Why did Margot decide to move to Portugal?
Margot is a commercial artist from Australia and an avid surfer. She lived by the ocean and surfed at least once a week, sometimes participating in amateur competitions. A couple of years ago, Margot made friends with a surfer from Portugal, who invited her for a visit.
Margot fell in love with Portugal. She appreciated it being similar to Australia regarding access to the ocean and surfing opportunities. The milder Portuguese climate and lower prices were even more enjoyable for Margot.
Another advantage was the location. Travelling around Europe is neither expensive nor time-consuming for those living in Portugal. While living in Australia, Margot couldn't travel as much as she desired due to the country's remote location. Travels from Australia were costly and exhausting due to the long flights.
During the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, Margot transitioned to remote work and has been working from home ever since. She wasn’t tied to Australia and ventured into moving to Portugal.
Choosing between D7 and Digital Nomad Visa
Margot turned to Immigrant Invest in the autumn of 2022. She heard of the Portugal D7 Visa for financially independent persons and wanted to apply for it with our assistance.
To qualify for a D7 Visa, one had to show a monthly income of over €705, the minimum wage in Portugal in 2022. In 2023, the minimum increased to €760. Margot earned more than that, so she believed she was eligible for the visa.
However, the situation has changed. In October 2022, Portugal introduced the Digital Nomad Visa, a new residence visa designed primarily for remote workers.
To qualify for a Digital Nomad Visa, an applicant must earn four times more than the minimum wage. In 2022, the required income was €2,820 a month and became €3,040 in 2023.
Before the Digital Nomad Visa was launched, remote workers could apply for a D7 Visa. Now, the D7 Visa is available only for applicants earning passive income. Remote workers are allowed to apply only for the Digital Nomad Visa.
Eligibility criteria for the D7 and Digital Nomad Visas to Portugal
|Criteria||D7 Visa||Digital Nomad Visa|
|Source of income outside Portugal||Dividends, interest, royalties, rentals, pensions||Salary earned under the employment, partnership or service agreement|
Margot earns AU$ 70,000 per year, which is equivalent to about €42,000. Her monthly wage is around €3,500, and an Australian company officially employs her. Margot also has a savings account that earns her interest. Yet, this income from interest is below the required €760 a month. Thus, Margot could apply for a Digital Nomad Visa but not for a D7 Visa.
Preparing to apply for a Digital Nomad Visa
Immigrant Invest runs an internal Due Diligence check on all applicants before signing a Services Agreement. This helps identify the risks of visa refusal in time.
Margot had a legal source of income, no criminal record, and no history of Schengen visa refusals. She had good odds of getting a residence permit if she fulfilled all the visa conditions.
To apply for a Portugal Digital Nomad Visa, Margot had to:
- Prove a monthly income of €3,040.
- Demonstrate savings in the amount of 12 minimum wages for digital nomads.
- Secure a place to live in Portugal for a year.
- Take out medical insurance.
Margot chose to rent an apartment in Lisbon, the country's capital. She selected a one-bedroom apartment for €1,500 a month in Misericordia, the city's historic centre. Margot signed a year-long lease agreement and paid the first six months of rent — €9,000.
How Margot got a Portugal Digital Nomad Visa and a residence permit
Margot spent €9,268 and 7 months to get a Portugal residence permit.
After the check, Margot signed a Services Agreement with Immigrant Invest.
The NIF is an individual tax number in Portugal required for renting property and opening a bank account there.
Margot did not have to go to Portugal at this stage. Immigrant Invest lawyers obtained her NIF on her behalf through a proxy.
Immigrant Invest real estate experts selected several apartments in Lisbon for Margot. She opted for an apartment in the city centre.
The Immigrant Invest lawyer signed a lease on Margot’s behalf, and she transferred the payment for the first half year.
Margot collected all the necessary documents, which she had translated and certified. The Immigrant Invest lawyers assisted her with filling out the required government forms.
The document package included the following:
- a passport;
- two coloured photos;
- a NIF registration certificate;
- a motivational letter explaining why Margot wanted to move to Portugal;
- an employment contract;
- a bank statement proving a monthly income of over €3,040;
- an account balance of over €36,480;
- tax return statements;
- a certificate of no criminal record from Australia;
- a rental agreement;
- travel insurance;
- tickets to Portugal.
Margot visited the Portuguese Consulate in Melbourne, where she personally applied for a Digital Nomad Visa and paid the visa fee of €90.
The Portuguese Consulate took approximately six weeks to review Margot’s application. Once approved, the visa was affixed to Margot’s passport.
The visa included a date for Margot to visit the Portuguese Migration Service, SEF.
Margot was scheduled for an interview at SEF on June 19th, 2023. She arrived in Portugal several days prior on a Digital Nomad Visa and, accompanied by the Immigrant Invest lawyer, applied for a residence permit.
The documents Margot submitted were the same as before, but now it also included a local medical insurance policy, a requirement at this stage.
When the residence card was issued, it was sent by courier to Margot’s residence in Lisbon.
Margot’s life in Portugal
Margot has settled into her new life in Lisbon. With the help of a Portuguese friend she met back in Australia, she is adapting to the new environment. They have even gone surfing together already.
Margot is planning and eagerly anticipating many weekend trips to other European countries, a luxury she can now afford. She doesn’t have to wait for a vacation to travel anymore.
Margot believes that she can spend less and save more by living in Portugal and working for an Australian company. Consumer prices in Lisbon are considered to be roughly half of those in Melbourne.
The Portugal residence permit card issued to Margot is valid for 2 years. If she enjoys living in Portugal, she can renew it for another 3 years. After living in the country for 5 years, Margot will gain the right to apply for Portugal citizenship.