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Portugal Tech Visa: Your Complete Guide in 2024

Are you a tech professional eyeing a career move to Portugal? The Portugal Tech Visa provides non-EU tech experts with an expedited route to working in this vibrant European tech hotspot. In this guide, we’ll unpack the application process, eligibility criteria, perks of the program, and what life as a tech expat in Portugal entails.
April 9, 2024
Dean Fankhauser
April 9, 2024

Are you a tech professional eyeing a career move to Portugal? The Portugal Tech Visa provides non-EU tech experts with an expedited route to working in this vibrant European tech hotspot. In this guide, we’ll unpack the application process, eligibility criteria, perks of the program, and what life as a tech expat in Portugal entails. Get ready to uncover how you can navigate the transition and kickstart your tech career in Portugal.

Key Takeaways

  • The Portugal Tech Visa Program, launched in 2019, is designed to attract skilled tech professionals from non-EU countries, offering fast-track application, family visas, integration support, and a pathway to permanent residency while enhancing the Portuguese tech industry.
  • Tech Visa certification for Portuguese companies requires meeting criteria such as having a local business presence, engaging in international operations, being financially stable, and aligning with Portugal’s strategic tech areas, allowing them to hire global talent efficiently.
  • Tech Visa applicants must be non-EU residents with professional qualifications and clean criminal records, initiating the visa process with a job offer from a certified company that issues a Terms of Responsibility, leading to streamlined visa acquisition and family reunification opportunities.

Understanding the Portugal Tech Visa Program

The Portugal Tech Visa Program aims to attract skilled tech professionals, bolster the Portuguese tech ecosystem and address the market gap for highly qualified talent.

Launched in 2019, the Portugal Tech Visa Program is a strategic initiative by the Portuguese government to attract highly qualified tech workers and fill market gaps in the technology and innovation sectors. This specialized work visa, targeting non-European Union talent, has seen thousands of foreign nationals make Portugal their new home, contributing significantly to the growth of the tech sector and the success of many Portuguese companies in the country.

Besides attracting talent, the program also boosts the growth and international reputation of the Portuguese startup ecosystem. Through the transfer of knowledge and know-how from talent outside the EU, the Tech Visa Program significantly contributes to the development of local capabilities and the tech industry in Portugal.

Aims and Benefits

The Portugal Tech Visa Program is tailored to meet the needs of the tech industry. It’s not a one-size-fits-all visa program but a targeted solution designed to attract highly skilled professionals to certified technology companies in Portugal. The program’s benefits include:

  • Fast-track application process
  • Visa for the applicant’s family members
  • Access to a network of tech companies and startups
  • Support in finding housing and integrating into the local community

The certification program addressed benefits that extend beyond just the individual applicant.

The program offers the following benefits:

  • Amplifies the global profile of the Portuguese tech sector
  • Addresses the skill gap due to a shortage of qualified workers
  • Offers faster processing and industry-specific tailoring compared to general routes like the D3 visa
  • Optimizes the relocation and integration of tech professionals into the Portuguese tech environment.

Targeted Industries

The Tech Visa program casts a wide net, focusing on attracting highly qualified professionals in the fields of technology and innovation. With tech visa program aims centered around specialization in areas recognized by the Portuguese National Qualifications Catalogue, tech visa program companies must ensure that the talent brought in aligns with the country’s tech ecosystem’s strategic areas of growth, effectively addressing the market need for highly qualified workers in these sectors.

Comparing the Tech Visa with Other Portuguese Visas

Though the Tech Visa is a superb choice, Portugal also offers other visa options, such as:

Visa Type Purpose Eligibility Key Advantages Key Disadvantages
D7 Visa (Passive Income) Passive income generation Income from sources outside Portugal Low minimum income requirement, path to permanent residency and citizenship Income must be generated from passive sources, such as investments or pensions
D8 Visa (Freelance and Remote Work) Freelance and remote work Self-employed individuals or remote workers with clients outside Portugal Opportunity to live and work in Portugal while serving international clients Requires proof of income and clients outside Portugal
Golden Visa Investment Investment of €280,000 or more in real estate or other approved investments Fast-track to permanent residency and citizenship, no physical residency requirement High investment threshold, potential for property market fluctuations
Startup Visa (D2) Entrepreneurship Innovative business idea and minimum investment of €50,000 Support for entrepreneurs and potential for high returns, path to permanent residency Competitive application process, risk of business failure
Tech Visa Highly skilled workers Employment in a qualified tech sector company Access to Portugal's growing tech industry, streamlined application process Dependent on securing employment with a qualifying company
Studnet Visa Education Enrollment in a Portuguese educational institution Access to Portugal's education system, potential for post-graduation employment Requires full-time study, may not lead to permanent residency
Family Reunion Visa (D6) Family reunification Close family members of Portuguese citizens or residents Allows family members to live in Portugal with their loved ones Dependent on the status of the family member in Portugal
Jobseeker Visa Job search Proof of job search in Portugal and sufficient financial means Opportunity to explore job opportunities in Portugal, potential to obtain a work visa Limited duration, no guarantee of finding employment

