Moving to Portugal

In Portugal, all citizens of over 16 years of age, whether national or foreign, are required by law to carry a valid document identifying them to the authorities.

This document may be an identity card, passport, residence certificate or residence card.

Reporting one’s presence in the country after entering

European Union (EU) citizens do not need to report their presence in Portugal after their arrival.

Persons who do not have European nationality who have entered national territory via an uncontrolled border must report their presence in Portugal to the Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras (SEF) [Immigration and Borders Service] within three working days, unless they already have a residence permit or authorisation to stay for over 6 months.

If, after entering Portugal, a person who does not have European nationality is staying in a hotel or similar establishment, the obligation to notify the SEF is the responsibility of the establishment concerned.

Residence for up to 3 months

EU citizens are entitled to live in Portugal for a period of up to 3 months without any conditions or formalities other than holding a valid identity card or passport.

Family members of EU citizens who do not have European nationality and who are accompanying or joining an EU citizen in Portugal may remain for a period of up to 3 months, provided they hold a valid passport.

Residence for more than 3 months

A document authorising residence will be required. Find out below whether a registration certificate or residence card will be required.

Any EU citizen has the right to live in Portugal for more than 3 months, provided they comply with at least one of the following conditions:

  • They are employed or self-employed in Portuguese territory
  • They have sufficient resources* for themselves and for members of their family and have health insurance, provided this is required of Portuguese citizens in the Member State of their nationality
  • They are enrolled at an officially accredited private or public teaching establishment and have sufficient resources for themselves and/or their family members, and health insurance, provided this is required of Portuguese citizens in the Member State of their nationality

*Sufficient resources are the resources of the citizen (pay and pensions which are not less than the level of income below which the Portuguese State may grant social rights and support to nationals, in the light of their personal circumstances and, where applicable, those of their family members).

Any member of the family of an EU citizen who accompanies or joins an EU citizen who complies with at least one of the above conditions also has the right to live in Portugal for more than three months. The family member themselves may be an EU citizen or may not have European nationality.

Registration certificate for an EU citizen or their family member who is also an EU citizen

EU citizens and their family members who are also EU citizens must apply for the registration certificate to be able to live in Portugal for more than three months. This certificate must be applied for at their local Council within the 30 days following their first three months in national territory. The cost is EUR 15 or EUR 7.5 for children below six years of age.

The Registration certificate is valid for five years from the date of issue, or up to the date envisaged for the citizen's stay in Portugal, if less than five years.

Find out what conditions apply and what documents must be presented when applying for the certificate on the SEF website.

Remaining in Portugal for more than 3 months without applying for the registration certificate may lead to a fine of between EUR 400 and EUR 1 500.

Residence card for a family member of an EU citizen who does not have European nationality

Family members of EU citizens who do not have European nationality must apply for a residence card to be able to live in Portugal for more than three months. The residence card must be applied for within the 30 days following their first three months in national territory, at the offices of the SEF, after making an appointment. The cost is EUR 15 or EUR 7.5 for children below six years of age.

The residence card is valid for five years from the date of issue, or up to the date specified for the citizen’s stay in Portugal, if less than five years

Find out what conditions apply and what documents must be presented when applying for the residence card on the SEF website.

Remaining in Portugal for more than 3 months without applying for the residence card may lead to a fine of between EUR 400 and EUR 1 500.

Permanent residence

A residence permit document will be required. Find out below whether a registration certificate or residence card will be required.

EU citizens have the right to permanent residence in Portugal, provided they have lived legally in national territory for five consecutive years.

Family members of EU citizens who do not have European nationality have the right to permanent residence in Portugal, provided they have lived legally in national territory with an EU citizen to whom they are related for five consecutive years.

In calculating the five years of residence in Portugal, temporary absences of up to six consecutive months per year or absences of up to 12 consecutive months for justified reasons, such as pregnancy or giving birth, serious illness, studies or vocational training or posting to work in another country, do not count.

Registration certificate of permanent residence for an EU citizen or their family member who is also an EU citizen

EU citizens and their family members who are also EU citizens must apply for a registration certificate of permanent residence after living legally in Portugal for over five years. This certificate must be applied for before the residence certificate expires at the offices of the SEF, after making an appointment. The cost is EUR 15.

The registration certificate of permanent residence is valid for 10 years and must be renewed before it expires.

Find out what conditions apply and what documents must be presented when applying for the certificate on the SEF website.

Permanent residence card for a family member of an EU citizen who does not have European nationality

Family members of EU citizens who do not have European nationality must apply for a permanent residence card after living legally in Portugal for over five years. The permanent residence card must be applied for before the residence card expires at the offices of the SEF, after making an appointment. The cost is EUR 15.

The permanent residence card is valid for 10 years and must be renewed before it expires.

Find out what conditions apply and what documents must be presented when applying for a residence permit on the SEF website.

Loss of the right to permanent residence

An EU citizen or their family member loses the right to permanent residence when they are outside Portugal for over two consecutive years.

Family members of EU citizens who do not have European nationality and who remain in Portugal after termination of the validity of their permanent residence card may be fined between EUR 400 and EUR 1 500.

Family members of an EU citizen

For residence purposes, family members of an EU citizen are deemed to be:

  • their spouse or partner
  • a direct descendant under 21 years of age
  • a direct descendant responsible for an EU citizen, their spouse or their partner
  • a direct ascendant responsible for an EU citizen, their spouse or their partner.
Assistance services

For more information or if you need help, please contact the SEF Contact Center:

  • phone: (+351) 808 202 653, at working days from 8h to 20h
  • phone: (+351) 808 962 690, at working days from 8h to 20h
  • e-mail: gricrp.cc@sef.pt
  • fax: (+351) 214 236 640.