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Portugal Visa for Freelancers or Self-Employed

Last updated on February 18, 2024

Portugal has become an increasingly popular destination for digital nomads and location independent workers over the past few years. Its pleasant climate, low cost of living, and attractive visa policies make it a great place for freelancers or self-employed people to live and work remotely.

One of the most popular visa options for freelancers and self-employed workers looking to move to Portugal is the D7 visa. Here is an overview of the D7 visa and how to apply for it as a freelancer or self-employed worker.

What is the Portugal D7 Visa?

The D7 visa, also known as the passive income visa, is a Portuguese long-term residency visa that allows non-EU/EEA nationals to live in Portugal if they can provide proof of having a passive income of at least €7,620 per year.

Passive income can include things like:

  • Rental income from property
  • Dividends from stocks/shares
  • Pensions
  • Freelance or consulting income
  • Income generated from intellectual property rights

The D7 visa is issued for 1 year initially, and then can be renewed for 2 year periods provided you still meet the requirements. After 5 years of living legally on a D7 visa, you can apply for permanent residency in Portugal.

Here are some key benefits of the D7 visa:

  • Reside in Portugal for up to 1 year initially, renewable for 2 years at a time
  • No need to obtain a work permit – allows you to work or run a business
  • Visa-free travel within the Schengen Area
  • Pathway to permanent residency after 5 years
  • Low minimum stay requirements – only need to live in Portugal for 7 days in the first year and 14 days every subsequent 2 years

D7 Visa Requirements for Freelancers:

As a freelancer or self-employed worker, you can qualify for the D7 visa by providing evidence that your freelance/consulting/self-employment income exceeds the minimum amount of €7,620 per year.

Here are the basic requirements:

  • Proof of income over €7,620/year from freelance activities
  • Copy of trade license if applicable
  • Criminal record certificate showing you have no convictions
  • Private health insurance plan
  • Evidence of accommodation in Portugal
  • Proof of funds to support yourself

Your income can come from freelance activities conducted within Portugal or remotely for international clients. The type of freelance activities can include:

  • Writing, editing, translating, proofreading
  • Programming, web development, design
  • Consulting or coaching in your area of expertise
  • Teaching or tutoring online
  • Providing digital marketing services
  • Selling digital products like ebooks, courses, templates, etc.

As a freelancer, you are considered self-employed in Portugal, so you may need to register as a self-employed worker once you arrive and get a Portuguese tax number.

The application process takes about 3 months on average, so be sure to apply well in advance of your planned move date.

How to Apply for the D7 Visa as a Freelancer:

Here is an overview of the steps involved in applying for the D7 visa in Portugal as a freelancer or self-employed worker:

1. Gather Required Documents

You will need to gather all of the required documents to submit with your D7 visa application, including:

  • Passport valid for at least 3 months
  • Proof of income over €7,620/year
    • Bank statements, invoices, contracts, tax returns
  • Trade license if applicable
  • Criminal record certificate
  • Private health insurance plan
  • Proof of lodging in Portugal
    • Property deed, rental agreement, hotel booking
  • Proof of funds – bank statements showing you have sufficient funds

2. Fill Visa Application Form

You must fill out the Schengen visa application form online and print it out to submit with your application. Be sure to select “D7 visa” as the reason for your trip.

3. Make Appointment at Portuguese Consulate

Schedule an appointment at your nearest Portuguese consulate to submit your D7 visa application and biometrics. You may need to mail your documents or use a visa processing service.

4. Submit Application at Consulate

Bring all of your documents and application to your visa appointment. You will have your biometrics taken at this time.

5. Wait for Processing

It takes approximately 8-12 weeks to get a decision on your D7 visa application. You will be notified if any additional documents are needed. Check processing times for the consulate where you applied.

6. Get Visa Approval/Rejection

Once a decision has been made, your passport with visa will be mailed back or you will receive a rejection letter. Be sure to thoroughly review the visa when you receive it.

7. Enter Portugal and Register for Residency

Once approved, you can enter Portugal on your D7 visa. Be sure to register for residency within 4 months of arrival in Portugal to get your residence card.

Cost of D7 Visa for Freelancers:

The cost to apply for a D7 visa in 2023 is €75 for the visa processing fee.

You will also need to pay for:

  • Document translation if needed
  • Certified copies
  • Passport photos
  • Biometrics
  • Postage/shipping
  • Visa assistance service fees if using one

So in total, expect to budget about €200-300 for the entire D7 visa application process.

Documents Required for the D7 Visa:

Here is a checklist of the documents you will need to gather for your D7 visa application:

  • Passport valid for 3+ months
  • Schengen visa application form
  • Passport photos
  • Proof of accommodation
  • Proof of income over €7,620/year
  • Private health insurance
  • Criminal record certificate
  • Doctor’s medical report
  • Proof of funds/financial means
  • Trade license if applicable
  • Application fee of €75

Be sure to check the consulate website where you are applying to see if they require any other specific documents. It’s best to have as much supporting documentation as possible.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the D7 Visa:

Some key advantages and potential disadvantages to be aware of with the D7 visa include:

Advantages:

  • Get renewable residence permit for up to 5 years
  • Live and work in Portugal without needing separate work permit
  • Visa-free travel within the Schengen Area
  • Can apply for permanent residency after 5 years
  • Low stay requirements – only need to live in Portugal for 7-14 days per year
  • Pathway to citizenship possible after 6 years

Portugal D7 visa

Disadvantages:

  • High minimum income requirement of €7,620 per year
  • Need to show sufficient funds upfront
  • Processing time can be slow – up to 3 months
  • Need to register for tax and social security
  • Limited consular support as a non-EU citizen

Alternatives to the D7 Visa:

If you don’t meet the D7 visa requirements as a freelancer, here are a few alternatives to consider:

1. Digital Nomad Visa

Portugal has introduced a new remote work visa that lets you live in the country as long as you work remotely for a company outside of Portugal. You do not need to meet any minimum income requirements.

