Portugal Digital Nomad Visa

Portugal, Algarve. Man on beach in cave

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A Complete Guide to the Portugal Digital Nomad Visa

Launched in October 2022, this visa allows remote workers to live and work in Portugal while earning an income from outside the country. It’s a game-changer for digital nomads seeking a flexible lifestyle in a welcoming and dynamic environment.

In this guide, we’ll delve into the details of the Portugal Digital Nomad Visa, offering you insights into the duration, eligibility criteria, application process, tax implications, and more. Let’s navigate the intricacies of working and living as a digital nomad in Portugal.

It is important to note that while this information was all correct at the time of writing, situations can change very quickly and without warning. 

You should also be aware that I am writing from a UK perspective, and regulations and requirements vary from country to country.

You should make sure that you check with your own country’s advice and with your closest Portuguese consulate or embassy before you make your application.

Before we begin, here is a quick summary of the key things you should know about the Portugal Digital Nomad Visa: 

Validity: from 4 months, renewable for up to 5 years.

Target Audience: Non-EU/EEA citizens employed by non-Portuguese companies or self-employed with international clients.

Fees: €75-90 (dependent on the type of visa you apply for)

Travel: can travel through the EU and the Schengen area.

What Is The Portugal Digital Nomad Visa?

Also known as the ‘D8 Visa’, the Portugal Digital Nomad visa lets applicants from non-EU, EEA, or Swiss citizens apply for a permit to live and work from Portugal. 

To be eligible for the Digital Nomad Visa, the applicant must work remotely under an employment, partnership, or service agreement, be an entrepreneur/business owner, or be self-employed.

This visa is for those who earn an active income i.e. through a salary, or remote work, as opposed to a passive income such as a pension, dividends, or income from a rental property – the latter is covered by the D7 visa.

There are actually two digital nomad visas Portugal offers:

Temporary Stay Visa for Digital Nomads

  • a duration of one year. 
  • multiple entries into Portugal
  • Can renew up to 4 times, giving a total of five years
  • €75 visa fee

Long-term Residency Visa for Digital Nomads

  • initial validity of four months. 
  • 2 entries permitted
  • you must apply for and obtain a two-year residency permit (extra cost).
  • Renewable for an additional 36 months
  • €90 visa fee

The application process for these visas is the same, and the same documentation is required. The only differing requirements are the visa, and that holders of the long-term visa must visit Portugal’s immigration service upon arrival in the country to apply for the residency permit before the visa expires.

Portuguese flag

How long does the digital nomad visa last in Portugal?

The temporary stay visa gives you 1 year in Portugal, with the possibility of renewing four times, ultimately leading to a potential 5-year stay.

The long-term residency visa is for an initial four months, giving you time to apply for the two-year residency permit. This permit can then be renewed for 36 months, giving you a total of 5 years, at which point you can apply for permanent residency and citizenship.

Tram in portugal

Digital Nomad Visa Portugal Eligibility

So who is actually able to apply for the Portuguese Digital Nomad Visa?

A summary: 

Age: at least 18 years old

Nationality: Open to citizens of non-EU/EEA countries.

Occupation: Employed by a foreign company or self-employed with international clients 

Financial Requirements: Prove a stable monthly income of at least €3,280 (adjustments for dependents apply). 

Health Insurance: Private health insurance covering your stay in Portugal, though once you get your residency permit you can apply to be covered by Portugal’s public healthcare. 

Clean Criminal Record: No convictions in Portugal, your country of origin or any other countries you’ve resided in.

But let’s take a look in a bit more depth at what these requirements mean…

Girl with suitcase

Financial requirements

In 2024, you must have a provable income of at least €3,280 – four times the current  Portuguese minimum wage. The income requirement is calculated over the most recent 3 months to the time of your application.

Portuguese legislation recommends that you also provide a bank statement with a balance equivalent to at least 12 minimum wages, which is €9,840. 

If you are applying for the Portuguese Digital Nomad Visa with a partner or with dependants there are additional requirements. You must add 50% per adult and 25% per child.

You need to have in savings at least €2,952 extra per child, or €4,920 per dependant adult (spouse, or retired parent for example). 

In order to prove that you meet these financial requirements you can submit any applicable proof – work contracts, bank statements, payslips, letters of engagement that state agreed  payment amounts etc. 

Foreign documents must be legalised or apostilled and should be submitted together with an official translation into Portuguese. 

Some embassies/consulates will require you to have opened a local Portuguese bank account and deposited funds there. 

Stamps in passport

Passports & Eligible Countries

All nationalities that do not belong to the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (the EEA) or Switzerland can apply for the Portugal Digital Nomad Visa, making Portugal an inclusive destination for remote workers worldwide. 

