D7 Visa process for Portugal
Obtaining any visa anywhere in the world can feel like a real challenge. I have acquired visas from all over the world, including some of the more interesting and exotic countries, from Afghanistan to the deepest darkest Congo, from Syria to Iraq, and from North Korea, to Nepal, it’s been a real blast. Some visas have required some financial ushering along, and others like the Iraq and Afghan visas were simple stamps on borders. Here’s me, much shorter hair, in Afghanistan and Syria.
We are renovating a Portugal farm right now and I’m a Brit, with a British passport. Tara and our children have Dutch passports, so they are fine to stay in Portugal for as long as they like. Since Brexit of course I’m only allowed into Europe for a maximum of 90 days in every 180.
The D7 Visa is the easiest way to be able to stay in Portugal for as long as I like. It’s like a “Nomads” or “retirees” visa, so long as you can prove that you have enough income, a place to live, and a few other bits and pieces, it should be a fairly straightforward process. This blog post will talk you through my own experiences of how to get it.
First thing worth noting is that this process is not cheap, I was surprised by this and honestly quite disappointed. When you add it all up it will probably be the most expensive visa I have ever got, even more expensive than my Angolan visa, which at the time felt positively preposterous! Details of costs and what you need to get the visa are below.
First job to do before you get started, is getting your ducks in a row.
Start by ensuring you have a NIF number. You can get this by popping into your local municipality office in Portugal, which costs next to nothing, or you can do it online with some companies charging up to EUR200 for the service. Google Portugal NIF number and you will find all sorts of companies offering the service. Since I didn’t use any of them, I went into my local office in Amarante, I can’t recommend any as better or worse, but can say that getting it done in Portugal was super simple.
If you’re buying a property in Portugal you will need a NIF number. This brings us to the next step of the visa process. You have to prove that you have adequate accommodation, be that a rental agreement or a property purchase.
You then need to ensure that you have travel insurance, which shows that Portugal is covered, passport photos, your criminal record certificate (in the UK you get this from ACRO) and bank statements are all other pieces of documentation you will need to ensure you have to hand.
Once your ducks are in a row, your next step will be to book an appointment, which you have to do in your country of origin, NOT in Portugal. In the UK, this is done through the VFS Global offices in London. The online booking system is ridiculously poor and in short, I did not manage to get it to work, ever. So the easiest way to get an appointment is to email the team at VSF. I used this email: email@example.com and I hope it also works for you.
Woohoooo!! You have your appointment, and now it’s a trip to London, or whichever city you have chosen as your local office. As I said before, you must begin the D7 visa process in your home country. My experience of the VSF office in London was pretty OK. On arrival, there was a VERY long queue outside the offices which I joined the back of, in the end, this moved quite quickly and I was inside a very crowded waiting room within 15 minutes. You will need a copy of your appointment letter to get in.
Although the waiting room was mega busy, I was seen almost on time. The appointment lasted about 20 minutes, a lady checked all of my paperwork and made sure everything was how it should be. She asked me for a few extra documents like Tara’s passport details and a copy of her passport which I had with me as hard originals just in case (this was because the house was purchased in Tara’s name and her surname is different). There is a photocopy/ print shop a five-minute walk from VSF offices in London and I was allowed to go out and come back in with the missing documents now copied.
And that was about it. Now, we wait, anything from 30-60 days for the visa to arrive back with my passport. Then I will need to make an appointment in Portugal to have the visa formalised, and that’s that.
So, what do you need?
- Application form
- Passport or other valid travel document
- Two identical passport-size photos
- Valid travel insurance, with coverage for all medical expenses, including urgent medical assistance and possible repatriation;
- Application for Criminal Record consultation by Portuguese Foreigners and Borders Service
- Certificate of criminal records issued fronm your home country
- Proof that you have adequate accommodation;
- Proof of health insurance coverage
- Document providing the amount of pension, or other earnings. To be eligible, you must have income or pensions amounting for 12 months: €7.200 for the first adult; €3.600 for second or more adults; €2.160 per children. You must provide 6-months of bank statements.
How much did it cost?
- ACRO document £100 ish
- VSF appointment £127
- Passport photos £10
- Travel insurance £60
- Train tickets to London £50 rtn
- NIF number £10- £200 – depending on how you get it
It’s not a cheap visa, but it is to my understanding the easiest visa in Europe to get that allows UK citizens to have basically what we had prior to Brexit. For the US it’s also pretty straight forward and if you are retired with a steady income, rock and roll.
Aside from the upfront cost, two other hurdles that you could face are, proving that you have enough bucks in the bank and proving you have an address, both of these could be prohibitive depending on your circumstances.
For more info take a look at the video we put together about the process, and if you have any questions please feel free to leave us a comment or a note below.
Good luck friends!