Obtaining a Portugal digital nomad visa is becoming increasingly easier, especially in the age of advanced remote working.
At a time where you can work from anywhere, more countries are opening their visas to those who are self-employed, those who work as freelancers, and entrepreneurs.
The reason for this is to expand their economy and invite people to run their businesses from there. Portugal is becoming a popular destination for digital nomads because of its natural beauty, business-friendly policies, and relatively affordable cost of living.
In fact, Forbes has named Portugal as one of the top 3 countries in the world to live in and to retire!
In this article, we will explore:
- The types of Portugal digital nomad visas
- What it takes to be a digital nomad in Portugal
- The top digital nomad cities in Portugal
- The best places for a digital nomad to stay in Portugal
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What Is A Digital Nomad?
A digital nomad is a person whose work does not depend on having to be in one location.
Using various technological and telecommunications solutions, a digital nomad can:
- earn a living even though they are constantly on the move,
- traveling to different countries, and
- working from wherever they want to, even from the top of a mountain!*
*I worked on the way up to Everest Base Camp with my little notebook. The proofreading project paid for my entire trip. Very cool.
One of the most appealing freedoms that come with being a digital nomad is that you can spend however much time that you choose in a particular country.
Depending on the country of your choice, if you choose to spend a substantial amount of time in a single location, you will need to look into applying for a digital nomad work visa.
What Is A Digital Nomad Visa?
For the longest time, digital nomads were not given the necessary legal standing to be in a country to work remotely.
If they wanted to stay in their country of choice longer than was legally allowed by a tourist visa (usually between 30 to 90 days), they would probably need to exit the country and enter it again.
While it may not seem like much of an issue on the face of it, if there are border closures or disputes, you may find it difficult to re-enter your initial country of choice.
In recent times, there has been the introduction of digital nomad visas in Europe as well as other countries. This is to cater to the increasing number of remote workers who now have the freedom to work from wherever they choose.
Some of these countries include:
- Dubai (UAE)
Having a digital nomad visa or some version of it will save you the stress of immigration issues. More importantly, you will have the peace of mind that you need to work and be productive wherever you choose to be.
Do I Need A Visa To Be In Portugal?
At this juncture, it is important to note that Portugal is a member of the European Union and is also part of the Schengen Area.
As such, if you are a European Union citizen or if you are a citizen of one of the countries in the Schengen Area, you do not need to apply for a visa to enter Portugal.
However, depending on which European Union or Schengen Area country you are from, if you do intend to stay for an extended time, you may need to obtain registration certificates from the relevant authorities.
That being said, if you are a citizen of the:
- United States
- Canada, Australia
- New Zealand
you will be happy to hear that Portugal has specific agreements with these countries to allow their citizens to remain in Portugal for 90 days within 6 months without the need for a visa.
If you are from any other country however and want to be in Portugal for an extended period as a digital nomad, a Portugal travel visa may not be sufficient. This is where it may be helpful to consider the types of Portugal digital nomad visas that are available for extended stays in Portugal.
Different Types Of Digital Nomad Visas for Portugal
Portugal is one of the many countries in Europe that grant visas for independent or freelance workers.
Here is a glance at the core characteristics of the types of suitable Portugal visas for these purposes.
While it is not expressly called a digital nomad visa as far as official immigration papers and procedures are concerned, the Portugal national visa can broadly be divided into two categories.
Which category you fall into will depend on your intended length of stay in the country.
The categories are:
|Temporary Stay Visa||Residency Visa(D2 & D7 Visas as pathways to obtaining a Residency Permit)|
|Recommended for stays up to 1 year||Recommended for stays of more than 1 year|
|Valid for 1 year||Valid for 4 months during which an application for residency permit must be made|
|Renewable for 2 year periods||The residency permit is valid for 2 years and renewable for 3 year periods|
|Can travel outside Portugal||Can travel outside Portugal but cannot be out of the country for more than 6 consecutive months of 8 non-consecutive months|
|Can work as a self-employed person or independent worker||Can work as a self-employed person or independent worker|
1.Temporary Stay Visa
This Portugal digital nomad visa is for when you want to stay in Portugal for up to 1 year.
