D7 Visa The Ultimate Guide To Obtaining Residency in Portugal

The D7 visa offers a pathway for individuals seeking to reside in Portugal without the need for local employment, making it an attractive choice for retirees, digital nomads, freelancers, and those with passive income streams. In this guide, we’ll delve into the key aspects of the D7 visa, including its purpose, eligibility criteria, application process, financial requirements, benefits of residency in Portugal, and tips for a successful application. Whether you’re dreaming of sunny beaches, historic cities, or vibrant culture, join us as we embark on your journey to Portugal through the lens of the D7 visa.

Benefits Of The D7 Visa

Thinking of moving to Portugal? Portugal offers a myriad of benefits for expats. Whether you’re drawn to its stunning landscapes, rich culture, or promising economic prospects, Portugal provides a welcoming environment for individuals and families alike. Here’s why it’s a great idea:

Fast Residency Process

Get Portuguese residency for your family in just 4-6 months thanks to a streamlined application process.

Family Reunification

Bring your loved ones along! Spouse, dependents, and parents can join you in Portugal, fostering family reunification.

Healthcare Benefits

D7 visa holders are entitled to healthcare coverage, including access to the renowned Portuguese Public Health Service, without extra charges.

Education Opportunities

Access Portugal’s excellent national education service, schools, and vocational training for you and your family.

Right to Work

Gain the freedom to work and do business within Portugal as an independent professional, enhancing career prospects.

Work and Business Opportunities

With a D7 visa, you can even start a business in Portugal. Plus, authorized business activities can be pursued with ease.

Schengen Zone Access

Enjoy visa-free travel across Schengen countries for up to 90 days within every 180-day period, making exploration a breeze.

Path to Permanent Residency & Citizenship

After five years of maintaining residency, you can apply for permanent residency or citizenship, opening doors to long-term stability and getting a European passport.

Citizenship For Children

After holding Portuguese residency for at least a year, your newborn children can become Portuguese citizens, offering them a bright future.

Obtain Your Portuguese NIF

One of the first things you’ll need is a Portuguese tax ID, also known as the Número de Identificação Fiscal or NIF. Your NIF is more than just a number – it’s your ticket to everyday essentials like opening a bank account, setting up utilities, and accessing healthcare.

Option 1: Doing It Yourself

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to tackle the NIF application process solo, here’s what you’ll need to do:

Prepare Your Documents: gather your passport and proof of address, then book an in-person appointment at your local tax office in Portugal.

Submit Your Request: head over to the tax office and present copies of your documentation to initiate your NIF application. There is no fee to obtain your NIF.

Wait for Approval: sit tight while your application is processed. Normally, you can expect to receive your NIF within a week, though delays may occur.

It’s important to note that even if you successfully navigate the process on your own, Portuguese law mandates that you have fiscal representation. This means appointing someone with a fiscal address in Portugal to handle tax matters on your behalf. This requirement adds an extra layer of complexity and responsibility to the DIY approach. However, once you secure residency in Portugal, you can update the fiscal representation back to yourself.

Portugal NIF tax number

Option 2: Using a Professional Service

Alternatively, you can choose a smoother experience by using a professional service provider to streamline the process and bypass frustration. It’s important to note that you’ll also need to enlist a professional service if you are not in Portugal, as obtaining the NIF remotely by yourself isn’t possible.

In my own experience securing the D7 Visa, I used Bordr to obtain my NIF, and I can’t recommend their service highly enough. With Bordr, you gain peace of mind knowing that experts are handling your application. They offer:

  • Assistance in obtaining your Portugal NIF number
  • 12 months of fiscal representation provided by a Portuguese lawyer
  • Automatic request of your Portal das Finanças password, ensuring a comprehensive and hassle-free service

They truly excel in client service, going above and beyond. Whenever I had multiple questions, they were promptly answered. They provided thorough guides for updating or changing my NIF and even extended their assistance beyond the 12-month representation period, when I needed a little more time.

Open a Portuguese Bank

Opening a bank account in Portugal is a key requirement for the D7 Visa, however recent changes have made opening accounts for non-residents more complex. let’s dive into the process!

Option 1: Doing It Yourself

If you’re up for the challenge, you can try opening your account on your own. However, keep in mind that it may be more difficult now with some banks tightening their requirements.

Requirements:

  • Passport
  • Proof of address
  • Proof of employment
  • NIF (Portuguese tax ID)
  • Apostille documents – if required by the bank

Process:

  1. Research banks: make sure to research whether the bank allows account opening for non-residents, required documentation, if they permit remote account opening and whether they accept your nationality
  2. Sign the necessary bank documents
  3. Mail the documents to Portugal
  4. Schedule virtual on in-person interview at bank
  5. Transfer the minimum deposit, as required by the bank, to activate your newly opened account

Timeline:

The bank account opening process is often estimated to take around 2 weeks, but in reality, that´s usually not the case. It really depends on the bank and your personal circumstances. When I set up my account at Atlantico in 2021, it took about 8 weeks for account approval.

