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Is it necessary to apply for a work visa on a Portuguese embassy? Is there another way? The expression of interest in Portugal.

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In Portugal, for some time, those who arrived without a Consular Visa and perhaps had the opportunity to receive a job offer or perform independent paid activity, needed to return to their country of origin to apply for an appropriate Visa.

One of the amendments of Law 23 /2007, or “Immigration Law”, the possibility of applying for a Residence Permit directly in Portugal for the purpose of remunerated activity began to be foreseen.

However, it was a right with subjective analysis, recognized as an exceptional measure. This means that the analysis of the process did not comply with objective criteria, but with the interpretation of the SEF agent, according to his own understanding of what would be necessary for the applicant to prove residence conditions.

After the aforementioned Law, which took place in 2018, the processes of what we know today as “Expression of Interest” became less bureaucratic and more objective. you.

This is due to the fact that it is no longer recognized as an exceptional measure, and there is a legal provision. Now, the criteria of the entire process are objective and no longer depend on the subjective analysis of SEF agents. namely articles 88, nº 2 and 89, nº 2, of Law 23/2007.

Thus, the basic documentation required is broken down and there is a legal deadline if the applicant, on the day of attendance at the SEF, is missing some of these documents.

That is, they must have a validity period of at least 06 months automatically renewable for another 06 months, totaling 12 months equivalent to the term of the first Residence Permit.


Anyone who, by chance, already on Portuguese soil, obtains a job offer or an Employment Contract, if these meet the legal criteria, may be entitled to a Residence Permit. the applicant must prove that he has a Promised Employment Contract or an Employment Contract. These need to be in accordance with the labor legislation of Portugal and meet basic requirements that confer residency conditions.

That is, they must have a validity period of at least 06 months automatically renewable for another 06 months, totaling 12 months equivalent to the term of the first Residence Permit. In addition, they must grant the worker a monthly salary of at least 01 Portuguese minimum wage.

Independent Workers; Service Providers and/or Entrepreneurs

This article provides for the possibility of a Residence Permit for those “autonomous” and/or entrepreneurs. employment with a third party. These professionals can either provide services to several people/entities, or may also have a Service Provision Contract with only one institution/individual. registered/constituted and, in some cases, with other contracted workers under his charge. their professional activity. Professionals, in this situation, must be aware that what is obtained monthly will be considered by the SEF based on the net amount, including the mandatory tax/social security discounts.

Expression of Interest Process

In possession of the documentation for each case, the candidate must apply for a Residence Permit through an Expression of Interest with the SEF.

Some documents are common to both cases, others are specific according to the type of activity carried out and/or contract they have.

In any case, when attending in person at the SEF, they must have all the documents provided for by law, basic for the process:

– NIF;


– Proof of means of subsistence (in general, receipts of salary and Portuguese bank account statements);

– Certificate of address in Portugal;

– Criminal record certificate from the country of origin (if you live outside your country of origin for more than 12 months, you must also present the criminal record of that country of residence );

– Valid passport;

– Proof of the activity carried out (whether it be an Employment Contract, Service Provision, Proof of Opening of Activity or Company Formation , among others);

-Proof of income.

Proof of entry into Portugal

A document that has caused a lot of controversy is proof of legal entry into Portuguese territory. inform the SEF within 03 days of your arrival. Bear in mind that it will be an “interview” equivalent to going through immigration, so you must have all the documents required for the purpose of your visit to Portugal. of Interest does not have proof of legal entry (the stamp in the passport made by the Portuguese immigration agent, or the communication certificate provided by the SEF if you have notified your entry within the 03 days), in some cases it is possible to replace this document. Sometimes, at their discretion, SEF agents accept, for example, proof from an airline or road company that the passenger actually boarded to Por tugal. not accept them. The most recent amendment to Law 23/2007, however, provides for the possibility of replacing this document if the applicant has proof that he has contributed to Social Security for at least 12 consecutive months.

Gathering documents for the Expression of Interest

Returning to the first stage of carrying out your Expression of Interest: after gathering the basic documentation, you must complete your registration and instruction of the request directly on the SEF portal specific for this: the SAPA Portal.

You must wait for your Expression of Interest to be analyzed. This can take from a few weeks to several months, depending on the demand at the time. Once your Expression of Interest is approved, you will receive an email at the address registered in SAPA. the email is not always sent, so it is always good to consult the portal to check if there are messages directed to you. the presentation of missing documents. Scheduling for the Expression of Interest in Portugal.

From this moment on, you can schedule your service In person at the SEF.

At this time, the documents already sent through the SAPA Portal, updated, will be presented, as well as the presentation of documents that are missing and new documents that are foreseen, case by case. in person at the SEF is done exclusively via the SAPA Portal, on your personal registration page.

After the appointment has been made, now it is time to wait for the day of your service. We remind you that if you made your procedural instruction through article 88, you cannot change it to article 89 on the day of the interview.

There are reports that this happened to some people and it was accepted by the SEF agent. However, if these statements are true, they are exceptional situations and, once again, the result of a discretionary understanding by the SEF agent. That is, there is no legal provision in this regard, much less jurisprudence, so that if service is denied, there is no great basis for requesting an administrative appeal. You should, therefore, restart your process from scratch.

Completion of the Expression of Interest process

After the interview, SEF provides a document with your data and photo, which proves that your process has already been completed and is awaiting final analysis. If approved, you will receive your Residence Title at home (or you can pick you up in person, if you so choose). If, after the final analysis, any outstanding issue is identified, you will be notified to appear again at SEF to remedy or justify it. We always remember that, as a general rule, if you are not in good standing in Portuguese territory, you must always wait to obtain your Residence Permit in order to leave Portugal (whether to other countries in the Schengen Area, the European Union, or Third Countries). move outside Portuguese territory. If you do so without having this authorization, you will always run the risk of being expelled from the country you are going to (with return to your country of and origin and legal residence), or entry impediment when returning to Portugal through Portuguese immigration. these vouchers are valid only for Portugal.

Possibility of Family Reunification

Anyone who obtains a Residence Permit through Expression of Interest also has the right to Family Reunification. After obtaining your Title, you can schedule an appointment at the SEF for your family members. This process follows the same rules as for a regular Family Reunification. Possible fees and fines Those who make the Expression of Interest while already in an irregular situation in Portugal must bear the burden of a fine. This is calculated according to the period in which they were irregular. , this can reach a maximum value of 250 euros. If you decide to appeal and your appeal is rejected, the value can reach 750 euros. If you do not have proof of legal entry, you will also be charged a fine.

On average, the amount is 60 euros (which may be higher or lower depending on each case).  but citizens of CLPL countries – Community of Portuguese Language Countries pay a more affordable price.

If you do not receive your Title within 90 days, we advise you to contact the SEF and ask that it be tracked. If you encounter problems with your Expression of Interest process, feel insecure about the procedure or do not have time to deal with the required documentation and other related acts, we always advise you to seek a specialized professional who is legally qualified to provide legal advice and support.

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