How to Get a Work Visa for Portugal

Portugal (Image: view at lisbon portugal image by Dev from

Escaping to exotic Portugal to live and work is an enticing proposition. Besides occupying a prime piece of real estate with a mild climate in continental Europe, the country encompasses some of the most beautiful islands on earth: the Azores and Madeira islands. Imagining yourself strolling through historic Portuguese towns, cosmopolitan Lisbon and lush Porto vineyards is easy enough. Garnering a visa to work in Portugal is a challenge that requires planning, research and determination.

Things You'll Need

  • Working knowledge of Portuguese
  • Job offer in Portugal

Take classes or listen to language tapes to develop a working ability to speak and understand Portuguese. Master the language if you ultimately wish to work for a Portuguese company. Educate yourself on the history, geography and culture of Portugal. Consider obtaining a TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) certificate---either online or at an educational institution---to expand your job opportunities.

Obtain a job offer in Portugal. Inform prospective Portuguese companies of any specialized skills you possess. Try to secure a transferable position with an American company that has an office in Portugal. Consider teaching English as a foreign language. For temporary jobs, check out bars and nightclubs in the Algarve region, where English-speaking travelers tend to congregate. Try to secure employment as a handyman/woman on a yacht in Vilamoura. Consider traveling to Portugal on a holiday to scout out employment opportunities.

If you have professional or trade skills, determine the requirements for Portuguese registration and licensing in your field. Contact Portugal’s National Recognition Information Centre (NARIC) to help you establish your professional and academic credentials. Develop a network of professional acquaintances in Portugal to help you tap into word-of-mouth job opportunities. Try applying for overseas grants and fellowships at Portuguese universities.

Secure a work visa in advance. To apply, obtain an application form from your nearest Portuguese embassy or consular office. Provide the following information with your application form: two recent photos; declaration of intent; certificate of bank balance (to prove you can sustain yourself financially); certificate of criminal records issued by police authority (translated into Portuguese by a Portuguese consulate/embassy); valid passport and two photocopies; certificate affirming good health; certificate from Portugal attesting to your housing arrangements there; an original and photocopy of work contract with Portuguese employer; and written approval from the Portuguese minister of labor.

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