Who needs a Portuguese student visa? This guide explains Portuguese student visa requirements and how to apply for a Portuguese study visa.
If you plan to study in Portugal, you will need to find out if you require a Portuguese student visa as an undergraduate, postgraduate or a post-doctoral researcher. Different rules apply to citizens from different countries.
This guide explains who needs a Portuguese student visa, the types of Portuguese study visas, how to apply for a student visa in Portugal and costs. It also discusses the conditions for working in Portugal while you’re a student, what you can do after you finish your studies in Portugal, and the situation for bringing family members to Portugal as a foreign student.
Who needs a Portuguese student visa?
Portugual’s student visa rules are similar to those in several other EU countries. If you are coming to study in Portugal from a country from the EU/EFTA, you won’t need a Portuguese student visa but you will have to obtain a certificate of residence from your local city council if you stay longer than three months. Read more about the conditions of Portuguese immigration policy for EU citizens.
In contrast, non-EU nationals will need a Portuguese student visa if studying in Portugal for longer than three months, along with a residence permit. The Portuguese student visa will need to be obtained from the Portuguese embassy or consulate in the home country before travelling to Portugal (find your closest Portuguese embassy or consulate here). A residence permit will need to be applied for upon arriving in Portugal from the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF).
For short study programmes lasting less than three months, residents of some non-EU countries don’t need a visa. They can enter Portugal freely with just a passport valid for six months. A list of countries whose citizens do not need a visa for short stays in Portugal is available here; it includes more than 30 countries, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the US.
All other non-EU citizens will need to apply for a short-stay visa for study programmes lasting less than three months. More information on requirements is available in our article on Portuguese visas and permits.
Types of Portuguese student visas and permits
Schengen short-stay visa (less than 90 days)
For non-EU citizens studying in Portugal on a short course or carrying out academic research lasting less than three months, and whose countries do not have an agreement with Portugal, will need to apply for a short stay (type C) visa in their home country before travelling to Portugal. Portugal is one of 26 Schengen countries and the Schengen visa allows you to travel to Portugal and any other Schengen country for a total of 90 days.
Portuguese student visas and residence permits (longer than 90 days)
If your studies in Portugal will last longer than 90 days, as a non-EU citizen you will have to apply for a long-term Portuguese student visa to enter Portugal (Schengen Visa type D, unless your country has an agreement) and subsequently pick up your residence permit after you office. Read more in our guide to visas for Portugal.
You need to apply for a Portuguese residence permit within three months of arriving in Portugal. This will be valid for one year. If your studies in Portugal last longer than one year, you can apply to the SEF to get your Portuguese student permit renewed. Portuguese resident permits are renewable for up to five years.
Portuguese residence permit for researchers
Non-EU nationals coming to Portugal to engage in post-doctoral research activities for longer than three months can apply for a specific residence permit for this purpose. This will enable you to engage in paid research work or work that is deemed a highly qualified activity.
Applying for a Portuguese study visa
You will need to apply for a Portuguese study visa with the Portuguese embassy or consulate in your home country. A list of Portuguese embassies around the world is available here.
To study in Portugal, you will also need to have gained prior acceptance onto a course at a Portuguese university or place of higher education. Read more in our guide to universities in Portugal.
For short-term (type C) visas of up to 90 days, you will need:
- a valid passport/travel ID
- proof of financial resources to support you during your stay
- proof of accommodation (or at least proof of sufficient finances to cover accommodation costs)
- two current passport-sized photos
- medical/travel insurance
- travel itinerary
- letter of acceptance from university or place of study
- a bank receipt to prove payment of processing fee
- some embassies/consulates may also request a criminal record certificate.
For residence permits if your study in Portugal lasts longer than 90 days, you will need to show:
- valid passport/travel ID
- two current passport photographs
- valid visa (if required)
- proof of financial resources
- proof of accommodation
- criminal record certificate
- proof of enrolment at place of study
- proof of payment of tuition fees, where applicable
- medical insurance.
After submitting your Portuguese student visa application, the approval process can take anywhere between one and three months to process, depending on which country you are applying from.
Portuguese student visa costs
The Portuguese student visa cost is EUR 60 for a short-stay visa and EUR 99 for a long stay visa. The application cost is reduced to EUR 35 for nationals from Kosovo, Russia, Georgia and Ukraine. Read more about the application process here.
Working in Portugal while you’re a student
EU students can work in Portugal without requiring a work permit. Non-EU students on Portuguese student visa and residence permits are allowed to work in Portugal subject to authorisation from the SEF. You can also request permission to undertake research work, academic teaching or engage in highly qualified activities provided you have the necessary skills and qualifications.
There are also permits available for unpaid trainees and volunteers. If you want to volunteer or undertake an unpaid internship or training position, your employer will need to contact the SEF to enquire about getting the necessary permit.
Foreign graduates in Portugal
Non-EU nationals who want to stay on after their Portuguese student visa expires will need to have an offer of suitable employment to extend their residence. Their permit will need to be changed to a residence permit for employed workers, research workers and highly qualified professionals, or self-employed workers (if you wish to start a business in Portugal). Read more in our guide to Portuguese work visas and permits.
You can also apply for the EU Blue Card which is available for highly qualified workers from non-EU/EFTA countries if they wish to work in the EU. More information here.
Family members of foreign students in Portugal
Non-EU nationals holding a valid Portuguese student permit are entitled to be joined by spouses, minor or dependent children or those of your spouse, or any minor children that have been adopted. You will need to provide evidence of their relationship and they will have to apply for the necessary visas and permits. Read more in our guide to bringing a partner or relative to Portugal.