Secondary School Residence Permit in Portugal

Get Portuguese residence permit for a child 14 to 18 years old
8 min
Portugal
November 9, 2023
24000

This residence permit can be obtained by non-Portuguese children between the ages of 14 and 18 who are enrolled in public or private schools. It can also be granted to students taking qualification courses at secondary schools. The child can obtain the permit if they attend a school or a special course. Afterward, the family can apply for reunification.

The permit is valid for one year and can be renewed annually if the child continues their studies. Although it provides full residency rights, it does not allow the child to work in Portugal. However, the parents can work once they are reunited with their child.

According to the law, high school students (grades 10-12) are eligible for this residency permit. There have been uncommon cases where a permit has been issued to students as young as 7th grade in a Portuguese school.

After your child gets a residence permit, you can apply for family reunification and receive one as well after a few months.


What does a typical process look like


✅ Step 1. Come to Portugal as a tourist and enroll your child in a school.

First, rent a place for a long-term stay. You'll also need to obtain NIF's and a certificate from the local municipality (Junta). Afterward, enroll your child in a selected school.

✅ Step 2. Make an appointment.
To apply for the residence permit, you must make an appointment with the SEF (Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras) under Section 92.3. You can call 217 115 000 to schedule the appointment.

✅ Step 3. Apply to SEF.
Gather all the necessary documents and apply on a designated date.

✅ Step 4.Get your residence permit card.
After your SEF appointment, you will receive your child's residence permit card in the mail within 2-12 weeks.


Follow our step-by-step guide

Step 1. Child's documents

In this case, a child is the principal applicant. You also need to provide documents that prove your relationship to the main applicant for your future application for family reunification.


Please note that, according to Portuguese regulations, documents such as a marriage certificate must be at most six months. You may need to obtain a recent duplicate of your birth certificate. Additionally, all documents must be apostilled and translated into Portuguese.

  • Children's birth certificates (obligatory with apostille and translation)
  • Vaccination certificate (obligatory with translation)
  • Consent from the second parent for application and extension of a residence permit (with notarization and translation)
  • Documents from a child's previous school (translation with apostille or consular certification)

When you enter the territory of Portugal, do not forget to make sure that you have "legal entry" within three working days.

If Portugal is your first country of entry into the Schengen area, keeping your boarding passes from the flight you arrived on is sufficient.If you entered the Schengen area through another EU country, it is sufficient to check into a hotel for one night.

Step 2. Get a police criminal record

All applicants over 16 must provide a certificate of no criminal record from their country of citizenship and any countries where they have lived for more than a year after age 16.

Obtaining the Certificate: Request the certificate in paper format from your country, then obtain an apostille, translate it into Portuguese, and have it notarized by a notary. It is better to order the document as soon as possible and start gathering other required documents while it is being processed.

Validity: The validity of a certificate depends on the country of issuance and can range from 30 to 90 days. If you have a criminal record, it is recommended that you seek the advice of a lawyer. The specific offense and the time since the conviction may impact the decision regarding your visa.

Translation and Notarization: Remember to translate the certificate into Portuguese and have it notarized before submitting it to the consulate or VFS.


Step 2. Get a NIF (tax number)

The NIF (Número de Identificação Fiscal) is a Portuguese tax number and the first thing you should get if you plan to immigrate to Portugal. Whether you will study, work or start your own company here. A NIF is a universal number you need when applying for any documents. The NIF number need for more often than the passport number.

Your child will also need a NIF to enroll in school.


You will need the following documents:

  • A copy of your passport or id
  • Proof of address outside of Portugal, from your "home country" (a bank statement will do)

There are different ways to get your NIF number depending on if you are an EU/EEA citizen or not, whether you’re applying remotely or in person. You can get a NIF yourself and for free in Portugal. Or you can get it online if you are in another country. The service does not cost more than €100-120 usually.

1. Get your NIF remotely and online.

You can get a NIF before you arrive in Portugal to save time to solve other problems, rent an apartment, or open a bank account. The NIF process takes 3 to 10 business days and costs from €89 to €120, depending on the type of service. We can be your representative and get a NIF for you.

2. Get your NIF in person

The default way of getting a NIF number is to go to your closest Finanças (Portuguese tax office) and apply for it in person. This path is completely free. Non-EU/EEA residents used to need a tax representative in order to apply for and maintain a NIF. But from July 2022 this is no longer needed, but it can still make the process of obtaining the NIF easier.

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Step 3.  Rent contract

A lease agreement when applying for a residence permit for your child is important because it provides evidence of your long-term accommodation arrangements in the country and demonstrates your intention to stay in Portugal for the duration of your child's studies.


