The timing of acquiring a D7 visa is partially up to you and partially up to SEF & the consulate. While applying for a D7 visa for Portugal is pretty simple in and of itself, it requires you gather quite a bit of information to submit. If you’re really organized and methodical about it, you can get everything ready to submit within 4-6 weeks. However, it takes many people 3-6 months to have all the pieces ready to submit their D7 visa application for Portugal.
Once you apply, it can take anywhere from 14 – 120 days to receive your visa depending on which consulate you have to go through. The Washington DC Consulate tends to crank out those visas, while the San Francisco Consulate tends to take its own sweet time. And the New York Consulate is somewhere in the middle.
Don’t forget though, that you actually submit your visa application for Portugal through VFS Global.
We share our personal timeline and the order in which we gathered the required documents here à in Everyday Portugal’s Members’ Resource Library.
Here’s what you need to gather for your D7 application (as of September 2022; check back with VFS Global as visa requirements change frequently).
- First, go to Americans & FriendsPT and check out their “Get Your Visa” file. It’s a really helpful guide through the process.
- Review the Visa Application. You can find more info about it on this page. Scroll down and click the link that says, “Checklist”. This is the list that gets updated frequently so continue to check back to make sure requirements haven’t changed while you were compiling your documents. The requirements changed 3 times for us within the 6 weeks we were compiling our documents for our application. This was during the pandemic shutdowns though so changes to the requirements were made frequently with the ever-changing lockdown rules between within both Portugal and the United States.
- Make sure your passport is valid and doesn’t expire anytime soon. As of September 2022, your passport has to be valid for at least 3 months after you would be arriving in Portugal.
- Get 2 Passport photos. They must be high-resolution recent color photographs (35mm x 45mm) that are high enough quality to identify you from the picture. We got our photographs done at AAA but we didn’t request the correct size so someone at VFS Global in San Francisco took new passport photos of us when we went for our application appointment.
- Valid travel insurance, allowing medical coverage, including medical emergencies and repatriation including Proof of Health Insurance that covers medical expenses in Portugal. We purchased our travel insurance through SwissCare. Whichever travel insurance you use, make sure to confirm that it meets all the requirements listed above.
- Personal Statement: This is a simple statement that you sign specifying why you want to settle in Portugal, the area you’d like to move to and what type of accommodations you’ll have when you first arrive (rental, purchase of private property, or family home). There’s a sample of our Personal Statement in the Visas & Immigration section of Everyday Portugal’s Members’ Resource Library.
- Request for criminal record enquiry by the Immigration and Border Services (SEF);
Permission to the Department of Borders and Customs to obtain criminal record from Portugal. This is a statement you sign giving SEF the right to obtain your criminal record.
- Criminal record certificate; Issued from the country of origin or the country where the applicant is residing for over a year (children under the age of 16 are exempt from producing a criminal record); issued by the FBI; This document must be requested with an apostille or remain unopened in original sealed envelope.
We definitely recommend not going through the hassle of the apostille if you can avoid it and instead, providing the report in it’s original sealed envelope. DO NOT OPEN THE ENVELOPE or the report will not be accepted unless it’s apostilled.
**If you have the option to go through a post office to get your fingerprints done, do that. You’ll receive an email within 10 minutes of the results of your FBI criminal record and they’ll send out your report in the sealed envelope within a week or two. And because you have the digital report, you won’t have to open that sealed envelope and you can avoid the apostille!
- Proof of accommodation; 12-month Lease agreement signed, or letter from inviting institution, or declaration from family member residing in Portugal. Hotel/Airbnb reservations may be admitted, but they will have to be long stay. **This requirement changes all the time. Keep checking back for updates at VFS Global and in the “Get Your Visa” file in Americans & FriendsPT.
- Proof of means of subsistence as stipulated by law; 3 months Bank statements (electronic print outs are accepted must be full statements for each month); Proof of Pension is also accepted Proof of subsistence means can be made through a statement of responsibility, signed by a Portuguese national or by a foreign national legally resident in Portugal.
To stay on top of the ever-changing requirements and to get clear explanations of what each of these requirements means, we highly encourage you to join Americans & FriendsPT and to review their Get Your Visa file. We also provide a timeline and personal examples of what we submitted in the Everyday Portugal Members’ Resource Library.