Home Moving to Portugal Visas & Immigration Applying for a family visa or Portuguese spouse visa
Last update on October 28, 2020

Relatives and partners can apply for a family visa to join foreigners in Portugal. This guide explains spouse visa requirements and how to apply for a Portuguese spouse visa or Portuguese family visa.

A Portuguese spouse visa or family visa allows non-EU citizens to join a relative or partner living in Portugal. There are different conditions if you are joining someone who is from the European Union, European Economic Area (EEA – Iceland, Norway, and Liechtenstein) or Switzerland, than if you are joining someone from outside the EU. For information on joining an EU/EEA/Swiss relative or partner, you can also see our guide on Portuguese immigration policy for EU citizens.

This guide focuses on non-European citizens who wish to join family in Portugal, explaining which relatives are eligible for a Portuguese spouse visa or family visa, depending on your family connection and whether your relative holds a temporary residence permit, a permanent residence permit or is studying in Portugal. It also explains the process of how to apply for a family visa, and what happens if your relative dies or moves abroad.

Who can apply for a family visa?

If you are from a non-EU/EFTA country and have a Portuguese residence permit, either temporary or permanent, you can apply for a family reunion visa in Portugal for your following relatives:

  • spouse
  • partner, as long as the law recognizes the relationship
  • minor dependent children including adopted children and those of your spouse/partner
  • dependent parents and those of your spouse
  • children who are under your care and/or the care of your spouse and who are studying in Portugal
  • minor brothers and sisters who are under your custody.
Spouse visa requirements

Those who hold a Portuguese student visa can only sponsor those in a category such as:

  • spouse/partner
  • minor dependent children including adopted children and those of your spouse/partner

Joining relatives in Portugal with a temporary residence permit

If your relative or spouse has a temporary residence permit in Portugal (issued for a maximum duration of five years) you can apply for family reunification in Portugal for the same duration of their stay. You’ll receive a renewable Portuguese residence permit.

To qualify for a family visa, your relative will be required to prove they have sufficient funds or means of subsistence for you and all family members, as well as be responsible for providing accommodation.

Highly skilled non-EU workers living in Portugal on the EU Blue Card are also entitled to family reunification in Portugal. Even more information on the EU Blue Card is available in our guide to work permits for working in Portugal.

Joining relatives in Portugal with permanent residence or citizenship

If your relative in Portugal has a permanent residence permit, issued after five years of residence in Portugal, your Portuguese spouse visa or family visa will be valid for two years and can be renewed. Read even more in our guide to Portuguese residency permits.

After the initial two-year period, and if the family tie persists, any family members can obtain an independent residence permit. Spouses receive an independent residence permit immediately if the marriage has lasted for more than five years. Minor dependent children also typically receive individual residence permits within two years.

Once the two-year residence permit period expires, family members receive the same permanent residence type as other foreign permanent residents. This means they also have the same rights as Portuguese nationals in terms of employment, education, healthcare, social security, and tax benefits.

If you acquired Portuguese citizenship (available after six years of residence in Portugal) then you have the same rights as Portuguese and EU citizens. If your family joins you as an EU citizen, your family members don’t require a Portuguese family visa. You can also read the conditions in our guide to EU family member visas.

Relatives working or studying in Portugal

Portugal spouse visa – Portugal marriage visa

Relatives joining non-EU/EFTA foreign residents on a family reunion visa in Portugal are entitled to work and study, although they need to inform their local branch of the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF) before doing so. Find your closest SEF office.

Read more in our guides to working in Portugal and Portuguese student visas.

How to apply to join a relative or partner in Portugal

Applications for a spousal visa must be made by the existing holder of a Portuguese residence permit. Submit your application to the SEF. For more information, you can schedule an appointment with the SEF here, or make an appointment online.

You must submit the following documents along with the application:

  • proof of the right to family reunification in Portugal (residence permit or EU Blue Card)
  • proof of relationship to family member(s)
  • copies of passport/ID for family member(s)
  • proof of accommodation for family member(s) (does not apply to refugees)
  • proof of sufficient resources to meet the needs of family member(s) (does not apply to refugees, however)
  • criminal record certificate(s) of family member(s)
  • proof of incapacity or economic dependency of any dependent relatives who are not minor children
  • certificate of adoption in the case of adopted children
  • birth certificate, proof of economic dependence and proof of educational enrolment in Portugal in the case of children who are studying in Portugal
  • certificate of guardianship in the case of minor brothers and sisters
  • proof of de facto union in the case of partner who is not a spouse

If your application for a family visa is approved, the relevant residence visas will be issued in the name of each family member. The SEF will communicate with the parties involved, the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MNE), as well as the respective Portuguese embassy or consulate in the home country of the person requiring the visa. A list of Portuguese embassies abroad is available here.

Family reunion application made from within Portugal

In some cases, you can apply for family reunion visas while on Portuguese territory. In these instances, the request can come from either the holder of the Portuguese residence permit or from the family member seeking a family visa.

The family member applying for a family visa will also have to provide proof of legal entry into Portugal. Read more about Portuguese visa types.

Decisions on family reunion visas in Portugal can take up to 90 days. There is a non-refundable fee of €90 to make an application for family reunion in Portugal. Minor dependents are exempt from this fee.

What happens if your relative dies or moves abroad?

In exceptional cases such as divorce or death of the relative, you may apply for an autonomous resident permit within the initial two-year reunion visa period.

Further information

  • www.sef.pt – Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF)
  • EU guide with details of family reunion for non-EU/ETFA nationals
  • Details of local SEF offices