You are eligible for a temporary visa if you can show that you earn or will earn a minimum of €635 per month. This amount is the minimum required income or “means of subsistence” for the purposes of applying for long-term stay visas as at the year 2020.
The aim of this is to show that you are financially able to pay for your cost of living, accommodation, and any other needs that may arise for you in Portugal for the duration of the validity of the visa.
The Portugal temporary stay visa is valid for one year and can subsequently be renewed for 2 year periods.
This visa is perfect for digital nomads in Portugal as it allows those who are independent workers to apply, without having to commit to being a resident in Portugal.
More importantly, the Portugal temporary stay visa allows for multiple entries for the duration of its validity. This means you could use Portugal as a base and travel to nearby countries and return without facing any immigration issues. It is the perfect freelance visa for Europe!
The required forms and documents for the application for the Portugal temporary stay visa for independent workers can be found here at the official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Portugal.
The general documents that are required are:
- Official Form;
- Passport or other travel document, valid for an additional 3 months following the duration of the intended stay;
- Two identical passport photographs, up-to-date and in good condition, allowing proper identification;
- Transport document (return ticket);
- Document certifying the third-country national is in a regular situation when the applicant is from a different nationality than that of the country where the visa is being requested;
- Valid travel insurance covering necessary medical expenses, including emergency assistance and repatriation;
- Form authorizing access to Portuguese criminal record by the Immigration and Border Services (SEF);
- Criminal record from country of origin or country of residency for over one year (minors under 16 years of age are exempt from producing any criminal record related document);
- Proof of means of subsistence, as stipulated by law;
- Proof of subsistence means can be made through a statement of responsibility, signed by a Portuguese national or by a foreign national legally resident in Portugal.
If you think you may spend more than a year in Portugal and you are looking for some form of stability as a digital nomad, then this is a great Portugal digital nomad visa to consider.
The Portugal Residency Visa:
- is valid for 4 months and
- allows for 2 entries during this time.
During the 4 months, you are required to put in your application for your residency permit with the Immigration and Border Services (SEF).
The residency permit is valid for 2 years.
There are 2 types of visas that work as pathways towards obtaining a residency permit in Portugal.
- The Portugal D2 Visa (also known as the Portugal Migrant Entrepreneur or Independent Worker Visa); and
- The Portugal D7 Visa (also known as the Portugal Passive Income Visa)
Portugal D2 Visa
Portugal D2 Visa as a Migrant Entrepreneur
The Portugal D2 Visa works well if you want to set up a business presence in Portugal or carry out business activities in the country. Some form of investment activity is required and business activities qualify.
This is ideal for digital nomads who are entrepreneurs and intend to use Portugal as a base country. You can set up a sole proprietorship for your freelance business and you are good to go!
Portugal D2 Visa as an Independent Worker
You can also apply for the Portugal D2 Visa as an independent worker.
To qualify for this type of D2 visa, you would need to show proof of your services either in the form of a contract with your client or by way of your service provider proposal.
The documents and formalities that are required to be complied with to obtain a Portugal D2 visa can be found here at the official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Portugal.
Portugal D7 Visa
The Portugal D7 Visa is for those who want to be in Portugal without having to carry out any investment activities or setting up a business presence as this visa allows you to work independently.
While this type of visa targets retirees, it can be useful if you are a digital nomad who does not intend to formally set up a business in Portugal.
All you would need to show is that you have a source of passive income amounting to €7200 per year and provide your bank statements for the past 6 months as proof of this passive income.
Your passive income can come from:
- investment funds abroad;
- rental income from properties that you own;
- share dividends; or
Of course, this list is not exhaustive. As long as you can show that you have regular passive income, you are eligible to apply for the Portugal D7 Visa. The ultimate aim is to show that you can live in Portugal solely on your passive income.
Why Is Portugal The Best Place To Work As A Digital Nomad
Before you apply for a Portugal digital nomad visa, its worth finding out if Portugal is the best place for you! The list of reasons as to why Portugal is the best place to work as a digital nomad is endless!
Here are just some of them!
