Permanent Residency Requirements

26 July, 2022

News article by Raquel Babo, Lawyer - International Atlantic Services

After 5 years of holding a temporary residence permit, such as the golden visa card, the foreign citizens have the possibility of requesting the permanent residence permit. Contrary to the temporary residency, the permanent residency has no validity date, only having to be renewed every five years (the same way a passport has to be renewed) or any time there is a change to personal data.

This possibility is particularly relevant for those foreign citizens who do not want to request the Portuguese nationality or simply are not able to if their nationality of origin is from a country that does not accept dual citizenship. Nevertheless, even citizens that want to apply for the Portuguese nationality may also request the permanent residency as a way of having a valid residency with no validity date while the nationality request is running.  

To be able to apply for the permanent residency, under article 80º of Law nº 23/2007, July 4th, the following requirements have to be fulfilled:

  • Being a holder of a temporary residence permit for at least 5 years;
  • Have a sufficient knowledge of the Portuguese Language;
  • Not to have been the object of custodial sentence (s) that individually or jointly exceed one year of imprisonment, even if, in case of sentencing for crime of terrorism, for highly violent or highly organized crime, the enforcement of the sentence has been suspended.

Complying with these requirements, the application itself is submitted in person, after scheduling a biometrics appointment with SEF to this effect and the following documents have to be presented:

  • Valid travel document, such as Passport;
  • Supporting evidence of stable and regular resources, sufficient for their own subsistence and their relatives;
  • Supporting evidence of accommodation (an address) in Portugal;
  • Authorization for SEF to consult the Portuguese criminal record;
  • Criminal record from country of origin and/or country of residence;
  • Supporting evidence of compliance of tax obligations and social security, through the means of non-debt certificates from Tax Authority and Social Security;
  • Supporting evidence of knowledge of basic Portuguese, which is verified by means of a language test attesting knowledge of level A2 of the Common European Language Framework of Reference (CEFR).

Finally, as a general rule, to keep the permanent residency, its holder cannot be outside of Portugal for more than 24 consecutive months, or, within a period of three years, 30 months interpolated. However, citizens holding a residence permit for investment purposes (golden visa) and their family members are exempted from this regime and, to maintain the permanent residency, only need to spend in Portugal 7 days a year.  


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