What is the difference between a residence permit and a visa in Portugal?

Portugal’s strategic location as a gateway to Europe makes it an attractive destination for many people, whether they wish to invest, work as digital nomads, or simply have a plan B in response to economic uncertainties.

In this context, it is essential to understand the differences between a residence permit and a visa, as both concepts, although closely related, have different implications, serve different purposes, and are intended for different types of stays.

A visa is a document that grants the right to temporarily enter Portugal. There are different types of visas, each designed for a specific purpose, such as tourism, business, studies, or work. Visas are issued by Portuguese embassies or consulates in the applicant’s country of origin and are generally valid for a limited period, ranging from a few days to several months. The Schengen visa, for example, allows entry and stay in Portugal and other Schengen countries for up to 90 days within a 180-day period.

It is crucial to highlight that a visa does not guarantee entry into the country, as the final decision is made by border control upon arrival.

On the other hand, a residence permit is a document that allows a person to live in Portugal for an extended period, usually longer than three months, and can be renewable.

Residence permits are issued by the Agency for Integration, Migration, and Asylum (AIMA) and are intended for those who plan to settle in the country for specific reasons, such as work, studies, family reunification, among others. There are several types of residence permits, each with its own requirements and benefits.

The main difference between a visa and a residence permit lies in their purpose and duration. While a visa is for short and temporary stays, the residence permit is aimed at long-term stays and deeper integration into Portuguese society.

Additionally, the requirements for obtaining each are different; a visa may require proof of sufficient funds and clear reasons for the visit, while a residence permit may require work contracts, enrollment in Portuguese educational institutions, or family ties in the country.

Understanding these differences is essential for those who wish to travel or settle in Portugal, ensuring that all necessary legal and administrative requirements are met.

At AIM Global, we can assist you in obtaining various visas, such as Digital Nomad visas, D7 visa (for non-lucrative income activities), Highly Qualified Worker visa (HQA), D2 visa (for entrepreneurs), and of course, the Golden Visa.

Schedule a meeting with our team and start materializing your projects. We accompany you every step of the way on this journey to becoming a global citizen.

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