Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 September 2014, 16:29 GMT

Portugal: Conditions for foreigners to enter and remain in Portugal; the applicable laws and regulations

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 27 October 2003
Citation / Document Symbol PRT42119.FE
Reference 1
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Portugal: Conditions for foreigners to enter and remain in Portugal; the applicable laws and regulations, 27 October 2003, PRT42119.FE, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/403dd2144.html [accessed 23 September 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

The Academic Network for Legal Studies on Immigration and Asylum in Europe at the Free University of Brussels (Odysseus Network) indicated on its Website that

[Odysseus Network English version]

The basic Aliens Law is the Decree‑Law no. 244/98 of August 8th 1998 [attached in French]. It was partially amended by the Decree‑Law no. 4/2001 of January 10th 2001 and is implemented by the Decree no. 5‑A/2000 of April 26th 2000 [which was amended by the Execution Decree no. 9/2001 of 31 May 2001, attached in English]. The Act no. 20/98 of May 12 1998 regulates migrant workers on Portuguese territory (16 Oct. 2002).

According to the Odysseus Network, the Aliens and Border Service (Servicio de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras, SEF) is responsible for

[Odysseus Network English version]

the control of entry and residence of non EU nationals, to deliver residence permits, the identification of aliens with irregular situations and the establishment of deportation procedures (16 Oct. 2002).

On its Website at , Portugal's High Commission for Immigrants and Ethnic Minorities (Alto Comissario para Emigração e Minoria Étnicas, ACIME) published in Portuguese the Decree‑Law no. 34/2003 of 25 February 2003 on amendments to the legal framework governing foreign nationals who enter and remain in Portugal, and their departure and deportation from Portugal.

According to the Relocation-Net Website, a database designed for moving companies that provides information on immigration, labour and the right to reside in Portugal, EU nationals do not need prior permission to work in Portugal (2001). However, non‑EU nationals who wish to immigrate to Portugal must obtain a visa in their country of origin (Relocation-Net 2001). Once in Portugal, foreigners are required to register with the Embassy or Consulate of their country and acquire a residence permit from the Aliens and Borders Service (ibid.). Foreign residents who have a legal work contract with a company based in Portugal are able to obtain resident status on the basis of this contract (ibid.).

The attached document on immigration and residence in Portugal, published on the ACIME Website, indicates that applicants must meet the following three conditions to acquire either a temporary or a permanent residence permit in Portugal: first, the applicant must be in possession of a valid residence visa (Portugal 2003). This visa is valid for a period of six months; it is issued to immigrants who wish to apply for a residence permit and allows them two entries into Portugal (ibid.). Second, the application for residence must be made in Portuguese territory and, third, there should not be any fact that, if known to the Portuguese authorities, would be an obstacle to issuing the residence permit (ibid.). The brochure also provides information on the different types of visas, various kinds of residence or stays in Portugal, work permits, and the criteria for deportation from Portugal (ibid.).

According to the information found on the Website for L. Rettenmayer, a company whose head office is located in Portugal and which specializes in moving diplomatic personnel and employees of large multinational corporations,

Since 1993 there has been free movement of other EC citizens to Portugal. For non-EC nationals the situation is more difficult, as the number of Residence Permits granted to applicants from outside the EC is strictly limited.

. . .

Normally, the authorisation to reside in Portugal is acquired in two stages:

A residence visa is acquired in the country of origin by application to the Portuguese Consulate General. The process of acquiring the visa may take 3 months or longer. The visa is issued as a stamp in the applicant's passport. The visa is valid for 120 days after the date of issue and gives authorisation for the bearer to reside in Portugal for up to 90 days. The visa may be extended for two further periods of 90 days by application to the Serviço de Estrangeiros in Portugal. (The applications should be made well in advance of expiry dates).

The residence permit, or "Residência", is obtained by the application to the Serviço de Estrangeiros in Portugal. It should take 3–6 months to receive the permit.

. . .

Residence permits are issued in the form of a card, and may authorise a period of residence for 1, 5 or 20 years. . . .

. . .

Foreign persons who have a legalised work contract with a Portuguese company will be able to obtain residence status on the basis of this contract ... (n.d.).

The Second Report on Portugal, published in November 2002 by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), provides information on the regularization procedure for non-status immigrants, the relations between foreigners and the SEF, and the treatment of immigrants from Portuguese-speaking countries in Africa and from Central and Eastern Europe. Excerpts from this report are attached.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.

References

Academic Network for Legal Studies on Immigration and Asylum in Europe (Odysseus Network), Free University of Brussels. 16 Ocotober 2002. "Informations sur le droit des États membres de l'Union européenne en matière d'immigration et d'asile : Portugal." [Accessed 20 Oct. 2003]

L. Rettenmayer Worldwide Movers. n.d. "Portugal's Guide." [Accessed 20 Oct. 2003]

Portugal. 2003. High Commission for Immigrants and Ethnic Minorities of Portugal (ACIME). "Immigration Law – Living in Portugal." [Accessed 21 Oct. 2003]

Relocation-Net. 2001. "Portugal: Immigration." [Accessed 20 Oct. 2003]

Attachments

European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI). 4 November 2002. Second Report on Portugal. [Accessed 22 Oct. 2003], pp. 1, 18–21.

Portugal. 2003. High Commission for Immigrants and Ethnic Minorities of Portugal (ACIME). "Immigration Law – Living in Portugal." [Accessed 21 Oct. 2003], 24 pp.
_____. 31 May 2001. Implementing Decree 9/2001. (High Commission for Immigrants and Ethnic Minorities of Portugal, ACIME) [Accessed 21 Oct. 2003], 24 pp.
_____. 8 August 1998. Décret-loi no 244/98 du 8 août 1998: Réglementation des conditions d'entrée, de séjour, de sortie et d'éloignement des étrangers sur le territoire portugais. (Documentation and Comparative Law Office) [Accessed 20 Oct. 2003], 41 pp.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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