As a UK resident, the good old days were fine for traveling. You could go anywhere to the EU on little funds and record time.
Brexit changed that. Unless you hold a British passport, getting through EU countries might prove a tad bit difficult. And even then, you don’t have the travel and luxury residency benefits of before.
So you might be wondering – is there a shortcut that could get the old benefits back?
The answer to that is yes. Portugal’s D7 visa can assist with that. And today, we’ll explore what that is, and what makes it an excellent option.
We’ll also look at some of the paperwork in detail. This should help you sort things out before committing to an application!
First – What is a D7 Visa?
This is a visa offered by Portugal for those who can sufficiently finance themselves during their stay there.
You’re required to prove that you have the necessary funds without needing to get any physical job in Portugal. It’s also offered to those who prove they’re staying there for the long term.
The D7 is an easier route compared to its sister – the Portuguese Golden Visa. With the latter, you’re required to invest beforehand.
The D7 can be given to anyone without requiring an investment. However, you’ll need to prove your funding sources, which may include:
- Business Royalties (online included)
- Rental Properties
Basically, you can look at the D7 as a visa for those with “passive” or “remote” income. This makes it suitable for remote workers and freelancers getting paid from sources outside of Portugal.
What if I Want to Start a Business There?
Then we recommend exploring a different option. You can try the D2 (entrepreneur visa), which lets you either start a new business in Portugal or open a branch of your business there.
With that, do note that D7 is a flexible route. Many types of income are acceptable through it. But, the main requirement is to prove that sufficient income is being earned out of Portugal.
How Much Income Do I Need?
Let’s talk about Portugal’s living expenses first.
Starting in 2021, the minimum wage in Portugal was at EUR 665. While this is enough to get a D7 visa, it won’t afford you a good living standard in Portugal’s larger cities, such as Porto and Lisbon.
Before applying, we recommend earning EUR 1000 minimum (if you’re a lone applicant). To further be on the safe side, we’d recommend going higher, earning between EUR 1500 – 2000.
The higher your income – the higher your chances of being accepted.
Aren’t Those Requirements too Easy?
They may be compared to most European countries’ standards.
But, understand that the D7’s goal is to attract overseas spending to Portugal. And this is done without burdening local employment levels and state programs.
With the D7, this sets Portugal as one of the EU’s most attractive residency options, especially considering how close it is to the UK.
In fact, as a British citizen, accessing Portugal should be much easier than to other EU countries. Plus, you’ll still retain the right to travel throughout the EU.
Also, this turns Portugal into a country that recognizes business owners and digital workers. This makes it more popular among mobile but established entrepreneurs with high spending power.
Second – Is the D7 Visa Portugal a Path to Residency?
It is. If you want to reside in Portugal long-term, then D7 fits well. In fact, you can take that a step further, and eventually signup for citizenship!
The process is simple. All you have to do is:
- Get a D7 Visa
- Get a Residency Permit
- (After Fulfilling Requirements) Become a Citizen
Whether your goal is residency or citizenship, consider the D7 as a first step.
How Do I Apply for the D7 Visa?
Seek the closest Portuguese consulate or embassy in your current residency country. Submit an application there.
After your application is approved, you’ll get a double-entry visa that lasts 120 days. For that time period, you can travel to Portugal and look for property (to buy or rent).
Applying For Residency in Portugal
While in Portugal through the D7, you can apply for residency. We recommend that option since it allows you to stay there for longer time periods.
The first permit will last 1 year. You can then renew it for a 2-year limit each time.
After residing legally in Portugal for 5 years, you can then apply for permanent residency. You may also apply for citizenship (which comes with extra requirements), including:
- Taking a language test
- Going through a criminal record check
After getting citizenship in Portugal, you may then apply for a Portuguese passport – which will grant you full EU rights.
So if you’re British, you may consider applying for the D7 visa as one of the best ways of regaining your EU rights post Brexit – mainly being free mobility throughout the European Economic Area.
Third – Frequently Asked Questions
Why Apply for a D7 Portuguese Visa?
The D7 comes with multiple benefits, including the ability to:
- Settle in Portugal
- Acquire residency without prior investment
- Travel through the entire EU without requiring other visas
- Remotely work for clients and employers in EU countries
- Use Portuguese public healthcare
- Invest towards the five years required or citizenship/residency
Does the D7 Visa Have Disadvantages?
