How to apply for Portugal D2 Business Visa

Move to Portugal with a D2 visa: apply for a visa as an entrepreneur or director of a local company
November 9, 2023

D2 is a business visa. You can start a sole proprietorship (by registering "atividade") or a company in Portugal and apply for a visa as an entrepreneur or director.

We recommend this option if you still need to meet the criteria for a D7 visa (permanent income) or Digital Nomad (remote work income over 3040 € per month). However, you must have a local Portuguese client/supplier and demonstrate your value to Portugal. Having local clients is necessary to show your connection to the country and justify your desire for a residency permit.

Main requirements

👉 You must apply in the country where you hold citizenship or a residency permit.

👉 You must open a company or register as a self-employed in Portugal.

👉 You must demonstrate the value of your business and its connection to Portugal. This includes explaining the company's location in Portugal and what it will contribute to the country.

👉 You should also show evidence of local contracts and invoices or at least demonstrate an intention to work with local clients.

👉 Although not required, showing proof of livelihood, such as a deposit in a Portuguese or another bank, of at least 12000 € + for the first time is recommended.

If you apply for a D2 visa, your family can apply simultaneously for accompanying visas, but you will need to show more funds.

What does a typical process look like

✅ Step 1. Preparation of documents.

Obtain business registration, invoices, and tax documents. Gather information on your source of income, bank statements, and taxes paid for at least three months before the application to demonstrate your commitment to the consulate.

✅ Step 2. Visa application.
Submit your application to the consulate or VFS in your country and obtain your visa. The consulate will paste the visa into your passport with the date of application in Portugal. Some embassies do not provide these pre-appointments with SEF.

✅ Step 3. SEF Application in Portugal.
Upon arrival in Portugal, apply at the SEF. Simply arrive on the designated date and provide the necessary documents. You're almost there!

✅ Step 4. The residence card is ready.
On average, you can wait 2-3 weeks for the arrival of your ID card. However, it may take up to 3 months in some cases.

Follow our step-by-step guide

Step 1. Fill in the visa application form

First, determine how documents should be submitted in your country - directly at the consulate or through the VFS Global visa center. Information can be found here.

Application Registration:

1) Register to apply by entering your personal information and attaching the required documents.

2) Upon completion, a PDF file containing the application form will be sent to your email. You can edit the form if necessary before submitting.

3) Application Form: Fill out the application form using Latin letters. Complete all mandatory fields marked with an asterisk (*), and do not use symbols, including commas, in some areas.

4) Select Consular Office: In the "Consular Office" section, select the line for the Portuguese Embassy in your city/country.

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 3. 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.

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 4.  Prepare the lease agreement

For a D visa, providing a long-term lease agreement is essential. The SEF ignores an apartment's cost, size, or location.  But we do not recommend using false documents – the SEF can selectively check applicants.

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

A Portuguese bank account will suffice if you're opening a self-employed business. Although you can conduct business with any other European bank account, we recommend opening a Portuguese account to show your commitment to Portugal. If you're starting a company, you must open a corporate account after obtaining your corporate documents. You can get a bank account online or offline with the help of a lawyer, or you can do it yourself. You don't have to pay anyone to do it if you're already in Portugal, as it's not a complicated process. However, you cannot open an account online without a power of attorney for another person.

For the D2 visa, demonstrating savings in the account is not a requirement. However, showing a minimum savings of 9,120 € (12 minimum Portuguese salaries) for one person is advisable. In some countries, it is reasonable to demonstrate the protection of 12000-16 000 €.

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.

Step 6. Start a company in Portugal or self-employment

What's better: company or self-employment?

Starting a company or becoming self-employed is required. In the first case, you must appoint yourself as a director and pay a salary and social security, making it a more expensive option. On the other hand, being self-employed is more cost-effective as social security is not required in the first year. However, you still need to demonstrate the value of your business to Portugal by securing contracts or agreements with local companies. This is not a formal requirement but is drawn from the experience of our consultants.

