How to Apply for a Portuguese Student Visa

Created: Jun 25, 2024 | Updated: Jun 25, 2024

A student visa is an official document issued by the Portuguese government that allows you to live and study in Portugal for the duration of your course. It’s an indispensable part of your journey, and getting it right can make your transition to studying abroad much smoother.

In this blog, we'll walk you through everything you need to know about applying for a Portuguese student visa. We’ll cover whether you need a visa based on your nationality and the length of your course, the different types of student visas available, and the specific requirements you need to meet. Additionally, we’ll provide a detailed, step-by-step guide on how to apply for your visa, what happens after you submit your application, and essential information like photo specifications and processing times. We’ll also touch on costs, potential interview questions, and what to expect after you get your visa.

Lastly, we’ll address common questions and concerns, such as bringing family members with you, what to do if your application is rejected, and whether a student visa can lead to permanent residency. So, let’s dive in and get you one step closer to your dreams!

Table of Contents

Do I need a visa to study in Portugal?

Whether or not you need a visa to study in Portugal depends on a few key factors, such as the length of your course and your nationality. Let's break it down to make it easier to understand.

For a Study Course Longer Than Three Months

Suppose your course lasts more than three months. In that case, you'll need a student visa, except if you are an EU/EFTA national, then you will need to provide a certificate of residence from your local city council. This applies to almost everyone who plans to stay in Portugal for an extended period to study. However, the specific visa requirements can vary depending on whether you are an EU citizen, a non-EU citizen, or a UK national.

EU Citizens

If you are a citizen of an EU/EFTA country, you're in luck. You do not need a visa to study in Portugal, no matter the length of your course. You can enter Portugal freely with just your passport or ID card. Once you arrive, you’ll need to register your residence if you plan to stay for more than three months.

Non-EU Citizens

As a non-EU citizen, you will need to apply for a student visa if your course is longer than 90 days. If it is less than 90 days, and you are from one of these 61 countries, you dont need a visa. But if you are not, you need to get a student visa.  This means going through the process of gathering necessary documents, completing application forms, and possibly attending an interview at a Portuguese consulate or embassy in your home country.

UK Nationals after Brexit

Since Brexit, UK nationals are no longer considered EU citizens. This change means that if you’re from the UK and your course lasts longer than three months, you will need to apply for a student visa, much like non-EU citizens. 

UK nationals who were living in Portugal as of 31 December 2020 can apply for a residence permit following the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement terms. You can find more information on the AIMA website. They fall under the Portuguese Ministry of Internal Affairs (Ministério da Administração Interna – MAI) and oversee that immigration and asylum practices keep to the constitutional, legal, and governmental guidelines.

Types of Portuguese student visa

  1. Type C (Schengen) Visa/Short-stay Student Visas: Suitable for courses or study programs that last less than three months. This type of visa is ideal for short courses, summer schools, language courses, or exchange programs.
  2. Type D Visa/Long-stay Student Visas: Required for courses or study programs that extend beyond three months. It’s perfect for students committed to extensive studies, research, or any academic program that spans several semesters or years.

Portugal student visa requirements

The following are the things you must have before you apply for a short-stay and long-stay visa:

Type C (Schengen) Visa Requirements

  • Proof of acceptance to study a short course (3 months) in Portugal.
  • Proof of visa fee payment. It costs €80 for adults and children over 12, €40 for children aged 6–12, €35 for nationals of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, and free for children under 6, Diplomats, family members of EU/EFTA nationals, pupils and students accompanying teachers during a school trip, Scientific researchers and Reps. of non-profit organizations (not older than 25) participating in conferences, cultural or sports events organized by non-profit organizations.
  • Completed visa application form.
  • Valid passport.
  • Passport-sized photographs.
  • Travel itinerary.
  • Proof of financial means.
  • Proof of accommodation in Portugal

Type D Visa Requirements

  • Proof of admission into a Portuguese University or Institution.
  • Proof of visa fee payment. You will be required to pay €90 for the entry visa, and €108 for the long-term residence permit.
  • Health insurance.
  • Criminal record certificate.
  • Proof of tuition payment.
  • Completed visa application form.
  • Valid passport.
  • Passport-sized photographs.
  • Proof of financial means.
  • Proof of accommodation in Portugal.

For Brazilian citizens, specific requirements might differ slightly. It’s essential to check the latest visa requirements for Brazilian citizens to ensure compliance.

How can Translayte help?

When dealing with the Portugal visa application process, ensuring that all your documents are accurately translated and certified can be a daunting task, if they’re not originally in Portuguese. This is where Translayte comes in. As a trusted translation company, we specialise in providing Portuguese certified translations that meet the stringent requirements of the Portuguese authorities. From your acceptance letters and financial documents to criminal record certificates and health insurance papers, we ensure every document is translated with precision and accepted by the consulate. Let us handle the translations so you can focus on preparing for your exciting journey to study in Portugal.

How to apply for a Portugal student visa

You can apply for your study visa in your home country. The same application process applies to the two types of study visas. For a favourable result, follow the following steps to apply for a Portuguese study visa. 

