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Portugal Digital Nomad Visa Guide: All You Need to Know 2024

What is a digital nomad?

The term “digital nomad” refers to those who work remotely and live nomadically. Essentially, all they need is a laptop and fast internet connection to take advantage of working in different places around the globe. Digital nomads are remote workers who constantly change cities and/or countries. 

This way of working wasn’t well-known until the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic work and travel ramifications. Before then, digital nomads did exist, but they were rare gems, typically freelancers or entrepreneurs who were rarely spoken about and typically traveled on a tourist visa. During the pandemic workers worldwide were forced to go remote, and traveling was halted. It’s a two-sided story. Countries who relied on tourism were suffering as things were halted, frequent travelers found themselves stuck and unable to travel. On the other hand, a whole new world of work emerged, one which was world changing and life changing for many individuals. Now, in 2024, remote work opportunities are still increasing worldwide in almost all areas of employment. Likewise, the adherence to nomadic life has become increasingly popular, causing governments to adapt migration laws to this new reality. 

What is the digital nomad visa?

All thanks to the trend-setter Estonia, the Digital Nomad Visa emerged in 2020. Since, more and more countries are creating new visa pathways to accommodate the era of digital nomadism. Now fifty (50) countries have adopted a specific visa for Digital Nomads, some notable examples are: Greece, Portugal, Spain, Brazil and Argentina. The list is expected to continuously grow in coming years as many countries have already expressed clear intentions to create their own versions of the new digital nomad visa.

Generally, digital nomad visas allow a remote worker, along with their dependents, to legally reside in the country longer than the time allowed for tourism, yet usually less than long-term visas permit. The remote workers and accompanying family members obtain the visa under certain varying conditions. Most commonly, they must be employed by a company, freelancing, or operating a business located outside the country issuing the visa. There is usually a qualifying salary which is often significantly more than the local minimum wage. 

Portugal Digital Nomad Visa: How does it work?

Portugal has been a haven for digital nomads even before the term was coined. Remote workers often flocked to the country in the Iberian Peninsula with laptops in tow and light luggage staying on tourist visas, and doing the occasional border hop. As other European governments adapted to the new immigration trend and created variations of the nomad visa, Portugal jumped on the bandwagon. On October 30th, 2022 Portugal introduced its Digital Nomad visa, officially called visa for the exercise of professional activity remotely provided outside the national territory—article 61-B. The visa is directed at those who intend to work remotely from Portugal, either as a subordinate worker or an independent worker.

The Portuguese digital nomad visa is divided into two categories depending on how long you will stay in Portugal: temporary stay visa or residence visa.

The temporary stay visa is for people who want to apply for a residence permit for up to one year with eligibility to be renewed for a second year. The temporary stay visa is for those who intend to stay in Portugal for more than 90 days (Schengen short stay tourist visa) but less than a year.

The residency visa, on the other hand, is intended for people who want to stay in the country for up to five years. Furthermore, after 5 years in Portugal on this residency visa you can apply for permanent residency and even Portuguese citizenship if you spend at least half of your time in the country each year and learn a basic level of A2 Portuguese. You will be able to live, work, and study in any European Union (EU) member country upon obtaining citizenship.

While both types provide benefits the vast majority of clients opt for the long term residency visa which allows them to reside in Portugal and continuously renew their permits based on the same conditions.
Portugal Digital Nomad

Required Documents

To apply for a Portugal digital nomad visa, whether a temporary stay visa or residency permit, the following documents are required:

  • Show proof of stable monthly income from professional activities. Applicants must make €3,280 per month for at least the last three months. The main requirement is to prove you have enough income to support yourself during your stay in Portugal. If you stay in Portugal for more than 183 days in a year, you’ll be considered a tax resident and required to pay taxes on your worldwide income. Although, you may be eligible for special tax status through Portugal’s NHR tax regime.
  • Proof of the minimum income required, to be completed a statement from the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Bank statements and invoices
  • Open a Portuguese bank account
  • Documentation proving your fiscal residence (NIF)
  • Subordinate workers (employees) should submit either an employment contract or employer’s declaration proving the employment relationship.
  • Independent professionals/self-employed individuals/freelancers must show either articles of association, a service provision contract or a document demonstrating services provided to one or more entities.

Additionally, those applying for a long-stay residence visa must submit proof of personal tax residence in Portugal (a 12-month lease contract registered with the tax authority).

