11th September 2018

Author: Luciana Zettel

New laws for third country nationals/Changes in Immigration Procedures

Effective Regulatory Decree No. 9/2018, of 11 September 2018 – Changes the regulation for legal entry, stay, departure and removal of foreign nationals from the national territory of Portugal.

Who will be affected?

Third-country nationals, non-residents, and students, investors and highly qualified employer’s residents in Portugal.


  • Law no. 102/2017, of 28th August, fifth amendment to Law no. 23/2007, of 4th July, which approves the legal regulation for entry, stay, exit and removal of foreigners from the national territory (Foreigners’ Law) and transposed Directives 2014/36 / EU, of 26th February (regulation for entry and stay of seasonal workers), 2014/66 / EU, of 15th May (regulation for entry and stay of workers transferred within of a company or group of companies) and 2016/801 / EU of 11th May (regulation for the entry and residence of researchers, students of higher and secondary education, trainees and volunteers), as well as introducing new schemes for the residence permits. Accordingly, it is necessary to proceed to its regulation by amending, for this purpose, Regulatory Decree No. 84/2007, of 5th November, amended by Regulatory Decree No. 2/2013 of 18th March, by Decree- Law no. 31/2014, of 27th February, and by Regulatory Decree no. 15-A / 2015, of 2nd September.
  • Taking advantage of the need to transpose these directives and in order to better adapt the Foreigners Law to the new economic and social dynamics, new schemes were introduced for foreigners who wish to attend professional education courses in Portugal and for entrepreneurial and highly qualified immigrants, linked to entrepreneurship, technology and innovation, responding to the difficulties experienced by companies in this area, which are now regulated.
  • Changes were also introduced to streamline the procedures for granting residence visas for third-country nationals having Portuguese as their official language and it was intended to balance the effort to streamline the procedures, by the preferential use of the electronic route, without prejudice to the security of identification of the applicants.


  • Regarding residence visas, Visa Applicant will be informed about the date of application for a residence permit in the Immigration Service (SEF);
  • It will now be possible to schedule the service in any direction or SEF regional delegation, not restricted around Applicant residence;
    SEF will reuse the documents already in its possession, dismissing their presentation when they already exist in the process;
  • In applications for renewal of Residence Permit or Residence Card and extension of valid visa holders’ stay, appointments can be made online by registering on the SEF’s My SEF Portal, but only some procedures become digital, biometric / signing / photograph will not be dismissed.
  • Foreign citizens who already work in Portugal and Foreign students from Portuguese-speaking countries who does not have proof of legal entry into the country but complies with all the other requirements according to Labour Law and are working in Portugal for more than a year with discounts for Social Security, can benefit from the exceptionally for humanitarian reasons for residence permit.
  • Applications for a residence visa submitted by students of higher education, nationals of Portuguese-speaking countries, through the exemption of the interview and proof of means of subsistence.
  • Applications for a visa or residence permit submitted by the foreigners who are engaged in highly qualified activities, technologically entrepreneurial or that perform activities are now streamlined.
  • Seasonal workers, workers transferred within the framework of the companies and the students and researchers can have their procedures simplified


Effective 11 September.

Should you have any questions, please contact the following:

Luciana Zettel
Immigration Consultant in Portugal
Santa Fe Relocation
Tel.: +351 938212428
Email: luciana.zettel@santaferelo.com

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