We offer all long-term Portuguese visas for your needs.

Becoming a Tech Visa-Certified Company

Becoming a Tech Visa Certified Company

The journey to becoming a part of the Portugal Tech Visa Program begins with certification. Becoming Tech Visa certified enables Portuguese businesses to exploit the program’s benefits, recruiting top-tier non-EU professionals through an expedited process. This facilitates the hiring process, allowing companies to fill roles with the best global talent quickly and efficiently.

Tech Visa certification isn’t awarded freely; companies must satisfy certain criteria to become tech visa-certified companies. To be eligible for Tech Visa certification, companies must:

  • Have a registered office or permanent establishment in Portugal
  • Engage in international operations
  • Have no outstanding social security or tax debts
  • Demonstrate financial stability
  • Align with the technical qualification areas of the Tech Visa

The application for Tech Visa certification is free and conducted online via the IAPMEI portal. The processing time is typically 20–23 working days.

Once granted, the certification is valid for two years, providing companies with ample opportunity to attract and onboard foreign talent.

Certification Criteria

Becoming a Tech Visa-certified company requires more than just a desire to hire international talent. It demands a commitment to legal compliance, international operations, and a focus on technology and innovation. Portuguese companies must be legally established in Portugal, have no outstanding debts to social security or tax authorities, and provide international goods or services. They should also demonstrate a positive evaluation in terms of market potential or orientation towards external markets.

Moreover, in order to be eligible for the Tech Visa, companies must meet the following criteria:

  • They shouldn’t be undergoing any restructuring
  • Their activities should align with the technical fields specified in the National Qualifications Catalogue
  • A company cannot exceed the threshold of having more than 50% of its workforce on the Tech Visa unless its main activities are in Portugal, where the limit is 80%.

Application Process

The application for Tech Visa certification is a simple online procedure. Companies intending to apply need to gather and prepare all required documentation as outlined on the IAPMEI website. Once the documentation is in order, the complete application is submitted online through the IAPMEI portal.

After submission, the processing time is usually within 20–23 working days, making it a relatively swift process. This efficiency allows companies to quickly become certified and start hiring the global talent they need to drive their success.

The Tech Visa Application Journey for Professionals

The Tech Visa Application Journey for Professionals in Portugal

Once a company is Tech Visa certified, it opens up a world of opportunities for highly qualified tech professionals seeking employment in Portugal. The Tech Visa simplifies the visa procurement procedure, rendering it more seamless and quicker than other visa categories. The journey begins with searching for and securing a job opportunity with a Tech Visa-certified company. Once an offer is secured, the candidate can then apply for the Tech Visa, marking the start of an exciting new chapter in their professional journey.

One of the significant advantages of the Tech Visa process is the role of certified companies in issuing terms of responsibility. This document expedites the visa process for foreign professionals, allowing them to quickly obtain the necessary residency permit and start contributing their skills and expertise to the Portuguese tech industry.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for the Tech Visa, applicants must meet specific requirements. They must:

  • Be third-country nationals not residing in the Schengen area
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have a clean criminal record
  • Have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent
  • Be proficient in English, Portuguese, French, or Spanish.

For applicants without a tertiary-level education, the following requirements must be met to be considered a highly qualified worker:

  • A minimum of 5 years of professional experience in specialized technical functions
  • A job or service provider contract with a certified company that meets a minimum duration of twelve months
  • A salary of at least two and a half times the social support index.

Application Steps

The application process for the Tech Visa is largely digital, making it convenient for applicants. Applicants need to compile crucial documents, including:

  • A valid passport
  • Evidence of professional qualifications
  • Proficiency certificate in Portuguese, English, French, or Spanish
  • A criminal record certificate

With these documents in hand, the Tech Visa application is submitted online, requiring a statement of responsibility from a certified company and proof of financial means signed by the hosting company.

