Moving to Braga

Moving to Braga

If you are moving to Braga prepare yourself before you leave. Find out what the requirements are and whether or not you need a visa. Getting a residence permit and formalizing your situation in Portugal are the next steps.

The requirements for foreign citizens to enter and remain in Portugal vary according to your country of origin, reason for staying/visiting and the length of your stay. Find out who needs a visa to cross into Portugal and how to obtain your residence permit.

Schengen space citizens

If you are a citizen from a European Union country or equivalent, you do not require a visa to enter Portugal. As you already live in a Schengen State there will be no border controls. All you will need to present is your ID. Countries in this situation are:

  • European Union countries;
  • Andorra;
  • Iceland;
  • Lichtenstein;
  • Norway;
  • Switzerland.

For short stays of less than 90 days, citizens of over 70 countries do not require visas to enter Schengen space, including Portugal. However, if you came to Portugal without a visa, but now you want to prolong your stay in the country, you should use the telephone service of the SEF Contact Centre to make your request.


Non-Schengen space citizens

Many nationalities do require a Schengen visa to enter Portugal. This should be dealt with in your local Portuguese consulate.

After obtaining the required visa, based on the purpose of your stay, a non-Schengen space foreign national must:

  • Obtain a travel document, the validity of which should exceed the duration of the stay by three months;
  • Get health insurance;
  • Buy a ticket;
  • Have sufficient means to support oneself in the country temporarily;
  • Not be registered in the Integrated Information System of the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) or in the Schengen information system.

To ensure that everything goes well, request your visa 15 to 30 days before the beginning of your trip. Normally, the consulate takes around 15 days to make a decision.

Foreign citizens who enter Portugal through an uncontrolled border are obliged to provide the SEF with a declaration to the effect that they entered the country within three days. This rule does not apply to:

  • Residents or those who have permission to remain in Portugal for over six months;
  • People who benefit from the EU regime or equivalent;
  • People staying in hotels or similar accommodation.

What is a residence visa?

If you are not a citizen of a European Union country or equivalent and you are planning to remain in Portugal, you should first request a residence visa. Only then can you apply for a residence permit.

The residence visa allows you to remain in Portugal for four months and during that time you may enter the country twice. However, you can ask SEF to have the duration of your visa extended.

The law provides for a number of specific purposes for which residence visas can be attributed, such as:  

  • Exercise of subordinate professional employment/activity;
  • Exercise of self-employed professional activity or for immigrants who invest in Portugal;
  • Research activity, teaching at an higher education institution or highly qualified activity;
  • Study, student exchange, professional internship or volunteering;
  • Student mobility at higher education level;
  • Family reunification;
  • Pensioners, religious, people with an income.

But, besides the residence visas for specific purposes mentioned above, you can always apply for a residence visa. Foreigners can reside in Portugal in order to carry out any activity permitted by law, or even to do nothing, as long as they have sufficient resources.  


What is a residence permit?

A residence permit can be temporary or permanent.

A temporary residence permit (ART) allows foreigners to reside in Portugal for a limited time. Normally it is valid for one year, and can be successively renewed for periods of two years.

A residence permit can be permanent (ARP) and therefore of unlimited validity. It must still be renewed every five years or every time there is a change in marital status or in the personal details of the holder. To obtain a permanent residence permit you must have had a temporary residence permit for five years.

Holders of residence permits (temporary or permanent) enjoy several rights, such as:

  • Family reunification;
  • Education and teaching;
  • Dependent employment;
  • Independent employment;
  • Professional guidance, training and vocational retraining;
  • Access to health care;
  • Legal rights and access to the legal system;
  • Equal treatment, namely to social security, tax system, goods and services, recognition of diplomas, certificates and professional titles.


How do you apply for a residence permit?

The application for residence must be booked ahead at any SEF service centre. You will need to present several documents:

  • The proper form, signed by the applicant or his legal representative;
  • Two identical, passport style, colour photographs, against a blank background;
  • Passport or any other valid travel document;
  • Valid residence visa;
  • Proof of means of subsistence;
  • Proof that the applicant has accommodation;
  • Permission to access criminal record;
  • Proof of family ties/relations (when necessary);
  • Proof of registration with the Tax Authority (if applicable);
  • Proof of registration with Social Security (if applicable);
  • Health insurance or proof of registration with the National Health Service.

You can request a residence permit in Portugal for different reasons. Learn which reasons may justify requesting a residence permit.


Useful advice

Schedule a meeting before going to a SEF services centre to avoid long queues and waits. You can book by phoning any SEF office, regardless of your residence area. The SEF also has an SMS alert service to remind you of your appointment. In some situations you can book online, using your personal area on the SEF website. This service can be used by citizens and valid residence visa or permit holders who aim to:

  • Renew their residence permit;
  • Renew their resident’s card (for EU citizens and relatives);
  • Extend their stay (for citizens with visas)

If you are a foreign citizen thinking about moving to Portugal then you may be eligible for very attractive tax benefits by attaining non-habitual resident status. Find out what it takes to get these benefits.

