Step by step Visa Application Process

The application for your D7 Visa includes a 2 part process. First, you'll be applying for your Portuguese Residence Visa (known as the D7 Visa) within the US or your home country. Once your Residence Visa application is successful, you'll receive a stamp within your passport that will be valid for 120 days from the date of issue. With this stamp, you're allowed to travel to Portugal and the Schengen Area. Keep in mind that your first port of entry must be Portugal.

With your Residence Visa, you can start the second step. Next, you're required to schedule an appointment at SEF for your Temporary Residency Permit. Your Temporary Residence Permit is what allows you to stay in Portugal. It will be valid for 2 years. After 2 years, you may renew your residence permit for another 3 years.

Now that you know about the 2 step process, I'll walk you through it step-by-step.

A quick note for US citizens living in Massachusetts: When applying for your Portugal D7 Visa, you'll need to apply directly with the Consulate in Boston. This is also true if you plan to apply for a Portugal Tourist Visa.

Step 1 - Gather all Your Documents And Complete The Application Form

Gathering all your documents and meeting all the visa requirements may take some time. So I recommend you start with this first. Creating a checklist with all the requirements, like getting a NIF number and opening a Portuguese bank account, can really help you keep track of things. Be patient and ensure you gather all the correct documents. Applying for the Portugal D7 Visa does take time, and you don't want to make any mistakes that can delay the process.

As soon as you've collected all the required documents, you can fill out your Portugal D7 Visa application form. Double-check the information you provide to ensure everything is correct and accurate.

Step 2 - Submit Your Visa Application

Now that you've collected your documents and filled out your application, you can head over to your local Portuguese Embassy/Consulate to submit your visa application. You'll need to book an appointment to have your fingerprints and photo taken at a Visa Application Centre. This is known as ‘biometric information’.

Once you’ve booked your appointment, you’ll receive an appointment confirmation email along with the letter of appointment. If you are part of a family or group, you’ll have to book individual appointments for each member of the family or group.

You'll also need to make the required payment for your visa application. You can expect to pay around €75 for your Temporary Visa (D7) application and €90 for your Residence Permit. Keep in mind that these amounts are subject to change. The D7 Visa fee payment should be with a cashier's check or money order made to the "Embassy of Portugal."

You’ll have to submit your complete visa application form at the Visa Application Centre in person.

This is what happens at the Visa Application Centre.

While submitting your documents, Embassy officials may request that you leave your passport with them. The reason for this is that they can attach your new visa to your passport (if your application is successful).

You will receive an email update when your decision has been returned to the Visa Application Centre. If you can’t access email easily, or would like more detailed tracking information, you may also be able to get updates by SMS sent directly to your phone. Check whether this service is available at the Visa Application Centre you are visiting.

You can also track your visa application status online. Use the Reference Number present on the invoice/receipt issued by the Visa Application Centre along with your last name to access this service.

After a visa application decision has been made, you can pick up your passport from the Visa Application Centre or have your passport returned to you by courier for an additional fee.

Collecting your passport in person: bring the receipt issued by the Visa Application Centre and a form of Government identification. If permitted you may be able to send a representative to collect your passport; they will need to present a letter of authorization signed by you, bring the receipt issued to you by the Visa Application Centre, and their Government identification.

Please check with the Visa Application Centre at opening times for the options available to collect your documents.

Step 3 - Receive Your D7 Visa

If your visa application is successful, the respective Portuguese Embassy will inform you via email or mail. This can take anywhere between 60 - 90 days. Once your feedback is favorable, the Embassy will attach your new Temporary Residency Visa to your passport. After you receive feedback, you can collect your passport between Monday and Friday at the Embassy. When you collect your passport, remember to bring along your receipt and a copy of your ID.

Quick tip: Always check that the details on your new visa are correct. If it's incorrect, you may not be allowed to pass border control and will most likely be sent back to your home country.