Using a Professional Service

Choosing a professional service provider can streamline the process and make opening a Portuguese bank account hassle-free. Once again, I used Bordr´s services. They assisted me in opening an account in 2021 at Millenium BCP, one of Portugal’s largest banks.

Requirements:

  • Passport
  • Proof of address
  • Proof of employment
  • NIF (Portuguese tax ID)

Process:

  1. Place your order online
  2. Sign the necessary bank documents – in presence of a Portuguese attorney via Zoom, scheduled by Bordr
  3. Mail the documents to Portugal or open the account in-person
  4. Transfer the minimum deposit, as required by the bank, to activate your newly opened account

What´s Included:

  • A dedicated bank manager
  • Online banking access
  • 2 debit cards
  • 2 credit cards
  • Free euro transfers to countries to SEPA member states (EU, UK, and 8 more)

Timeline:

The standard processing time for opening a bank account with Bordr is 1-2 weeks for in-person applications and 3-4 weeks for remote applications.

My experience with the process was quite smooth. I use Millennium Bank as my primary banking institution and used my Millennium bank statements for my D7 Visa application. While I have had a few minor issues with the bank, overall, it has been a positive experience.

D7 Visa Financial Requirements

To be eligible for the D7 Visa, you need to demonstrate a stable passive income, which can come from pensions, rental incomes, investments, or dividends. Unlike the Portuguese Golden Visa, there’s no financial investment requirement for the D7 Visa.

Portuguese authorities check if your passive income exceeds €820 per month, which is the minimum wage in the country. The minimum passive income required under the D7 Visa varies based on the number of family members in your household:

  • Main applicant: €9,840 per year
  • Dependent adults included within the application: €4,920 each per year
  • Dependent children: €3,280 per year

You’ll also have to deposit the minimum income amount  into your Portuguese bank account and show proof of these funds in your statements. You will need to include these statements within your application. Some people even double this amount to give their application a boost.

Examples

As a single applicant, I deposited €10,000 into my bank account for proof of funds. I also provided six months’ worth of dividend statements, demonstrating earnings exceeding the monthly minimum wage.

If you are a family of 4, with 2 adults and 2 minor children, you would need to deposit at least €21,320 into your Portuguese account for proof of funds, and also demonstrate at least €1,777 in monthly passive income.

Please be aware that salaries are not considered passive income. If you’re unable to demonstrate passive income, you may want to consider the D8 visa instead.

Proof of Accommodation in Portugal

Obtaining accommodation in Portugal can be one of the trickier criteria to fulfill when applying for the D7 Visa. However, there are several options that meet the requirements, including rental contracts, purchase agreements, or staying with friends or family.

When submitting proof of accommodation, it’s important to

1. Show proof of 12 months

2. Ensure the documents are in Portuguese, though they may also include English translations.

The details required for each type of accommodation document are specific:

Rental contracts: must be in your name (or both adult members of a couple if applying together) and include the property address, owner’s name, and contract period.

For home purchase agreements, a completed agreement or a Promissory Contract (Contrato de Promessa de Compra e Venda) is acceptable.

If staying with someone, a letter of invitation (Term of Responsibility Form) signed by your host is necessary. The host’s signature must be notarized in Portugal, and a copy of their identity card should be included. It’s important to indicate your relationship with the host, as authorities may verify your stay.

There is some uncertainty regarding whether accommodations from Airbnb or booking.com are acceptable. While some applications have been approved with these bookings, others have been denied. If you’re hesitant about committing to a year-long lease in Portugal and prefer a more flexible booking, it’s a risk you’ll need to consider carefully.

I personally used a lease agreement for a 12-month booking from Flatio and encountered no issues with my approval. What’s great about Flatio is that they offer contracts in both Portuguese and English, plus the flexibility to cancel the lease agreement with just 30 days’ notice.

Health Insurance

You’ll need to get travel insurance as required for the D7 Visa application.  days from your planned arrival in Portugal. Here’s a quick recap of what your insurance should include:

  • Coverage for at least 120 days, starting from the first day of your planned arrival
  • Portugal must be listed among the covered countries
  • Minimum coverage of €30,000 per person
  • No deductible
  • COVID coverage

I opted for AXA’s Europe Travel insurance. Although I didn’t end up needing or using it, the signup process was straightforward, and the price was reasonable.

National Police Report

For each applicant aged 16 or older, a criminal record certificate from the country where you’ve lived for at least one year is required. it must be a nationally issued police report and cannot be a police report issued from a state or region.

You will also be required to apostille the police report. This is simply a process of legalizing a document for international use.