Brazilians Applying for Portugal digital nomad visa

For Brazilians applying for a digital nomad visa in Portugal will need to submit the following document:

  • Completed and signed visa application form;
  • Two 3×4 photos;
  • Passport valid for 3 months beyond the expected return date;
  • Travel insurance covering the entire stay in Portugal or PB4;
  • Criminal record certificate (with The Hague Apostille);
  • Request for consultation of the Portuguese criminal record by SEF;
  • Return air ticket to Brazil;

It is worth pointing out that for member countries of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP), such as Brazil, some documents may be dispensable (by signing a Term of Responsibility for a person who has legal residence in Portugal and who can take responsibility for the person who is applying for the visa) such as:

  • Copy of the return airline ticket
  • Proof of subsistence; The documents indicated are the basic documents, without prejudice to the fact that the Consular Post may reserve the right to request additional documentation. You can find all the necessary forms and documents for requesting a temporary stay visa in Portugal on the official website of the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

How to apply for the Portugal digital nomad visa

There are two different ways to apply for Portugal's digital nomad visa depending on the nationality of the applicant.

It’s not necessary for European citizens to apply for the digital nomad visa as it’s permitted to stay in Portugal for 3 months as tourists. EU citizens can stay beyond 3 months by registering their presence at city hall to obtain a temporary residence certificate which is usually valid for five years.

Third country nationals must apply for a digital nomad visa to be allowed to stay in Portugal beyond the time tourism permits. Any foreign professional meeting the digital nomad visa requirements can apply through this visa route to live in Portugal.

The process to get the digital nomad visa is straightforward and similar to other countries offering the pathway.

Submit your visa application along with all the aforementioned necessary documents to the embassy or Portuguese consulate nearest you. If you’re already in Portugal you can submit your application to the Immigration and Border Services (SEF). For Brazilian citizens in Brazil, the application can be done through the VFS Global company which works with the Portugal Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

After arriving in Portugal, digital nomad applicants must make an appointment with the SEF. Assuming everything is according to the law, an official residence permit will be received a few days prior to the SEF appointment.
Cost of Living in Portugal

Portugal’s affordable cost of living is very reasonable, it’s considered one of the cheapest countries to live in Western Europe. A major of the many factors attracting digital nomads and expats to Portugal. It’s a great place for foreign remote workers to life comfortably and enjoy a highly desirable city.

Let’s break down some typical costs of necessities in Portugal. 

Accommodation

The cost of a one bedroom apartment in the large capital city of Lisbon can range from €600 to €900 per month, depending on the neighborhood and amenities. While prices have gone up in the past few years, it’s still relatively cheap compared to other European capitals. In smaller cities like Porto, Aveiro, Braga, and Coimbra, the cost can be even lower. And Co-living prices can vary from €300 to €600 per month throughout Portuguese populated cities.

Food

Food costs in Portugal are reasonable and there are a lot of locally grown/caught foods accessible. Dining out costs around €10 to €15 in total for typical restaurants, while something more upscale can range from €25 to €40. Grocery shopping obviously depends on your lifestyle, but it’s safe to budget €150 to €250 per month.

Transportation

Public transportation in Portugal is aplenty and not costly. A single bus or metro ticket costs between €1.50 and €2.50. Daily commuters usually opt for a €30 monthly pass which, depending on the city, allows travelers to travel by train, metro or bus with the same ticket. This makes getting around easier for citizens, especially in major cities. For those who prefer to ride a bicycle, rent one monthly for €30 to €50.

Entertainment

The cost of entertainment in Portugal varies depending on your idea of fun. Catching a movie at the cinema costs €6 to €10 per ticket. Cover to enter a disco or bar can range between €5 to €15 per ticket, and a beer is about €2.50 to €4. However, there are a ton of options for entertainment. Some are more costly than others, but anyone can have fun in Portugal on really any budget. 

Foreign nationals usually find Portugal to be extremely affordable, making it an attractive place to live. This is especially true for digital nomads who are employed in the U.S. and other EU countries where salaries are generous. Still, it’s important to remember that the cost of living in Portugal can vary greatly from city to city and depending upon the lifestyle you lead. Researching and planning is a must before you move. On average, an individual earning a salary of €1000-1200 per month can live comfortably in Portugal.