This includes citizens of the UK, the USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

As regulations vary depending on your home country’s agreement with Portugal, you should make sure that you check the specific documents and fees required for your country of origin at your local Portuguese embassy or consulate.

Language requirements?

Proficiency in Portuguese is not mandatory for the Portugal Digital Nomad Visa. English is widely spoken in urban areas, making it accessible for international workers to navigate daily life with ease.

Though not mandatory, I would recommend learning at least some basic Portuguese, as this demonstrates cultural respect and will enhance your experience. You don’t necessarily need to go all out and start a language course but consider learning some essential phrases for daily life.

  • Hello: olá
  • Goodbye: adeus
  • Please: por favor
  • Thank you: obrigado
  • What’s the WIFI? : qual é o wi-fi?

What do I need to apply for the Portuguese Digital Nomad Visa?

Below is a summary of the general documents that the majority of people will need to submit. There maybe slightly different requirements for citizens of differing countries so always double-check with the relevant consulate or embassy in your home country.

You should be aware that some of these documents will need to be officially translated into Portuguese, as well as legalised/apostilled before they can be accepted with your application. 

man working in a coworking space

Below is a summary of the general documents that the majority of people will need to submit. There maybe slightly different requirements for citizens of differing countries so always double-check with the relevant consulate or embassy in your home country.

You should be aware that some of these documents will need to be officially translated into Portuguese, as well as legalised/apostilled before they can be accepted with your application. 

  • National Visa application form;
  • A cover letter, in English, explaining why you want to move to Portugal (include information on why you are making the application, where you plan to stay, any ties you may have to Portugal, and a summary of your documentation);
  • 2 recent passport photos;
  • Passport, or other valid travel document, valid for at least 6 months with 2 blank pages;
  • Valid health insurance for a minimum of 4 months;
  • Criminal record certificate, issued by the competent authority of the country of the applicant’s nationality or of the country where you have resided for over a year, apostille and legalised;
  • Proof of accommodation (lease agreement, AirBnB booking, invitation from friend/family etc.);
  • Proof of financial resources (work contract, bank statements, invoices for example);
  • Any relevant marriage or birth certificates for your dependents (if applicable).

If you are an employed remote worker you will need to submit one of the following documents:

  • Work contract; or,
  • Promise of work contract; or,
  • Declaration by employer confirming your employment status.

If you are an independent worker such as a freelancer, you’ll have to provide one of the following documents:

  • Society contract; or,
  • Contract of services provision; or,
  • Written proposal of services provision contract; or, 
  • Document attesting the services provided to one or more entities.
  • Proof of average monthly income for the last three months;
  • Proof of your tax residence – confirmation of where you pay your taxes.
hiking in madeira

How To Apply For Portugal’s Digital Nomad Visa?

The best way to apply for the Portugal digital nomad visa is through your closest Portuguese embassy or consulate in your home country. 

You can apply while already in Portugal, but the process is much longer (taking up to 2 years) and you cannot leave the country until the application is finalised and accepted/denied. 

Step-by-step guide

Follow this step-by-step guide in your application process:

  1. Gather all your documents
  2. Find a place to live in Portugal (proof of residence/accommodation)
  3. Write your cover letter explaining why you want to move to Portugal
  4. Book an appointment at your local consulate or embassy
  5. Attend your appointment: submit your application and accompanying documents, and have your fingerprints and photos taken.
  6. Submit your full visa application, and pay the relevant visa fee

You’ll receive a decision in 14-60 days.

Then you can follow the following steps:

a) Fly to Portugal and begin your remote working stay; or

b) Fly to Portugal and apply for your 24-month residency permit (this carries an additional cost of approx. €80 with an additional processing fee) with AIMA (Agency for Integration, Migration, and Asylum, replacing SEF) interview – and commence your Digital Nomad Residency.

c)  Renew your 12-month Digital Nomad Visa with AIMA; or

d) Renew your residency permit for an additional 36 months (3 years), and become eligible to apply for permanent residency or citizenship after 5 years.

map

Tax Implications for Digital Nomads in Portugal

Navigating taxes can be tricky, so consulting a tax advisor familiar with Portuguese regulations is crucial. It is also a requirement of the Portuguese system that foreigners appoint a tax representative 

Generally, if you want to live and work in Portugal you will need to register with the Finance Department and Social Security giving you a Tax Identification Number (NIF), a unique 9-digit number which allows you to work, open a bank account, register for utilities like WIFI, or pay taxes in Portugal. You can learn more about this here.