Upon submission, applicants typically receive a processing confirmation within 20–23 working days and need to attend a consular interview, which culminates in the approval and issuance of a residence visa. Upon approval, applicants use the digital term of responsibility from their certified employer to obtain a D3 visa and subsequent residence permit from Consular Posts, Embassies, or Border Control Services.

Understanding Residence Permits and Permanent Residency

Once in Portugal, Tech Visa holders should familiarize themselves with the available residence permits and the process of transitioning from a temporary to a permanent residence permit. There are two main types of permits in Portugal: Residency Visas, which are short-term and typically valid for 3 or 4 months, and Residence Permits, which can be temporary or permanent.

Temporary permits are typically valid for one year and renewable for additional periods. After living in Portugal for at least five years using a temporary permit, one can apply for a permanent residence permit.

How to get your company certified for the Tech Visa program

Companies whose visa has become a requisite for a Tech Visa can easily grow by hiring globally qualified workers. Obtaining this certification will help tech companies expand. Aims to assess and grant certification to companies. All companies must satisfy a minimum requirement for registering with IES if they are established within three years. The process is designed to be straightforward, ensuring that even smaller tech startups can navigate it with ease. By meeting the program’s criteria, companies can tap into a vast pool of international tech talent, which could be pivotal in scaling their operations and fostering innovation. The certification not only opens doors to hiring but also signals to potential employees that the company is recognized as a player on the global tech stage. Each step towards certification is a step towards greater growth and international competitiveness.

How much does a Portugal Startup Visa cost?

The cost of obtaining the Portugal Startup Visa is $900 per adult. This amount covers the administrative fees for processing the application and is payable upon submission of the application. It's important to note that this fee does not include other potential costs that applicants may incur during the process, such as legal advice, translation of documents, or any necessary trips to consulates or embassies. Additionally, should there be a need for an extension or renewal of the visa, further costs may apply. Applicants should budget for these additional expenses to ensure a smooth application process.

Who is considered a highly qualified worker?

Tech Visas is a new program that will attract specialists working in Portugal on a variety of technologies. The criteria are considerably higher, as they are not aimed at newly graduated people or professional professionals just starting a career. For an application for Tech Visa, an employer may require additional documents, including the employment agreement as well as a statement of responsibility for the certification. You must make sure the candidate's documents are available to them when applying for residency.

The definition of a highly qualified worker under the Tech Visa program encompasses individuals with an advanced level of expertise, typically demonstrated through substantial professional experience in the tech industry or a significant academic background in a relevant field. These professionals are expected to contribute to the Portuguese technology sector with their specialized knowledge and skills, driving innovation and growth within the industry.

In order to qualify as a highly qualified worker, candidates are usually required to possess a high level of education, such as a master's degree or PhD in a tech-related discipline, or to have several years of professional experience in a specialized tech role. Additionally, they should exhibit a strong command of industry-specific tools and technologies, and be able to work on complex projects that may have a significant impact on the market or on technological advancement.

The Tech Visa program, therefore, is not just about filling vacancies but about bringing in a caliber of talent that can catalyze the development of cutting-edge solutions and foster a culture of excellence within Portugal's burgeoning tech scene. By ensuring that these workers have all the necessary documents and meet the stringent criteria, companies can facilitate a smoother transition for these individuals into the Portuguese workforce, ultimately benefiting the country's tech ecosystem as a whole.

Types of Residence Permits

Portugal offers a variety of residence permits, each catering to different needs. These include permits for work, study, family reunification, and special purposes. Work residence permits are categorized based on the employment type, encompassing permits for skilled and highly-skilled workers, self-employed individuals, tech professionals, cultural activities, and educators.

The Tech Visa Program specifically streamlines the acquisition of a residence permit for non-EU highly qualified professionals by enabling certified companies to issue a Terms of Responsibility.

Applying for Permanent Residency

After living in Portugal for at least five years, Tech Visa holders can apply for a permanent residence permit. To be eligible, applicants must:

  • I have continually lived in Portugal for at least five years
  • Have a clean criminal record
  • Have no pending tax obligations
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the Portuguese language

Permanent residents of Portugal enjoy the same entitlements as Portuguese citizens, including access to the national health service, social security benefits, and educational services. However, they are not eligible to vote in national elections.

