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Living In Portugal – Getting Residency

Getting residency in Portugal is something you will have to do if you intend to stay for more than a couple of months. It can feel a little overwhelming and confusing but fear no more, our guide to becoming ‘official’ in Portugal is here to help you out!

This guide is designed to help people who are based in the EU and have freedom of movement, of course changes will come about from the UK leaving the EU, for not the rules below apply but when they change we will have a Surviving Brexit Guide to help people move from the UK to Portugal. If you are moving from outside of the EU, initial residency is usually for 1, 3 or 5 years but we recommend you contact people who are specialised and very experienced in helping with visas here.

SO! – You are an EU resident and staying for more than 90 days in Portugal?

Temporary Residency

Firstly you will need to apply for temporary residency by way of a certificate of registration (Certificado do Registo de Cidadão da União Europeia). This is valid for 5 years. Getting residency is pretty straight forward and not something you need to be scared of but do be aware that requirements can vary at town halls (câmaras) from area to area (as you will see below).
In reality the câmaras often require no more than a passport and a postal address (some have even been known to accept PO Box addresses in the past!) and it can be very easy indeed to leave the câmara offices with your certificate in hand in no time at all.

Officially however it is said that the basic requirement to get your 5 year certificate is to have some or all of the following:

  • A passport or other valid photo ID.
  • A declaration for whether you are employed or self employed in Portugal. (Employment contracts are sometimes needed to be translated into Portuguese in advance).
  • 3 months of bank statements that show you have money coming in.
  • A document from your local village hall (junta) to show you live at the address you provided (this is called an atestado and needs two local residents to vouch your identity).
  • Pensioners to prove financially that they can pay to live via pension using bank statements.
  • Pensioners showing proof of private healthcare (often an S1 form from United Kingdom is enough)
  • Proof of address – mortgage company letter or tenancy agreement)
  • A passport size photo and between 10 and 20 euros to pay for the document (take cash!)

As we mentioned earlier often people are not asked for even a fraction of the list above, it is worth going to your local câmara to ask what they require before you spend a while gathering documents you don’t need, but if for some reason you can’t do this we suggest taking everything listed above – just in case.

Permanent Residency

When you have lived in Portugal for 5 years (this needs to be documented and an uninterrupted stay) you move on to applying for Permanent Residency – This would apply whether you are from an EU country or not and for this type of residency you will be dealing with the SEF (Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras)

The SEF provide a lot of information here about the documents you will need to have ready for this application – as a rule along with the list of items needed for 5 year residency you will also need proof of registration with the social security authority and you will have to give the SEF permission to run a criminal record check too. Fees for permanent residency are around 100euros – please be aware that although this is called ‘permanent’ you will still need to renew your residency after 10 years.

Portuguese Citizenship

After 6 years of uninterrupted living in Portugal you can apply for citizenship, this is something increasingly interesting to British residents following Brexit – To gain citizenship you will need to speak with the SEF to get a document that proves you have lived in Portugal for the last 6 years or more. You will need to take a language test and have a criminal record check, you will also be expected to show birth certificates, proof of address and photo ID. It can cost anything up to 200euros and can take quite a long time but if you have met the requirements you will be ‘proper’ Portuguese Citizen with a Portuguese EU passport, the right to vote and much more.

6 thoughts on “Living In Portugal – Getting Residency

  1. Love your website…frequent visitor.
    Wonderful article. Thank you. Any chance you can develop a guide for Non-EU residents? I am thinking of American and Canadian citizens.
    We have been trying to figure out how to live in Portugal…but to your point in the article it is quite confusing.
    appreciate any insight and help you can provide.
    Jilli

  2. Hello Pure Portugal people,

    Thanks for this clear article!
    I am considering applying for Portugese temporary residency.
    Do I lose my dutch citizenship when I am in the 5 years of temporary residency ?
    Do I have to give up my official adres registration at the townhall in Amsterdam the Netherlands when I have a temporary portugese residency ?In other words : can I maintain my dutch residency and citizenship while being a temporary resident in portugal ?

    Thanks !
    Jeroen

  3. When applying for temporary residency, would I have to apply in the same way for my 10 year old daughter and show all documents for her also, or would she automatically get temporary residency through my application

    1. Hello – she would also need residency and it would be done the same way as yours with the same details needed! Hope this helps! the PP team x

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