Thanks to the freedom of movement enshrined in European law, gaining residency in Portugal for European Union (EU) citizens is a fairly simple process. However, there are different rules depending on how long you stay.
As such, there is no need for travellers from elsewhere in Europe (as long as they have lived in an EU nation for five years) to notify the authorities that they are in the country after they have arrived.
EU Residency in Portugal for up to three months
The only thing EU citizens require to live in Portugal for the first three months is a valid ID card or passport. (By law, every citizen over 16-years-old, whether Portuguese or from overseas needs to carry a valid form of identification for the authorities)
If those citizens have family members who are travelling with them or joining them later, these can also stay three months under the same conditions.
Residency in Portugal for EU Citizens for more than three months
After the first three months, the rules change slightly.
EU citizens can live in Portugal as long as they have pay and pensions which are more than the minimum wage.
They also need to meet one of the following criteria:
- They are working in the country or its territories or are otherwise self-employed.
- They posses enough resources to support themselves and members of their family and have health insurance coverage if that is a requirement for Portuguese citizens in their home country.
- They are taking a course at a teaching establishment that has been officially accredited with enough resources for them and their family members along with health insurance (see above). Family members can join these EU citizens even if they are from a non-EU country.
If you are going to stay more than three months, you need to apply for a registration certificate from your local council within 30 days of the first three months have elapsed. This costs €15 or €7.5 for children under six. Non-EU family members must apply for a different residency card costing the same amount. These certificates last for five years from the date it is issued.
Permanent residency in Portugal for EU Citizens
EU citizens along with non-EU family members who have stayed five years or more in Portugal can apply for permanent residency before their residence certificate expires. They will either be issued with a registration certificate or a residence card.
This five year period can include six-month absences per year or a year-long period if due to various reasons including pregnancy or having a child, serious sickness, studies, training or posting a work posting abroad.
Costing €15, the registration certificate of permanent residence is valid for 10 years. It needs to be renewed before it expires.
Family members should apply for a permanent residence card after living legally in the country for over five years. The same conditions apply.
If you are outside Portugal for more than two consecutive years, you lose the right to permanent residency.
Who are family members of EU citizens?
For legal purposes, family members of an EU citizen are:
- A spouse or partner
- A child of the citizen under 21 years of age
- One directly descended and responsible for an EU citizen, their spouse or their partner
- One directly ascended responsible for an EU citizen, their spouse or partner.
Find out more about life as an expat in Portugal in our expat guide.
Further information about residency in Portugal for EU Citizens can be found on the SEF website.