How To Immigrate From Pakistan To Portugal

Flags Of Portugal And Pakistan With Immigration Stamp
Rihab Saad

Managing Director
Next Generation Equity

Portugal immigration from Pakistan has been gaining traction, reflecting a broader trend of South Asians seeking new opportunities in this serene European nation. Portugal’s appeal lies in its favorable immigration policies, a robust support system for family reunification, and promise of a high quality of life.

We’re here to help Pakistani nationals aiming to navigate the clear waters of Portugal’s immigration process, from understanding the various visa categories and legal requirements to settling into the Portuguese way of life. Whether seeking employment, education, or simply a change of scenery, we outline the steps to make Portugal your new home successfully.

Portuguese Immigration

Pakistani Immigrants in Portugal

Portugal has seen a dynamic shift in its immigration patterns, with a significant rise in Pakistani nationals settling in the country.

Since 2016, the Pakistani community in Portugal has grown by over 256%.

Alongside the rise in residents, there’s been a notable uptick in the number of Pakistanis obtaining Portuguese citizenship, totaling 2,839 since January 2016.

This trend reflects the broader movement of South Asians becoming increasingly prevalent immigrant groups in Portugal.

The Appeal of Portugal for Pakistani Migrants

Several factors make Portugal attractive for Pakistani migrants. The country is known for its welcoming immigration policies, which grant residency to immigrants who find employment, no matter how they initially entered. This open approach has been a significant draw for those looking for better prospects.

Portugal also supports family reunification, allowing legal residents to bring their families over. If at least one parent has been a legal resident for a year, children born in Portugal to immigrant parents can claim Portuguese nationality. After five years of legal residency, you can apply for citizenship.

Portugal’s investment attraction initiatives, like the Golden Visa program, which ended in October 2023, and the Non-Habitual Resident tax regime, set to conclude in 2024, have also played a part in attracting foreign nationals, including those from Pakistan. Even though these programs are being phased out, they’ve helped shape Portugal’s image as a hospitable destination for migrants.

Recent Trends in Portugal-Pakistan Migration

Various factors have influenced the migration flow from Pakistan to Portugal. The Portuguese government has actively recruited workers from countries like Pakistan. Moreover, the promotion of Portugal as a desirable destination through social media and immigrant networks has played a role. The cost associated with migrating to Portugal, which can range from USD 4,250 to USD 14,880, suggests that this path is typically accessible to those with some financial means.

In response to the growing number of immigrants, Portugal established the Agency for Integration, Migration, and Asylum (AIMA) in early April 2023. This agency is responsible for implementing public policies related to migration and asylum. New visa categories, such as job search and digital nomad visas, have been introduced to meet various migrant needs. The job search visa is particularly noteworthy as it allows individuals to stay in Portugal for six months to find employment and then transition to a regular work permit without having to leave the country.

Portugal has also taken practical steps to manage the rising number of immigrants. One such measure is the automatic extension of residence permits expiring in 2023 until the end of the year. This extension is a temporary fix for those awaiting regularization, which at one point included around 700,000 individuals.

The immigrant population in Portugal has nearly doubled in the last five years, necessitating these adjustments. By September 2023, the number of foreign residents had reached 980,000. By October, this figure had climbed to 1,090,000, marking a 40% increase since the year’s start.

This surge underscores Portugal’s emerging status as a sought-after destination for migrants looking for new beginnings. It highlights the nation’s evolving immigration scene.

Aerial View Of Lisbon, Portugal, At Night

Legal Requirements for Immigration

Necessary Documentation for Pakistanis

A Schengen visa is required for short-term visits not exceeding 90 days and is suitable for various purposes such as tourism or business.

A National Visa is necessary for more permanent intentions. Applications are processed through VFS Global, and applicants must submit their requests via email with personal details and a clear explanation of the visa’s purpose.

The required documents will vary depending on the visa sought. For employment purposes, an invitation from the employer or a work contract is needed. Prospective students must provide a letter from their educational institution and evidence of enrollment.

