Amendment to the Legal Regime of entry, stay, exit and removal of foreigners from national territory

In 2020, Portugal was the eighteenth of the 27 European countries, with the most residents who are foreign citizens.
Since 2017, Portugal has not only reversed the trend of its migration balance, moving from a country of emigration, to a country where citizens from various countries of the world choose to reside, work, invest and establish their center of life.

Faced with this reality and in order to respond to the new challenges arising from it, the need to adapt the social, economic and legislative structure of our country has become indisputable.

This response comes with the publication of Law No. 18/2022, of August 25, which makes the ninth amendment to Law 23/2007 and which, considering several factors such as the nationality of foreign citizens applying for a visa/residence permit, historical and institutional relations between Portuguese-speaking countries, as well as the so recent and famous reality of remote work, creates new types of visas and clarifies existing regimes.

Published on September 30, the Regulatory Decree 4/2022, of September 30, amending the Regulatory Decree 84/2007, of November 5, implemented and determined the rules and requirements for the application of those changes.

Let’s look at the main changes and their characteristics and requirements:

1. Simplification of the immigration process for CPLP citizens

The facilitation of mobility and residence of citizens of CPLP countries reflects the commitments made in the Mobility Agreement, signed in 2021 by the CPLP Member States and promises to respond to the evidence that countries such as Brazil, Cape Verde and Angola are among the 10 reference immigration nationalities in Portugal.

Thus, where the applicant for any type of visa is a national of a Member State of the CPLP , his application must be granted outright (within a period not exceeding 60 days) provided that the following requirements are met:

• Absence of measures prohibiting the applicant’s entry into Portugal;
• Absence of threat to order, security or public health in Portugal.

In addition, when legal entry into national territory is proven, citizens of the CPLP Member States may apply for a temporary residence permit, longer than 90 days and less than 1 year, renewable for the same period.

2. Visa for job search

This can perhaps be considered one of the most relevant changes, highlighting that:

• Enables its holder to enter and remain in national territory for the purpose of job search, provided that the general requirements provided for in the immigration law are respected;
• It is valid for a period of 120 days, extendable for a further 60 days and allows entry into Portugal;
• It allows the exercise of dependent work activity, until the end of the visa period or until the granting of the residence permit;
• Once the employment relationship has been established and formalized, the holder has the right to apply for a residence permit;
• The request is submitted to the consular entity accompanied by: i) Declaration indicating the conditions of stay in Portugal; ii) Proof of submission of a declaration before the IEFP, I.P.

3. Temporary stay and residence visa for digital nomads – Remote Workers

Undoubtedly the most innovative and adapted of the amendments.

Faced with the legal gap, the remote workers saw, until now, their application for residence in Portugal be framed through the residence visa for their own income – D7.

Now, the Immigration Law provides for a new type of visa for those who maintain a professional relationship (dependent or independent) outside of Portugal and want to establish their residence here.

To this end, they shall submit their application for a visa accompanied by:

a) For subordinate workers: Company contract or Employment contract or Declaration of employment relationship;
b) For self-employed workers: Service contract or Document demonstrating the services provided to one or more entities
c) Proof of means of subsistence;
d) Document attesting to tax residence.

4. Residence visa for accompaniment of family member holder of visa

In a clear response to the queues for scheduling an application with the SEF, this new type of residence visa allows the family of a travel document holder to fix their residence in Portugal to travel with them on a regular basis.

The visa application shall be submitted at the same time and shall be accompanied by:

a) Document proving the family relationship;
b) Proof of the availability of stable and regular resources for the period of the stay requested or for the 12-month period, whichever is shorter.

5. Streamlining the granting of residence visas for higher education students

For the analysis of the corresponding residence visa application and whenever admission to a national higher education institution is proven, the prior opinion of the SEF is waived.

The corresponding residence permit shall be valid for three years, renewable for equal periods. Where the duration of the study programme is shorter, it shall be issued for the duration of the programme.

6. Short-stay or temporary visa for seasonal work

The holder of a short-stay visa or temporary stay for seasonal work in national territory may work for one or more successive employers.

7. Issuance of residence permit for British citizens benefiting from the UK Withdrawal Agreement

This is undoubtedly an example of the slowness in the process of fixing residence in Portugal.
Thus, in addition to the SEF, the Institute of Registries and Notaries,I.P. and the Citizens Bureau, become competent for the issuance and renewal of the residence permit for these citizens.

8. Elimination of quotas in the application for a residence visa for the exercise of a subordinate professional activity – D1

It was a novelty announced and already experienced, in view of its lack of application in the last 3 years under the State Budget Law.

Thus, the respect and verification of the global quota of employment opportunity within the scope of the D1 visa application is null and void.

Listed are the main changes to the Legal Regime of entry, stay, exit and removal of foreigners from national territory, we consider that their kindness can only be measured through its application. Thus, and since the Regulatory Decree only enters into force on October 30, it remains for us to wait for its practical effects and precedent formation.

For more information, please contact us on [email protected].

[1]Source: 2021 Immigrant Integration Indicators Report – High Commissioner for Migration.

[2]Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique, Sao Tome and Principe and Timor-Leste

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