- Portugal Provides Easy Access to Other Countries in Europe
Portugal is famously referred to as the gateway to Europe for many reasons. This is perfect for all your digital nomad trips in the region!
Portugal’s strategic location allows you to easily travel to the neighboring European countries and satisfy your thirst for adventure and exploration while still having a home in Portugal.
- Portugal Is Rich In History & Culture
If you are a digital nomad who also happens to be a history buff, then you can’t go wrong with living in Portugal.
Portugal has one of the oldest borders in Europe (with Spain), dating back to 1297.
Immerse yourself in the colorful culture of Portugal and be inspired to be creative and productive in your work!
- Portugal Has The Best Weather for Digital Nomads
As a digital nomad in Portugal, the last thing you will experience is having to bundle up and hunch over your laptop to provide your services.
Portugal has 300 days of sunshine in the year and its winters are relatively short and mild.
Sit outside at a cafe, soak up the warmth, have some Portuguese egg tarts, and get cracking on your latest assignment with a smile on your face!
- Portugal Offers A Good Quality of Life for Expats & Digital Nomads
The 2019 InterNations Expat Insider report ranks Portugal as one of the top places to live for foreigners who are living outside of their home country.
The survey, which covered 64 countries with a minimum of 75 respondents in each country, took into account factors such as:
- Leisure options;
- Health and well-being;
- Safety and security;
- Travel and transportation; and
- Digital life.
Portugal ranked No. 1! Now that’s most certainly reason enough!
- Portugal Has Good WiFi Connections and Great Co-Working Spaces
As a Portugal digital nomad, this factor is without a doubt the most important consideration.
Portugal is without a doubt the destination of choice for the digital nomad in Europe. In fact, Portugal is also home to the first digital nomad village in Europe which will be open from 1st February 2021 onwards.
Additionally, co-working spaces are widely available across various cities in Portugal.
Here is a list of some of the most unique co-working spaces in Portugal. Some of them even have gyms, recording studios, and a host of restaurants nearby.
Cost of Living In Portugal
If you are an expat or a digital nomad in Portugal, the cost of living in Portugal is relatively affordable. This is one of the main reasons why Portugal is the go-to destination for freelancers, independent workers, and retirees.
For example, if you prefer cooking at home over eating out, fresh produce, fish, and meat or anything that is grown or reared in Portugal are cheap.
If you are more adventurous with your food, then according to portugalist.com, a typical meal can cost between €5 and €12.
Public transportation is also relatively cheap in Portugal and this makes it viable for digital nomads to get around.
A detailed breakdown of the cost of living in Portugal and how much you would need to live comfortably in Portugal can be found here and here on the Numbeo website, the world’s largest cost of living database.
Keep in mind, however, that the cost of living in Portugal can depend very much on which city you choose to reside in.
Best Cities To Stay In Portugal
Mention Portugal to a digital nomad and the most popular cities that come to mind are Porto and Lisbon.
However, there are also some other beautiful cities in Portugal that are perfect for digital nomads and remote workers to set up their base.
Here’s a quick guide to some of the best cities for digital nomads in Portugal.
The capital of Portugal needs no introduction! The digital nomad in Lisbon is one who loves an active city lifestyle.
With good food, popular nightlife and social scenes, co-working spaces, and work-friendly cafes, this is the best city for the extroverted digital nomad.
This is the second-largest city in Portugal.
While not as bustling as Lisbon, it is more affordable than Lisbon in terms of cost of living, especially with regard to renting properties.
Porto is also a digital nomad favorite because it is home to plenty of coworking spaces.
If you need the ocean to find your center and focus on work, then this is the city for you.
Ericeira is popularly known as the surfing capital of Europe and is slowly becoming a digital nomad hub with suitable accommodation and coworking spaces popping up.
One of the main reasons it is a digital nomad favorite is because of its easy access to Lisbon. This allows digital nomads to quickly travel back and forth if they need to.
4.Lagos, The Algarve
Lagos is another popular hotspot among expats and digital nomads. Located on The Algarve, which is the stunning southern coastline of Portugal, this place is paradise for the digital nomad who loves surfing!
The main attraction in Lagos is that the beach is essentially a very short work from the town center, which is perfect for when you need a break from the stress of your work.
