Portugal’s D7 visa, sometimes called the retirement visa or passive income visa, is a popular option for non-EU citizens looking to gain residency in Portugal. The visa offers many benefits, including the right to live, work and access the public healthcare system in Portugal, as well as free movement within the Schengen Zone. What’s more, any family members and dependents can also benefit.
The first thing to be aware of is that the D7 visa is actually a two-stage process. You will first need to apply for a D7 visa (this can be done from the UK) which remains valid for four months. You will then need to travel to Portugal within this time and apply for a D7 residence permit. This can be done at the Immigration And Border Services (SEF).
How to apply for a D7 visa and D7 residence permit
Prove you can support yourself with a passive income
As the name suggests, you will need to have a ‘passive income’. This essentially means that you are able to support yourself with funds that take ‘little to no effort to earn and maintain’ and not rely on a salaried income. You can have a salaried income, such as from a UK employer, but it will not count towards the required funds for the visa.
What qualifies as passive income?
- Real estate
- Transferable equity
- Intellectual property
- Earnings from long term, fixed-rate financial investment
- Dividends as long as you are not employed by the company
- Interest from savings
How much passive income do I need?
You must have enough passive income to support yourself in Portugal. The Portuguese authorities quantify this as the equivalent to the Portuguese minimum wage. Currently, this is €8,460 per year (about €700 per month).
Does the amount of passive income required change if I am married?
Yes. You will need an additional 50% passive income for your spouse or another dependent adult. This works out at an additional €352.50 per month (or €4,230 per year). So, in total you would need to prove you have €12,690 per year of passive income.
Does the amount of passive income required change if I have children?
Yes. For each child under 18 you will need an additional 30% passive income. This works out at an additional €211.50 per month and €2,538 per year.
Example case study:
John and Sheila Smith are looking to move to Portugal from the UK to start a new life. They are married with two children under the age of 18.
John applies for the D7 visa for his family. Based on the additional costs for each member of his family, John must be able to prove that the family has an annual passive income of €17,766.
Obtain a Portuguese tax number (NIF) and open a Portuguese bank account
One of the very first things you should do when applying for the D7 visa is to get a Portuguese tax number (NIF). You can get a NIF number from the UK so do not need to travel to Portugal at this stage.
Since the UK left the European Union, it is a legal requirement to appoint a tax representative to obtain your NIF number for you. We go into more detail on tax representatives in our previous article, but essentially, your tax representative can be any individual or business with a fiscal address or head office in Portugal – you just need to have a Portuguese address to send the NIF details to.
This could be a family member or friend who is resident in Portugal, but they must be willing to receive any NIF communications and deal with any taxes. Alternatively, you can use an accountant, solicitor or lawyer.
After you have received your NIF number, you can then open a Portuguese bank account. Single applicants of the D7 visa must then deposit at least €7,000 in this account, while married couples must deposit at least €10,500.
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Provide proof of accommodation in Portugal
You will also need to provide proof of some form of long-term accommodation in Portugal. This does not need to be a bought property – long-term rentals (minimum lease of 12 months) are also sufficient.
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Take out full health insurance
The primary applicant and any dependants must have comprehensive EU-wide health insurance that has been paid for in advance when applying for the D7 visa. Once you have residency, you can register for the Portuguese public healthcare system.
Have a clean criminal record
You must also have a clean criminal record. Ensure you obtain this document before applying.
Meet the minimum stay requirements
Once you have your residence permit, you must stay in Portugal for at least six months and one day for it to remain valid. This can be in the form of 183 consecutive days in Portugal or eight months with various breaks throughout the year.
If you do not meet these minimum stay requirements, you risk losing your residency status.
How long does the residence permit last?
The initial residence permit is valid for two years. After this time, the permit can be renewed for an additional three years. After five years, the holder can apply for permanent residency.