Two main options for business for D2 Visa


  • You need to have a VAT representative in Portugal to become self-employed. This person is usually a lawyer or a Portuguese friend.;
  • Do not pay social security for the first year (starting from the second year, pay only 21.4% of profit per month);
  • Pay taxes under the simplified regime at a reduced rate of 20% (it is essential to register for NHR in time);
  • You don't have to have an accountant, but it's advisable to have one-Work without VAT (IVA here is 23%), if your annual income does not exceed 12,500 €;
  • Specify any bank account with a European IBAN during registration, although it is recommended to change it to a Portuguese account later;


  • You need to have a VAT representative in Portugal to start a company;
  • Pay all taxes and social security (33.74% of monthly income per person, including yourself);
  • Hire a certified Portuguese accountant (costs around 150 € per month);
  • Open a corporate bank account in addition to a personal account;
  • NHR is not applicable;
  • Bonus: Most personal expenses can be written off as company expenses (e.g., food, gasoline, air tickets, etc.).
  • If there is no profit, the mandatory payment to the social fund is 20 € per month.

Step 7. Prepare a health insurance

Insurance for a D visa and a residency permit are two different things. For a D visa, it is sufficient to obtain standard travel insurance for 120 days (the length of the visa). However, for a residency permit, you will need to get Portuguese insurance with a minimum coverage of €50K in case of hospitalization. You will need to attach it to your application to SEF. Options include Tranquilidade and Fidelidade, among others. You may obtain this insurance through your Portuguese bank when opening an account.

Step 8. Motivation letter

The essay is not a compulsory requirement, but a well-written motivation letter can positively impact the response.

For D2 visa, you need to write about your Portuguese business, prove that you can generate income, demonstrate how the company will bring value to Portugal, and show that you have sufficient funds to support yourself.

You can prepare a letter with a lawyer to choose the most relevant arguments for your case.

Step 9.  Your family documents (if applicable)

Yes, you can apply for all D visa categories with your family. For each family member, including minors, you must fill out an application form online at link or VFS Global.

On the form, you must select “Accompanying family member”.

When applying with your family, you must provide additional evidence of funds. This includes 50% of the minimum annual income for your spouse (380 * 12) and 30% of the minimum yearly income for each minor child (0.3 * 760 * 12).

If you are applying with a spouse and child, you must show in your bank account: 9120 + 4560 + 2736 = 16416 €. This is the minimum amount required to show your living expenses for the year ahead.

However, showing a higher amount of savings is recommended to increase the chances of a successful visa application. For family applications, you also need to provide your marriage and children's birth certificates, which must be apostilled, translated into Portuguese, and certified by a notary.

Step 10. Apply to consulate or VFS

You’re ready to apply!

Make an appointment at the consulate or VFS and apply. In some countries (for example, in Brazil or USA) you can send all you documents via mail.

👉 Arrive 15-20 minutes before your appointment time, at the Portuguese consulate or VFS.

👉 Ensure that all documents are translated and certified and that required official documents have been apostilled. A notary must approve all translations.

👉 Remember to make changes to the Questionnaire (in the pdf editor) if you have changed any information during the preparation of documents.

Want to be sure everything is ok with your application, documents and motivation letter? Check it with an attorney.

Check youself

  • International passport valid for at least three months after the planned date of return from Portugal
  • Documents demonstrating the registration of a company or proof of self-employment
  • Bank account statement
  • Accommodation proof for a year
  • Criminal record from your country
  • Minimum 120 days insurance for 30000€ +
  • Airplane ticket booking
  • Motivation letter

Want to be sure everything is ok with your application, documents and motivation letter? Check it with an attorney.

Step 11. Come to Portugal and apply in SEF

Your visa is approved!

Once the visa is granted, you will be scheduled to visit the SEF. If you do not have a visit scheduled by the consulate you will need to make an appointment yourself.

  • Your D visa will be valid for 120 days and will allow you to enter the EU twice during that time frame.
  • If your appointment with the SEF is scheduled after your visa expiration date, don't worry, you will still be legally in Portugal until your appointment. The most important thing is to arrive while your visa is still valid
  • If you are not comfortable with the date assigned to you, you may call the SEF at 217 115 000 to reschedule if there are available slots.

The cost of the SEF fee

The SEF fee cost is €158, which can be paid by bank card.

Get your residence permit card

About two to twelve weeks after your SEF appointment, you will receive an envelope in the mail containing your residence permit card, which will be valid for 2 years.

When applying for a residence permit at the SEF office, you may indicate that you will personally retrieve it, which will incur an additional cost of €25.

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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