How to Obtain a D3 Highly Skilled Visa in Portugal: The Ultimate Guide

Hyper-realistic digital artwork showcasing a diverse group of professionals in a vibrant and welcoming workspace, with the Portuguese coastline visible through large windows. Elements like a diploma, a Portuguese residency card, and digital devices with graphs and codes subtly highlight the opportunities for highly skilled workers in Portugal. The scene, rendered in neutral and positive colors, evokes hope and calmness, symbolizing career development and professional networking in Portugal.

Are you a highly skilled professional or a remote worker seeking opportunities in Portugal? The D3 Highly Skilled Visa might be your ticket to a rewarding career in this beautiful country.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through the D3 visa requirements and application process, making your journey to Portugal smoother than ever.


The D3 Highly Skilled Visa is designed for professionals with higher education or substantial work experience. This visa allows entry to Portugal for individuals who have secured a job offer or signed a work contract with a Portuguese employer. It grants a two-year residence permit, opening doors to career growth and personal development.

D3 Visa Requirements

To qualify for the D3 Highly Skilled Visa, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Possess a higher education degree or provide evidence of 5–6 years of relevant work experience.
  • Showcase a long-term contract with a Portuguese employer.
  • Maintain a minimum monthly salary of €1800 (as of 2023).
  • Present a certificate of no criminal record from your home country and any countries where you’ve resided for over a year since turning 16.

💡 Applicants with work experience but no formal education should additionally complete profile courses to support their expertise.

Applying from Within Portugal

If you’re already in Portugal and wish to apply for the D3 visa, the process remains largely the same. You will start by scheduling an appointment at the AIMA Migration Office and gathering the required documents.

Checklist for D3 Visa Application

📝 Here’s a checklist to ensure a smooth D3 visa application process:

  • Schedule an appointment at the consulate or VFS Global visa center in your home country.
  • Ensure your international passport is valid for at least three months beyond your planned return date from Portugal.
  • Provide a police criminal record from your home country and any relevant countries (for those aged 16 and above).
  • Obtain your NIF (Portuguese tax number) and NISS (social security number).
  • Secure a one-year rental contract in Portugal (or consult the consulate for up-to-date requirements).
  • Verify your education and work experience in the specialized field.
  • Acquire a work contract with a Portuguese employer offering a minimum salary of €1800 per month.
  • Obtain suitable health insurance, meeting the visa’s 120-day travel insurance requirement.
  • Craft a motivation letter explaining your choice of Portugal, financial stability, dependability, and future plans.
  • Present proof of flight ticket reservations for a date approximately 1.5–2 months after your visa application.
  • Consider consulting a lawyer to enhance your motivation letter, if needed.

What Does the Typical Process Look Like?

  1. Preparation of Documents: Collect documents related to your education, work experience, and job offer or work contract with a Portuguese company.
  2. Visa Application: Submit your application to the consulate or VFS in your home country and await visa approval.
  3. AIMA Application: After arriving in Portugal, apply at the AIMA (A Agência para a Integração, Migrações e Asilo), formerly known as SEF (Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras), with the required documents.
  4. Wait for a Residence Card: It typically takes 2-3 weeks to receive your residence ID card, although it may extend to 3 months in some cases.

Step-by-Step Guide to Applying for a D3 Visa

Step 1. Appointment at Consulate or VFS

  • Determine whether to submit documents directly at the consulate or through VFS Global.
  • Register to apply by filling out the application form.
  • Select the appropriate consular office in your city or country.
  • Note: Each family member, including minors, must complete separate application forms.

Step 2. Certificate of No Criminal Record

  • Obtain a certificate of no criminal record from your home country (and other relevant countries).
  • Ensure it is valid for 90 days.
  • Request the document, have it apostilled, translate it into Portuguese, and notarize it.

Step 3. Obtaining Your NIF (Portuguese Tax Number)

  • Apply for an NIF either remotely or in person at a Finanças office.
  • Schedule an appointment by calling +351-217-206-707.
  • Bring your passport and proof of address in your home country.

📝 Read more: How to Obtain a NIF in Portugal: A Step-by-Step Guide for Remote Workers

Step 4. Providing Proof of Accommodation

  • Obtain a one-year rental contract in Portugal (or check consulate requirements).
  • Ensure your lease complies with official guidelines.

💡 Useful Links

Step 5. Opening a Bank Account

Step 6. Proving Your Education and Work Experience

  • Demonstrate your higher education with an apostilled diploma and Portuguese translation.
  • Ensure your profession aligns with your earned degree.
  • If lacking a degree, provide evidence of at least five years of relevant work experience.

Step 7. Securing a Job Offer or Contract

  • Secure a job offer or long-term contract with a Portuguese employer.
  • The salary must meet or exceed €1800 per month.

Step 8. Demonstrating Financial Savings

  • While not mandatory, having savings can strengthen your application, especially if you are applying with a promise of a contract.
  • Display at least €9840 in a personal account (not necessarily Portuguese) if applying with a job promise.

Step 9. Health Insurance Requirements

  • Obtain standard travel insurance for the 120-day duration of the D visa.
  • For the residency permit, acquire Portuguese health insurance, such as Tranquilidade or Fidelidade.
  • You can explore insurance options through your Portuguese bank when opening an account.

Step 10. Flight Ticket Reservations

  • Showcase proof of flight ticket reservations for your planned arrival in Portugal.
  • Reservations should align with your visa application date.

Step 11. Crafting a Motivation Letter

  • While not obligatory, a well-crafted motivation letter can bolster your visa application.
  • Explain your choice of Portugal, financial stability, dependability, and future plans.
  • Consider professional assistance for a persuasive letter.

Step 12. Application Submission

  • Attend your consulate or VFS appointment.
  • Ensure all documents are correctly translated, certified, and notarized.
  • Pay the applicable visa fees.

Visiting AIMA and Receiving Your Residence Permit

Upon receiving your visa, schedule a visit to the AIMA Migration Office in Portugal. If your appointment falls after your visa expiration date, it’s still valid as long as you arrive in Portugal within its validity.

💡 During your AIMA appointment, you’ll provide essential documents, pay the €170.5 fee, and wait for your residence permit card. This card, valid for two years, opens doors to a fulfilling life and career in Portugal.

Bottom line

The Portugal D3 visa is a valuable opportunity for highly skilled professionals to experience a new chapter in their lives. With its vibrant culture, warm weather, and affordable cost of living, Portugal offers a welcoming destination for those seeking a new beginning.

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📝 Disclaimer: This content is provided for informational purposes and spans various topics. While we aim for accuracy with AI-enhanced, human-curated information, we do not guarantee correctness and are not liable for inaccuracies. This is not professional advice; consult a professional for specific guidance. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

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