Can I move to Portugal with a criminal record?

Movingto Editorial Team
November 21, 2021

Relocating to a new country is a significant decision and can be a more complex process if you have a criminal record. Our second most visited page serves as an invaluable resource for those exploring the possibility of moving to Portugal despite having a criminal record. We routinely receive a considerable number of enquiries on this topic, predominantly from UK and US residents, and are here to provide the comprehensive information you need.

Portugal's Stance on Criminal Records and Immigration

Portugal's immigration laws include an evaluation of the criminal background of all potential migrants. A core requirement is the "absence of conviction for a crime that in Portugal is punishable by deprivation of liberty for more than one year". Therefore, if your record contains serious crimes that could lead to imprisonment for 12 months or more in Portugal, it's likely your visa application may not be successful. However, there are exceptions, depending on the specifics of your situation.

Criminal Record Certificate: A Vital Document for Your Application

As part of your application process to move to Portugal, you will need to obtain a criminal record certificate. If your record comes back clear of convictions, your visa application process should proceed without hurdles. If a conviction is present, however, its impact on your application will depend on the nature of the crime and its equivalent under Portuguese law.

Legal Counsel: A Recommended Step

If your criminal record contains a conviction, we highly advise consulting a solicitor based in Portugal before proceeding with your visa application. Our experts knowledge of local laws and immigration procedures can provide the clarity and guidance you need to navigate the complexities of your situation.

Portugal: An Opportunity for a Fresh Start

Despite the challenges, remember that a criminal record does not eternally define your life. Portugal is known for its high-quality living standards, breath-taking landscapes, and a culture of warmth and hospitality. Your past does not necessarily need to restrict you from starting anew in this beautiful country.

The Movingto Team: Here to Assist

Navigating the intricacies of moving to Portugal with a criminal record can seem daunting, but you're not alone. The Movingto team is readily available to provide assistance and guidance tailored to your individual needs. Reach out to us to discuss your situation, and together, we can explore the most appropriate pathways forward. Speake with a Portugal-based solicitor before applying for a Portuguese visa.

Want further advice?

Get in touch with our legal experts who can give you personalized advice.

Get in touch

How do we know this?

Hundreds of people ask Movingto for help every year. We talk to hundreds of local professionals, then we share the information with you.

Related questions

movingto is on slack

Join our Slack community

Share tips, news, insights with the Movingto community on Slack.