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If you are moving to Madeira from a non-EU country, you are faced with the task of getting a Portuguese residence permit.

Portugal offers several different residence permits that have specific criteria. The most common are the D2 Visa, the D7 Visa, and the Digital Nomads Visa.

In this article, we present you with several different options regarding Portuguese residence permits.

Getting a Residence Visa in Madeira

Foreign citizens from non-EU countries who intend to stay Madeira for more than 90 days must obtain a residencevisa from their local Portuguese Embassy.

Residence visas allow entry into Portuguese territory so that you can apply for a temporary 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. The right to benefit from a special tax regime for Non-Habitual Residents (NHR)
  5. Qualification for a permanent residence permit in Portugal after five years, citizenship after six years
  6. Portuguese residence rights, including education and health care

Depending on your objective, Portugal has many residence permits to choose from. The more popular options are the Golden Visa, the D2 Visa and the D7 Visa and the Digital Nomad Visa.

When choosing a residence permit in Portugal, the first vital aspect to consider is whether you want to live in Portugal and become a portuguese tax resident.

Most visas, such as the D2 and D7 require you to spend at least 6 consecutive months (or 8 non-consecutive months) in Portugal.

On the other hand, the Golden Visa only requires applicants to spend seven days per year in Portugal (in the first year).


Golden Visa

The Golden Visa is a residence permit granted by the Portuguese government in exchange for certain qualifying investments made 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.


Important: The requirements for the Portuguese Golden Visa have recently changed!

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 advantageous 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, the applicants 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 services agreement with a Portuguese company.

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.


Digital Nomad Visa

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


D7 Visa

The D7 visa allows foreign citizens living out of retirement or passive income to live in Madeira, provided they have evidence of a regular and steady flow of pension or passive income, namely dividends, real estate, royalties, or income form finantial statements.


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.

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.

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 Non-Habitual Resident tax regime (NHR)

The Non-Habitual Resident tax regime (NHR) is the perfect complement for those that have just moved to Portugal.

A Non-Habitual Resident in Portugal is any individual who becomes a tax resident in Portugal while not having been a tax resident in any of the 5 years before moving to this country.

NHRs benefit from many tax advantages, such as a flat tax rate of 20% for income obtained from high value-added activities of scientific, artistic and technical character.

Other benefits include a 10% flat rate for pensions obtained abroad and tax exemptions for capital gains, dividends and other passive incomes obtained abroad.

Starting a business in Madeira – the International Business Centre

Madeira is a prime destination to start a business in the European Union. Investors will find in Madeira a modern and competitive business environment that grants, among many other advantages, the lowest corporate income tax rate in Portugal (14,7% or 5% if operating within the International Business Centre of Madeira).

The International Business Centre of Madeira (IBCM) grants a series of benefits, mainly of a tax nature, which are approved by the European Commission. The International Business Centre of Madeira fully complies with EU law and is not a tax haven.

Companies operating within the IBCM benefit from one of the most advantageous tax regimes in the European Union, including a 5% corporate income tax rate, exemption for withholding tax on the distribution of dividends to non-resident shareholders, and capital gains exemption, among other advantages.

Madeira Immigration – What to look out for

There is plenty of easily available online information regarding Portuguese residence permits. However, this information can be confusing or ambiguous.

While you can get your residence permit in Portugal and register as a Portuguese Non-Habitual Resident on your own, when dealing with such complex legal and bureaucratic matters, the devil is in the details.

A specialised local partner such as NEWCO  will guide you and assist you every step of the way, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free relocation to Madeira.

We are based in Madeira and have an experienced team of lawyers, certified accountants, and tax and immigration experts that have helped many people like you with every aspect of moving to Portugal.

*The Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) is currently undergoing dissolution and will be substituted for a similar governmental agency.


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