Insights into what is involved in buying, selling & living in Portugal

Moving to Portugal and getting Residencia

The rules about residency apply to you depend on your nationality. The rules for Citizens of European Union countries tend to be less restrictive as these countries are trying to encourage the mobility of the workforce and all apply similar rules.

Citizens of European Union Countries Residency law changed in Portugal in 2006. The long awaited change to immigration law in Portugal has finally come into force, with alterations made to the previous procedures for foreign residents from other EU Member States. The new law (Decreto Lei 37/2006 of 9 August) implements EU Directive 2004/58/EC and recognizes three types of foreigners in Portugal. Those on short visits (up to three months), Initial Residents and Permanent Residents. The requirements for three groups are as follows: When you are in the country for over three months, you need to register your presence. This is done by simply signing a self declaration at your local “Câmara Municipal” (City Hall). This registration will be your certificate of residency and it will be valid for 5 years. After the 5 years if you wish to continue living in Portugal, you will then need to go to SEF (Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras) offices to apply for a card. New residency certificates When you spend more than 3 months in a year in Portuguese territory you must register your residency in Portugal within 30 days. For this you will need to go to your local Câmara with your passport or Identity Card and your Portuguese fiscal number, there you will fill in a form where you basically declare that you are self-sufficient. No documentary support is needed at this point but this selfdeclaration will require information on the following subjects:  Employment or Self-Employment  Declaration of Means and Health Insurance  Education  Family The declaration of means and health cover are required to ensure that foreigners are not moving to Portugal to become a burden on the state. The self declaration is exactly that and no supporting paperwork is required in the application, however false representation is an offence and the card will be revoked. (See Loss of Residency’ below.) The Câmara will issue a Certificate, valid for 5 years. This is an A4 sheet of paper which you should carry with you all the time. After these 5 years, assuming that you still remain in Portugal and which to extend your residencia, the procedure is then different. This second residencia permit will be done at SEF offices and will be a permanent one. This means that after the 5 years you are considered a permanent resident and if you go away from the country you should communicate this fact to the Portuguese authorities. Your card however needs to be renewed when due, but this is only a renewal of a card and not a re-application for residency. Those who already hold a Cartão de Residência need do nothing except comply with the terms of their current card. So when the card expires you will renew under the new system and your next card will issued.

The major changes are the ease of application for the Initial Residency permit “Certificado de Residência”, with Câmara offices accepting applications rather than a journey to SEF, and the change to the time frame for validity of the cards.

Loss of Residency: This will occur when either the holder is absent from Portugal for two consecutive years or when the authorities consider that the holder is guilty of an abuse of the right to residency, fraud or marriages of convenience.

Residencia for minors Each child living in Portugal is also obliged to have a Residência when registration is made for school. You will need to submit copy of passport, 2 photographs and a declaration from the chosen school confirming that the child is registered. (temporary registration is available)

Renewals To renew you residencia, you must first of all make an appointment over the phone on 808 202 653 or 808 962 690. Once you get through For bookings press 1 If you live in the areas of Porto, or Viseu, press 1 If you live in the areas of Espinho, Figueira da Foz, Coimbra or Aveiro, press 2 If you live in the areas of Lisbon, Cascais or Setubal, press 3 If you live in the Algarve or Madeira, press 4 For work residency (non Europeans) press 1 For other options (such as renewals) press 4

When you book your appointment to renew your residencia, they will tell you what to bring along. All you have to do is to show up at your local SEF office at the day and time of the booking. If your residencia is expired for more than two years, you will be considered a new resident and you should apply for a 5 year residencia certificate at your local Camara Municipal.

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