In Portugal it is possible for a non-EU spouse to obtain a residence visa in Portugal – if he or she is married to a Portuguese citizen or if resident in Portugal.
Firstly, the question of how to enter Portugal legally must be considered. A non-EU citizen has two ways of entering Portugal legally: they must apply for a visa for family reunification, at the local Portuguese consulate in their country of residence but there is nothing in the law that prohibits non-EU citizens from entering by means of a tourist visa. The important thing here is that, regardless of the particular method of entry, you must have entered Portugal legally, as this is a criterion for obtaining a residence permit.
Before leaving your country of origin, you must bring with you a birth certificate, marriage or divorce certificate and a certificate of no criminal record. All these documents must be legalised in accordance with the Hague Convention. Unfortunately, most consulates or embassies do not provide this service, but only provide translation and document certification services. It can then becomes difficult to obtain them, when needed.
Application Procedure for Residency in Portugal
An application for residency in Portugal must be made under art. 98 and 99 of the Law of Estrageiros. This application has a cost of 98 euros and when it is submitted the following documents must be submitted to SEF:
- Proof of the family member’s residence permit or the family member’s Portuguese nationality
- Duly authenticated evidence of family ties invoked
- Certified copies of the identification documents of the applicant’s family members
- Proof of accommodation (does not apply to refugees)
- Proof that he has sufficient means of subsistence to meet the needs of his family, as provided for in Ordinance No. 1563/2007 of 11/12 (does not apply to refugees)
- Criminal record certificate issued by the competent authority in the country of nationality of the family member and the country in which he/she has resided for more than one year (except for children under 16)
In addition to these documents, the applicant must be registered with the Tax Administration, holding a TIN number. It is already understood here that having the documentation apostilled is essential.
As far as proof of an income/subsistence is concerned, it is determined by reference to the national minimum wage. For this reason, you must have or prove that you have an amount equivalent to 6 times the minimum wage or the resident family member must present proof of salary. In addition, SEF takes on average 4 to 6 months to review the application. Therefore, this whole procedure should be organised in advance. Once the application for family reunification has been granted, SEF informs the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to start the process of granting a residence visa to the respective Consulate.
Family Reunification Visas
To obtain a family reunification visa, which costs 90 euros (ninety euros), the following documentation must be submitted to a Portuguese Consulate:
- Application in its own format
- Passport or other travel document
- Two identical photographs, passport type, updated and in good condition to identify the applicant
- Transport ticket to ensure your return.
- Valid travel insurance, which allows to cover the necessary expenses for medical reasons, including urgent medical assistance and eventual repatriation
- Request for consultation of the Portuguese criminal record by the Aliens and Borders Service (SEF)
- Criminal record certificate from the country of origin or the country where the applicant has lived for more than one year.
- Proof of the existence of means of subsistence as defined by an ordinance of the competent members of the Government
- Notification of approval of family reunification by the Immigration and Border Service
- Proof of kinship invoked: birth or marriage certificate
After entering national territory with the residence visa, the applicant’s family member must apply to SEF to be granted a residence permit in accordance with art. 107 of Law 23/07 of 4/7 as currently drafted.