There are two.
First – you cannot move to another EU country under the D7. You must apply for a separate visa from that other country.
Second – you cannot exceed 183 days/year outside of Portugal – limiting travel to other non-EU countries.
What Are the D7 Visa Requirements?
They are as follows:
- Not having criminal convictions
- Having a passport from a non-EU nation
- Proving means of remote of passive income fit or life in Portugal
Also, a set of documents are required when applying for a Portuguese D7 visa. If you’re a British passport holder, that’ll be one of the biggest obstacles.
First, you must schedule an appointment at the closest Portuguese consulate or embassy (as early as you can). After that, you can start collecting the required documents.
Fourth – Documents Required for a D7 Visa
You’ll need the following. We’ll also touch on the most important documents below:
- Appropriate travel insurance (or private insurance) for your first four months
- A letter detailing why you’re seeking Portuguese residency
- Clean criminal record in the current residence country
- Accommodation proof (this may include tenancy agreements, property deeds, or verified letters from local residents)
- Portuguese bank account + Bank statements going back 6 months – showcasing your regular passive or remote income
- 2 passport photos
- Application form for D7 visa
First – Proving Your Address in Portugal
The most acceptable documents are landlord rental agreements. Sometimes, Airbnbs are accepted, but you may have to convince the owner to write you a rental contract. If a long-term contract isn’t what you want, you can try Flatio, a service that provides short-stay rental units.
However, note you’re minimally required a contract that proves residence for 12 months before receiving a D7 visa. Also, take into consideration that many embassies (especially in London), no longer accept Airbnb and Flatio services, instead of demanding valid rental contracts.
If this is your first time moving to Portugal, we recommend hiring a specialized lawyer to review your rental contracts, ensuring all your rights are met. You can also hire an attorney to help you open a bank account in Portugal while getting you a Portuguese tax number (called a NIF).
Alternatively, if any relatives or friends live in Portugal, ask them to draft a letter explaining that you’re living there temporarily. You can then submit that letter to the consulate with your other documents.
Second – Proving Your Savings and Income
The Portuguese embassy will review your statements to ensure you have sufficient income (in a Portuguese bank) throughout your stay.
For that, the best documents you can provide are those that show rental income, dividends, or proof of pension payments.
Also, it’s an excellent idea to detail your bank savings. This may count to your total required finances if your main income dries up. We recommend minimum savings equal to four months of minimum income, which is around EUR 2550.
Third – Finding Health Insurance
You’re required to find a private insurance company for the D7’s 4-month duration. The best two companies to try are Cigna Global and Allianz.
Travel insurance is also viable, so long as it includes:
- Body repatriation in case of death
- Emergency medical cover
After obtaining full residency, this will no longer become a requirement, where you may join the state’s healthcare system. You can still maintain private coverage, though we do recommend shopping around for cheaper Portuguese policies.
Fourth – Criminal Background Checks
You’re required to show proof that you lack a criminal history in any country you’ve resided in. This may take a while, especially if you have traveled often, so we recommend completing this step first.
Also, your criminal background check should be recent (within three months of submitting a D7 application). The Portuguese consulate will want to ensure you lack prior crime conviction which may equate to a year of jail in Portugal.
Next – Preparing for an Appointment
After collecting the documents needed, you may then go to your D7 visa appointment at the closest Portuguese consulate or embassy.
If you’re a digital emigrant, a retiree, or someone who wants to beat Brexit – the D7 is one of the best options.
For British citizens, it offers them a clear re-entry to the Schengen area. It’s a way to restore EU rights in a five-year time span and you can easily bypass Brexit with the D7 visa.
But regardless of where you’re from, a move to Portugal offers great lifestyle benefits. It’s a country with stable leadership, a diverse culture, political neutrality, and warm weather. Consider it a haven to live in, and a haven for retirement.
At GlobalRCG, we help individuals and families achieve a higher quality of life and greater financial security through a second residence, relocation, citizenship, and passport programs. We take the hassle out of the process and provide peace of mind. To check your eligibility, submit our assessment form today!