Portugal, situated in southwestern Europe, is renowned for its stunning landscapes and attracts expats seeking a high quality of life, pleasant climate, and reasonable living costs.

Considering a move? Obtaining a permanent residence permit in Portugal is an essential step. This article provides a detailed guide to the requirements, benefits, and various options for acquiring a long-term residence permit.

Let's explore the ins and outs of obtaining and maintaining a permanent residence status in Portugal, ensuring you're well-prepared for this significant step.


What is permanent residency in Portugal?

Permanent residency is a legal status that allows non-citizens to reside indefinitely in a foreign country. Unlike a temporary residence permit, which is typically valid for a limited period, a permanent residence provides long-term stability and access to a wide range of rights and benefits, including employment, healthcare, and education.

In Portugal, permanent residence allows you to live, work, and study in the country without applying for a visa or renewing your residence permit regularly.

The permanent Portuguese residency status can be achieved through one of the following ways:

  • An investment program providing a permanent residence permit
  • Sponsorship by a family member through family reunification
  • Maintaining a residence permit and continuous residency long enough to apply for permanent residence status


What is a Portugal residence card?

A residence permit is a document issued by a country, allowing the holder to live there for a set period, usually one to five years. You must renew it to stay legally.

With a residence permit, you can freely enter the country during its validity. You can also buy property, attend universities, or enroll your kids in schools.

In some places, like the European Union (EU), a residence permit also gives you visa-free access to other countries. For example, an EU permit lets you travel without borders in the Schengen Area and stay visa-free in all EU countries for up to 90 days within a 180-day period.

One increasingly popular type of residence permit is the Golden Visa. It's gaining traction in several EU countries, including Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Greece. Golden Visa programs offer a unique way to get residency. Instead of finding a job or enrolling in school, you can get a permit by investing in real estate, making a bank deposit, or starting a business that creates jobs for locals.

This innovative approach to residence permits has not only attracted individuals looking to settle in a new country but has also spurred economic growth and development in host nations.


Benefits of a Residence Permit and Permanent Residence in Portugal

portugal permanent residence temporary residence permit Holding a residence permit or permanent residence in Portugal comes with numerous benefits and opportunities, such as:

  1. The right to live, work, and study in Portugal without the need for additional visas or permits
  2. Access to Portuguese healthcare, social security, and education systems
  3. The ability to travel visa-free within the Schengen Area
  4. The option to apply for Portuguese citizenship after a certain period of residence
  5. The opportunity to avail of special tax programs such as the Non-Habitual Resident program which offers special flat rat taxes on income and other assets.

Visa-Free Countries with Permanent Residence in Portugal

As a permanent Portuguese residence permit holder, you can travel visa-free to all Schengen countries, which currently include 27 European nations, such as Germany, France, Italy, and Spain. This benefit facilitates visa-free access and seamless travel, work, and leisure experiences throughout Europe.

Family members of EU citizens who do not have European passport or nationality must apply for a permanent residence card after living legally in Portugal for over five years.


Portuguese Permanent Residency Requirements

permanent residence permit residence permit permanent residencePortugal has a five-year residency requirement before residents can apply for permanent residence.

This means you must hold temporary legal residence in the country for five before you gain eligibility for permanent residence.

Successful applicants who gain permanent residence permits will benefit from access to rights and privileges including:

  • Access to public health care, whereas a temporary resident may be required to take out health insurance
  • Eligibility for social support
  • Fewer restrictions on leaving and entering the country


Conditions for Getting a Residence Permit in Portugal

To obtain a Portuguese residence permit, you must first meet specific criteria and fulfill the necessary requirements.

  1. Legal residence in Portugal for five consecutive years
  2. Proof of sufficient income or means to support yourself and your family
  3. A valid passport
  4. No criminal record
  5. Proof of accommodation
  6. Basic knowledge of the Portuguese language
  7. Valid health insurance
  8. NIF (Número de Identificação Fiscal) number


How can I get permanent residency in Portugal?