The long-term rental contract is one of the requirements set by the Portuguese authorities for obtaining a residence permit.

Where to find an apartment?

Try to monitor local lease sites. Hiring an agent is not obligatory, but a professional may help ease the search and communication with the landlord.

Some useful websites


Long-term rental:

Try also:

Some platforms charge a commission, but the contract could be terminated at any time if you do not plan to live in rented housing. SEF accepts such agreements.

Airbnb offers just short-term accommodation offers. So we don't recommend using it for applying for residentship. In Portugal, you must prove your trustworthiness with resumes, essays, income statements, and work contracts to your potential landlord.

Documents you need to rent an apartment:
  • Documents for landlord
    Prepare income statements, contracts, and even a motivational letter about why you want to live in particular and how you will pay for it.
  • A landlord might ask you for a guarantor
    Some owners require a guarantor who lives and works in Portugal (they usually ask for an IRS declaration). If you don't have a guarantor, then it could be circumvented by offering to pay several months of rent in advance or several deposits at once (in the amount of a monthly rent)
  • Landlords pay for agent services
    However, some agents may want to keep the commission private from your agent, which may affect your ability to view apartments. To avoid this issue, we recommend offering the agent an additional fee to negotiate with other agents.
  • Ask your landlord to register the agreement
    The lease agreement must be registered in Finanças (tax office). Do not agree to stay illegally. It may cause problems for both sides. For the lease agreement, you need NIF and a bank account.

Step 5. Open a bank account

Where and how can you get a bank account?


You have several options for opening a bank account, including online or offline, with the assistance of a lawyer. You can also open the account yourself without the need to pay anyone.


If you are already in Portugal, opening a bank account is simple. However, opening an account online with a power of attorney for another person is possible.



How much money should I deposit?


To apply for a residence permit for a child in secondary school, you need to provide proof of a bank account in your name as the parent with a balance of at least 12,000 €.


Some of the most popular banks in Portugal are:

💶 Caixa Geral de Depositos

💶 Banco Santander Totta

💶 Novo Banco

💶 ActivoBank Portugal

💶 Caixa Central de Crédito Agrícola


Read more about how to open a bank account here.



Are there any special considerations for CIS or Iran citizens?


For citizens of Iran or some CIS countries, the bank compliance checks may be more thorough and take longer than usual. However, the chances of opening an account are high if you have all the required documents.

Are there any special considerations for U.S. citizens?


For U.S. citizens, you must indicate that you are a tax resident of the United States and provide all the documents listed above. The bank will do a background check and open your account if possible.

Step 6. Matricula on enrollment in a school in Portugal

You will receive this document after your child is enrolled in school, regardless of whether it is a public or private school. It is important to note that your child must be between 14 and 18.

If your child attends a public Portuguese school, you must obtain a registration certificate from the local municipality, the Junta de Freguesia. This certificate determines the school your child will attend, as schools are assigned based on the address of your residence.


Step 7. Apply to SEF

Come to the SEF at the appointed time and submit your documents.


After your child gets a residence permit card, you can apply for a residence permit to SEF under article 122.4 (family reunification). Catching the enrollment slot is the hardest part. The parent receives a residence permit for two years, even if the child has residence for one year (Amendments to Article 192.75).

The coolest thing is that both parents can obtain a residence permit under this article.


Note - during reunification with the child, each parent must have a confirmed income - either a sole proprietorship or a contract with an employer. Just showing money in your bank account is not enough.


Warning. Sometimes the SEF may ask a resident of Portugal to sign an agreement stating that until you (the parent) receive residency, he/she will be responsible for the child. This is rare, but it does happen. The guardian can be any resident (citizen or person with a residence permit). The main thing is that the representative has an income and a tax return.


  • It's better to arrive a little bit in advance before the appointed time.
  • The SEF application process usually takes up to 1 hour.



Check youself

  • Passport
  • Application form
  • School matricula
  • Portuguese account statement
  • Accommodation proof for a year
  • Criminal record from your country


The cost of the adult reunification fee is 158 euros. For the reunification of a child - 50 euros.


Check-up letter with an attorney.

Step 10. Visit the SEF and get your residency card

You're on the final step! After submitting your documents to the SEF, you will receive your residence permit card at your mailing address within 2-12 weeks.

Do you need help?

If you plan to move to Portugal, Spain, or another European country, contact us if you need expert help:

See more details here. 

Got a question? Contact us!

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Photo: Javier Trueba, Alexis Brown

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