Portugal Digital Nomad Visa:
Everything You Need to Know

Last updated: February 22, 2024

The dream of many remote workers is now becoming a reality: It's easier than ever before to work and live remotely in Portugal, thanks to the launch of its new digital nomad visa.

While digital nomads have been working and living abroad for years in co-working spaces and Airbnbs, it's only recently that some countries have formalized the practice by offering tailor-made visas to these location-independent workers. It's easy to see why so many are flocking to Portugal, with its warm beaches, relaxed and friendly culture, relatively low cost of living in major cities, and a burgeoning digital nomad community. It's the perfect place to try out this modern lifestyle.

But that's not to say there isn't a fair bit of complexity involved. Whether it's a digital nomad's employment contract, the visa application process, tax residency, or having a dependent child, there is a lot to navigate to make sure the digital nomad life is seamless and legal. Digital nomads in Portugal also have to decide whether they are seeking to permanently relocate to another country or simply visit for a defined amount of time.

Whether you're a remote worker looking to travel freely as a digital nomad or a travel or mobility manager wanting to ensure the best for your employees and your company, read on to find out everything you need to know about Portugal's digital nomad visa.

What is a digital nomad visa?

What types of digital nomad visas are available for Portugal?

Who needs a digital nomad visa to enter Portugal?

What documents are required for Portugal’s digital nomad visas?

What are the steps to apply for Portugal's digital nomad visa?

What fees does the Portuguese government charge for digital nomad visas?

Do digital nomads pay tax?

Benefits of the Portugal digital nomad visa

Always Travel- well-informed with CIBTvisas

What is a digital nomad visa?

Put most simply, a digital nomad visa allows a traveler to legally live and work remotely for a company outside of their home country for an agreed amount of time. In years past, some international visitors would work remotely on tourist visas that did not actually give them the authorization to do so, then leave the country when their tourist visa was about to run out and reenter to be granted more time—a so-called 'visa run.' Today’s digital nomad visa essentially eliminates the need for that quasi-legal practice and gives applicants more rights and options than they would have on a traditional tourist visa. It's a win-win for everyone involved.

As a result of the expansion of remote work and the growing acceptance of location independence by employers and workers alike, these visas are becoming more and more common across Europe. (Spain and Greece have announced similar visas in addition to Portugal.) Requirements vary by country when it comes to issues such as an income requirement, a local bank account, and income tax. So before hopping on a plane and excitedly embarking on nomad life, it's important to pay close attention to these requirements and file a complete application.

What types of digital nomad visas are available for Portugal?

In Portugal, there are several different types of visas that are useful for digital nomads looking to work or settle in the country. The type of visa a traveler may want will depend on the intent and length of their stay, and whether or not they intend to stay in Portugal long-term and establish permanent residency. The two main categories of digital nomad visa are the temporary stay visa and the passive income visa.

Temporary stay visa

When people refer to the Portuguese digital nomad visa, they are usually referring to this option, launched in 2022. It was created specifically for travelers with an employment contract outside of Portugal for a salaried remote job, though self-employed nomads can also apply. During their stay in Portugal, the applicant's employment must provide a minimum monthly income of around €3,000, which equates to roughly four times Portuguese minimum wage.

The visa is valid for up to a year, but there is an option for yearly renewal for up to five years. Visa holders can travel freely in and out of Portugal, as long as they abide by Schengen Area immigration requirements. They do not need to have a Portuguese bank account and instead can use their bank account in their home country.

The Portugal temporary stay visa is best for digital nomads who want to stay in Portugal longer than a 90-day tourist visa would allow but do not hope to obtain permanent residence down the line. It's a great option for nomads who want to explore the rest of Europe using Portugal as their base.

Passive income visa

Sometimes referred to as the D7 visa, the passive income visa was originally intended for retired individuals. It is appropriate for self-employed people, retirees, or business owners who have income from an online business or other passive income source, such as rental income, royalties, or pension income.

Applicants for this visa must have a passive income source that meets a minimum threshold of about €9,000 per year. If an applicant has a dependent spouse or dependent child, they can also bring them to Portugal on this visa, but the income requirement will be higher for each dependent.

After an initial period of four months, holders of the passive income visa must register with Portugal's Immigration and Border Services—which is called the Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras, or SEF—to obtain a residency permit. The initial residence permit will be valid for two years and can be renewed.

The passive income visa is considered a route for residency, meaning it's most appropriate for digital nomads who hope to obtain permanent residency in Portugal, or even Portuguese citizenship down the line. It also requires applicants to take steps to establish themselves in the country, such as obtaining a Portuguese bank account.

It's worth noting that in the past, Portugal also offered a Golden Visa Program for those with funds to invest into the country. However the Portugal Golden Visa was a residency-by-investment program that is being phased out by the Portuguese government.