To obtain permanent residency in Portugal as a non-EU national, you'll need to follow a structured process that typically begins with obtaining a valid residence visa and then progressing to a temporary residency permit. After fulfilling the residency requirements, you can apply for a permanent residence card. Fortunately, Portugal offers several residency visa programs designed to attract foreign nationals:

  1. Portugal Golden Visa: This program enables non-EU citizens to acquire a temporary residence permit, leading to a permanent Portuguese residence permit, through investment in the country. The Portugal Golden Visa offers various investment options, including real estate, capital transfer, or job creation. By fulfilling the investment criteria and maintaining the required residency period, individuals can transition to permanent residency status.
  2. D7 Visa: The D7 Visa program is tailored for non-EU citizens with passive income sources, such as pensions or rental income, who seek residency in Portugal. This visa allows individuals to reside in Portugal based on their passive income without the need for active employment. Similar to the Golden Visa, the D7 Visa also offers a pathway to permanent residency after five years of legal residence in the country.

Both the Portugal Golden Visa and the D7 Visa programs provide a route to acquiring a residence permit, which can later be converted into a permanent residency permit following five years of continuous legal residence in Portugal. These programs offer flexibility and opportunities for individuals to establish long-term residency in Portugal while contributing to the country's economy and society.


What is a temporary residence permit?

portuguese territory direct ascendant following form A temporary Portugal residence permit is a legal document that allows third country nationals to live and, in many cases, work in a foreign country for a specified period (temporary residency). This type of permit is often issued to individuals who plan to stay in the country for longer than a tourist visa would allow, but not permanently.

In the context of Portugal, a temporary permit serves as a stepping stone toward acquiring permanent residency. It is typically granted for one year at a time but can be renewed annually. The permit is granted based on various grounds, including employment, study, family reunification, or investment.

The application for a temporary permit should be submitted to the Immigration Agency, AIMA (former Immigration and Borders Service, SEF) in Portugal. The application process usually involves submitting an application form along with the required documents, attending an interview, and paying an application fee.

Temporary residence permit holders in Portugal have many of the same rights as permanent residents, including access to healthcare, social security benefits, and the ability to work or study. However, certain rights, such as the freedom to move within the European Union or apply for citizenship, are typically reserved for permanent residents.


How We Can Help

We can help you get a NIF and open a Portuguese bank account before you even enter Portugal. We know getting your Portugal permanent residence involves a lot of steps, and we're here to make it easier for you.

One of the first things you'll need is a NIF (Número de Identificação Fiscal) number, and we've got you covered. Just fill out an online application. In two to three weeks, you'll find your NIF in your email inbox, no plane tickets or long lines at the tax office necessary.

Furthering our commitment to simplifying your transition to Portugal, we can also help you open up a Portuguese bank account from anywhere in the world. Through an easy online application, we can assist you in opening an account with a renowned Portuguese bank.



Obtaining a permanent Portuguese residence permit can provide you with a stable and secure future in a beautiful and diverse country. By understanding the requirements, benefits, and various investment options available, you can make an informed decision and take the necessary steps toward your dream of living in Portugal.

As you consider your options for acquiring a residency permit, remember to focus on obtaining a NIF number, which is essential for living and working in the country.

flat rate residence real estate stay in portugal


Useful Resources

The following blog posts are full of insights about living in Portugal:


Frequently Asked Questions about a Permanent Residence Permit in Portugal

How can I get permanent residency in Portugal?

To obtain permanent residency in Portugal as a non-EU national, you typically need to first apply for a visa to enter national territory, and then obtain a temporary residency permit. After keeping legal residence in Portugal for five years, you can apply for a permanent residence card. Portugal offers attractive visa programs like the Portugal Golden Visa, allowing investment in the country, or the D7 Visa, catering to individuals with passive income. These programs offer pathways to permanent residency, making Portugal an attractive option for those seeking long-term residency in the country.

How much money do I need to get residency in Portugal?

