The Foreigners Law offers all citizens of third countries, holders of a valid residence permit in Portugal, the possibility of residing in national territory with their family members. It is important however to clarify who are the members of the family who can be covered by this regime.

According to article 99 of the Foreigners Law (Law No. 23/2007, of July 4), the following family members are elements of the applicant’s family:

– Spouses;

– Minor children and incapacitated children under the custody of the couple or of one spouse;

– Minors adopted by the applicant or the spouse, in which case, in particular, the decision issued by the competent authority of the country of origin must take place;

– Children of age, who are dependent on both or one parent, provided they are single and studying in a educational establishment in Portugal;

– The applicant’s mother or father or of his/her spouse as long as they are their dependents. In these cases, there may be a presumption of economic dependency if the parent is over 65 years of age;

– Minor siblings, provided that they are under the resident’s tutelage and that this condition has resulted from a decision issued by the competent authority in the country of origin and recognized in Portugal;

– Finally, partners with whom the applicant is living in a situation similar to that of marriage can benefit from family reunification, in other words, with whom they maintain a de facto union, duly proven under the terms of the law. Minor or disabled single children can also be covered, including the adopted children of the partner (article 100, of Law no. 23/2007, of 4th of July).

In procedural terms, two routes will be followed, depending on whether the family member is on national territory or outside. In the first case, the process takes place exclusively at the Immigration Service. In the second case, the process must start at the Immigration Service with a request for notification of approval of the family reunification, and then followed by procedures at the Portuguese Consulate in the country of origin or legal residence of the relative.

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