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Portugal family reunion visa requirements, the step by step application process and FAQs

Family members of Portugal residents and citizens can apply for a Portugal family visa if they are living in another country.

Portugal family visa is issued by the Immigration and Borders Service (SEF) when a number of criteria are fulfilled by both the applicant and their family member. One important thing to remember is that each country defines the term “family member” differently.

Below you’ll find more information and what it means to be a family member for Portugal and how to apply for a Portugal family visa.

Who Can Apply for a Portugal Family Visa?

Only immediate family members of residence permit holders or citizenship can apply for a family visa. An immediate family member according to Portugal’s Alien National Act is defined as:

  • Married or registered partner.
  • Minor children, including adopted children.
  • Any children under the care of the applicant.
  • Children who are of age but dependent on the applicant and are enrolled in an established educational institution in Portugal.
  • First-degree relatives who are dependent on the applicant.
  • Minor siblings who are under the legal custody of the resident.

For holders of a student permit, unremunerated traineeship, or voluntary service, family members are considered only the first three categories; spouse, children, and adopted children.

How to Apply for a Portugal Family Visa?

There are two important steps to your application process:

  1. Initial application at SEF.
  2. Application at a Portuguese Embassy or Consulate.

Application at SEF

For a family visa, your sponsor needs to apply initially at SEF on your behalf before you apply at a local embassy. Several documents (see below) are required from your sponsor to bring with them when they visit SEF.

SEF will review this application within 60 days and notify your sponsor, you, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of their decision.

Application at an Embassy or Consulate

After the initial application has been granted then you can continue with your application at a Portugal embassy/consulate within your country of residence.

  1. Prepare the required documents. Make sure you collect all the necessary documents, which include, recent pictures, passport, family certificate, and so on. All the documents should be translated into Portuguese by an authorized translator so that the documents can be certified by the Portuguese Notary; Portuguese Consulate in the country where the document was passed; Consulate of that country in Portugal.
  2. Schedule an appointment. Set an appointment with the embassy for your submission. Once an appointment has been verified then hand in your documents. The embassy will let you know of their decision and then you can travel to Portugal.
  3. Enter Portugal and go to the SEF. Once you enter Portugal visit SEF in order to register as a resident of Portugal and receive your long-term residence permit.

At times SEF may require an interview during the initial application, and if the office thinks it’s necessary they will interview family members as well.

In cases where the application deals with the reunification of unmarried partners things such as; the existence of a child, the duration of cohabitation, or the registration of the partnership, will be considered important factors.

When to Apply for a Portugal Family Visa?

A family visa application must be submitted as early as 60 days before when you need the visa. The family visa for Portugal application can be made at the same time when your sponsor applies for their permit

How Long Does It Take to Process the Family Visa Application?

The application will take 60 days to process. SEF will send a written reply of the decision to the applicant and will notify the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. However, some applications may take an extra 60 days to review. In this case, SEF will notify the applicant of the extended time.

In cases where an application takes more than 6 months to review it will be considered automatically as valid. If this happens then SEF will certify this granting and inform the Director General of Consular and Portuguese Communities Affairs that a family visa for the purpose of family reunification has been issued.

Portugal Family Visa Requirements

You need these documents when you apply for a family visa in Portugal:

  • Identity pictures.
  • Portugal visa application form.
  • Passport
  • Identity documents of the foreign family member.
  • Certificate proving the family relationship.
  • Certificate proving that the residency type of the applicant allows family reunification.
  • Verified accommodation.
  • Proof of enough financial means for both the applicant and the family members.
  • Proof that the family member has been living legally in the current place of residence.
  • Birth certificate in cases where the family member is a dependent adult (applicant’s child).
  • Document proving the enrollment of the family member in an educational institution in Portugal in cases where the dependent is a student and the applicant’s child.
  • Copies of adoption paper and copies of verified adoption by the court in the current country of residence.
  • Document proving economic dependence of the family member under the age of 65.
  • Document proving legal custody in case of minor siblings.
  • Parental consent in cases where the family member is a minor child.
  • Certificate of registered partnership.

How Long Is the Portugal Family Visa Valid?

The Portugal family visa is valid for the duration of the sponsor’s residence permit. In cases where the couple has been married for five years, the initial residence permit is valid for two years and an autonomous visa is granted that is valid for three years and renewable every three years.

Keep in mind that when you first enter with your residency visa that is only valid for four months. This allows you only to identify yourself in SEF and receive your long-term residence permit.

Can I Extend a Portugal Family Visa?

Yes, you should extend your visa every three years after the initial two-year validity. Please make sure to do so within the regular time frame otherwise you will be fined for an expired visa.

Can Family Visa Holders Work in Portugal?

Family visa holders can work in Portugal and study as any other citizen. However, if you intend to work you should let SEF know beforehand. Especially if you were receiving social support since once you start working the support will be revoked.

How Much Does the Portugal Family Reunion Visa Cost?

The usual fee for a Portugal family visa is around €84. Also, you have to pay the fee for the temporary national visa as well which is about €75.

Can I Get Permanent Residence in Portugal With a Family Visa?

Yes, after 5 years of continuous living in Portugal you can apply for a permanent residence. The residence is infinite but must be renewed every five years.

When you apply for a permanent residence you must submit a certificate proving that you have acquired a satisfactory level of the Portuguese language. In addition to this, the permanent residence permit is granted to residents who have had no prior criminal convictions during their residency.

Can I Get Portugal Citizenship With a Family Visa

After six years of living in Portugal, you may apply for citizenship. You need to submit proof of having learned the language and proof that you are not under investigation or convicted of any crimes.

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