Visas for International Students in Portugal
EU/EEA/Schengen country residents
Students from these areas do not need a visa to study in Portugal, but should apply for a residence card on arrival (Autorização de Residência). This must happen within the first four months of arrival, and can be done at the local council building (there will be a fee of €7). Students from the EU/EEA are able to work in Portugal without any restrictions.
Non-EU/EEA students wanting to study in Portugal will require a student visa and a residence permit. Visas must be obtained before travelling, and are applied for at the Portuguese embassy or consulate in your home country. Residence permits are applied for on arrival from the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF).
Residents of some EU countries will not require a visa for short stays of less than three months and can enter Portugal freely with only a valid passport. There are more than 30 countries for whom this applies including the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
There are two types of visa available to international students coming to Portugal:
- Schengen short-stay visa (visa type C): This visa is for students undertaking a short course or carrying out academic research in Portugal. It is valid for no more than 6 months and allows for one or two multiple entries.
- Schengen National long-stay visa (visa type D): Students in full time academic degrees planning on staying in Portugal for more than 90 days will need to apply for a long-term student visa and subsequently obtain a residence permit on arrival. This visa enables students to work on a casual basis – up to 20 hours a week, or full time during vacations.
How to Apply for a Student Visa to Study in Portugal
You can start the visa application process once you have received a university acceptance letter. The process is conducted at the Portuguese embassy or consulate in your home country - you will need to schedule a visa interview on their website, where you can also check the required documentation. Visas can take anywhere between one and three months to be issued depending on your country of origin, so it is a good idea to start the process as early as possible.
The documentation that you need for your visa application might entail the following:
- Your completed application form (downloaded from the website of your local Portuguese consulate)
- A passport sized photograph of yourself
- A passport that expires no soon that three months after you return home
- A letter of acceptance from the university or polytechnic that you plan on attending in Portugal
- Proof that you have the financial resources to support yourself during your stay
- Proof that you have purchased health insurance
- A purchased ticket to travel to Portugal
- Proof that you have made arrangements for accommodation once you arrive in Portugal
- You will also need to pay a visa application fee of up to 170 EUR
All international students will need to apply for a residence permit within three months of arriving in Portugal, which will then be valid for one year. After a year, residence permits can be renewed for up to five years at the SEF.
The documentation required to apply for a residence permit is as follows:
- A completed application form
- A valid passport and photocopy
- Two recent passport sized photos
- Proof that you have the financial means to support yourself in Portugal
- Proof that you have organized accommodation in Portugal
- Proof that you have medical insurance
Learn more about being an international student in Portugal: