After spending most of 2022 in Lisbon, I knew this was the city I wanted to make my home for the foreseeable future. In January of 2022, I packed my bags and left Toronto alone, and arrived in Lisbon not knowing a single person. Over the course of the year, I made new friends, attended numerous meet-up events, took dance lessons, tried new restaurants and bars, and started to experience life in a way that brings me daily joy. I was able to spend the year in Lisbon thanks to the Working Holiday visa that they offer to both Canadians and Portuguese people who want to work in each other countries for a year.
Over the course of 2022, I learned I wanted to make Lisbon my permanent home. Thanks to Portugal’s new digital nomad visa, I can make that a reality.
What is the Portugal Digital Nomad Visa?
On Jan 3, 2023, I put my official application through for the Portuguese Digital Nomad Visa. This is a new visa Portugal started offering as of Oct 2022, and allows international workers who make at least four times the Portuguese minimum wage eligible to apply, amounting to around €3040 per month. With the Digital Nomad Visa – a specific remote worker visa – remote workers can easily live in Portugal for up to one year or apply for residency and stay for a longer period in the country.
There are two types of Digital Nomad Visas: Short Stay and Long Stay
Short Stay: Remote workers can apply for a temporary stay visa for up to one year
Long Stay: Remote workers can apply for a residency visa that can then be renewed for up to five years. This is the replacement for the D7 visa that was typically used for remote workers who were working and not living on a passive income.
There are a few differences between the short stay and the long stay visa:
|Short Stay||Long Stay|
|Duration of Visa||12 Months (1 Year)||24 Months (2 Years)|
|Renewable||Yes, for an additional year||Yes, for 3 years|
|Accommodation||Signed lease for first 4 months||Signed Lease for first 12 months, or owned Portuguese property|
|PT Bank Account||Depends on the local consulate |
*For Canada: I had a Portuguese bank account but unsure if it is required
Here is an outline of all the documents I put together and the steps I took to apply for the Portugal Digital Nomad Visa:
All the documents you need to gather for your Portugal Digital Nomad Visa can be in english (you do not need to translate them to into portuguese).
Motivation Letter: A letter describing your desire to apply for the Digital Nomad Visa. Here is the format I used for mine (update the highlighted parts to fit your story):
To whom it may concern,
My name is Amanda Perkins and I am applying for the Digital Nomad Long Stay visa. I have been living in Lisbon, Portugal for the last year on the working holiday visa, and have fallen in love with the country, and intend to live here full-time under the digital nomad visa. I have a bachelors degree in business from Queen’s University in Canada. I have been working in the technology sector for 10 years.
I fell in love with Portugal … talk about what makes you want to live and work in Portugal.
I work as XXX – talk about how you make money and plan to support yourself.
I have attached my NIF and Portuguese bank statements that show I have the funds to support myself within the Digital Nomad parameters. I have investments in Canada of over X and I plan to fund my Portuguese bank account with my Canadian business income that I receive in dividends, through my wise account. I have insurance through Manulife and SafetyWing that provides me medical insurance.
I have purchased/leased an apartment in neighborhood for x time period. The apartment is the perfect space for me to create my home in Lisbon. I am thrilled with being in one of the most vibrant neighbourhoods of Lisbon.
Thank you for your consideration for my Digital Nomad Visa,
Travel Insurance: Any travel insurance that will cover you when you are in Portugal will be accepted by the visa office (SEF).
I used SafetyWing to purchase digital nomad insurance.
SafetyWing offers affordable travel insurance for remote workers and nomads. They have two options:
- Nomad Insurance: Affordable emergency travel insurance
- Nomad Health: fully comprehensive health insurance for remote workers
For Canadians, you will have to wait to purchase SafetyWing insurance until you are physically outside of the country. I purchased it easily online the day I arrived in Portugal.
To see a full review of SafetyWing insurance: SafetyWing Review: Straight-forward Digital Nomad Insurance
Flight Itinerary (not the actual ticket): As you don’t know the exact timing of your visa approval, they only require a flight itinerary to be printed with your desired travel timeline and added to your application. When I applied in January, I assumed I could travel back to Lisbon in the first week of March and used a travel itinerary for the first week of March.
Accommodation: For a short-term stay, you need to provide a 4-month lease. For the long-term lease, you need to provide a 12-month lease.
I would argue finding accommodation for your visa is one of the trickiest parts. Housing is becoming increasingly expensive in the popular areas of Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve. Here are some housing websites you can use to find a place to live:
For the long-term stay, you will need to ensure that your accommodation is officially registered with the tax office to make sure with your landlord that they have a registered property.
Canadian Banking and Investment Amounts: I added a screenshot of the summary page of both my Canadian bank accounts and investments (I use Wealthsimple so I screenshot the summary page there as well) to show I have proof of funds.
Portuguese Bank: I also opened a Portuguese bank account with Caixa-Directa, and funded it with 10,000 euros and downloaded the official bank statements. There is a Caixa branch in Toronto and I have read on facebook you can open the account there.
Canadian Company Incorporation Documents: I own my own consulting company so I prepared the T2 tax documents for last year, along with my balance sheet and income statement for the previous 6 month to show revenue generation.
Criminal Background Check: I purchased a Canadian background check from MyCRC and it arrived in my email inbox in 24 hours. Attach this to your application as well.
Signed Portugal Release to check Portuguese Criminal System: There is a document on the Portugal Embassy website that you need to complete and sign and add to the application. The document can be found here: Portugal Criminal System Release.
Steps to Apply For Your Portugal Digital Nomad Visa
Step 1: Compile all Documents from above
Step 2: Set up E-Visa Profile on Portuguese Embassy Website (see a small register under the username and password block)
Step 3: Complete the Application Form and book the Embassy Appointment
*** If you are in a location in Canada without an embassy, I would email the closest embassy and confirm this process that a fellow Canadian shared with me from Manitoba.
“We were able to submit everything via registered mail with Canada Post, including a money order/bank draft for the fees. I don’t know if all consulates will allow this but TO did. We sent them notarized copies of our passports along with a paragraph in our letter of intent explaining we couldn’t provide originals at that time because we needed to use them and promised to send them as soon as we got back to Canada. They accepted that.”
Step 4: Print all Documents and Purchase the Return Envelope
Step 5: Attend Embassy Appointment with Printed Documents and Return Envelope
Step 6: Wait approximately 30-60 days depending on the time of year.
I applied on the E-Visa Portugal in October and got an embassy appointment for Jan 3, 2022. Once I had my embassy appointment, I was able to deliver all the paperwork and was told I should hear back in 30-60 days. To my surprise, I got the approval email on Jan 16, 2022, and was so pleased with the process! I am headed back to Portugal in mid-February and couldn’t be more excited!!
If you have any questions, I can try to help answer them in the comments area.
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