How To Get Permanent Residency (PR) In Portugal For Indian Citizens

Flag Of Portugal
Rihab Saad

Managing Director
Next Generation Equity

Figuring out how to get PR in Portugal can be a complex journey for Indian citizens. Still, it offers a pathway to a new life in this culturally rich and welcoming European nation. Portugal’s temperate climate, historical heritage, and high quality of life are attractive draws for those seeking permanent residency.

As an Indian national, you’ll need to understand the various types of visas, meet eligibility criteria, and stick to application procedures. Your quest for Portuguese permanent residency unlocks numerous benefits, including the freedom to live and work in Portugal and access to healthcare, education, and social security systems.

We’ll give an in-depth look at the steps you can take to secure your residency and, ultimately, integrate into the vibrant Portuguese community.

Residency Options in Portugal

Types of Visas and Residency Permits Available

If you’re an Indian citizen looking to establish residency in Portugal, you’ve got several visa options to consider, each tailored to different durations and purposes of your stay. Long-stay visas are split into temporary stay visas and residency visas. Temporary stay visas are ideal if you plan to stay in Portugal for less than a year, and they’re valid for your entire stay, allowing multiple entries.

Residency visas, on the other hand, are valid for four months and permit two entries. Within this period, you’ll need to apply for a residency permit with the Immigration and Border Services (SEF) in Portugal.

Key Benefits of Permanent Residency

Once you’ve secured permanent residency in Portugal, you’ll unlock a host of advantages, like the freedom to live, work, and study in the country. Permanent residents have rights and responsibilities similar to Portuguese citizens, except for voting in national elections. Plus, permanent residency can be your stepping stone towards Portuguese citizenship, provided you meet the necessary criteria.

General Eligibility Criteria for Indian Citizens

You must have lived in Portugal for five consecutive years to qualify for permanent residency. During this time, you’ll need a Registration Certificate, which is mandatory for anyone wanting to reside in Portugal for more than three months, whether you’re there for education, employment, or business.

It’s important to remember that before you can apply for permanent residency, non-EU citizens, including Indian nationals, must first secure a residency visa. Also, you shouldn’t have been convicted of a crime in Portugal that carries a custodial sentence of more than one year. You also shouldn’t be under an entry ban after an expulsion order.

Timeline and Processing Periods

The processing time for visa applications can vary. Generally, it takes at least three weeks, but this can stretch out depending on your nationality and how complete your visa application is. Don’t be surprised if consulates ask for additional documents or information, which can further delay things.

For temporary stay visas, the processing time can be at least four weeks. Long-term stays might take up to eight weeks.You should know that submitting applications by mail won’t speed up the process compared to in-person submissions.

Due to high demand, especially for D-type visas, you might face longer waiting times for decisions on your applications. Planning ahead and applying well before your intended relocation date to Portugal is wise.

Aerial View Of Portugal

The Golden Visa Program

The Portuguese Golden Visa Program is a residency-by-investment scheme that was established to stimulate the Portuguese economy by attracting foreign capital. Indian citizens and other non-EU nationals can take advantage of this program to gain a residence permit in Portugal. Since its launch in 2012, the program has been a conduit for substantial investment, drawing in over 7.5 billion through more than 12,000 applicants.

However, recent changes have seen the exclusion of real estate and related funds and capital transfers from the list of qualifying investments. The current investment avenues include a $536,000 allocation to a qualifying Portuguese fund, the creation of 10 jobs within Portugal, a similar capital transfer to increase shares in a Portuguese company coupled with the creation of 5 jobs, a $268,000 donation to the arts or cultural heritage, or a $536,000 contribution to scientific and technological research.

Investment Thresholds and Types

The investment fund option has become increasingly popular, particularly since 2019, due to its relatively low entry threshold and associated costs. To be eligible for the Golden Visa, the chosen fund must meet certain criteria set by the Portuguese authorities. Various qualifying funds are available, with focuses ranging from real estate to equities and from startups to commodities.

The minimum investment required is $536,000 or less, and the funds typically have six to seven years of maturity. This period conveniently aligns with the timeframe for permanent residency or citizenship eligibility. Notably, the most economical option under the Golden Visa is the creation of 10 jobs in Portugal, as it doesn’t stipulate a minimum investment amount.