Step 4 - Travel To Portugal To Attend Your SEF Appointment

You're officially done with the first step. Once you receive your new visa, you're allowed to travel to Portugal for 4 months (120 days). You'll need to travel to Portugal and schedule an appointment at Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteir (SEF) during this time.

Usually, if you've indicated your intended travel date, the Embassy will schedule an appointment at SEF for you. This can be found on your new passport under "appointment". Your SEF appointment will appear as a URL. You can enter this URL within your browser to find the details of your appointment.

If you don't have a scheduled appointment, you'll need to schedule one using the SEF portal. Again, it's important to schedule your appointment at the SEF bureau closest to your residence. Here, you'll find the different SEF bureaus where you can schedule your appointment.

In some cases, when you schedule your own SEF appointment, you'll only find an appointment that is scheduled well past the expiry date of your D7 Visa. Don't worry! You'll still be able to attend your SEF appointment and get your Residence Permit. While scheduling your appointment, always request a confirmation email from SEF. The confirmation email will effectively extend your D7 visa. I recommend printing this email and keeping it with your passport. With this printed email, you'll be allowed to travel to Portugal even if your visa has expired.

Step 5 - Attend Your SEF Appointment

Your SEF appointment will take around 20 minutes to complete. As a rule of thumb, be overly prepared for your appointment. Bring along all the required documents and copies of them (translated in Portuguese). Applying for your residency in Portugal is no easy feat. So rather be safe than sorry.

You'll already have gathered most of the documents during the first step of your application.

During you're appointment, you'll need to present the following documents:

This is not the visa application form. This is an entirely different form that you need to fill out and sign. The form is in Portuguese. So if you have trouble filling it out, you can ask someone to help you translate it, ask a local to help you or ask authorities to help you fill it in.

  • 2 Recent Photographs

The photos you present must be in color, recent, have a blank background, and be easily identifiable. Most SEF bureaus have photo facilities available you can use. However, to be safe, it's recommended that you bring your own photos.

  • Your Passport

This is self-explanatory. Bring along your valid passport and copies thereof.

  • Your Valid Residency Visa

Your Residency Visa is the visa that was attached to your passport.

  • Proof Of Sufficient Funds

This will be the same amount as the amount stated in the required documents. For the lead applicant, you'll need to present a minimum amount of €7,980 per year. For dependant applicants (like a spouse), you'll need to present a minimum amount of €3,990 per year (each). For any dependant children you might have, you'll need to present a minimum of €2,394 a year per child. It's recommended that you show more than the required amount. The documents you can provide include your most recent bank statements. It will also benefit you if these amounts are shown in your Portuguese bank account.

  • Proof Of Accommodation

You'll need to submit a document that indicates where you'll be staying in Portugal. The best option is to present a rental agreement or proof that you've purchased a property in Portugal. If you plan to live with a family member, you'll need to submit an official invitation letter from the host. The host must attach a copy of their ID to the form, sign it, and get it notarized in Portugal.

  • Permission To Check Your Criminal Record

Portuguese authorities will want to check that you have a clean criminal record from the date you've arrived in Portugal. Therefore, you'll need to fill in and sign the appropriate application, which permits Portuguese Police to check your record.

  • A Document Proving Your Tax Situation

This does not refer to your tax situation in your home country. This is your Número de Identificação Fiscal (NIF) taht proves you’re registered with Finanças.

  • A Social Security Document

If you don't work and don't plan to work in Portugal, you won't be registered with social security, and you won't need to submit this document.

  • Supporting Document That Proves You Have Medical Insurance

If you have private medical insurance (this is mostly the case), you'll need to present a document that indicates you have valid medical insurance. The document is commonly a single page that includes your name, dates the policy is effective, what it covers, the amount it covers, and proof that you have paid.

Step 6 - Get Your Portuguese Residency Permit

Congratulations! You have now completed the entire application process for your new Portuguese Residence Permit. At first, the process is a bit difficult and can be tiresome at times. However, it is all worth it. Your Residence Permit will be sent to your home address or to the local post office. You can expect to wait around 2 weeks to receive it.

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