If your police report isn’t in English or Portuguese, you’ll need to translate it into Portuguese by a certified translator before apostilling it.

If you´re from the US, you will need to obtain a FBI criminal record certificate. In this case you can either leave it in its original, unopened envelope or if you get a digital copy, you will need to apostille it at the Secretary of State. 

As I was living in Panama when I applied for my visa, I obtained my national Panamanian police report, translated it into Portuguese, and then got it apostilled.

As part of your application, you’ll also need to sign a Release/Request for a Portuguese criminal record check by the Foreigners and Borders Service (AIMA). This form is included in the application packet.

Personal Statement For Moving to Portugal

Each applicant must provide a short note, dated and signed, as part of the application process. When multiple family members are applying, make sure to match or reference each other’s personal statements.

Sometimes, the reviewing agent may ask for more details about your situation or ties to Portugal. In this case, they’re seeking elaboration on your personal statement. Ensure your personal statement is clear and concise, covering the following points:

  • Describe yourself, including your education and profession
  • Explain why you want to move to and reside in Portugal
  • Outline your ties to Portugal, such as family or friends residing here, property ownership, bank account details (including the amount), and contact information for your landlord, banker, or realtor
  • Specify where you intend to reside initially, providing either the address or at least the town name
  • Detail the type of accommodations you’ll have initially, whether rental or home purchase
  • Explain how you plan to transfer money for daily living expenses to Portugal.
  • Provide your NIF (Número de Identificação Fiscal)

Other Documentation

The points mentioned above cover the key requirements for the visa application. However, you’ll need other documents that are somewhat easier to obtain like passport copies, marriage certificates, birth certificate, passport size photos and application form. For the complete checklist, please download it below.


Scheduling Your Appointment at the Embassy & Timing Of Your Application

Timing can be one of the most nerve-wracking parts of the visa application process. While Portuguese law suggests a smooth 15-day turnaround for decisions, reality often sees us waiting longer—sometimes up to 90 days, and in rare cases, even 180.

To ease the stress of waiting, it’s helpful to create your own timeline. Start from your desired arrival date in Portugal and work your way backward, factoring in deadlines and prep times.

Here are some key points to consider:

  • Book your appointment at the Portuguese Embassy or Consulate in your home country/country of legal residence no more than 120 days before your Portugal arrival. For instance, if you’re looking to arrive in around February 1st, shoot for an October 1st appointment slot. BUT, always check in with the embassy—some VFS Global Offices have a 90-day booking window.
  • When scheduling an appointment with the Portuguese Embassy or Consulate, consider the wait time for appointments to plan your documentation accordingly. Some embassies may offer appointments the following week while others offer appointments in 2 or 3 months.

When it comes to preparing your documents:

  • Ensure all your documents are up-to-date for your appointment. Bank statements should be from the most recent month, and police reports typically have a validity period of 3 to 6 months.
  • Your travel health insurance should cover you for a minimum of 120 days from your planned arrival in Portugal.
  • Accommodation must be valid for 12 months from the date of intended arrival.

Family Reunification

Your family members can also join you through the Family Reunification program.This means they can also obtain residence permits to live with you in Portugal. Eligible dependents include:

  • Spouse or partner – provided you can prove the relationship under current law
  • Children under 18 years old, or those incapable of living independently.
  • Children over 18 who are unmarried, and enrolled as full-time students in Portugal
  • Parents of either spouse or partner
  • Siblings under 18 years old of either spouse or partner, if legally under their care

Find An Expert

You have the option to apply for the D7 Visa independently, as I did. It requires patience and learning, but it’s entirely doable. However, if you prefer professional guidance, consider some of our recommended experts.


D7 Visa Approval

Once your application has been approved, you will need to either return to the consulate in person or mail in your passport to receive the D7 visa stamped into your passport. The visa is valid for 120 days which allows you to legally travel to Portugal and prepare for the next steps of the process. It’s important to keep in mind that it only allows for 2 entries in Portugal, so take this into consideration when planning your trip and timeline.

D7 visa stamped into passport

Next Steps: Your AIMA Appointment

Now that you’ve secured your D7 visa, it’s time to make your way to Portugal. But wait, your journey towards temporary residency is just getting started! Your next stop is your AIMA appointment.

Usually, your AIMA appointment is automatically scheduled and provided within the D7 visa stamp. However, if it’s not, you’ll need to schedule it yourself through the AIMA website.

Your appointment will typically be at the AIMA bureau nearest to your residence. But, don´t be surprised if it’s in a different city – AIMA tries to balance appointment volumes across offices.

When I applied for my visa, I intentionally selected accommodation in a quieter town in Madeira.  I had heard some horror stories about people struggling to secure appointments, with some even scheduled well after their D7 visa had expired, leaving them in a bind. So, I chose Madeira because it offered tranquillity and allowed me to secure my appointment while my D7 visa was still valid. With my visa starting in February and knowing that my AIMA appointment was automatically scheduled for mid-May gave me a huge peace of mind that everything was falling into place.