A letter from SEF confirming approval is essential for those seeking to join family members. The Consular Section of the Embassy of Portugal in Islamabad typically responds to visa inquiries within ten working days.

Types of Portuguese Visas Available

The Schengen Visa caters to short-term visits, while the National Visa is designed for stays exceeding 90 days. Applicants for the Schengen Visa must demonstrate the intent of their visit and financial sufficiency.

Visa applications should be lodged before the planned travel date. The usual processing time is 15 calendar days, though a thorough examination may take up to 45 days.

Two forms of national visas are the temporary stay visa, which is valid for up to a year, and the residence visa, which is for longer durations. These visas cater to various purposes, including employment, education, and medical treatment. Visa fees are subject to change, and exemptions may apply in certain scenarios.

Residency Permits and Path to Citizenship

Upon arrival, securing a residency permit is necessary. The D7 Visa is tailored for individuals with a reliable income who do not require employment in Portugal. This visa grants an initial 4-month stay, which can be extended to a one-year residence permit and is renewable for two subsequent two-year periods.

After five years of legal residency, you may seek permanent residency and eventually citizenship, provided you fulfill the necessary criteria. D7 Visa holders must prove financial stability, have no criminal history, and show intent to reside in Portugal for at least 183 days per year.

Applicants must have appropriate housing and be prepared to become tax residents. The NHR program offers tax incentives to foreign residents, including reduced rates and exemptions on various income types.

Legal Assistance and Immigration Services

Navigating immigration laws can be daunting, and professional legal assistance is invaluable. Immigration services can facilitate the application process, assist in compiling and submitting required documents, and help understand the benefits associated with residency permits.

These benefits encompass access to public services such as education and healthcare, legal protection, and the right to work. Legal professionals can also aid in family reunification efforts and provide counsel on the NHR tax regime, aiding Pakistani immigrants in their adjustment to life in Portugal.

Aerial View Of Portugal

The Application Process

Step-by-Step Visa Application Procedure

Selecting the appropriate visa is crucial, with the Schengen Visa necessary for brief visits and the National Visa for extended stays. Applications should be lodged well in advance of your intended departure to account for processing durations. Applicants over 16 years old are required to present a Police Character Certificate.

Your documentation must be up-to-date, including a recent photo meeting specific criteria. The photo should be a clear, color image taken within the last six months, with your face visible. Religious headgear is acceptable, provided it does not obscure the face.

Securing travel insurance is obligatory for entry into Schengen territories. Visa fees are variable and contingent on factors such as age and visa category, with certain exemptions available. Service charges are also applicable at the visa application center.

Proof substantiating the purpose of your stay is necessary for national visas. Fee waivers are available for certain cases, such as family reunification.

Appointment Scheduling and Interview Guidance

After preparing your application, you must schedule an appointment. Personal attendance is generally required unless you have received prior permission for an alternative arrangement. It’s advisable to bring additional documentation to your appointment in case the embassy requests further evidence.

Timeline and Processing Periods

The Embassy of Portugal in Islamabad processes visa applications in a minimum of 15 days, potentially extending to 60 days or, in exceptional instances, up to 90 days. Once all documentation has been submitted, National Visas may require approximately 90 days for processing.

It’s important not to anticipate the return of your passport within a specific time frame due to the variability of processing times.

Common Challenges and Overcoming Them

Incomplete or outdated documents can lead to complications. Ensuring thoroughness and accuracy in your application can prevent delays. If your application is not successful, there are several avenues for recourse, including lodging a complaint with the decision-maker, filing a hierarchical appeal, or initiating administrative action, each incurring its own costs.

Adherence to the embassy’s checklist is advised to avoid financial losses and procedural delays. It’s also beneficial to apply well ahead of your planned travel date and be prepared for additional documentation requests.