  1. Apply to and gain admission into an educational institution in Portugal.
  2. Gather the necessary documents as we have shared above, and fill out the visa application form. You can apply online or at a Portuguese Embassy or Consulate.
  3. Submit the application.
  4. Schedule and attend the visa interview.
  5. Provide your biometric information.
  6. If your application is approved, collect your passport with the attached visa back.
  7. You can now travel to Portugal.


How to apply for a Portugal student visa

What happens after submitting your visa application?

  • Stay alert for additional requirements. The consulate might need extra information or notice an error in your application.
  • If you experience any significant changes, such as a change in marital status or the birth of a child, you must inform the consulate or embassy immediately.
  • Track your application status on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, to stay in the loop.
  • If your plans change and you no longer wish to pursue your studies in Portugal, you have the option to withdraw your application. However, the visa application fee is non-refundable.
  • Once your visa is approved, it will either be mailed to your registered address or you might need to pick it up from the embassy or consulate.
  • Having a visa does not automatically guarantee entry into Portugal. When you arrive at the border, immigration officers will check your documents. If there are any discrepancies or issues with your visa or personal information, you might be asked to return to your home country. Therefore, double-check all your documents before you travel to ensure everything is in order.

Photo specifications for Portuguese student visa

  • The photo should measure 35mm x 45mm.
  • It must be against a plain white or light grey background.
  • Keep a neutral expression with both eyes open.
  • Your face should be centred in the frame, and your head should take up about 70-80% of the photo.
  • The photo should be recent, taken within the last six months.

Processing time for a Portuguese student visa

The processing time for a Portuguese visa can vary, but it typically takes around 15 working days. It’s advisable to apply well in advance of your intended start date.

Popular interview questions for Portuguese student visa 

Here are some common questions you might encounter, along with tips on how to answer them.

  1. Why did you choose this course and institution?
  2. How are you planning to finance your studies?
  3. Where will you be staying in Portugal?
  4. What are your plans after completing your studies?
  5. Can you describe your daily routine as a student?
  6. Why did you choose Portugal for your studies?
  7. Have you travelled or lived abroad before?

Tips for the Interview

  • Be honest and clear.
  • Prepare your documents.
  • Stay calm and confident.
  • Rehearse your answers to common questions with a friend or family member.

What is next after you get the Portuguese student visa?

Before You Travel

  1. Check Visa Validity and Entries: Make sure you note the expiry date of your visa and the number of entries permitted. It’s crucial to understand that staying beyond your visa’s validity is not allowed.
  2. Travel Within Visa Validity: Plan your travel so that you arrive in Portugal while your visa is still valid. This ensures you don’t face any issues at the border.
  3. Carry Important Documents: Always have a copy of your passport and other essential travel documents with you.
  4. Health and Travel Insurance: Arrange for health insurance and travel insurance from a certified company. This is not only a visa requirement but also ensures you are covered for any emergencies during your stay.

At the Border

  1. Document Verification: Upon arrival, be prepared to present your visa, admission letter, proof of accommodation, and proof of financial resources.
  2. Entry Stamp: Make sure to obtain an entry stamp on your passport. This is a critical step as it officially records your entry into Portugal.
  3. Seek Assistance If Needed: If you have any questions or face any issues, consult the airport authorities.
  4. Follow Guidelines: Check your visa copy for any additional guidelines or rules you need to follow upon entry.

Arrived in Portugal

  1. Adapt and Abide by Local Laws: Once in Portugal, ensure you are aware of and adhere to local laws and regulations.
  2. Study, Work, and Explore: With your student visa, you can study, work part-time, and explore the beautiful country of Portugal.
  3. Respect Restricted Areas: Be mindful of tourist-prohibited areas and avoid them.
  4. Visa Extension: If you need to extend your stay, apply for an extension well before your current visa expires.

FAQs about the Portuguese student visa 

Can I bring family members with me?

Yes, you can bring your family members to Portugal while you study. However, they will need to apply for their own visas. 

My student visa application was rejected, what can I do?

If your student visa application was rejected, don't worry, you have options. You can appeal the decision by contacting the Portuguese consulate or embassy where you submitted your application. Be sure to gather any additional supporting documents that could strengthen your case. Sometimes, a rejection is due to missing information or minor errors that can be corrected.

What is the duration of a student visa in Portugal?

The duration of your student visa will depend on the length of your course. If you’re enrolled in a short-term program, your visa might be valid for just a few months. For longer courses, such as a university degree, your visa could last for several years. 

Can I work with a Portuguese student visa?

Yes, you can work while studying in Portugal. A student visa allows you to work part-time during your studies. This can be a great way to gain experience and support yourself financially. There are restrictions on the number of hours you can work, so make sure to understand these before starting a job.

What is the Portuguese Family Reunification Visa?

The Portuguese Family Reunification Visa allows family members of a legal resident in Portugal to join them in the country. This visa is applicable if you are already in Portugal with a valid visa or residence permit. Family members, such as spouses, children, and dependent parents, can apply for this visa to live with you in Portugal.

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