A person becomes a tax resident of Portugal if they spend more than 183 days out of a year in the country and therefore must have a NIF number. Applying for a NIF number is free.

You may also want to apply for your social security number (NISS). This is also free, and if you qualify, allows you to make use of Portugal’s social schemes such as public health care and education. You will be expected to make contributions to this, however.

To get a NISS you can visit the nearest social security office once you have moved to Portugal. To get one, you need to show your NIF, your ID, and your residency card.

Here are the key points regarding taxes for the Portugal Digital Nomad Visa:

  • Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) Status: This is the previous scheme that covered remote workers and digital nomads in Portugal, giving a set 20% tax rate on income made within Portugal, over half of the ordinary rate of up to 48%. This scheme is being phased out as of January 2024 and can no longer be applied for.
  • Portugal has introduced an alternative program offering similar advantages but catering to a significantly smaller demographic, specifically those working for start-ups and/or involved in scientific research. 
  • The Simplified Taxation Regime: for people who make less than €200,000 a year. This plan lets you pay taxes on 75% of your total income, and the other 25% is taken care of by expenses.
  • Short-Term Stay: If you are only visiting Portugal for a few days, you do not need to become a tax resident and you do not need to pay tax.
  • Long-Term Stay: Long-term visa holders who spend more than 183 days in Portugal must become tax residents.

Work Restrictions or Limitations On The Portugal Digital Nomad Visa

Unlike some countries, Portugal embraces the digital nomad lifestyle without imposing loads of restrictive work conditions. Digital nomads under the Portugal Digital Nomad Visa have the freedom to work for foreign companies or as self-employed individuals without too many limitations.

Remember, this visa is for remote work outside of Portugal. Offering services directly to Portuguese companies or individuals is a no-go.

The D8 Visa grants remote work freedom, but with restrictions:

  • No direct services to Portuguese companies or clients
  • Income must come from outside Portugal
  • Allowed activities include collaborating with international teams, managing foreign investments, and running online businesses
Surfers on beach in algarve

Pros & Cons Of Portugal's Digital Nomad Visa

Advantages of the Portugal digital nomad visa

  • Flexible Renewal Options: The option to renew the visa for up to five years provides stability and continuity for long-term planning.
  • Affordable lifestyle compared to other European countries
  • Thriving digital nomad community for support and collaboration
  • Potential path to permanent residency after five years
  • Free Circulation: free entry and circulation in the EU/Schengen area, comprising 26 European countries.
  • Scenic Beauty: Immerse yourself in Portugal’s breath-taking landscapes while maintaining a productive work-life balance. Stunning coastlines, charming towns, and diverse landscapes.
  • Cultural Richness: Experience the vibrant culture and warm hospitality that Portugal offers

Disadvantages of the Portugal digital nomad visa

  • Initial application process can be time-consuming – it can take up to 4 months.
  • Minimum income requirement might be challenging for some
  • Work restrictions on serving Portuguese entities
  • Visa Fees: with the additional processing fees and renewal fees, the cost for this visa adds up quickly.
  • Language Barrier: While English is prevalent, some rural areas may pose language challenges for non-Portuguese speakers. Language barrier can hamper integration
  • Healthcare System: Understanding and navigating the healthcare system might be complex for newcomers, necessitating thorough research and preparation.
  • Tax: new tax laws and unclear regulations, plus Portuguese income tax rates can be higher than some other countries.

Living in Portugal as a Digital Nomad

Portugal is a great choice for digital nomads thanks to its great climate, amazing scenery and impressive telecommunication infrastructure – ranking 29th globally for mobile connectivity and 21st for broadband.

church in porto

Portugal average cost of living for a digital nomad

In general Portugal is pretty low cost when compared to other European and Western nations. The cost of living in Portugal is, on average, 26.7% lower than in the United Kingdom, and 36.6% lower than in the United States making it a very attractive option for many.

Living in Lisbon, the capital, and other major cities will cost you significantly more than the smaller towns in Portugal. One-bedroom apartments in Lisbon cost, on average, upwards of €860 per month.

The estimated monthly cost of a single person living in Portugal is approximately €1,746, including rent, utilities, and groceries.

Take a look at this table for some examples of costs in Portugal, in comparison with the UK and US:

portugal fig 1, cost of living

(Prices are approximate averages taken from major supermarkets or providers in each country, and with reference to Numbeo. Currencies have been adjusted into Euros at accurate rates for February 2024)

Digital Nomad Community In Portugal

Due to its relatively low cost of living, and previously great tax benefits, there is a solid community of digital nomads and expats living and working all over Portugal, and plenty of community groups that you can join to help you integrate into digital nomad life in Portugal. 

