Income derived from dependent or self-employed work, provided remotely, was already considered eligible for application for residence visas. The post-pandemic context has strengthened the possibility of working from home or, as the term “digital nomad” indicates, from different countries. Thus, the D7 Visas were the viable route for this purpose, being a type of application widely accepted in different Consulates.
However, in recent legislative changes, Portugal has included the possibility of issuing Visas for Digital Nomads in its own category, establishing specific requirements for these applications and removing them from the D7 Visa. The Regulatory Decree No. 4/2022, of 30 September, started to regulate two types of Visa for Digital Nomads: Temporary and Residency, as well as their respective requirements for these modalities.
The Temporary Visa for Digital Nomads aims to make it possible to stay in Portugal for a period of up to 12 months. For those who choose this category, there will be no issuance of a Residence Permit, similar to what happened when they applied for D7. When submitting the case, the applicant must prove that his professional activity can be provided remotely:
- in the case of subordinate workers, the employment contract or a declaration proving an employment relationship shall be submitted;
- for self-employed professionals, service contracts or more than one proof of service for several entities.
In both cases – subordinate or self-employed workers – it will be necessary to demonstrate that, in the last three months, the monthly income earned was at least four times the Portuguese minimum wage. With reference to the current Portuguese minimum wage, this amount totals €2,820.00, but it is necessary to pay attention to potential updates of this amount in case of an increase of the PMW. In addition, they must provide proof of tax residence in the country from which they are submitting their application.
Those who wish to live in Portugal for more than 12 months must, in turn, apply for a Residence Visa – after their arrival in the country, they will have a date of attendance at SEF and, subsequently, a Residence Permit will be issued. The minimum monthly income requirements are the same as well as the supporting evidence to prove the ability to work remotely.
In this case, the main difference is that the new legislation contemplates the possibility of starting the process of obtaining the Residence Permit already in Portuguese territory – however, it should be noted that the methodology for doing so has not yet been implemented by the Immigration Authorities, so it is encouraged that the process begins in the Portuguese consular section of the country of nationality or legal residence of the applicant.
Some aspects and practical effects of this Visa modality will still be perceived and understood in practice, considering that only very recently – on October 30 – innovations have taken effect. In particular: will holders of a Residence Permit in the Nomad Digital category be allowed to provide services or to enter into an employment contract with a Portuguese employer, as was possible in the D7? What will be the process of starting the residence permit from Portugal, and not from abroad? Attention must be paid to future developments and consequences arising from this new reality.