Best Portuguese Cities for Digital Nomads to Live

In recent years, Portugal has become one of the most popular destinations for digital nomads, according to the ranking "Índice Voyages et Travail” published by Kayak, and “NomadList." Several Portuguese cities are in the top ranking of the most suitable cities for digital nomads such as Lisbon (2nd place), Porto (4th place), Madeira Island (7th place) and Ericeira (9th place).
Lisbon

Lisbon for Digital Nomads

Despite Lisbon being the most expensive city in Portugal, it’s still relatively affordable, especially in comparison to other capital cities. The city is receiving thousands of digital nomads and is increasingly adapting to accommodate the many digital nomads by opening large coworking spaces, hosting lively events and giving opportunities to connect with other digital nomads. The initiatives are creating a huge network and digital nomad community. In Lisbon entertainment and restaurant options are aplenty, plus the city offers a great ease of displacement, to other cities throughout Portugal and even other European countries. 

Costa da Caparica and Sintra

Sintra for digital nomads

For digital nomads in Portugal looking for something slightly cheaper than Lisbon but still in close proximity, Sintra and Costa da Caparica are perfect suburban locations. The quality of life is just as good, especially for families! Costa da Caparica, located across the 25 de abril bridge, offers cheaper rentals, amazing beaches, and you can easily hop on a train or bus into Lisbon. Sintra is not to be left behind. An authentic Portuguese city home to one of the most colorful castles in all of Europe, breathtaking architecture and enjoyable temperatures all year round. It’s a great option for those looking for a more relaxed lifestyle that’s quickly accessible to the liveliness of the capital.

Porto

Porto for digital nomads

Portugal’s second largest city. Brings folks a sense that the world is not as troubled as we often feel in other cities across Europe and beyond. With an attractive riverfront, ease of getting there whether on food or by public transport, it’s no wonder Porto has become a favorite for Portugal digital nomads. The weather here is slightly colder and more conducive than in Lisbon, but the city is much more affordable. It’s an up-and-coming tech hotspot and is very well set up with coworking spaces, delicious wine and historical views at the Ribeira, next to the Douro river.

This city on the silver coast is sure not to disappoint a Portugal digital nomad, or anyone visiting Portugal for that matter. 

Aveiro

Popularly known as “The Portuguese Venice” — Aveiro is full of canals extending beyond city limits. Take a beautiful canal ride on the famous Gondulas for an afternoon to bask in the city’s beauty. On the edge of the bar, the city is close to Porto. Also a major tech hub on the rise, yet with low cost housing. Depending on the type of place you’re going for, rent prices range from €300 to €800. 

Braga

Braga, along with its neighbor Guimaraes, is one of the oldest Portuguese cities, dating back to the Roman Empire. Well known for its rich history, cultural heritage and incredible architecture. Braga is one of the main spots for Portugal digital nomads, behind Lisbon and Porto. Braga has the feel of a country town, quieter and more peaceful, and is only a few miles away from the big city of Porto. It offers a great quality of life at an affordable cost to those looking to enjoy the authentic side of Portugal.

Coimbra

Although Coimbra is most known as the student city, home to the renowned University of Coimbra, it’s also a great destination for digital nomads. The city boasts a super affordable cost of living. (Are you seeing the trend of Portuguese cities yet?) Along with a privileged location in the center of Portugal, making it close to both Porto and Lisbon. Coimbra enjoys a lively nightlife and first class infrastructure. 

Madeira

Madeira for digital nomads

Madeira Island, located 900km from mainland Portugal, has become one of the biggest destinations for digital nomads thanks to the “Digital Nomads Madeira” project launched in 2020. A joint initiative between Startup Madeira and the Government of Madeira during the period of the pandemic meant to attract digital nomads from all over the world to live on the island and promote tourism. The island has surprisingly fast internet speeds, lots of coworking spaces, stunning views, warm and sunny climate year round, and plenty of outdoor activities. Madeira is home to a unique and thriving digital nomad community. 

It’s important to note that Portugal overall has some of the fastest internet speeds in Europe. A notable factor attracting remote workers, along with the low cost of living throughout the country.

Housing for Digital Nomads

Co-living Spaces

Co-living spaces are a great alternative for digital nomads in Portugal looking to save money yet still find great inner city apartments. These places are shared living arrangements with furnished private bedrooms and shared common areas such as kitchen, living and remote work spaces. In a co-living digital nomads live alongside other professionals who likely share similar interests and remote work lifestyles. Amenities are usually included, such as high speed internet, cleaning services, laundry facilities and access to communal areas where residents can socialize, network, and collaborate.