Application Process for the Golden Visa

Before you start any investment, you’ll need to secure a Portuguese tax identification number (NIF) and open a local bank account. The application process for the Golden Visa is comprehensive, beginning with an online application and the collection of necessary documents. Following this, you must finalize your investment and submit a pre-application.

Afterwards, you’ll attend an appointment with the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (AIMA), (previously known as SEF). The initial Golden Visa residence permit is granted for two years and can be renewed for another two years. At the end of the fifth year, provided all legal conditions are met, you may seek permanent residency or Portuguese citizenship.

Necessary Documents for Indian Applicants

Indian applicants must prepare a dossier of documents to support their Golden Visa application. This includes a valid passport or equivalent travel document, proof of the qualifying investment, and a declaration from a Portuguese bank confirming the transfer of funds. A criminal record from the applicant’s current country of residence, issued within the last three months, is also required.

Additionally, a form authorizing access to the applicant’s Portuguese criminal records, a sworn declaration affirming adherence to the five-year investment requirements, and evidence of good standing with the Portuguese Tax and Customs Authority and Social Security are necessary. Payment receipts for the application and all non-Portuguese documents must be legalized, typically with an apostille, and translated into Portuguese by a certified translator.

Renewal Process and Path to Permanent Residency

As a holder of the Golden Visa, you’re obliged to spend a minimum of seven days per year in Portugal. The initial residence permit is valid for two years, and subsequent renewals also span two years. During this time, you must spend at least fourteen days in Portugal.

It’s crucial that the investment is maintained throughout the duration of the Golden Visa residency. After five years, you’re eligible to apply for permanent residency or citizenship. This is contingent on having no outstanding taxes in Portugal, maintaining a clean criminal record in both Portugal and India and achieving an A2-level proficiency in Portuguese. This pathway provides Indian citizens with a clear route to permanent residency in Portugal, leveraging investment as a means to secure a future in the country.

Buildings In Portugal

The D7 Visa: Passive Income Route

The D7 Visa, often called the Passive Income Visa or Retirement Visa, offers a practical option for Indian citizens aiming for permanent residency in Portugal. If you’re someone with a regular and stable passive income, like pensions, dividends from investments, rental income, or royalties, this visa could be your ticket. It’s meant to draw in folks who can support themselves financially without needing to work in Portugal.

Eligibility Requirements for the D7 Visa

To be eligible for the D7 Visa, you’ll need to show that you’ve got a stable passive income that’s at least on par with the minimum wage in Portugal. That’s an annual income of $11,400 or a monthly amount of $950. You must also be over 18, have a clean criminal record, and plan to live in Portugal for at least 16 months during the first two years.

You’ll also need a Portuguese residential address and a local bank account. The D7 Visa is also quite appealing if you’re looking to move with your family, as it allows you to include dependent family members, like your spouse, children, and dependent siblings or parents.

Calculating Sufficient Funds and Living Expenses

When you’re getting ready for the D7 Visa, you’ve got to make sure your passive income hits the required levels. The main applicant’s income should be 100% of the Portuguese minimum wage. For a spouse or parent, you’ll need an additional 50% of the minimum wage, which is $5,695 per person each year.

You’ll need another 30% of the minimum wage for each dependent child, which comes to $4,200 annually. While it’s not a strict requirement, having an amount equivalent to two years’ income in a Portuguese bank account is a good idea to show you’re financially stable.

Documentation Needed from Indian Applicants

You’ll need a range of documents to back up your D7 Visa application. Indian applicants must provide a completed D7 Visa application form, a valid passport or travel document, recent passport photos, and financial documents proving their regular passive income. You’ll also need valid travel insurance, a Police Clearance Certificate, and a form that allows access to your Portuguese criminal records.

Proof of a Portuguese address and a bank statement showing your balance in a Portuguese bank account are also needed. The application process comes with fees ranging between $86 and $107 per applicant, which applies to each family member included in your application.

Renewal and Steps Toward Permanent Residency

Once you’re in Portugal, you’ve got to apply for a Residence Permit within 120 days, which will cost you $96 per applicant. The initial residence permit is valid for two years and can be renewed for another three. To keep the permit, you’ll need to stick to the minimum stay requirements, which include living in Portugal for 16 months out of the first two years and avoiding long absences.

