How to Obtain a D6 Family Reunification Visa in Portugal: The Ultimate Guide

A realistic montage image depicting a family overcoming challenges together through the family reunification process, highlighting determination and resilience

Moving to Portugal and starting a new life can be an exciting adventure, but it can be even more fulfilling when you’re surrounded by loved ones. If you’re a foreign national living in Portugal with a residence permit, you may be eligible to apply for a family reunification visa to bring your family members to join you.

👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 This guide will walk you through the process, outlining the requirements, steps involved, and important considerations to ensure a smooth and successful family reunification experience in Portugal.

Who Can Apply for Family Reunification in Portugal?

The Portuguese family reunification visa (D6 visa) allows eligible family members of foreign nationals with a valid residence permit in Portugal to join them. Here’s who can apply:

  • Spouse: Your legal spouse can apply for a family reunification visa.
  • Children under 18: Children under the age of 18 who are financially dependent on you are eligible.
  • Children over 18: Children over 18 years old who are studying at a Portuguese school or university and are financially dependent on you can also apply.
  • Adopted children: Adopted children are included in the family reunification process.
  • Siblings under official custody: Siblings under your official custody who are financially dependent on you can apply.
  • Parents under 65: Parents under the age of 65 who are financially dependent on you are eligible.
  • Parents over 65: Parents over 65 years old are also eligible for family reunification.

Applying for Family Reunification in Portugal: Two Options

There are two main ways to apply for a family reunification visa in Portugal:

1. Simultaneous Application at the Portuguese Consulate:

The most straightforward and often fastest route is applying for family reunification visas simultaneously with your own visa application at the Portuguese consulate in your home country. This option can streamline the process and reduce potential delays.

2. Applying from Within Portugal:

If you’ve already obtained a residence permit in Portugal and your family members did not apply for a visa simultaneously, you can apply for family reunification from within Portugal through the Immigration and Borders Service (SEF) or the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF). However, this option often requires booking an appointment, which can be challenging due to limited availability.

Important Information for Family Reunification Applications:

  • NIF and NISS numbers: While not mandatory, submitting your NIF (Portuguese Tax Identification Number) and NISS (Social Security Number) to the SEF can be beneficial. These numbers will be printed on the back of your family members’ residence permit cards, simplifying future procedures.
  • Tourist Visa: Your family members can also travel to Portugal on a tourist visa or under a visa-free regime (if eligible) and then apply for family reunification under Article 98.2 of the Portuguese Immigration Law.

Key Documents Required for Family Reunification in Portugal

Regardless of the application method, you’ll need to provide the following documents:

  • Confirmation of the right to family reunification: This document proves that you have a valid residence permit in Portugal and are eligible to apply for family reunification.
  • Certificates of kinship: These documents must be no older than 6 months and include an apostille and translation into Portuguese.
    • Birth certificate: For reunification with a parent.
    • Marriage certificate: For reunification with a spouse.
    • Adoption or guardianship certificate: For reunification with dependent siblings.
    • Important: If someone has changed their name, they must provide official evidence of the name change.
  • Passport: Each family member must submit a valid passport with at least six months of validity remaining.
  • Rental contract: Provide a copy of your rental contract in Portugal.
  • Proof of income: You must demonstrate sufficient income to support your family members. This typically involves providing:
    • Salary slips or invoices (recibo verde).
    • Savings in your Portuguese bank account.
    • Minimum income requirements: As of 2024, the minimum annual income required is €820 for the main applicant, 50% for the spouse, and 30% for each child under 18. This translates to a minimum of €17,712 for a family with one spouse and one child.
  • Authorization for a criminal record check: If a family member has resided in Portugal for more than one year in the last five years (excluding children under 16), they must provide authorization for a criminal record check.
  • Certificate of no criminal record: All applicants over 16 must provide a certificate of no criminal record from their country of citizenship and any other countries where they’ve resided for more than one year since the age of 16. This certificate must be translated into Portuguese and notarized.

Step-by-Step Guide to Family Reunification in Portugal

Step 1: Secure an Appointment with the SEF (if applying from within Portugal)

The most challenging aspect of family reunification in Portugal is securing an appointment with the SEF. Slots are limited and often booked quickly. Here’s what you can do to improve your chances:

  • Follow the official SEF Facebook group: This group often posts updates on available slots.
  • Get a NOS mobile operator SIM card: Reports suggest that these numbers are easier to use for booking appointments.
  • Sign up each family member for a separate slot: Even young children should be registered individually.

Step 2: Obtain Certificates of No Criminal Record

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

  • Request the certificate in paper format: Obtain the certificate from your country of origin.
  • Obtain an apostille: Apostille the certificate to make it valid internationally.
  • Translate the certificate into Portuguese: Ensure the translation is done by a certified translator.
  • Notarize the translated certificate: A notary public must authenticate the translated certificate.

Step 3: Gather Certificates of Kinship

Family members must provide documents proving their relationship with the principal applicant. These certificates must be no older than 6 months and include an apostille.

Step 4: Confirm the Principal Applicant’s Residence Permit

You need to provide the following documents:

  • Your residence permit card (Título de Residência).
  • Proof of sufficient funds in your bank account. If your residence permit is based on employment, you must also provide your payslips.

Step 5: Prove Sufficient Financial Means for the Family

In addition to your own income, you must demonstrate sufficient financial resources to support your family members. This typically involves proving:

  • 50% of the minimum annual wage for your spouse or adult relative: (0.5 × €820 × 12 months)
  • 30% of the minimum annual wage for each child under 18: (0.3 × €820 × 12 months)
  • Savings in your Portuguese bank account: Having sufficient savings can strengthen your application.

Step 6: Attend the SEF Appointment

At your scheduled appointment, you and your family members will need to:

  • Submit all required documents.
  • Provide fingerprints.

Step 7: Receive Residence Permits

Your family members will receive their residence permit cards via mail within 2-12 weeks after their SEF appointment.

Important Considerations for Family Reunification in Portugal:

  • Family reunification under Article 122.4: Once your child has obtained a residence permit, you can apply for a residence permit under Article 122.4, which is specifically for family reunification. This can be a faster process than applying for a separate visa.
  • Income requirements for parents: Both parents must have a confirmed income (either from self-employment or employment contracts) when applying for reunification with their child. Simply showing funds in your bank account may not be sufficient.
  • Guardian agreement: The SEF may request that a resident of Portugal sign an agreement stating that they will be responsible for the child until you (the parent) receive your residence permit. This is rare, but it can occur. The guardian must have a confirmed income and tax return.

Bottom Line

Reuniting with your family in Portugal can be a rewarding experience. By understanding the requirements, following the steps, and gathering the necessary documents, you can increase your chances of a successful family reunification journey. Remember, patience and persistence are key, and seeking assistance from immigration lawyers or experienced professionals can be beneficial in navigating the process.

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