Following the acquisition of a permanent residency permit, which is initially issued for five years and renewable indefinitely every five years, the individual may have the option to apply for Portuguese citizenship.

Navigating Tax and Social Security Obligations

Life in Portugal isn’t solely about relishing the sun-drenched beaches, tasty cuisine, and energetic tech scene. It also comes with responsibilities, including understanding and fulfilling your tax and social security obligations. Tech Visa holders are required to register with the Portuguese tax authorities and secure a tax identification number (NIF). They are expected to pay income tax on their worldwide income if they are tax residents in the country. But it’s not all daunting, as the Portuguese tax regime can also offer benefits for certain professionals.

For instance, non-habitual residents (NHR), which may include Tech Visa holders and third country national professionals, can benefit from a special tax regime that offers a flat income tax rate of 20% for certain professions and tax exemption on foreign-source income, under certain conditions. This can significantly lower the tax burden, making Portugal an even more attractive destination for tech professionals.

Tax Regime for Tech Visa Holders

The standard Personal Income Tax (PIT) rates in Portugal range from 14.5% to 48%, depending on the level of income, with additional surcharges for higher incomes. However, under the NHR regime, eligible tech professionals, such as IT specialists or engineers, can benefit from:

  • A flat rate of 20% tax on income from high-value activities
  • Pension income taxed at a flat rate of 10%
  • Income from other categories such as royalties, dividends, and interests could be exempt if covered by Double Taxation Agreements.

Tech Visa holders must ensure that they have no pending tax obligations in Portugal to remain compliant with tax regulations. Acquiring a visa in Portugal requires adherence to these rules.

Social Security Contributions

Social security contributions in Portugal are a shared responsibility between the employer and the employee. Tech Visa holders are required to make social security contributions, with the general social security contribution rate for employees in Portugal being 11% of their gross salary, while employers contribute an additional 23.75%.

Employees, including Tech Visa holders, are entitled to social security benefits in Portugal, such as healthcare, unemployment benefits, and pensions, provided they meet the contribution and eligibility criteria.

Family Reunification and Tech Visa

The perks of the Tech Visa don’t stop at the individual holder. The program also caters to family life, allowing Tech Visa holders with a valid residency permit in Portugal to apply for family reunification for family members residing outside of Portugal. This means that if you’re a Tech Visa holder, your family can also make Portugal their home. But before the family members can apply for a residency permit, the Tech Visa holder must first request a concession for family reunification from the Immigration and Borders Service (SEF) in Portugal.

The family reunification process requires coordination between the Tech Visa holder, the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF), and the Portuguese consulates or embassies. This ensures a smooth process, allowing your family to join you in Portugal with minimal hassle.

Eligible Family Members

Family reunification under the Tech Visa Program isn’t limited to your spouse or children. Eligible family members typically encompass:

  • the spouse or registered partner
  • minor or dependent children
  • dependent first-degree relatives
  • minor siblings (if they are under the legal custody of the Tech Visa holder)

The specific criteria for eligible family members are defined by the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF), ensuring a clear and straightforward process.

Application Process

The family reunification process commences with the Tech Visa holder in Portugal petitioning a concession from SEF and providing necessary documents like proof of accommodation, means of subsistence, and proof of the family relationship. Once SEF grants approval for family reunification, the family members must apply for a Type D visa at the nearest Portuguese embassy or consulate. They will need to provide the following documents:

  • Identity pictures
  • Passport
  • Criminal record certificate
  • Proof of relationship to the Tech Visa holder
  • SEF approval letter

After arriving in Portugal with the appropriate visa, family members must schedule an appointment with SEF to register and obtain a residence permit, enabling them to live, work, and access education and healthcare within the country.

Comparing Tech Visa with Other Portuguese Visa Programs

Comparing Tech Visa with Other Portuguese Visa Programs

While the Tech Visa is an excellent option for tech professionals, it’s not the only visa program available in Portugal. The country offers a range of visa programs, including the Golden Visa and StartUP Visa, all designed with the aim of attracting foreign talent and investment. Each of these programs has its own unique features and benefits, and understanding them can help you choose the one that best suits your needs.

There are several types of visas available for individuals looking to live and work in Portugal:

  1. The Golden Visa: This is a residency-by-investment program that offers residency in exchange for a significant financial investment in the country.
  2. The StartUP Visa: This visa is targeted at entrepreneurs who wish to establish or move their startups to Portugal.
  3. The Tech Visa: This visa is specifically designed for highly skilled professionals in the tech sector, offering a fast-track process for securing a job and obtaining a visa through a certified company.

