Portugal is part of the European Union and the Schengen visa space which allows visitors to move freely between several European countries without the need for passport control beyond an initial entry check. Despite much controversy of late, the freedom of people is one of the important cornerstones of the EU and for retirees, a unique and much appreciated way to discover Europe’s Old World charm in a simple and cost-effective way.
As with many countries around the world, Portugal allows most foreign nationals to visit the country for a period of 90 days on a tourist visa, which extends to Schengen travel. This visa can be extended for a further period but limited to the country of the issuing visa.
For longer stays all visitors to the country should apply for the correct visa, in most cases a residence visa. Again, in common with many other countries, the obtaining of a residence visa can be bureaucratic but the qualifying requirements are clearly stipulated. The process is of particular interest for retired, non-EU citizens who may not wish to obtain residence via the Golden Visa route but do so via the NHR.
A note for US citizens: although there has been a proliferation of blogs and web posts on this topic, the best point of departure is the official site http://www.embassyportugal-us.org/visa-information/ which describes the process and contains a list of required information. In most cases it is worth using an expediter for the FBI check and on the Portuguese side it will be useful to have a legal representative act to support you with your entry interview, among other aspects.
A key requirement will be to have your accomodation sorted prior to applying. While we always recommend an exploratory visit to view and select your home in Portugal (whether rented or purchased), sometimes this is not posisble for any number of reasons including logistics, timing or cost. You may also wish to proeed quickly if you are looking to apply for residence which is later linked to Portugal’s tax-free NHR programme. This is where a company such as ours will provide an invaluable service in identifying possible options, if necessary allowing you to take a decision at a distance without the cost of having to make a trip.
We also offer several installation support packages which are unique to this market. Feedback from clients has underscored the value and importance of being supported through the initial phase of any international move, and accelerating the integration process. We have extensive experience in assisting and guiding foreign, non-EU citizens with residence visa applications, ably supported by law firms which have experience in completing and assisting with the paperwork.