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3 January 2024 - 6 minutes

Understanding the Digital Nomad Visa: Portugal

Discover the nitty gritty of the much anticipated Portuguese digital nomad visa.

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Becoming a digital nomad is all the rage right now, especially in the tech industry. And we can completely understand why: what’s better than working at your dream job while traveling the world? Not much, and that’s why some governments have released new visa programs to allow digital nomads to come and legally work from their country for a concrete period of time. 

Landing a work visa is a complicated and limiting process that isn’t always possible; the introduction of the digital nomad in countries like Portugal lets workers keep their current remote roles and live wherever they want in the country, as long as they meet certain conditions. 

In Portugal, there was a large population of retirees or students coming to the country, eager to take advantage of everything the country has to offer. But the visas available to these groups did not allow any sort of working rights, remote or otherwise, which limited those who were eligible. 

That’s why the government introduced the popular digital nomad visa and in this article, we’ll break down the basics of being a digital nomad, why Portugal is high on the list of many digital nomads, and how to apply for the visa. 

What is a Digital Nomad?

It’s quite straightforward: digital nomads are people who work remotely from different locations, typically abroad, moving around and exploring new places. The vast majority of digital nomads are in remote-friendly spheres, like tech or marketing, but as a digital nomad, you’ll have the chance to meet other nomads with a wide range of backgrounds. 

The life of a digital nomad also brings the following benefits: 

  • New levels of freedom: many digital nomads have the freedom to work as they please, meaning there’s no set hours to be online as long as they get their work done. This freedom will allow you to make the most of your time abroad and learn important lessons about freedom, such as time management.

  • New cultures: visiting a new city or culture is a great way to learn about it, but nothing compares to living somewhere and really getting to know the locals and as a digital nomad, you’ll get to experience real life in your chosen destination. 

  • Opportunity for travel: being able to work remotely from anywhere means you’re able to continuously travel, moving to a new country or city as frequently as you’d like and making the most of your time abroad. 

The Digital Nomad Visa in Portugal

The first step to knowing if the Portuguese digital nomad visa is right for you is learning about Portugal and all that it offers. As one of the most popular retirement and travel destinations in the world, there’s a lot to enjoy:

  • A wide variety of living options: despite being a small country in terms of size, Portugal has a little bit of everything to ensure you find what you’re looking for or can get a little bit of everything. Choose to live in a small town and immerse yourself in Portuguese culture or enjoy a bigger city and get to know other nomads and expats. 

  • A great climate: Portugal is known for its sunny beaches and warm weather and you’ll enjoy mild winters in the majority of the country. 

  • Affordable cost of living: this depends on where you’re coming from, of course, but Portugal boasts a lower cost of living than other European or Western countries and you can take your time as a digital nomad to even save money. 

Now that you know Portugal is a great choice, it’s important to establish eligibility for the visa and ensure your application will be accepted. But first, remember that Portugal offers two different kinds of digital nomad visas: the temporary stay visa, which lasts up to a year and is perfect for digital nomads looking to spend just one year in Portugal. The second is a residence permit which is valid for up to five years and designed for those interested in staying in the country long-term. Both require proof of financial funds, however, so make sure you carefully review those numbers. 

In Portugal, the rules and requirements vary depending on your home country (all with the requirement of meeting the financial requirements): 

  • Americans, Canadians, Australians, or New Zealanders can apply for the temporary stay visa; US Green Card holders can as well, but their US Green Card must be valid for three months after their Portuguese digital nomad visa expires. 

  • European Union, Swiss, and EEA citizens are not eligible because they do not need a visa to enter, work, or live in Portugal; they must, however, register with their local town hall upon arrival. 

  • Citizens of all other countries are permitted to apply as long as they meet the financial requirements. 

As this is a relatively new type of visa, make sure you check with your local consulate for the most updated and recent information. Generally speaking, however, you’ll need to meet this basic requirement to move forward with your application:

  • Proof of funds: as we mentioned earlier, the main requirement to be a digital nomad in Portugal is proving that you have the sufficient funds to support yourself during your time abroad. The rule for this visa is that you make four times the national minimum wage, which is around $3,350 a month, and you’ll need to provide bank statements or payslips that show this amount or more for the past three months. 

  • Private health insurance valid in Portugal: a mandatory element of basically any visa application is proof of private health insurance to ensure you’re covered in case of an emergency. 

  • Proof of remote work: you’ll have to show proof of your remote employment; this could be a contract with a company that operates outside of Portugal or invoices if you’re self-employed. 

  • Proof of accommodation: prior to applying, you’ll have to show you have a place to live. 

There are quite a few requirements for being granted this visa, but the little bit of bureaucracy is totally worth it--who wouldn’t want to live and work remotely from such an incredible place? We completely understand if you still have doubts; like we mentioned above, this is a new program with not too many experienced alumni to refer to. Luckily for you, we’ve prepared a helpful FAQ section to resolve any of your last doubts: 

Why do I need the digital nomad visa? Can’t I just enter on a tourist visa and work remotely anyway? 

No! This visa was introduced because entering a country as a tourist and then working illegally remotely is not allowed in the vast majority of countries; in addition, most tourist visas or entry allowances are only for 90 days, meaning your time abroad will be quite limited. Working remotely without permission from another country could have serious consequences with both your company and the country you’re in--it’s best to do things by the book. 

Can I travel across Europe with the Portuguese digital nomad visa? 

Yes! With a valid visa in Portugal, you’ll have full access to the Schengen Area and be able to travel freely between different countries, enjoying all that Europe has to offer. 

Will I be able to use Portuguese public services? 

Yes! Even though you’re required to have private health insurance for at least the first four months of your time in Portugal, the digital nomad visa grants you access to Portuguese public services, such as health care, education, and more. 

Does the Portuguese digital nomad visa lead to citizenship? 

While this visa doesn’t qualify you directly for Portuguese citizenship, it does count towards the necessary five years of legal residence in Portugal that is a requirement for permanent residency/citizenship applications. It isn’t just given at this point, however, and you’ll have to prove an A2 level of Portuguese and ties to the local community. 

Can I bring my family with me? 

Yes! Family reunification is included in the laws written to include the digital nomad visa and depending on their relation to you, you can plan on bringing family with you to Portugal. Additional financial requirements will apply, however, so it’s important to carefully review the necessary funds before applying. 

Digital Nomads & Tech 

The tech sphere is known for its remote-friendly policies and vast reach; if the digital nomad life interests you, then you might want to consider doing what you need to do to land a job in tech that will give you these incredible opportunities. And getting into tech doesn’t have to be an expensive and year-long process; if you choose the bootcamp lifestyle, you’ll not only be able to choose where you want to learn from or go remote, but you’ll be suited to join the workforce in just a few months. 

At Ironhack, getting our students job ready during their bootcamp is an incredibly important part of the course; you’ll have CV assistance, interview practice, and more thanks to our Career Services, helping you prepare for the job search.

Sound like the right path for you? Check out our bootcamps today and take the first step towards starting your digital nomad journey. 

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