On holiday or for work, travelling abroad, even for short periods of time, requires some preparation. Make sure you meet all the conditions for travel, whether at the time of departure or on your return, from the necessary documents and vaccinations you must take. In case of emergency, know what you have to do and who to contact.
In this guide you will find the following information:
- What to know if you if you are going to travel within the European Union?
- What to know if you are going to travel outside the European Union?
- What to do before you leave?
- What to know before arriving in the country of destination?
- What are the conditions for traveling to the UK after BREXIT?
- Who to ask for help in case of emergency?
What to know if you if you are going to travel within the European Union?
If you are a Portuguese citizen (or have a long-stay visa or legal residence in Portugal), you can cross the border between EU countries belonging to the Schengen area without presenting your Citizen Card or passport. However, you are advised to carry a document proving your identity, as you may need to show it to the authorities or to travel by air, for example.
Note: Driving licences or bank cards do not serve as identification in a travel context.
If you are travelling with people who are not from an EU country, check the list of documents that may be needed.
Within the EU, the circulation of people and goods is free, but this does not mean that there are no limits for certain types of products. Consult the European recommendations on the transport of restricted products and what you can take with you on the plane (such as carry-on and hold luggage).
Regarding the amount of money that can be carried when entering or leaving the EU, be aware that from €10,000 you will have to declare the amount to the customs authorities.
If you're thinking about travelling by car or renting a car during your holiday abroad, consult the EU's recommendations on driving a car. Your driving licence and insurance are valid throughout the EU, but not all countries have the same traffic rules.
What to know if you are going to travel outside the European Union?
To travel, you'll need your passport. Check if your passport is valid or if you need to renew it. Some countries require a validity period of up to 6 months after the trip.
Check in advance, with your travel agency or at embassies and consulates, if you need a visa to enter the countries you are going to travel to and how far in advance you need to request this visa. If necessary, do not travel without a visa. This document can be requested online or at the representative entities of the destination country (embassies or consulates) to which you intend to travel.
What to do before leaving?
Before leaving the country, check that you meet all the conditions in relation to the requirements of your destination.
Make sure your documents are valid
Depending on the destination (within the EU or outside the EU), you may need a passport or visa to enter the country. Moreover, you should check whether your Multibanco or credit cards are valid in the country you are travelling to. Please contact your bank to obtain all the necessary clarifications.
If you are driving, check if your driving licence is within its validity period and that it is recognised by the country of destination. Ask your local embassy or consulate for more information. In case of doubt, request the International Driving License in advance.
There are special travel and transport conditions for people with disabilities
If you have reduced mobility, you are entitled to free assistance services when travelling by air, train, bus or ship. If you have a disability involving reduced mobility, you may be entitled to an EU parking card. If you are a Portuguese resident, you may request this card by contacting the Institute for Mobility and Transports.
Make a travel insurance
If you think it is important to make a travel insurance, choose a comprehensive coverage. Preferably, include medical assistance, theft, robbery, and repatriation expenses. Check the contractual conditions and the most important data: age and territorial limits, notification of complaints and expiration dates.
If you are driving, get a complete travel insurance that guarantees coverage in case of a driving accident.
Register your trip with the consular services
Register online so that the consular services know where you are and can assist you if needed. You may also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
- your Citizen Card number
- your mobile number
- the route of the trip
- the accommodation and contact details of such accommodation
- the name of a family member to contact in case of emergency.
You can register with the app Traveler Registry, available for Android and iOS smartphones. By using this application, you will receive information on the security conditions of the country concerned, have access to the contacts of the diplomatic and consular representations of Portugal and have a direct link to the Consular Emergency Office.
In the case of catastrophes, this registry allows the Portuguese authorities to identify the places and number of people who are in danger areas and who need rapid assistance.
Find out all the recommendations in the consular services' advice to Portuguese travellers.
If you travel in the summer, you can ask the PSP (municipal police) to monitor your home
During the summer months (July, August and September), you can ask the PSP (municipal police) to monitor your home while you are on vacation. While you are away, the police will check, from the outside, if there are any suspicious signs. If there is, they will contact you or someone you appoint as a representative. The service is free and can be requested up to 48 hours before departure.
Is the person traveling a minor?
If the person who is going to travel, alone or accompanied, is a minor, you may need a permission to travel. Check which conditions require a statement of permission for minors to be issued and how it can be requested.
Attend the traveller's appointment at least one month before the trip if you are travelling outside of the EU
If you are travelling within or outside Europe, you should attend the traveller's appointment 1 to 2 weeks before departure. If you are travelling with your family, particularly with children and the elderly, consider the special care they may need.
If you are travelling to an exotic destination, you may need to have vaccinations. Some countries require the yellow fever vaccine, which must be taken at least 10 days before the trip and is valid for life.
Find out which locations and contact details are available for the traveller's appointment. Depending on the location you choose, you will find out what documents you need to bring with you to the appointment.
Request the European Health Insurance Card if you travel within the EU
This card is free of charge, whether requested by Social Security or by one of the several health subsystems, and may be requested online allowing you to receive medical assistance during a temporary stay:
- in European Union countries
- in Iceland
- in Liechtenstein
- in Norway
- in Switzerland.
To find out if you are entitled to the European health insurance card, consult the list of beneficiaries. If you already have the card but need to renew it, you can request online the renewal of your European Health Insurance Card.