We’ve put together a list of some of the most popular co-living setups in Portugal.

  • Outsite Lisbon: Located in the heart of Lisbon, Outsite Lisbon is a co-living space designed specifically for digital nomads. It offers private and shared rooms, as well as co-working space and common areas for socializing.
  • Heden Cascais: Located in Cascais, Heden Cascais is a modern and elegant co-living space. It has private and shared rooms, as well as —common areas for socializing, such as kitchen and living room.
  • Colina Flats: Located in Porto, Colina Flats is a co-living space with a cozy and modern environment. It has private and shared rooms, as well as common areas for socializing and community events.
  • Selina: With several locations in Portugal, including Lisbon, Porto and Ericeira, Selina is a co-living and coworking space with a bohemian and creative lifestyle. It offers private and shared rooms, as well as coworking spaces and common areas for socializing.
  • Tings Lisbon: Located in Lisbon, Tings Lisbon is a co-living space with a bohemian decor and relaxed atmosphere. It has private and shared rooms as well as a common area for socializing and community events.
  • Givensa Cowork & Coliving: Located in Braga, Givensa Cowork & Coliving is a studio residence for digital nomads with a warm and friendly atmosphere. It offers studios with a full kitchen and common areas for socializing and community events.
Studio Residences

Studio spaces are a valid option for single digital nomads or couples who can cozily squeeze in a small space that still offers all anyone needs, but with more privacy than co-living. Studios, depending on just how swanky they are, come at a low price tag in prime locations. Some of these multifunctional spaces even have a small balcony or terrace, which in Portugal is another living area in itself. 

Below are some of the most favored Studio residences in Portugal.

  • Outpost Lisbon: Located in Lisbon, Outpost Lisbon is a studio residence space for digital nomads. It offers private rooms and studios with full kitchen facilities, as well as common areas for socializing and community events.
  • Surf Office Lisbon: Located in the center of Lisbon, Surf Office Lisbon is a studio residence space for digital nomads with a relaxed atmosphere. It offers full kitchen studios and common areas for socializing.
  • The Bungalow: Located in Porto, The Bungalow is a studio residence space for digital nomads with a modern and stylish decor. It offers studios with a full kitchen and common areas for socializing and community events.
  • Digital Nomad Village: Located in Aljezur, Algarve, Digital Nomad Village is a studio residence for digital nomads with a rural and relaxed atmosphere. It offers studios with a full kitchen and common areas for socializing and community events.
Hostels

Hey — don’t forget about hostels.

Similar to co-living spaces, hostels are less permanent budget-friendly accommodation options with shared living spaces for travelers. Typically the rooms are dormitory-style with bunks beds and communal living spaces, including communal bathrooms. They’re a great option for digital nomads or travelers who want to save money on accommodation, stay for the short-term, and likely meet new people in similar situations. Likewise, they could just be a great starting point for any digital nomads exploring Portugal to find the best community.

Investing in a property

If you plan to stay in Portugal for the long term it’s wise to consider investing in a property of your own to call home. Unfortunately the Golden Visa program is closing, but there are still benefits to owning property in Portugal. As with anywhere, there’s always the quintessential argument of why rent when you can own? Understandably, setting roots is not the typical nomad style, but in the case it strikes an interest, we can set you up.

Lincoln Global Partners has an exceptional property portfolio which offers a range of property investment options throughout Portugal.

Best Coworking Spaces

For digital nomads looking for flexible and adaptable co-working spaces in Portugal, here are some of the best options:

Second Home Lisboa: Located in Mercado da Ribeira, Second Home Lisboa is a stylish and innovative co-working space. It has a plant-inspired decor and a wide variety of events for members.

Heden Lisbon: A warm and modern environment. It offers a variety of services, including meeting rooms and private call spaces.

Creative Hub Lisbon: Located in Santos in Lisbon, Creative Hub Lisbon has a creative and dynamic environment, ideal for digital nomads looking for inspiration and collaboration. The space offers flexible co-working services and a program of cultural and artistic events.

Cowork Central: Located in Porto’s historic center, Cowork Central is a modern co-working space with flexible services and an international community of digital nomads. Cowork Central also organizes regular networking and training events.

Founders Founders: Located in Porto, it’s one of the largest coworking spaces in Portugal. Founders Founders is ideal for digital nomads looking for an entrepreneurial and networking environment of international community of startups and entrepreneurs. The space offers flexible coworking services, as well as acceleration and training programs.

