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HomeLM: Plan B (Neutral)The official Portuguese Digital Nomad Visa we’ve all been waiting for

The official Portuguese Digital Nomad Visa we’ve all been waiting for

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Over the years, Portugal’s popular D7 Residency has been called many names: Passive Income Visa. Retirement Visa. Digital Nomad Visa (which, technically, it was NOT). But as of October 31, 2022, the country now has an actual Digital Nomad Visa (DNV). Let’s get into the details below…

Long-stay visas for Europe have long been a challenge for remote workers and digital nomads.

For many foreign citizens, 90-day visa limits meant that they had to exit the Schengen Area for a while before being able to return and continue their EU explorations.

Portugal and Spain both offer residency programs for people of independent financial means.

Both the D7 and Non-lucrative Residency programs target retirees looking to settle there long-term. However, scores of remote workers were also able to successfully apply for both of these programs in the period 2019 to mid-2021 (including two Sovereign Research team members).

But in mid-2021, the Portuguese immigration authority, SEF, started rejecting Digital Nomads’ D7 applications. Whereas previously high-earning freelancers and those with remote work contracts were sailing through approvals, your type of income and your intention to settle there became bones of contention for SEF.

(Since then, it has to be passive income, e.g. pension or royalties, etc.)

Fortunately, the authorities were working on an actual, bona fide Digital Nomad Visa, which has subsequently been launched. The key difference between it and the D7 is that ACTIVE income is accepted – e.g., salary, self-employment income, etc.

The Portuguese consulates in London and Belgrade, amongst others, have already published the key program requirements.

The DNV program at a glance

The program offers two “streams” that Digital Nomads can apply for:

A short-stay visa, valid for stays of up up to 12 months, and renewable for an additional 12 months. Its main advantage – you don’t have to apply for the Portuguese ID document at SEF, which is a lengthy and bureaucratic process.

A long-term residency, valid for 2 years, and renewable for another 3 years. The longer-stay version closely mirrors the D7 Visa’s requirements, and requires you to attend a SEF biometrics appointment in Portugal.

What are the key 12-month DNV program’s benefits?

The 12-month DNV enables you to test-drive the Portuguese experience without having to go through the time-consuming process of trying to make a booking with SEF. It allows you to:

  • Live and work in Portugal for up to 12 months as a remotely employed worker, freelancer or self-employed business owner. You can renew your visa for an additional 12 months, for a total stay duration of 24 months.(After that, you’ll either have to leave Portugal, or apply for a different type of visa, e.g. the D7 Visa or long-term DNV. And according to one of our trusted lawyers on the ground, these first two years spent in-country would count as valid residency years towards a future citizenship or PR application.)
  • Enjoy visa-free travel across the entire Schengen Area.
  • You won’t have to book and attend a biometrics appointment or apply for a residency permit at SEF in Portugal. (This appointment is a vital step under the D7 program and long-term DNV, and for the past year or more, securing a slot has been near-impossible due to a rolling backlog of around 15,000 applications.)

What are the key program requirements?

Caveat emptor: The exact financial requirements for the DNV vary from one consular website to the next. And again, a large swathe of governmental discretion applies here. Still, our lawyer on the ground was able to shed some light on the program’s requirements, which we present below.

Key Program Requirements  Portugal DNV (12-Month Visa)
Financial requirements
Requirements for dependent co-applicants tend to vary from one consulate to the next.)
Single applicants must earn more than four times the Portuguese Minimum Wage (€760 x 4 = €3,040) in 2022.  

Remote salary earnings, contract work and freelance earnings, etc. are favored as income sources. The exact financial requirements for dependent co-applicants are yet to be confirmed…

Additionally, our trusted lawyer mentioned that you will also need to show sufficient savings to support yourself for the intended period of stay, based on the Portuguese minimum wage.

E.g.: If you want to stay for 12 months, you’d need to prove having access to €9,120 (12 x €760) in savings.

And according to our contact, you need to transfer that amount to a Portuguese bank account.

Proof of accommodation Accommodation must be booked for the entire trip if the intended stay is shorter than 12 months. (Hotels, Airbnb and similar short-term accommodation bookings are accepted.)
Proof of tax residency outside of Portugal Required.
Portuguese bank account opening Required.
Police clearance Required from country of origin, or current residency, if you’ve been living there for 12 months or more.
Minimum in-country presence requirement None, but if you’d like to renew it, you’ll have to stay a minimum of six or more months.
EU private medical insurance Required.
Return travel booking (to leave Portugal) Required.

How is the long-term Digital Nomad Residency different?

The main difference between the 12-month and long-term version of the DNV is their validity. The long-term DNV works just like any other Portuguese residency permit. It will allow you to stay in Portugal indefinitely – as long as you continue to fulfill the program’s conditions.

The initial residency will be good for two years, extendable for another three. After five total years of residency, you will be able to apply for Portuguese permanent residency and/or citizenship.

And surprisingly, the amount of paperwork you will need to submit at the Portuguese consulate is almost the same for both the short-term and long-term options.

There are a couple of other differences, too. With the long-term DNV, you will need to…

  • Submit proof of accommodation for the first four months of your stay only
  • Provide proof of savings for the entire year – €9,120 (12 months x €760)
  • Attend a SEF appointment.

What about taxation as a Digital Nomad?

Typically, you’ll become a tax resident in Portugal if you stay there for more than 183 days within any 12-month period. And on both the 12-month and long-term DNVs, there would be no exception to this rule.

Sovereign Confidential members – let us know if you’d like the details of our Portuguese immigration and tax lawyers to assess your specific situation.

This program is brand new, and there is no precedent for us to report on (yet). We are working with our lawyers in Portugal to gain more clarity on this subject, and will update this article once we do.
The bottomline
Portugal is an excellent place to live. But especially if you have a family, immigrating without experiencing a new country can be a daunting prospect. That’s why the country’s new DNV launching is such great news.

And even if you don’t decide to settle in Portugal, a remote working stint there will no doubt open doors to adventure, excitement, and experiences you’ll cherish for a lifetime.

Note: Sovereign Confidential members – you can look forward to a deep-dive on both the shorter and the longer term versions of the Portuguese DNV program in the near future, so stay tuned…

Yours in freedom,

Sovereign Research

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