After five years of legal residency, you can go for permanent residence or citizenship, but choosing citizenship would mean you’d have to give up your Indian citizenship, as India doesn’t allow dual citizenship. It’s crucial to meet the residency requirements to keep your Residence Permit and eventually be eligible for permanent residency or citizenship. Plus, the D7 Visa gives you access to Portugal’s healthcare, education, legal systems, and vocational training opportunities. It also acts as a gateway to the Non-Habitual Resident tax regime, which could offer tax benefits on international income for up to ten years.

Aerial View Of Portugal

Steps to Apply for Permanent Residency

Completing the Application Form

The initial task for Indian nationals is to meticulously fill out the application form in Portuguese. Precision is key, as any inconsistencies between the form and your documents could impede the process.

Documents Required for Permanent Residency Application

A comprehensive dossier is essential when applying. This includes a valid passport or travel ID, two recent passport photographs, and evidence of financial stability, including up-to-date tax and social security contributions. Additionally, you must provide proof of continuous legal residence in Portugal for five years, typically shown by a temporary residence permit.

An official statement confirming your residential address in Portugal and the terms of your housing is necessary. The CIPLE certificate, which demonstrates your proficiency in the Portuguese language to at least an A2 level, is also required. Furthermore, a clean criminal record is imperative, with no serious convictions that resulted in a prison sentence of one year or more.

Common Mistakes to Avoid in the Application

To avoid rejection, ensure all information is truthful, adhere to visa regulations, and demonstrate a genuine connection to Portugal. Missing scheduled appointments or interviews can also be detrimental.

It’s crucial to adhere to the stipulated absence periods from Portugal to maintain eligibility.

Expectations After Submission

After submission, the processing period can be extended for several weeks. The standard fee for the application is about $130. If successful, an additional fee of $345 is charged for the issuance of the permit. The permit has unlimited validity but must be renewed every five years or upon any significant change in personal circumstances.

After acquiring permanent residency, you gain the privilege of visa-free travel within the Schengen Area and the opportunity to invite family members to live with you in Portugal. However, it’s crucial to maintain your residency status by not leaving Portugal for more than two consecutive years, as this could lead to the revocation of your rights.

If your application is rejected, there’s an avenue for appeal. You can file a complaint with the Administrative and Fiscal Court within 15 days of receiving the decision. If the outcome of the complaint isn’t satisfactory, a further appeal to the district court is possible within three months of the initial rejection.

The process for Indian citizens is structured and rigorous. By avoiding common mistakes and providing a complete and accurate application, you can look forward to establishing a long-term presence in Portugal.

Building In Portugal

Living in Portugal as a Permanent Resident

Rights and Obligations

As a permanent resident, you’re entitled to the same rights as EU nationals, including the ability to live, work, and study in Portugal without additional documentation. You are expected to abide by Portuguese laws and contribute to the social security system, which entitles you to benefit from public services.

Access to Healthcare, Education, and Social Security

The SNS provides comprehensive coverage to all residents, including permanent residents from India. Children under 18 and individuals over 65 are entitled to free healthcare, while other age groups are charged at subsidized rates.

To access healthcare services, you’ll need to register with the local council to get a health number (Numero de Utente). Public education is available free of charge, and you’re entitled to social security benefits, which provide support during unemployment or illness.

Buying Property and Investment Opportunities

You have the opportunity to invest in property and other business ventures. The real estate market offers a variety of options, and the nation’s growing economy presents diverse avenues for investment.

Cultural Integration and Community Involvement

Integrating into the Portuguese community is crucial for a fulfilling experience. Engaging with local customs and participating in community events can enrich your life in Portugal.

Embrace Your New Horizon

Navigating the pathways to permanent residency in Portugal showcases a journey of strategic planning, investment, and a commitment to embracing a new cultural landscape. For Indian citizens, the dream of Portuguese residency is not only tangible but laden with opportunities for personal growth, economic stability, and an enriching lifestyle under the Iberian sun.

Whether through investment, sustained income, or cultural integration, your aspiration to call Portugal home can become a reality with careful preparation and adherence to the guidelines set out. With each step taken towards this new chapter, Portugal’s welcoming embrace will be a testament to the possibilities that await those who dare to embark on this life-changing quest. Ready to take the leap? Portugal awaits.


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