Lagos is also home to new coworking spaces as well as several digital nomad friendly cafes.
While it is not a digital nomad hub as such just yet, it is heading in that direction.
This particular city is for the introverted digital nomad or the digital nomad who needs to get away from it all and focus.
It is a quiet town and is relatively much farther away from the hustle and bustle of any city.
That being said, Coimbra is certainly a sight for sore eyes. With deep blue skies and beautiful architecture everywhere, Coimbra will leave you feeling inspired.
Accommodation for Digital Nomads in Portugal
With Portugal becoming a digital nomad hub of sorts in Europe, there has also been an increase in digital nomad-friendly accommodation within the country.
Here are some of the types of accommodation to consider if you are thinking about becoming a digital nomad in Portugal:
This is a popular option for accommodation for digital nomads in Portugal. This is because of the availability of short-term and flexible terms and conditions.
You can choose your length of stay without having to commit to a fixed period.
Check out the Airbnb options available in Portugal here.
This usually refers to private apartments or homes. The rental amounts usually depend on which city or town you choose to live in.
One of the primary drawbacks of this type of accommodation is that you may be expected to commit to at least a month’s stay and pay for it in advance, together with any deposits that may be required.
So if you are a digital nomad that is on a strict budget and is constantly on the move every few days or every week, this may not be the best option.
This concept is increasingly becoming a popular accommodation option for digital nomads in Portugal.
Essentially, in a co-living arrangement, a group of people shares a living space. They each have their own bedroom but the common facilities are shared. This works best when like-minded people get together and share the space.
You can look for co-living spaces on your own or there are many real estate agencies that specialize in co-living spaces that can help you in your search for a co-living space.
Here is a great list of coliving spaces that have recently opened that have gained popularity among digital nomads in Portugal.
You can also check out coliving.com for detailed rates and to choose a coliving space in Portugal by city or town.
This would be the most budget-friendly type of accommodation for digital nomads in Portugal. It is also the perfect option if you are the type of digital nomad who is constantly on the go.
Hostels in Portugal usually involve multiple beds in the same room, as such, there is unlikely to be any privacy. However, you will end up meeting plenty of new people!
If you are looking for a hostel in Portugal, HostelWorld is a great place to start.
Hotels of course are always there as an accommodation option for digital nomads in Portugal. However, they can be expensive and are unlikely to be able to offer you long-term stay options.
Some Unique Tips for Digital Nomads in Portugal
As digital nomads slowly but surely take over the world, here are some digital nomad tips if you are thinking of choosing Portugal as your next destination:
- There is Subsidised Healthcare for Foreign Residents
Portugal is on its way to providing its residents with a completely socialised healthcare system. This also extends to foreign residents.
While it won’t be entirely paid for, if you are a digital nomad in Portugal and have all your residency formalities sorted, you are entitled to subsidised healthcare!
- There Are No Restrictions on Foreigners Purchasing Property
It is relatively easy to purchase property in Portugal, even if you are a digital nomad!
Unlike other countries that have plenty of formalities and restrictions for foreigners who want to purchase property, Portugal only requires you to have a personal fiscal number. This can be easily sorted out at the local tax office.
This is certainly good news for digital nomads who are thinking of using Portugal as a long-term work base.
- Cork’s The Word!
Have you ever been going about your day and suddenly wondered where cork comes from? Well, 50% of the world’s cork supply comes from Portugal!
Cork production is one of the biggest industries in Portugal. More importantly, cork is produced in a sustainable manner with minimal to no effects on the environment.
Cork is derived from the cork oak tree. This is harvested once every 9 years for the duration of the lifetime of the tree which can go up to 270 years!
You can find more interesting cork facts here!
So there you have it! Everything you need to know about the Portugal digital nomad visa and the things to consider if you are thinking about becoming a digital nomad based in Portugal.
There is no doubt that Portugal is going to be the prime destination for digital nomads from all over the world.
With its digital nomad village opening soon and constant efforts being made to accommodate digital nomads, Portugal is the place to be!
Well, there you have it. Everything you need to know about a Portugal digital nomad visa, did you find this useful? Mention it in the comments below!