Non-habitual resident status in Portugal confers tax advantages to those who establish their residence for tax purposes in the country. More and more foreigners are taking advantage of these benefits. However, to be recognized as a non-habitual resident, it is necessary to complete an application process with several stages. Find out about all the advantages that a non-habitual resident is entitled to and what you have to do to be granted this status.


What are the advantages of being a non-habitual resident in Portugal?

If you are a foreign citizen and choose to change your tax residency to Portugal, you can apply for a non-habitual resident status. With that you will be entitled to tax benefits for 10 years.


Come to work?

If you come to Portugal for work, you will benefit from a fixed rate of income tax (IRS) of 20%. This reduced rate applies for all professionals with high-value-added skills. The list of professions is extensive and includes jobs like architect, doctor, tax advisor, senior executives, teachers and designers, among others.


Are you retired?

If you are a pensioner, you can also benefit from non-habitual resident status. All pensions coming from outside Portugal, but received in Portugal, are exempted from IRS payments. This is because where there are agreements to prevent double taxation (as with Portugal and France, for example), the right to collect taxes falls to the country of residence. At the moment, Portugal exempts pensioners from paying taxes on their pensions which don’t originate from Portugal.


Who can apply for non-habitual resident status in Portugal?

Non-habitual resident status can be requested by anyone who meets three requirements. You must live abroad, not have been a resident in Portugal within the last five years and want to move to Portugal. To be considered a resident, you must remain in Portugal for 183 days a year or have your primary home there.


What do you have to do to get non-habitual resident status in Portugal?

The applicant must register as residing within Portugal at a tax office or at a Loja do Cidadão/Citizen Shop. After being assigned with a Tax Identification Number, you must submit an application to register as a non-habitual resident in the same place, or through the tax authority website (Portal das Finanças).

In order for your application to be accepted, the submission must be made by March 31st of year following becoming a resident in Portugal.


A step-by-step guide

1. Register as a resident in Portugal at a tax office and receive a tax identification number;

2. Fill out an online form to receive a password to access to the tax authority website;

3. After receiving the password (delivered to your address by mail), register as a non-habitual resident through the tax authority website;

4. Follow the progress of your submission until it is accepted through the same website;

5. Receive confirmation in your online account on the tax authority website and keep it safely stored;

6. If you have a value-added job, submit a certified copy of proof of your profession to:

  • Direção de Serviços de Registo de Contribuintes
    Avenida João XXI, 76, 6º
    1049-065 Lisboa Portugal

Portuguese driver’s license for European citizens: How it works and where to get it

Even though there is public transport in most of the country, a driver’s license is still essential. But obtaining a driver’s license can be a lengthy process. You need to take at least 28 driving lessons, plus 32 classes and sit two different tests:  the highway code test and the driving test.

Any citizen is entitled to get a driving license, provided that he or she fulfils the legal requirements: minimum age, physical and mental capacity and residence in Portugal. The Portuguese Instituto da Mobilidade e dos Transportes (IMT) is the competent authority for issuing driver’s licenses.


Do you have an European Union driver’s license?

European Union and European Economic Area (28 EU States + Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway) driver’s licenses are valid in Portugal until they expire. If you have one, exchanging it is optional.

If you move to Portugal you must inform the regional or district Service of the IMT of your area of residence. Failure to do so within 60 days could be considered an infraction. This information can be relayed in person, with the following documents:

  • Model 13 IMT form;
  • Photocopy of your driver’s license (you must show the original one);
  • A valid form of ID and proof of residence permit in Portugal.

If you have a lifelong driver’s license, after informing the IMT of the fact that you are living in Portugal, the document you will be given – the National Residence Registry for Drivers with an EU license – is valid for two years. At the end of this period you must exchange it for a Portuguese driver’s license.


Requirements and necessary documents for exchanging your license

If you plan to exchange your driver’s license for a Portuguese one, you must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Be of the minimum age required by Portuguese law for the category of your license;
  • If necessary, provide proof of physical, mental and psychological fitness;
  • Provide proof of residence in Portugal;
  • Proof that you are not subject to a driving prohibition or to any security measures limiting the issuing of a driver’s license.

In order to exchange your driver’s license for a Portuguese one, you must personally present several documents:

  • Your original, valid and definitive driver’s license;
  • ID and proof of residence in Portuguese territory;
  • A document with your tax identification number;
  • A medical certificate, from any practicing doctor, for all-category drivers.

Your new driver’s license will be mailed to the Portuguese address you indicated when you put in your replacement request.


How much does the exchange cost?
Exchanging your European Union/European Economic Area driver’s license costs 30€.