IdeiaHub: Located in Coimbra, IdeiaHub enjoys a relaxed and friendly environment. It offers virtual office services, shared workspace and private offices.

Cowork Central: Located in Faro, Cowork Central is a modern and cozy coworking space. It has several membership options, including shared workspace, private offices and meeting rooms.

Nomad Village: Located in Lagos, on the Algarve coast, Nomad Village offers flexible coworking services, including monthly and daily plans. This is a perfect place for digital nomads looking for a relaxed and inspiring environment by the beach.

Pros and Cons of being a digital nomad in Portugal

There’s no denying that Portugal is an exceptional destination for digital nomads. While there can be massive benefits to living in Portugal as a digital nomad, there can also be some challenges. So let’s lay out both the potential positives and negatives.
Pros and Cons of being a digital nomad in Portugal

Quality of life

Portugal is known for its excellent quality of life with a pleasant climate, stunning beaches, stunning landscapes and a rich culture. Being a digital nomad in Portugal allows you to enjoy all of this while working remotely. There’s certainly no downside here.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Portugal is relatively low compared to other European countries, which means that digital nomads can live well in Portugal on a smaller budget. If you compare Portugal to North American countries like the U.S. and Canada, the cost of living is even better. Especially if digital nomads are living in Portugal yet enjoying higher salaries offered by such places. However, nomads from countries like Mexico and parts of South America may only find the cost of living to be the same or slightly higher. Essentially it’s all relative to where digital nomads are coming from and where they are employed, but overall the cost of living is more than fair. 

Healthcare System

Portugal has an excellent health system. If you have met all of the residency requirements, you’ll be able to access the healthcare system in Portugal. While government healthcare in Portugal is not totally free, it’s offered at very low costs and some services are indeed free. Still, most expats and digital nomads opt for private health insurance. You will find private health insurance in Portugal at very affordable rates, so it’s worth it just in case.

Infrastructure

Although Portuguese cities are very historic, the quality of infrastructure overall in the country is very good.  Buildings have either been restored and preserved exceptionally well or rebuilt. Most applicable to digital nomads and remote workers is the excellent digital infrastructure offered throughout Portugal, even on the island of Maderia. The Internet is fast and reliable, a true essential for anyone working remotely. Still, expect the occasional elevator breakdown.

Safety

Portugal is considered to be a safe country. Lisbon is often called the safest city in Europe and Porto is right up there alongside it. Still, keep an eye on your bags, purses and expensive items. Pickpocketing is common in crowded areas.

Climate

Although Portugal experiences an inviting climate most of the year, the summers can be very hot and dry. Temperatures are rising yearly in the summer season and this can be uncomfortable for some Digital nomads. Winter can get colder than one might expect in some parts of the country and not all homes are equipped with a good heating unit. Those who flock to Portugal to escape winter might find this to be an unexpected deterrent. 

Language Barrier

Although many Portuguese people speak English, the official language is Portuguese. Posing a challenge for digital nomads who don’t speak the language. It certainly pays to learn some basic Portuguese to get around without hassle and explain things.

Portugal Digital Nomad Visa Alternatives

If the Portugal digital nomad visa doesn’t seem like the way to go for you, or you don’t fit the minimum requirements, all hope is not lost. The Portuguese government offers several alternative visa pathways. Remember the digital nomad visa only recently came into play despite nomads being long time residents of Portugal.

Here are some common routes to acquire a residency permit in Portugal:
D2 Visa for Entrepreneurs

This visa is intended for entrepreneurs who wish to establish a business in Portugal, create a Portuguese branch of an existing business, or move to Portugal to run an existing Portuguese business.

D7 Visa Retirement or Wealth Visa

Portugal’s D7 Visa offers non EU citizens with passive incomes over €800/month (€9,600 annually) the chance to obtain residency in the country. The D7 visa is issued for 2 years and can be renewed for an additional 3 years. After 5 years of total residency, visa holders are eligible to apply for Portuguese citizenship. The low qualifying amount and speedy route to citizenship make the D7 visa one of the most accessible options in Europe.

Golden Visa Program

Portugal is well known for its successful golden visa program. Investor can acquire residency with an investment of 500,000 EUR into investment funds and work their way towards citizenship without the need to live in the country.

GLOBAL MIGRATION SOLUTIONS

Interested in a free consultation with one of our specialist residency & citizenship by investment advisors?

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