During your appointment, you’ll need provide required documentation, pay a fee, and submit your biometrics. While they usually reuse your previously submitted visa application documents, it’s wise to bring extra copies. Additionally, you’ll need:

Private Health Insurance

While Portugal offers free healthcare, private health insurance is required for your residency application. Travel insurance is no longer accepted at this stage. I chose Medis, and it has provided excellent coverage throughout my stay in Portugal.

Proof Of Accommodation

AIMA is stricter regarding the proof of accommodation, requiring a registered lease at the tax offices. In my case, I was asked for the lease and the form from the Ministry of Finance Tax and Customs Authority demonstrating proof that my lease was registered.

Proof of registered lease in Portugal

Although I was not asked, I was also prepared with recent utility bills from EDP and EPAL, as well as my certificate of residence from my local municipality.


Quick note: You must inform your local municipality within 30 days of moving. Simply visit your nearest Junta da Freguesia with your passport, NIF, proof of address, and a small fee. They’ll issue the certificate of residence within a few days. Occasionally, they may request two witnesses to confirm your new address, but this is less common nowadays.

They will then issue you with a resolution of approval. You will then be sent the temporary resident card. Unlike the visa, the Temporary Resident Permit is not affixed to your passport. It is in the form of a card issued by AIMA and it gives you legal residency in Portugal for two years from the date it is granted. They typically take 2 weeks to send the card, but many people have complained that it  took months to receive.

Portuguese temporary residency card

Maintaining Your Residency

It is important to maintain residency. The visa will be revoked if you don’t spend six consecutive months or eight non-consecutive months in the country. After the initial two years, if you wish to continue residency, you may be eligible for a new residency visa valid for three years.

Tax Implications

As you consider the D7 Visa, understanding the tax implications is muito importante!

Once you have moved to Portugal and maintain the residency requirements, you will be spending more than 183 days in the country within a fiscal year. This means, you will become a tax resident. Once you’re a tax resident, your global income falls under Portuguese tax laws.

The Non-Habitual Residence (NHR) regime, while beloved by many expats, has sadly come to an end earlier this year, in 2024. In its place, Portugal’s rolling out a new special tax regime. We highly advise consulting tax experts to fully grasp your tax status and obligations before relocating to a new country.

Move to Portugal

FAQs

What Are The Financial Requirements To Qualify For A D7 Visa In Portugal?

To qualify for a D7 visa, you must demonstrate a steady passive income that covers your living expenses in Portugal. The minimum income requirement is €9,840/year for a single applicant, €14,760/year for an applicant with a spouse, and an additional €3,280 /year for each child.

Is There A Language Requirement For The D7 Visa?

No, there’s no official language requirement for the D7 visa. However, having basic knowledge of Portuguese can be beneficial for daily life in Portugal.

What Is A NIF?

The NIF number is your legal taxpayer number in Portugal. With your NIF number, you can carry out tax activities in the country.

How Do I Get My AIMA Appointment?

It varies. Sometimes the appointment is given automatically following your appointment at the consulate, and sometimes you need to get in touch with AIMA to arrange an appointment. If that’s the case, you can either phone AIMA or have your lawyer call on your behalf.

Can I Get Portuguese Citizenship?

Yes, you can. The residence permit under this visa is granted for 2 years, renewable for successive periods of three years. After five years of legal residence, you can apply for a permanent residence permit or Portuguese citizenship.

What Are The Common Reasons For D7 Visa Rejection And How Can They Be Avoided?

Common reasons for D7 visa rejection include insufficient financial resources, incomplete documentation, and issues with criminal records. Ensure all paperwork is accurate, complete, and submitted on time to minimize the chance of rejection.

Are D7 Visa Holders Subject To Taxation In Portugal?

As a D7 visa holder, you become a tax resident in Portugal and are subject to taxation on your worldwide income. However, you may benefit from double taxation agreements or other special tax regimes.

Michelle Hammond

Meet Michelle, a dynamic and passionate writer specializing in global immigration investment. With an extensive background as an advisor in the industry, Michelle brings six years of invaluable experience to the table, making her a true expert in her field.

What sets Michelle apart is not just her expertise on paper but her hands-on experience that goes beyond borders. Having lived and worked on four continents, Michelle has a unique and global perspective that enriches her understanding of the intricacies of immigration and investment.

Beyond her professional achievements, Michelle is driven by a compassionate approach. She believes in inspiring others to embrace the concept of global citizenship, understanding its profound impact on personal and professional growth. Michelle’s writing not only informs but also encourages individuals to explore the possibilities of becoming global citizens and reaping the numerous benefits that come with it.