Portugal Attracts 200 Applicants Since Introducing Residence Visa Program


Key Takeaways

  • Launched in October 2022, attracting about 200 applicants initially.
  • Requires a monthly income of €3,040, self-employment or employment outside Portugal, and applicants from non-EU/EEA countries.
  • Serves as a pathway to permanent residency after a year, encouraging foreign professionals to settle.
  • Madeira and Lisbon emerge as top destinations for digital nomads while rising housing costs and gentrification provoke local tensions.
  • Protests at tech events like the Web Summit highlight concerns of housing displacement amid the city’s innovation ambitions.

Portugal’s Digital Nomad Visa

Lisbon, Portugal–Portugal’s digital nomad visa, officially known as the “residence visa for the exercise of professional activity provided remotely outside the national territory,” has welcomed about 200 applicants since its launch in October 2022.

In November last year, the PM office of the southern European nation announced that they were considering scrapping the criticized Golden Visa program, hoping it to be replaced by the newly launched digital nomad visa (the proposal was blocked in Parliament when the ruling party voted against it). 

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“Portugal is a country for immigration. Every year, we receive thousands of immigrants seeking opportunities in our country,” said Ana Catarina Mendes, a Portuguese Cabinet minister, in a report.

As per reports, most of the applicants for the new visa were from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Brazil. 

The digital nomad visa was created to be a stepping stone for foreigners seeking permanent residency. 

To qualify for Portugal’s digital nomad visa (read: Everything you need to know about Portugal’s digital nomad visa), one must have a monthly income of at least €3,040, be self-employed (or employed for a company outside Portugal), and come from a country, not in the EU or EAA.

After spending one year (digital nomad visa validity period) in Portugal, nomads can apply for a five-year residency, after which they can easily obtain permanent residency.

Presently, Madeira and Lisbon are global digital nomad hotspots, both of which are on NomadList’s top 10 destinations for digital nomads.

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Impact on Locals and Housing Concerns

On the flip side, there have reportedly been rising tensions among locals in the country due to rising housing costs and gentrification

According to another report, protests against Portugal’s digital nomad project were seen at the gates of the annual Lisbon-based tech fair, the Web Summit. 

“We have neighbourhoods now that are mainly Airbnb,” said Ana, a Portuguese school teacher at the Web Summit protests, “We don’t have our homes anymore.”

After the same event, Lisbon’s mayor, Carlos Moedas, was reported to have said. “I’m building 1,000 homes for people that don’t have homes or cannot pay rent. I put in a major plan to renew neighborhoods that were very old,” defending his goal of making Lisbon the “capital of innovation” in Europe. 

What We Think

Portugal’s initiative to attract digital nomads showcases a forward-thinking approach, providing pathways to residency and contributing to the country’s diverse immigrant landscape.

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However, tensions over housing affordability and community displacement call for a balanced strategy. The focus on innovation and affordable housing by city officials reflects a proactive response to these challenges, aiming to maintain the city’s appeal while addressing societal needs.

Balancing the influx of digital nomads with local interests will be pivotal for sustained harmony and growth in Portugal’s evolving landscape.


Aqil K
Aqil K
Aqil writes about travel, tourism, and covers the many aspects of the digital nomad lifestyle.


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