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When emigrating to Madeira from a non-EU country, one crucial aspect is the different options you have regarding residence permits.

Madeira is an integral part of Portugal and the European Union. As such, residence permits follow the rules dictated under Portuguese law. Emigration issues in Portugal are managed by SEF (Borders and Emigration Service).

Residence Permits in Madeira

Foreign citizens from non-EU countries who intend to live in Madeira for more than 90 days must obtain a residence permit or long-term visa from their local Portuguese Embassy. Long-term visas allow entry into Portuguese territory so that you can apply for a residence permit at the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF).

These residence permits allow:

  1. The right to live, work and study in Portugal 
  2. The possibility of family reunification
  3. Visa-free travel throughout the Schengen Area (26 European countries)
  4. A special tax regime for Non-Habitual Residents (NHR)
  5. A highly competitive tax regime for companies
  6. Qualification for a permanent residence visa in Portugal after five years, citizenship after six years
  7. Portuguese residence rights, including education and health care

Portugal issues residence permits through a simplified and speedy process. There are many residence permits in Portugal, but the more popular options are the Golden Visa, the D2 Visa and the D7 Visa.

When choosing a residence permit in Portugal, the first vital aspect to consider is whether you wish to stay for more than 90 days in Portugal. Different residence permits have different requirements. The D2 and D7 visas require you to spend considerable time in Portuguese territory. On the other hand, the Golden Visa only requires applicants to spend seven days per year in Portugal (in the first year, 14 days in the following periods of 2 years).


Golden Visa

The Golden Visa is a residence permit granted by the Portuguese government in exchange for certain qualifying investments in Portugal. A Golden Visa allows third-country nationals to live in Portugal and travel throughout the Schengen Area without needing to become residents of Portugal.


Advantages of the Golden Visa:

  • The right to live, work, and study in Portugal
  • The right to travel throughout the Schengen Area (26 countries)
  • Allows for the subsequent family reunification of spouses, children, parents, and parents-in-law
  • Possibility of permanent residency after five years
  • Possibility of Portuguese citizenship after six years
  • You can complement it with the Non-Habitual Resident regime – a very attractive tax regime if you wish to become a tax resident in Portugal

D2 Visa

This visa is granted to entrepreneurs or independent workers who wish to reside in Madeira.

There are no minimum requirements for the investment (a company can be created in Portugal with just 1 euro of share capital). Still, entrepreneurs must demonstrate the economic, social, scientific, technological, or cultural relevance of the business project to be established and have the financial means to support the investment and themselves.

Independent workers must also have proof of a service agreement.

The Portuguese D2 Visa is also perfect for digital nomads who are entrepreneurs or freelance workers. Starting in August 2022, special rules apply to those wanting to use Portugal as their base country.

The key requirement for the new digital nomad visa is that the applicant must be able to demonstrate the existence of an employment relationship or freelance activity with a non-resident entity, i.e., the applicant should have proper contracts and documentation sustaining the grounds under which the visa is being requested.

Dependent family members can also be included in the D2 visa. It is valid for two years and renewable for two periods of three years.


D7 Visa

The D7 visa allows foreign citizens to live in Madeira, provided they have enough income to sustain themselves adequately. Passive income holders can request the D7 visa (automatically generated and received regardless of the geographical location of its holder), namely:

  • Foreign pensioners with their own constant income (higher than the national minimum wage)
  • Foreign citizens who have their own income from movable or immovable property, intellectual property, or financial applications


Applicants must prove that they have a monthly income higher than the Portuguese minimum wage (€705 for 2022), open a bank account in a Portuguese bank, and are required to own or rent property in Portugal. 


Other residence permits in Madeira

If you are interested in creating a start-up, the Start-up Visa is perfect for you. This program welcomes foreign entrepreneurs who wish to develop an innovative project in Portugal. Foreign entrepreneurs who want to start an innovative company have access to a residence visa that gives them the possibility of creating a start-up or relocating an existing one to Portugal.

Additionally, the Tech Visa is another option that allows highly qualified workers from outside the EU easy access to jobs created by Portuguese companies. This program is directed at companies that operate globally and wish to attract highly skilled and specialised workers to Portugal from third-party countries or to relocate to Portugal professionals in their team for a management, specialised or training position.

You can find out more about Portuguese residence permits on our website.

Permanent residency

EU citizens legally residing in Portugal for five consecutive years have the right to request permanent residency. They must apply for a registration certificate of permanent residence at SEF before their temporary residence permit expires.

To get a permanent residency in Portugal, you must:

  • Have been legally residing in Portugal for five consecutive years
  • Have financial means of subsistence
  • Have evidence of accommodation in Portugal
  • Have a basic understanding of the Portuguese language

After granting your permanent residency request, SEF will give you a title of permanent residence. This title must be renewed every five years.

You can lose the right to permanent residence if you have been outside Portuguese territory for more than two consecutive years.


The Madeira Emigration Process – What to look out for

The most vital aspect when deciding between residence permits in Portugal is whether you wish to move to Madeira. Most visas require you to spend a considerable amount of time in the country, while the Golden Visa allows you to get a residence permit without having to live in Portuguese territory.

This is an increasingly complex decision. And that is where we come in. The NEWCO group has more than 30 years’ experience helping expats and investors in Portugal. We are prepared to assist you with your every need.


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