How to Obtain a D2 Business Visa in Portugal: The Ultimate Guide

A diverse group of entrepreneurs and freelancers working on their laptops in a modern Portuguese coworking space with large windows showing a picturesque suburban environment, evoking a sense of hope and calmness.

Move to Portugal and start your business with this comprehensive guide. We’ll cover everything from documents to application tips.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • Understand the D2 Visa requirements and benefits.
  • Master the application process step-by-step.
  • Get actionable tips and strategies for a successful application.
  • Discover essential resources and avoid common mistakes.

The D2 Visa is Portugal’s business visa designed for entrepreneurs and investors who want to establish a company or become self-employed. It’s a fantastic option for those seeking a life of work and adventure in Portugal.

This guide will help you understand the D2 Visa requirements, navigate the application process, and maximize your chances of success.

Who Should Consider the D2 Visa?

The D2 Visa is a good fit for several types of individuals, including:

  • Entrepreneurs: Individuals looking to launch a business in Portugal.
  • Freelancers: Self-employed professionals seeking to relocate to Portugal.
  • Remote Workers: Individuals with remote income who want to establish residency in Portugal.
  • Digital Nomads: Remote workers who desire a more stable base for their location-independent lifestyle.

Remember: The D2 Visa might be a better option than the D7 Visa (for passive income) or the Digital Nomad Visa if your income isn’t consistent or exceeds €3,040 per month.

Benefits of the D2 Visa:

  • Access to Portugal’s booming economy: Portugal has a favorable business climate with a growing economy, making it attractive for entrepreneurs.
  • A gateway to residency: The D2 Visa grants you residency in Portugal, opening doors for permanent residence in the future.
  • Family reunification: You can apply for accompanying visas for your family members.
  • Enjoy a vibrant lifestyle: Portugal offers a rich culture, beautiful beaches, and a high quality of life.

Important Note: To be eligible for a D2 Visa, you must demonstrate a strong business plan, sufficient funds, and a genuine connection to Portugal.

The D2 Visa Application Process: A Step-by-Step Guide

The D2 Visa application process involves several steps, each requiring specific documents and considerations.

Step 1: Prepare the Necessary Documents

Gather these essential documents before starting your application:

  • Valid Passport: Your passport must be valid for at least three months beyond your intended stay in Portugal.
  • Proof of Income: Demonstrate financial stability by providing bank statements, business contracts, or other relevant documents to show you can support yourself in Portugal.
  • Company or Self-Employment Registration: You must have registered your company or as a self-employed individual in Portugal.
  • Portuguese Tax Identification Number (NIF): This is required for opening a bank account, renting property, and managing your business in Portugal.
  • Proof of Accommodation: A rental agreement or proof of home ownership in Portugal is essential.
  • Police Criminal Record: Obtain a criminal record certificate from your home country, as well as from any other countries where you have lived for more than a year after the age of 16.
  • Health Insurance: You must have health insurance valid for the duration of your stay in Portugal.
  • Motivation Letter: A well-written motivation letter outlining your business plan, reasons for choosing Portugal, and financial stability can strengthen your application.
  • Air Ticket Reservation: You don’t need to purchase tickets, but you need a reservation for your intended arrival date in Portugal.

Step 2: Apply for a NIF (Tax Identification Number)

Obtain your NIF before traveling to Portugal, either remotely or in person at a Finanças office (tax office).

Remotely: You can apply for a simplified NIF without a representative. This is suitable for initial activities like opening a bank account and renting property. However, you cannot open a business or conduct tax-related activities with this simplified version.

In Person: Schedule an appointment at a Finanças office by calling +351-217-206-707. Bring your passport, proof of address in your home country, and a translation of your utility bill into Portuguese, certified by a notary.

Step 3: Find and Secure Accommodation

Finding an apartment:

  • Online Platforms: Use local real estate websites or work with a real estate agent.
  • Facebook Groups: Join Facebook groups focused on finding accommodation in Portugal to connect with landlords directly.
  • Airbnb: While Airbnb is suitable for short-term stays, it is not ideal for long-term rental contracts.
  • Aggregator Sites: Consider aggregator websites that offer free cancellation options to secure temporary accommodation until you find a suitable long-term rental.

