbon

Tel: 217 803 700 Helpline: 800 204 684

Associação Portuguesa de Apoio à Vítima (APAV)(Portuguese Association Providing Support to Victims)

Helpline: 707 20 00 77