Understanding these nuanced differences can help you navigate the visa landscape and make an informed decision about the most suitable visa for your personal and professional goals in Portugal.

Key Differences

The Tech Visa, Golden Visa, and Start UP Visa are all designed to meet differing professional and personal objectives. The Tech Visa is ideal for highly skilled professionals in the tech sector, requiring a job offer from a certified Portuguese tech company. In contrast, the Start UP Visa seeks entrepreneurs with a scalable business plan and the potential to create jobs and achieve a specific turnover.

The Golden Visa, on the other hand, requires a financial investment in real estate, capital transfers, or job creation without the need to reside in Portugal, unlike the Tech Visa, which mandates residency and potential tax obligations in Portugal.

Choosing the Right Visa Program

Choosing the right visa program is a crucial decision and depends on several factors. Your intent to reside in Portugal, tax residency implications, and readiness to invest in the Portuguese economy are all factors to consider.

For instance, if you’re a tech professional planning to live and work in Portugal, the Tech Visa might be a suitable choice. If you’re an entrepreneur looking to establish or move your startup to Portugal, the Start UP Visa could be the right option. And if you’re looking to make a significant financial investment in the country, the Golden Visa might be your best bet.


The Portugal Tech Visa Program is a pioneering initiative that addresses the market need for highly qualified tech professionals by making it easier for them to relocate and integrate into the Portuguese tech environment. With its faster processing, industry-specific tailoring, and benefits that extend beyond the individual applicant, the Tech Visa is a game-changer in the Portuguese tech ecosystem.

Whether you’re a tech professional seeking employment in Portugal or a Portuguese company looking to attract global talent, the Tech Visa Program offers a streamlined and effective solution. So, ready to make your mark in the Portuguese tech scene? With the Tech Visa, the world of opportunity is just an application away.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get a tech visa for Portugal?

To get a tech visa for Portugal, tech professionals need to meet requirements such as a clean criminal record, proving highly qualified activity, and having an indefinite or at least one-year contract with a company. Once the individual secures a job at a certified company, they can apply for the visa online with the necessary documentation.

What are the advantages of getting a tech visa in Portugal?

The tech visa certification in Portugal offers benefits such as simplified procedures for companies, fast-track work visa issuance for employees, and visa-free travel throughout the Schengen area. Additionally, it provides options for employees to apply for Portugal's non-EU family reunification and exceptional treatment for dependent family members.

Does Portugal have a Digital Nomad visa?

Yes, Portugal offers a digital nomad visa for non-EU/EEA citizens based on monthly income criteria.

What is the Portugal Tech Visa Program?

The Portugal Tech Visa Program is a specialized work visa aimed at bringing highly qualified professionals in the technology sector to Portugal, making it easier for Portuguese companies to hire foreign talent in technology and innovation.

Who can apply for the Tech Visa?

Individuals who are at least 18 years old, have a clean criminal record, a bachelor's degree or equivalent, proficiency in certain languages, and a job or service provider contract with a certified company can apply for the Tech Visa.

About Movingto

Movingto is a leading immigration law firm that specializes in helping individuals and families navigate the complex process of relocating to Portugal. With a team of experienced lawyers and immigration experts, provides tailored solutions to meet the unique needs of each client.

Why Choose Movingto?

  • Expertise and Experience: Our lawyers have extensive knowledge of Portuguese immigration law and years of experience assisting clients with various visa applications, including the D7 Visa, Golden Visa, Startup Visa, and Family Reunion Visa.
  • Personalized Approach: We understand that every client's situation is different. Our lawyers take the time to listen to your goals and provide personalized advice and guidance throughout the process.
  • Comprehensive Support: offers a comprehensive range of services beyond legal advice, including assistance with document preparation, property search, and relocation planning.
  • Competitive Fees: We offer competitive fees and transparent pricing so that you know exactly what to expect.
  • Exceptional Client Service: Our team is committed to providing exceptional client service. We are responsive, attentive, and always available to answer your questions.

Whether you are an entrepreneur seeking to establish a business in Portugal, a retiree looking to enjoy the country's favorable tax regime, or a family seeking to reunite in Portugal, is here to guide you every step of the way.

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