Who needs a digital nomad visa to enter Portugal?

The Portugal digital nomad visa has been particularly popular with US citizens wanting to live and work abroad. As long as they meet the minimum income threshold required by the visa, they can submit an application with their US passport. It is also popular with citizens of other nations, such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, and Japan.

Those traveling with an EU passport or EEA passport do not need to obtain a digital nomad visa in order to live and work in Portugal. Just like in other European nations, they are entitled to do so under the EU's freedom of movement rules. However, just as with the passive income visa, EU passport holders need to register with Portugal's immigration authority (SEF) to get a residence permit if they wish to earn an income and settle within Portugal.

What documents are required for Portugal’s digital nomad visas?

Different documentation is required based on the type of visa the applicant is applying for. However, all visa applications require the following general documentation:

  • Completed and signed National Visa Application
  • Two passport photos
  • A valid passport, which must be valid for at least three months after the estimated date of return
  • Valid travel insurance, which proves health insurance necessary to cover any urgent or emergency medical expenses, including repatriation
  • Proof of a clean criminal record, which must be issued by the relevant authority in your home country
  • Proof of financial resources, which varies depending on visa type (see below)

Additional documentation for the temporary stay visa

If you are applying for Portugal digital nomad visa known as the temporary stay visa, the following documents are also required:

  • Proof of average monthly income for the last three months which meets the minimum salary threshold
  • Document attesting fiscal residence (i.e. tax residency documents)
  • If you're employed: an employment contract, a promise of an employment contract, or a letter from an employer confirming employed status
  • If you're self-employed or an online business owner: Proof of freelance income including ongoing contracts or service agreements with clients

Additional documentation for the passive income visa

If you're applying for Portugal's passive income visa, you must also supply documentation of ''passive income,' including retirement accounts, financial assets, rental income, and income from intellectual property. This must meet the minimum threshold as outlined by the application.

These are the initial documents required for both the temporary stay visa and the passive income visa application. Note that more documentation may be required by Portuguese authorities, so pay close attention to any correspondence with the consulate.

What are the steps to apply for Portugal's digital nomad visa?

To apply for the temporary stay visa, an applicant can visit the nearest Portuguese consulate or embassy in their home country.

If a nomad is looking to apply for the passive income visa, then the application is a two-part process: First, they submit an application at the nearest Portuguese consulate or embassy in their home country. If that application is successful, they'll be granted a double-entry visa, which will allow them to enter Portugal. Once there, the applicant can move onto the second stage of applying for their residence visa at the Portuguese immigration agency, the SEF.

What fees does the Portuguese government charge for digital nomad visas?

The government's processing fees are €75 for a temporary stay visa and €90 for a residency visa. In addition to mandatory government fees, CIBT's handling fees start at $TK.

Do digital nomads pay tax?

This is a common question, the short answer to which is yes. Being a digital nomad doesn't let a person off the hook in terms of their tax obligations. In fact, if anything, it will likely make their tax situation more complicated.

A tax advisor is useful to ensure compliance both in Portugal and a nomad's home country. It's also wise to speak to a professional about one's specific tax obligations on a digital nomad visa because individual circumstances vary. Factors including the length of stay, the number of days spent in their home country during the tax year, the type of visa, and the nature of their income all play a role in determining a person's tax obligations at home and abroad.

It's important to note that for American citizens, those obligations can be more onerous than for other digital nomads. The United States is unique in requiring all citizens to report income and usually pay taxes, even if they no longer live or work within the US. They may also need to report any foreign bank accounts in their name.

This filing process is more complex than a standard tax return and carries more serious penalties for failure to comply or report properly, therefore it make sense to seek out a tax professional who has expertise in digital nomad tax.

On the employer side, businesses that allow their workers to operate in a foreign country will need to ensure they have the proper legal and financial status to do so.

Benefits of the Portugal digital nomad visa

There are many benefits of the Portugal digital nomad visa. The opportunity to experience another country beyond the typical tourist or holiday experience is certainly one of them. The many co-working spaces available in cities like Porto and Lisbon offer a kind of digital nomad village for people hoping to meet new people and experience different viewpoints or ways of life. Living and working in another country can make nomads feel more creative, inspired, and productive—which benefits both themselves and their employer. There's never been a better time to give the digital nomad life a shot, and Portugal's digital nomad visa makes it easier than ever before to try.

Always travel well-informed with CIBTvisas

Before planning your trip to Portugal as a US citizen, it's crucial to stay informed about the current travel policies, COVID-19 measures, and visa requirements. An experienced visa specialist can help you navigate the complexities of border-crossing requirements. Contact CIBTvisas for a quote today.

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