The amount of money needed to obtain residency in Portugal varies depending on the specific residency program you choose. For example, the Portugal Golden Visa program requires an investment in the country. The minimum investment thresholds for this program start from €250,000. Similarly, the D7 Visa program for individuals with passive income requires applicants to demonstrate sufficient financial means to support themselves in Portugal without becoming a burden on the state. The exact amount required may vary based on factors such as family size and individual circumstances.

What does a permanent residence in Portugal provide?

A permanent residence in Portugal provides a host of benefits. These include the right to live, work, and study in Portugal indefinitely, access to healthcare and social services, the ability to travel freely within the Schengen Area without a visa, and eligibility to apply for Portuguese citizenship after a certain period.

What is the fastest way to get permanent residence in Portugal?

The fastest way to get permanent residence in Portugal is through the Golden Visa program. It requires an investment in the Portuguese economy, such as purchasing real estate, creating jobs, or making a capital transfer. After five years of maintaining the investment and meeting minimal residency requirements, you can apply for permanent residency.

Is it easy to get residency in Portugal?

The ease of getting residency in Portugal depends on your circumstances, such as your country of origin, financial situation, and purpose of stay. For EU/EEA/Swiss citizens, it's relatively straightforward.

For non-EU citizens, the process can be more complex and often requires meeting specific investment or income requirements. However, obtaining a residency visa in Portugal is feasible with proper planning, guidance, and compliance with the requirements.

How much is permanent residency in Portugal?

The costs associated with obtaining Permanent Residency (PR) in Portugal can vary depending on the route taken. For instance, under the Golden Visa program, the cost of the investment can range from €250,000 to €1 million, depending on the type of investment.

Besides, there are administrative fees, lawyer's fees, and other associated costs. It's recommended to consult with a legal expert to understand the exact costs based on your specific circumstances.

How long does it take to get permanent residency in Portugal?

Generally, you can apply for permanent residency in Portugal after five years of continuous legal residence. However, the processing time for the application can vary depending on the specific circumstances and any backlog at the immigration authorities. On average, it might take several months from the time of application to receive your permanent residence card.

How much money do you need to immigrate to Portugal?

The amount of money needed to immigrate to Portugal depends on various factors such as the cost of your lifestyle, location, and family size. However, for the purpose of obtaining a residence permit, you need to demonstrate sufficient means to support each family member yourself.

What are the minimum stay requirements?

According to Portuguese law, the minimum stay requirements for permanent residence vary depending on the type of residence permit you hold. Generally, to apply for a permanent residence permit, you need to live in Portugal for at least five years.

For the five years prior to your application for permanent residence, you must have been present in Portugal for at most six months in a year consecutively or eight months in total across the five years.

For those who hold a Portugal residence permit that is temporary, it needs to be renewed every year, and the individual is required to stay in Portugal for at least six months each year to maintain their status and be eligible for renewal.

In essence, if you wish to stay in Portugal long-term and transition from a temporary permit to a permanent one, the minimum stay requirement is more than six months each year for a total of at least five years.

Is it hard to become a resident of Portugal?

Becoming a resident of Portugal can vary in difficulty depending on individual circumstances and the specific residency program chosen. Generally, Portugal offers several pathways for non-EU nationals to obtain residency, such as the Portugal Golden Visa program and the D7 Visa program, which cater to different financial and personal situations. The process typically involves meeting certain requirements, such as investment, passive income, or employment, and demonstrating the ability to support oneself while residing in Portugal. While the procedures can involve paperwork and navigating immigration laws, many find the process manageable with proper planning and assistance. 

Is it hard to become a resident of Portugal?

While it's not accurate to say that you can outright "buy" permanent residency in Portugal, the Portugal Golden Visa program does offer a pathway for non-EU nationals to obtain residency through investment. This program allows individuals to obtain a temporary residence permit by investing in Portugal. After maintaining the investment for a specified period, typically five years, individuals can apply for a permanent residency permit.

How can foreigners get permanent residence in Portugal?

An essential requirement for Portuguese permanent residency is that foreigners must have been living in Portugal for at least 5 years with a temporary residence permit. After that period, they can apply for a permanent residence permit. The permanent residence card is valid for 10 years and must be renewed before it expires.