What to know before arriving in the country of destination?
Know your rights and obligations while travelling abroad.
If you are travelling within the European Union
When you travel within the European Union, you are entitled to a set of rights that are the same in all countries and protect passengers when travelling by air, train, bus and ship. To get to know the passengers’ rights, consult the EU website or download the application, available for Android, iPhone, iPad and Windows Phone.
If you experience problems while travelling because your rights as an EU citizen are not being respected by the public administration of an EU country, you can use SOLVIT to submit your situation. Together with the national authorities, the SOLVIT Centre aims to find a solution to the problems within ten weeks.
You can drive anywhere in the EU
Your driving licence is valid throughout the EU, but you should confirm that you are of the required age to drive the different categories of vehicles, as the age requirement may be different in some of these countries. Your car insurance is also valid in other EU countries.
For more information on traffic rules and driving abroad, consult the EU recommendations.
You can use your mobile phone as if you were in Portugal
Roaming between EU countries is free. This means that your operator cannot charge you more for communications you make in another EU country than for communications you make in Portugal - whether they are calls, SMS or data services, sent or received.
Use the European health insurance card if you need healthcare
If you fall ill during a temporary stay in an EU country, you are entitled to receive medical care under the same conditions as that country’s citizens. To do so, you will need to present the European health insurance card. This card may be requested online.
Remember that the European health insurance card:
- is not an alternative to travel insurance, as it does not cover healthcare provided in the private health system or other expenses, such as the cost of repatriation or compensation for lost or stolen goods.
- does not cover your expenses if you travel for medical treatment
- does not guarantee free services as each country has a different health system, so services that are free in Portugal can be paid for in another country.
If you are travelling outside the European Union
If, at any time, you lose your passport or notice that it can no longer be used, you must contact the Portuguese consular services in the country where you are staying. If there is no Portuguese embassy or consulate in that country, you can ask for help at an embassy or consulate of another European Union country.
Find out about the laws and customs of the country where you are
Respect local customs and laws. In Muslim and Eastern countries, you must respect the local rules on dress and forms of social behaviour.
In some countries it is forbidden to sell or consume alcoholic beverages. Inform yourself before carrying or consuming them.
If you are driving, get to know the road code of the country you are driving in and make sure that your licence is valid.
Remember that many countries apply fines or prison sentences immediately upon detection of an offence. These rules also apply to foreign visitors.
Avoid contact with drugs
In some countries, the use or transport of drugs is punishable by heavy fines, long prison sentences or even the death penalty. Avoid contact with substances that are prohibited in the country where you are travelling to.
Note: When travelling, always take with you the prescription for the medicines you are taking, as there are substances that are illegal in other countries, so you may need to prove that they have been prescribed by a doctor.
Be careful and remain alert
Take care to avoid theft and not to lose your return ticket. When travelling, take only the necessary items and avoid displaying jewellery or other valuables. Avoid walking through poorly lit streets at night and do not resist to an attempt of violent robbery.
Respect the recommendations of the local authorities. If you are accused of a crime, insist with the local authorities to inform the Portuguese consulate.
For further recommendations, consult the other advice from the consular services to Portuguese travellers.
What are the conditions for traveling to the UK after BREXIT?
Until 30 September 2021, Portuguese citizens may enter the United Kingdom, where they may stay for a period of up to 6 months, presenting only the valid Citizen Card. After that date, 1 October 2021, it will be necessary to present the Passport to travel to the United Kingdom, which will have to be valid during the whole period you are in the United Kingdom.
However, there are some exceptions that allow Portuguese citizens to enter the UK with a Citizen Card until 31 December 2025:
- having a status under the European Union settlement system
- having a European Union settlement permit for families
- having a frontier worker permit
- being a Health Care Visitor under the S2 agreement
- being a Swiss service provider.
Citizens with Portuguese nationality do not need a visa to travel to the United Kingdom, where they may stay for tourism purposes or to visit family members, for a period of up to 6 months.
Who to ask for help in case of emergency?
The Portuguese State assures you support in case of need through its embassies and consulates abroad. In countries where there is no Portuguese representation, you can resort to an embassy or consulate of another European Union country.
You can request consular support in case of:
- deprivation of liberty
- human traffic
- situations of war, riot, state of public calamity or terrorist attacks
- theft of identification papers.
The consular service can, for example:
- issue a temporary travel document if you lose your passport or Citizen Card
- facilitate contact with relatives, friends or someone that can help you by sending money or a valid transport ticket
- promote repatriation to Portugal, in exceptional circumstances and in cases of proven economic hardship, after other means have been exhausted, through the signing of an undertaking to reimburse the Portuguese State for the amount spent
- facilitate contact with hospitals if you have an accident or illness
- facilitate contact with a lawyer in the event of arrest
- inform your next of kin if you have an accident.
The consular service may not, however, release people from prison or pay the hotel, doctor, lawyer, travel or other expenses.
In the case of catastrophe, contact the Emergency Consular Office
The Emergency Consular Office shall provide consular support in emergency situations. It operates 24 hours a day, through the numbers:
- (+351) 961 706 472
- (+351) 21 792 97 14
In order for this service to function properly, you must be registered with the consular offices prior to travel.
Information updated on March 1, 2021
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