Without intending to exhaust the subject, given that there are numerous forms of legal stays available to foreigners, this guide will describe provide some information about two types of visas: temporary stays and residence visas.
Transit and short-term visas may be valid for one or more Member States of the Convention, while temporary-stay and residence visas are only valid for Portuguese territory.
Residence and temporary-stay visas are only granted to citizens of third-party countries who have not been subject to forced removal from the country and are in the subsequent period of being prohibited from entering national territory; have not been included on the no-entry list in the Schengen Information System by any of the contracting parties; or in the Integrated Information System of the SEF; and they have means of subsistence, a valid travel document, and travel insurance.
To be granted a residence visa to work as an employee or to be self-employed, to study, for student exchange, an internship or for volunteer work, or a visa for temporary or short stay, a citizen from a third-party state is also required to have a ticket document that ensures his or her return.
A prior decision of the SEF is mandatory to issue a visa in the following cases:
a) When residence and temporary-stay visas are requested (but, in urgent and duly justified cases, prior consultation may be waived specifically when dealing with applications for a residence visa to work independently or for a temporary stay);
b) When determined as such for reasons of national interest, for reasons of national security, or for the prevention of illegal immigration and related crime.
Foreign citizens admitted into national territory under the law who wish to remain in the country for a period of time longer than originally authorized may extend their stay. The periods for extension of stay are described in the terms of their visas, as listed below. In addition to these time limits, an extension of stay may be granted pending application for a residence permit, as well as in duly justified cases.
In exceptional circumstances occurring after legal entry into national territory, relatives of holders of temporary entry visas may be granted an extension of stay. Neither the validity nor the duration of the extension of stay may be longer than the validity and duration of the visa granted to the family.
Without limitation to sanctions stipulated by law, and except in the case of exception circumstances, requests for extension of stay are not granted, when submitted 30 days after the end of the authorized period of stay.
An extension of stay is granted in the form of a sticker approved by the Minister of Home Affairs.
7.1.1. Temporary Visa
A temporary visa is valid for 3 months and can be used for multiple entries in Portuguese territory. However, a temporary visa issued for temporary employed work may be granted for the duration of the employment contract.
With temporary visas, an extension of stay may be granted for up to one year, renewable for an equal period (except in cases of temporary work or self-employment exceeding no more than 6 months, in which case the extension is only allowed up to 90 days).
The deadline for a decision on a request for a temporary visa is 30 days from submission of the application.
We address below the most relevant types of temporary visas for this Investor's Guide:
· Temporary visa to transfer employees;
· Temporary visa for temporary professional activity;
· Temporary visa for research or highly qualified activity;
· Transit visa;
· Short stay visa.
Temporary Visa to Transfer Employees
The granting of temporary entry visas to nationals of Member States to the World Trade Organization, transferred in the context of providing services or conducting training in Portuguese territory, is subject to verification of the following conditions:
a) The transfer must take place between establishments of the same company or group of companies, and the establishment must be located in Portuguese territory to provide services equivalent to those provided by the institution from which the foreign worker has been transferred;
b) The transfer has to be for partners or subordinate workers who have worked for at least one year at the establishment located in another Member State to the World Trade Organization, which fall under the following categories:
i) Those who have executive powers and work as senior executives of the company and essentially manage a department or establishment, receiving general guidance from the board;
ii) Those who possess specialized knowledge essential to the business, research equipment, techniques or management thereof;
iii) Those who have to receive training at the office in Portugal.
Temporary Visa for Temporary Employment
Temporary entry visas for nationals of third-party countries who intend to work in Portuguese territory may be granted, provided that they possess a promise for work or employment contract.
A temporary visa for temporary work is granted for the duration of the employment contract. In exceptional circumstances, a temporary visa for temporary work may be granted for a period exceeding six months, provided that the job falls is part of an investment contract and up to the time limit for its execution.