Rental Contract:

  • Requirements: You will need a NIF and a Portuguese bank account to sign a rental contract.
  • Landlord Expectations: Landlords may require income tax returns, contracts, and a resume outlining your reasons for wanting to live in their property and your financial plans.
  • Guarantor: Some landlords may require a guarantor who resides and works in Portugal. If you cannot provide a guarantor, consider paying several months’ rent in advance or multiple deposits.
  • Agent Fees: While the agent’s services are usually free for the tenant, landlords cover the cost. However, agents may be reluctant to cooperate if they need to share the commission. Offer the agent an extra commission to encourage their cooperation.

Step 4: Open a Bank Account


  • Online: You can open a bank account online, but you need a power of attorney for another person.
  • Offline: Visit a bank branch and request to open an account as a non-resident.

Popular Banks in Portugal:

  • Caixa Geral de Depósitos
  • Banco Santander Totta
  • Novo Banco
  • ActivoBank Portugal
  • Caixa Central de Crédito Agrícola

Required Documents:

  • Passport
  • NIF
  • Proof of home address (utility bill translated into Portuguese or bank balance certificate in English).
  • Proof of professional employment (employment contract, information about your company, translated and certified in Portugal).
  • Tax Identification Number (TIN) from your home country.
  • IRS (income tax return) for the last year.
  • Bank balance statement from your current bank (in English or Portuguese).
  • Proof of connection to Portugal (desirable if you’re from a BRICS country).

Step 5: Register Your Company or Become Self-Employed

Choosing the Right Option:

  • Company Incorporation: Appoint yourself as a director and pay a salary and social security (more expensive option).
  • Self-Employment: More cost-effective option with no social security required in the first year, but you need to demonstrate the value of your business to Portugal.

Self-Employment Requirements:

  • VAT Representative: You need a lawyer or a Portuguese friend to act as your VAT representative.
  • Social Security: Pay only 21.4% of your profit monthly starting from the second year.
  • Taxes: Pay taxes under the simplified regime at a reduced rate of 20% (register for NHR in time).
  • Accountant: Not mandatory, but recommended.
  • VAT: You don’t need to register for VAT if your annual income is below €12,500.
  • Bank Account: You can use any bank account with a European IBAN but consider changing it to a Portuguese account later.
  • Monthly Payment: Pay €20 per month to the social fund if there is no profit.

Company Incorporation Requirements:

  • VAT Representative: You need a VAT representative.
  • Taxes and Social Security: Pay all taxes and social security (33.74% of monthly income per person, including yourself).
  • Accountant: You must hire a certified Portuguese accountant.
  • Corporate Bank Account: Open a corporate bank account alongside your personal account.
  • NHR: NHR (Non-Habitual Resident) is not applicable to company owners.
  • Expenses: Most expenses, including personal expenses, can be deducted as company expenses (food, gasoline, air tickets, etc.).

Step 6: Write a Compelling Motivation Letter

While not mandatory, a well-written motivation letter can significantly enhance your application.

  • Highlight: Your business plan, reasons for choosing Portugal, and future plans.
  • Explain: Your source of income and financial stability.
  • List: All attached documents.
  • Consider: Consulting a lawyer to draft a persuasive letter that references relevant laws and regulations.

Step 7: Compile Family Documents (If Applicable)

If applying with your family, you will need additional documents:

  • Proof of Funds: Provide proof of funds for your spouse (50% of the minimum annual income) and each minor child (30% of the minimum annual income).
  • Criminal Record: Obtain a criminal record certificate for your spouse.
  • Marriage Certificate: Provide your marriage certificate.
  • Birth Certificates: Submit birth certificates for your children.
  • Apostille and Translation: Apostille and translate all family documents into Portuguese.
  • Insurance and Tickets: Provide insurance and ticket reservations for each family member.