Ocean And Houses In Portugal

Settling in Portugal

Finding Accommodation and Cost of Living

Securing a residence is a priority for Pakistani immigrants in Portugal. The nation’s affordability is a significant advantage, particularly in the housing market. Opting for a shared apartment can be economical. At the same time, suburban and rural areas offer more spacious homes at attractive prices compared to city centers.

Although salaries in Portugal may not be as high as in other Western European countries, the lower expenses for groceries and dining out can help offset this. Rental agreements often include utilities, which can further reduce monthly payments.

Public transportation is cost-effective, with metro and bus services in urban areas and trains and buses for longer distances. The expenses associated with car ownership are relatively modest for those who drive.

The Job Market for Pakistanis

The Portuguese job market is open to those proficient in English, with opportunities in various sectors. The influx of digital nomads and entrepreneurs has improved internet services, facilitating job prospects in fields like IT, healthcare, and hospitality.

The process for obtaining a work visa is straightforward. Requirements include a valid passport, proof of funds, and a clean criminal record. The Seasonal Work Visa caters to short-term employment in specific sectors. Non-EU nationals must apply for a Portuguese work visa, with associated costs for the visa, residence permit application, and the permit itself, which can be valid for up to two years. Portuguese employment laws ensure a structured relationship between employees and employers.

Cultural Integration and Community Support

Acclimating to a new environment is essential, and Portugal’s relaxed lifestyle and hospitable nature facilitate this. The government’s efforts to integrate immigrants into the legal economy are evident, with free language courses available to aid in cultural assimilation and employment.

Navigating the Healthcare and Education Systems

The SNS provides healthcare services, and immigrants must have health insurance covering medical costs and emergency evacuation. The education system offers opportunities for international students, with Portugal becoming an increasingly popular destination.

Student visa requirements include proof of accommodation and financial stability. Public universities tend to be more economical than private ones. Academic records from previous institutions are necessary for degree-seeking students.

Houses In Portugal

Embracing New Horizons

Portugal represents a beacon of opportunity for Pakistani immigrants, offering a warm embrace through its progressive policies and inclusive atmosphere. For those seeking to navigate the golden pathways of Europe, the allure of Portugal’s serene landscapes and vibrant culture is matched by the tangible prospects for growth and stability.

While complex, the journey is simplified with clear steps and resources to guide each individual. Whether your ambitions lie in the bustling cities or the tranquil countryside, Portugal offers a canvas on which to paint your future. The essence of this guide isn’t just to inform—it’s to inspire action towards the life you envision.

As you embark upon this transformative adventure, may Portugal’s abundant charm and welcoming spirit be the cornerstones of your new beginning.


How Much Money do I Need to Immigrate to Portugal?

The financial requirements to immigrate to Portugal vary depending on the visa type. For example, a Golden Visa requires an investment of at least USD 297,530 in low-density areas or up to USD 531,630 in high-density areas. For the D7 Visa, often used by retirees or remote workers, you need to demonstrate a regular passive income of about USD 8,480 annually for a single applicant, with additional funds for each family member. Applicants should also account for living expenses, health insurance, and housing costs.

Can I Get a Job in Portugal from Pakistan?

Yes, securing a job in Portugal from Pakistan is possible, especially in sectors like technology, tourism, and healthcare that often seek skilled professionals. Generally, employers require a valid work permit before you can start working. It’s advisable to secure a job offer from a Portuguese employer who can then assist in obtaining the necessary work visa. Networking, online job portals, and international recruiting agencies can also be effective strategies for job hunting from abroad.

Are Portugal Visas Open for Pakistanis?

Yes, Portugal’s visa application process is open for Pakistani citizens. Applicants must meet the specific criteria for the type of visa they are applying for, whether it’s a tourist visa, Golden Visa, work visa, or D7 Visa. It is crucial to check the most current information from the Portuguese Embassy in Pakistan or their official immigration website, as visa policies can change and may have been affected by COVID-19 restrictions or other factors.



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