This visa may only be renewed if the applicant has a lawful employment contract and is covered by the National Health Service or has other health insurance.
Temporary Visa for Research or Highly Qualified Activities
A temporary visa may be granted to foreign nationals who wish to pursue research, teaching at an institution of higher learning, or another highly qualified activity for less than one year, provided that the:
a) Applicant has been hired to work in a research center approved by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education, through a promise or employment contract, a proposal or service agreement, or a grant for scientific research; or
b) Applicant has a promise or employment contract or written proposal, or a contract to provide services to teach at an institution of higher learning, or to perform a highly qualified activity in Portugal.
This visa may only be renewed if the applicant has an employment or service contract or a grant for scientific research and is covered by the National Health Service or other health insurance.
In the case of shorter stays, the following visas may also be issued:
A transit visa is intended to allow entry to Portugal to foreign nationals who wish to enter a third country to which their admission has been guaranteed.
A transit visa may be granted for one, two, or in exceptional cases, multiple entries, provided the duration of each transit does not exceed five days.
With transit visas, a stay may be extended for a maximum of up to five days.
A short-stay visa is intended to allow entry to Portugal to those whose purposes have been accepted by authorities and do not warrant the granting of another type of visa, especially for tourism or visits from family members who hold temporary visas.
The visa may be granted for a period of one year, allowing for one or more entries, provided that the duration of a single visit, or the total duration of successive visits, does not exceed three months per semester from the date of the first foreign entry.
In duly justified cases, and where it is of interest to Portugal, a multiple entry visa for a duration of longer than one year may be granted by joint decision of the Ministers of Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs, for certain groups of people.
In the case of short-stay visa holders (as well as foreign citizens without a visa), this extension is for 90 days, and may be renewed for an equal period of time. An extension of stay granted to citizens admitted to the country without a visa and short-term visa holders is limited to Portugal whenever the stay exceeds 90 days per semester, from date of initial entry from abroad.
7.1.2. Residence Visa
A residence visa is intended to enable the holder to enter Portuguese territory in order to apply for a residence permit and is valid for two entries in Portuguese territory, allowing the holder to stay for a period of four months. Without limitation to shorter time limits imposed by this law, the deadline for a decision on the application for a residence visa is 60 days.
With residence visas, an extension of stay may be granted for up to 90 days.
This type of visa may be granted in several ways, however, we believe that the following three reasons are most relevant to this Guide:
· To work as an employee;
· To work as an independent professional or immigrant entrepreneurs;
· To carry out research or other highly qualified activities.
Residence Visa to Work as an Employee
A residence visa to work as an employee may be issued to foreign nationals who satisfy the general conditions set out above (see 8.1) and who:
a) hold an employment contract or the promise of an employment contract; or
b) possess skills, competencies, or qualifications that are acknowledged and appropriate to engage in one of the activities covered by the preceding paragraph and have received a specific expression of interest from the employer.
Residence Visa to Work as an Independent Professional or Immigrant Entrepreneur
Visas to apply for residence permits to engage in independent professional work may be given to a foreign national who:
a) has a contract or written proposal for a service agreement to work as an independent contractor; and
b) has the skills to work as an independent contractor, where applicable.
A residence visa for immigrant entrepreneurs who wish to invest in Portugal is granted, provided that:
a) they have made investments, or
b) they can prove that they have funding available in Portugal, including funds from financing obtained from a financial institution in Portugal, and they demonstrate by any means their intention to make an investment in Portugal.
Residence Visa for Research or other Highly Qualified Activity
A residence visa is granted for conducting scientific research to foreign nationals who have been admitted to work as a researcher at a research center approved by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education, mainly through a promise or employment contract, a written proposal or a service agreement, or a grant for scientific research. A residence visa is also granted to teach at an institute of higher learning, or to perform other highly qualified activities, to foreign nationals who have an adequate promise or employment contract, written proposal or service agreement.
The deadline for a decision about the visa application is 30 days.