Step 8: Gather Tickets and Insurance

  • Air Tickets: Provide a reservation for your intended arrival date in Portugal.
  • Insurance: Obtain standard travel insurance valid for 120 days for your D visa. You will need Portuguese insurance for your residency permit.

Step 9: Apply at the Portuguese Consulate or VFS Global

  • Schedule Appointment: Make an appointment at the Portuguese Consulate or VFS in your country.
  • Submit Documents: Submit all your documents, ensuring they are translated, certified, and apostilled as required.
  • Wait: The processing time for a D2 Visa varies, but expect to wait 1-2 months.
  • Check Your Documents: Review your application thoroughly, ensuring all information is accurate and up-to-date.

Step 10: Arrive in Portugal and Visit AIMA

  • D Visa Validity: Your D Visa is valid for 120 days and allows you to enter the EU twice.
  • Schedule Appointment: AIMA (Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras) will schedule an appointment for you to collect your residence permit.
  • AIMA Fee: The AIMA fee is €170.5 and can be paid by card.
  • Reschedule: If your appointment is after your D Visa expiration date, you can reschedule by calling AIMA at +351-217-115-000.

Step 11: Receive Your Residence Permit Card

  • Processing Time: You will receive your residence permit card in the mail approximately 2 to 12 weeks after your AIMA appointment.
  • Validity: The residence permit card is valid for 2 years.

Documents Required for AIMA Appointment:

  • Passport with your D Visa
  • NIF
  • Proof of Accommodation (lease agreement or certificate from junta de France)
  • Recent Bank Account Statement (AIMA often prefers Portuguese bank accounts).
  • Proof of Income (same as for the visa)
  • NISS (social security number) and Utente (health service number) (optional). If you don’t have Utente, private healthcare insurance is required.
  • Family Reunion Documents: If you are applying for family reunification, bring recent copies of family certificates, bank statements, and your family member’s residence permit.
  • D3 Visa: If you are a graduate student, bring a translated and apostilled diploma of higher education.

Tips for a Successful D2 Visa Application

  • Thoroughly Research: Understand the specific requirements for your country before starting the application process. Contact the Portuguese Consulate for the latest information.
  • Plan Ahead: Start the process well in advance to avoid rushing.
  • Gather All Documents: Ensure you have all necessary documents in order.
  • Provide Evidence of Financial Stability: Demonstrate that you can support yourself and your family in Portugal.
  • Draft a Strong Motivation Letter: Write a convincing letter that showcases your business plan and passion for Portugal.
  • Consider Professional Help: Consult a lawyer or immigration advisor if you need assistance with the process.
  • Maintain Transparency: Be honest and transparent with your application.
  • Stay Organized: Keep all your documents organized and readily available.
  • Double-Check Documents: Review your application thoroughly for errors before submitting it.

Bottom Line

The D2 Visa can be an excellent pathway to starting a business and building a fulfilling life in Portugal. By understanding the requirements, preparing thoroughly, and following the steps outlined in this guide, you can increase your chances of success.

Remember to stay organized, accurate, and persistent, and don’t hesitate to seek professional assistance if needed. Your journey to Portugal begins with a well-prepared D2 Visa application!

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Visa and Immigration Services

🌐 VFS Global: For global visa and passport application services. Visit VFS Global

📝 Portugal Visa Application: Official portal for online visa applications in Portugal. Apply for a Visa

Real Estate and Housing

🏡 Idealista: Find apartments and houses for rent or sale in Portugal. Visit Idealista

🏠 Imovirtual: Search for properties to buy or rent in Portugal. Visit Imovirtual

💼 CustoJusto: Classified ads for real estate and other categories in Portugal. Visit CustoJusto

🛏️ Casa Sapo: Rent rooms and apartments in Portugal. Visit Casa Sapo

Short-term and Student Accommodation

🏢 Flatio: Medium-term rentals and accommodation options in Portugal. Visit Flatio

🎓 Uniplaces: Find student accommodation and rooms for rent in Portugal. Visit Uniplaces

🌍 Nestpick: Search for furnished apartments and rooms worldwide. Visit Nestpick

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