Portugal’s Digital Nomad Visa scheme allows remote workers to live and work hassle-free in the country for at least a year. This is what you need to know and how to apply.
Where to live next? As companies scrap mandatory back-to-office plans in favour of flexible work arrangements, many remote workers contemplate moving — temporarily or permanently — somewhere new. Better quality of life, affordable cost of living, exciting cultural scene, modern infrastructures and like-minded people are some of the first criteria to consider when pondering the next move. But Visa Schemes can make or break any such plans — especially for non-EU citizens looking to relocate to Europe. Portugal has just unveiled a groundbreaking policy that allows digital nomads to settle in the country and move through Europe for at least a year, without making an investment in the country or even applying for residency. This is how it works.
What is the Portuguese Digital Nomad Visa?
Portugal’s version of the Digital Nomad Visa is geared towards those looking to stay for at least a year. It bridges the gap between short-term tourist visas (lasting up to 90 days) and long-term residency visas, which usually entail a longer application process.
That means foreigners can live and work legally, granted they can prove a minimum income of at least $2,750 a month (2820 €) for the last three months. That is roughly four times the national minimum wage and how much the Portuguese Government deems necessary to pay for the cost of living, accommodation, and any other needs.
That’s not all. A new feature of the Temporary Stay Visa is that it allows for multiple entries for the duration of its validity. Foreigners can travel in and out of the country without restrictions, so long as the time spent abroad does not exceed 6 consecutive months or 8 non-consecutive months. It also means holders can travel visa-free through the Schengen Area.
The Portugal temporary stay visa is valid for one year and can subsequently be renewed for 2-year periods, for up to five years, with family members also able to join applicants.
Other benefits include access to Portugal’s public and private health system and its Non-Habitual Resident tax regime. This fiscal regime grants a 20% tax rate or a total exemption on the taxation of income of expatriates who choose to live in Portugal, for 10 years. The Visa also implies the chance to apply for Portuguese citizenship after five years if digital nomads decide they finally want to take root.
Who is the Digital Nomad Visa for?
To be eligible, applicants must be from outside the EU or the European Economic Area and must be able to prove they have been working remotely for at least one year. They must also be able to show a contract of employment or show that they are regularly employed as a freelancer outside of Portugal. Finally, they must prove that they will earn enough to remain self-sufficient and that they have an address in the country.
Candidates should also have a valid passport for an additional 3 months following the duration of the intended stay and a return ticket. They must also provide valid travel insurance covering necessary medical expenses, including emergency assistance and repatriation.
What are the benefits and limitations of the Digital Nomad Visa for Temporary Stays?
There are a couple of crucial advantages of the new Digital Nomad Visa for Temporary Stays as compared to other Visa Schemes in Portugal. Take the Golden Visa scheme, for instance. In exchange for a minimum investment of 300,000 Euros in the country, it grants a residency permit, thus allowing for free movement in Europe. The new Digital Nomad Visa, however, does not require any investment in Portugal.
The D7 Visa is another popular choice. Although designed for retirees, it is widely used by people of all ages wanting to live and work abroad. Anyone can apply for it as long as their income is above the local minimum wage, but it requires holders to stay in the country for a certain amount of months each year.
The Permanent Residency Visa, instead, is made for those looking to stay longer. Still, it is also a more complicated and lengthy process. Like many countries around the world, Portugal has a Tourist Visa in place. The downside is that, depending on the country, a Tourist Visa will allow stays of up to 90 days. In contrast, a Digital Nomad Visa can extend your stay for up to a year or more.
There are, however, a few downsides to consider. For example, D7 visa holders only need to earn the Portuguese minimum wage per month, while the Temporary Visa requires four times that. However, D7 regulations require earnings to come from ‘passive’ income streams like rent or investments.
How to Apply for the Portugal Digital Nomad Visa
As of 30 October 2022, under the new Portugal Digital Nomad Visa program, remote workers and digital nomads can now live and work in Portugal, choosing between a shorter or a longer stay.
1 — TEMPORARY STAY DIGITAL NOMAD VISA
The main factor criteria for eligibility is proof of sufficient income, at least 2820 € per month. To show your income is equal to or above the required amount, you will need to complete a statement of responsibility from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Portugal. You may also be asked to show your bank statements and invoices for further proof.
This temporary option is great for those who want to try out Portugal for a short time, but still longer than the 90-day Schengen tourist allowance, without committing to becoming a long-term resident.
2 — DIGITAL NOMAD VISA: RESIDENCE VISA
This visa is aimed at workers who are looking to establish their permanent residence in the country, and those seeking Portuguese citizenship. These are the requirements needed to apply for the Digital Nomad Residence Visa:
- NIF (local tax number) and Portuguese bank account
- A monthly salary — from remote work — that is at least four times the minimum wage (similar to the temporary visa, that would be 2820 €)
- Proof of personal tax domicile in Portugal (for example a 12-month rental contract registered at the local finance authority)
- An employment contract from a company based outside of Portugal; or, for freelancers, proof that you are working with clients
- Bank statements, payslips or invoices that can prove your monthly income
The application is made in two stages:
- First, you need to submit your application to the nearest Portuguese consulate in your country of citizenship or permanent residence
- Second, you need to get the residency permit in Portugal by going to the immigration department once you have entered the country with your digital nomad visa
If the request submitted to the consulate is successful, they will then grant you a double-entry visa valid for four months, in which you can enter Portugal and complete the second stage at SEF.
It is no coincidence that the Portuguese Government decided on this new Visa scheme now. Portugal has long been favoured by the digital nomad community, with major cities Lisbon and Porto amongst the most popular destinations for digital workers. Glorious weather, excellent food, welcoming people and a wide-ranging scenery are just some of its charms. Combined with a cheaper cost of living compared to many European nations and the U.S., it has become popular among expats.
Also, Portugal is the third safest country in the world for digital nomads and the country came ninth in a ranking of the healthiest countries for those working and living abroad. And that is despite not having an official digital nomad visa.
Statistics are great but every company has unique reasons to move. Cloudfare’s CTO John Graham-Cumming looked at no less than 45 cities across 29 countries, before narrowing it down to Lisbon. Its combination of a large tech ecosystem, attractive immigration policy, political stability, high standard of living, as well as logistical factors like time zone (the same as the UK) was key.
For Dashlane, there were other priorities. When they first decided to open a new office, they spent weeks looking for a city that valued the spirit of innovation. Lisbon’s passion for building forward-thinking businesses and skilled and motivated workforce were decisive factors.
BRIDGE IN, make your next move with us
Looking to set up in Portugal? By partnering with BRIDGE IN you can easily get started in Portugal, hassle-free:
- Our Employer of Record Services in Portugal allow you to hire a team without the need to establish a local company.
- If you opt for company formation in Portugal, We take care of everything you need to expand into the country. Incorporate your company with our assistance in dealing with bureaucracy and engage with providers. We will be your local expert and act as interim Country Manager until your operations are up and running.
- With our Payroll Processing services, you will directly employ your team through your local entity. We help you with our People Management framework, taking care of payroll, benefits, expenses, tax, social security, and mandatory insurance, ensuring legal compliance.