2. Self-Employment Visa

If you plan to run a company or business in Portugal, you can apply for the self-employment visa by registering a business and creating local jobs.

3. Startup Visa

You can get a residence permit by starting an innovative company in Portugal and going through an incubator program like Startup Portugal.

4. Investor Visa

The Portugal Golden Visa program offers residence permits to those who invest €280,000+ in Portugese real estate or €350,000 in a Portugese business.

5. Marriage Residence Visa

If you have a spouse who is an EU citizen, you can apply for a residence card allowing you to live and work in Portugal.

The D7 passive income visa presents an excellent opportunity for digital nomads, freelancers and location independent workers who meet the minimum income threshold and want to relocate to live and work remotely in Portugal long term.

The application process involves gathering the required documents, completing the visa application, attending an appointment at your nearest Portuguese consulate, and then waiting up to 3 months for processing and approval.

If you are approved, you can move to Portugal on your D7 visa for up to 1 year initially and then renew for 2-year periods. After 5 years, you can apply for permanent Portuguese residency.

Carefully review the requirements and be sure to plan the timing of your application well in advance to ensure you can get approved and make your planned move to Portugal!

Comparison of D7 Visa to Alternatives:

Here is a comparison of the key requirements and benefits of the D7 visa versus some alternative visa/residence permit options for Portugal:

Visa TypeMinimum IncomeWork AllowedInitial StayRenewablePath to PR
D7 Visa€7,620/yearYes1 yearYes, 2-year periodsAfter 5 years
Digital Nomad VisaNoneRemote work only1 yearYes, 1-year periodsUnknown
Self-Employment VisaNoneMust register Portuguese company1 yearYesAfter 5 years
Startup VisaNoneOnly for your startup1 yearYesAfter 5 years
Investor Visa€280,000 property or €350,000 business investmentYes1 yearYes, 2-year periodsAfter 5 years
Marriage Residence VisaNoneYes5 yearsN/ACan apply immediately

Comparison of Application Requirements:

Here is a comparison of the application requirements for the D7 visa versus the digital nomad and self-employment visas for Portugal:

RequirementD7 VisaDigital Nomad VisaSelf-Employment Visa
Minimum Income€7,620/yearNoneNone
Employment TypeSelf-employed/freelanceFull-time remote workMust register Portuguese company
Work ContractNoYes, from non-Portuguese companyBusiness registration required
Health InsuranceRequiredRequiredRequired
AccommodationProof requiredProof requiredProof required
Criminal RecordYesYesYes
Application Fee€75€75€102-204
Processing Time1-3 months1-3 months3-6 months

FAQs About the Portugal D7 Visa for Freelancers:

What types of freelance income qualify for the D7 visa?

All legal sources of freelance income can count, including consulting, programming, writing, design, teaching, and more. The income must exceed €7,620/year and be supported by invoices, contracts, or tax returns.

Do I need a Portuguese company or entity to qualify for the D7 visa?

No, you do not need a Portuguese business entity. Freelance income earned working remotely for international clients can qualify you for the D7 visa.

Can I work for Portuguese companies or clients on the D7 visa?

Yes, the D7 visa allows you to live and work in Portugal so you can take on local clients or be employed once you are there. You just need to show the minimum income requirement was met independently to qualify initially.

Is the D7 visa hard to get for freelancers?

The D7 visa is one of the more straightforward visas for self-employed people but you need to properly document your income and have sufficient funds. Using a visa agency can help simplify the process.

Do I pay taxes in Portugal on the D7 visa?

Yes, once you register as a resident in Portugal on the D7 visa you are expected to pay Portuguese income taxes and file a return each year. You pay taxes on both Portuguese and foreign-sourced income.

Can I travel within the Schengen Area on the D7 visa?

Yes, the D7 visa allows you freedom of movement within the entire Schengen zone. You can stay up to 90 days within a 180-day period in other Schengen countries.

Is it possible to get citizenship after living in Portugal on a D7 visa?

Yes, after legally residing in Portugal for at least 6 years on the D7 visa, you can apply for permanent residency. Once you have been a permanent resident for at least 5 years, you can apply for Portuguese citizenship.

How much time do I need to spend in Portugal on the D7 visa?

In the first year you must be in Portugal for at least 7 consecutive days. After that, you need to live in Portugal for a minimum of 14 days in each subsequent 2-year renewal period.

What happens if I don’t meet the renewal requirements when my D7 visa expires?

If you no longer meet the minimum income or stay requirements, unfortunately your D7 visa will not be renewed. You would need to apply for a new type of Portuguese visa or residence permit.

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