Digital Nomads Lisbon is a community in Lisbon that organises meetups, networking, events, and workshops for remote workers. 

Remote Portugal is a fantastic online community that connects remote workers and digital nomads, providing tonnes of resources and information about living and working in Portugal from visas to healthcare. They also have a huge list of co-working spaces throughout Portugal, and you can listen to their podcast!

Popular digital nomad locations in Portugal

From the bustling streets of Lisbon to the laid-back vibes of Lagos, Portugal offers a variety of thriving digital nomad communities. Popular locations include:

Lisbon: Cosmopolitan capital with beaches, vibrant nightlife, and a strong tech scene. There’s a strong digital nomad community here so meeting like-minded people is super easy. However, this is one of the more expensive locations to live in. 

Porto: Charming second city with historical architecture, affordable living, and a growing nomad community. While slightly smaller than Lisbon, there are still plenty of co-work spaces, cafes and libraries to work from, plus loads to explore in your downtime. 

Madeira Island: a small island with year-round sunshine, breathtaking landscapes, and a relaxed atmosphere. The main perk of this island is the outdoor activities and hiking trails.

Algarve: Stunning southern region with beautiful beaches, charming towns, and a vibrant digital nomad scene.

Overview of coworking in Portugal

Coworking spaces are readily available in major cities and tourist hubs, offering dedicated workspaces, networking opportunities, and community events. Here are some of my favourite spots!

  • Factory Braga: 24-hour workspaces that are modern and adaptable. They have work pods for focused work, communal workplaces, or a laid-back lounge. Plus they also offer access to amenities like meeting rooms, Nintendo Wii, ping pong, and more! 
  • Ocupa Cowork: Sleek and modern, this co-work can be found in Aveiro, and provides communal space, private rooms, and virtual offices. It has amazing views, natural lighting and free coffee. 
  • Porto i/o: A co-working hub located in (you guessed it) Porto. It offers a calm, relaxing vibe and a variety of membership options from casual to full-time 24/7. You can enjoy free coffee, WiFi, and even fruits.

Tips For Cultural Adaptation For Digital Nomads

Adjusting to a new culture is an integral part of the digital nomad experience.

I think the best general top tips for cultural adaption, no matter where you are travelling are: 

  • Learn basic phrases.
  • Respect local customs and traditions.
  • Embrace the slower pace of life.
  • Connect with the local community.
  • Be open to new experiences.

Specifically for Portugal though, these are the main things that I think you should bear in mind: 

  • Be prepared for warm weather, especially in the summer months.
  • Pack comfortable shoes, as you’ll probably be doing a lot of walking.
  • Bring sunscreen and a hat, as the sun can be strong.
  • Don’t be afraid to bargain at markets and shops.
  • Tipping is not expected but appreciated.
  • Personal space is generally closer in Portugal than in the US or the UK, and physical contact like hugs and kisses are more common in greetings.
  • Portugal is predominantly Catholic.
  • British humour (often dry, self-deprecating and sarcastic) may not translate well.
Street in portugal with flag

Brief Comparison With Other Digital Nomad Visas

Portugal’s program joins a growing list of Digital Nomad Visas worldwide, each with its own unique features and requirements. Here’s a brief comparison with other popular digital nomad visas, allowing you to weigh the pros and cons and make an informed decision based on your preferences and goals.

  • Portugal offers the longest visa duration and potential tax benefits, but the application process can be slower.
  • Spain provides full Schengen access and a faster application, but the minimum income requirement is higher.
  • Greece boasts a lower cost of living and easier application, but the visa duration is shorter and there are no specific tax benefits.
  • Estonia has the easiest application process and allows remote work for local companies, but the minimum income requirement is the highest and there are no special tax benefits.
Portugal digital nomad visa, compared with other visas

Remember, the “best” Digital Nomad Visa depends on your individual needs and priorities. You should consider factors like cost of living, visa requirements, community vibes, and your lifestyle preferences when making your choice.

Conclusion

The Portugal Digital Nomad Visa might not be perfect, but it presents a great opportunity for travellers to live, work, and thrive in a welcoming and dynamic environment. 

In a brief comparison with other digital nomad visas in Europe, Portugal stands out for its longer duration, potential tax benefits and lower costs of living, albeit with a potentially slower application process. 

You should make sure that you check with your own country’s advice and with your closest Portuguese consulate or embassy before you make your application.

If you’re still trying to decide on your next destination then why not check out our Thailand Digital Nomad Visa guide here, and our Spain Digital Nomad Guide here.

Let us know what else you want to know, and what country we should cover next by leaving a comment below! 

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