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Work Permits and Visas for Foreign Workers in Portugal

As a member of the EU, Portugal recognizes the EU right to travel policy and EU citizens will not need a work permit.  However, if your staff are being assigned from non-EU countries they will either need a Portugal work permit or an EU Blue Card, if they are working longer than 3 months. 

All long-term foreign workers will need to get a residence permit for purposes of employment, so if your employee applies for an EU Blue Card, the residence visa is separate.  You can look at the complete list of documents and steps here in this overview. 

Immigration and Work Visa Requirements in Portugal

The work visa in Portugal is called the Residence Visa and is for highly skilled professionals that will work inside the country for at least one year.  It can be renewed in increments of 2 years after the first year. The work visa must be applied for from outside the country as it is not permitted to convert immigration status from a business visa (short term) to a long-term work visa.

A residence permit must also be obtained at the local town hall once the assignee has arrived in Portugal with a valid work permit.  After 5 years of work with a Residence Visa, a foreign national can apply for permanent residency.

Keep in mind that all of this requires that you have a locally incorporated entity in Portugal, and if not you will need to consider alternatives such as an Employer of Record service to assist you.

Portugal Work Visa Processing Time

The EU Blue Card is a quicker option for a work permit, but the processing time is still up to 3 months.  The Residence Visa can take a whopping 3 to 8 months to complete, so it is wise to plan your assignments to Portugal well ahead of time.  The residence permit from the local town hall can take up to 60 days once the application is submitted.

Portugal Work Visa Cost

There are two fees for a work visa in Portugal, one for applying and one upon approval (a difference from many countries were the application fee is the total, and non-refundable).  To apply the fee is about $US25, and after approved there is an additional fee of $85.

However, there are also other cost to consider when trying to obtain a work permit for your employees assigned to Portugal.  Your HR department will have to allocate the time and resources necessary to gather the documents, verify information and prepare the application.  You might even to hire local experts to help you in case of issues that arise with the application.

The alternative to this arduous DIY approach is to let the Shield GEO local employer of record to do it for you.  As the legal employer in Portugal, our local partner is already in place and experienced with work permits and residency permits.  We can help expedite the process and ensure a seamless transition for your employee into Portugal.

Here’s everything you need to know about employing an overseas worker in Portugal. 

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