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Travel, Study, Live & Work Overseas

Visa Information

Working Holiday / Temporary Work

Citizens of the following countries can enjoy working holidays in Portugal:


Working Holiday Schemes are generally reciprocal arrangements that in most cases allow people aged 18 to 30 years, to spend up to 12 months on holiday in the host country.

In general each country enables you to:

  • stay for 12 months
  • work for a period of time 
  • study for a limited time

To be eligible you are required to:

  • show enough funds for your first few weeks in the country
  • have a return ticket or enough money to pay a return ticket or onward fare
  • be between 18 and 30 years of age at the time you apply
  • not be accompanied by dependent children
  • meet character and health requirements
  • hold a valid passport

You can find further information here: Portugal Trade And Tourism



Other Visas

If you wish to travel to the Portugal:

  • on a business trip
  • to holiday
  • study
  • intern
  • volunteer
  • work
  • or to immigrate

Then check out the relevant pages about Portugal on this website.

Portugal is a Schengen area country.  The Schengen Area comprises of 26 European countries that have eliminated passport and immigration controls at their common borders. The Schengen Area operates as a one country state (with a common visa policy) for the purposes of international travel purposes. With a Schengen visa, you may enter one country and travel freely throughout the Schengen zone. For more information see: Schengen Visa Information

Passport holders from a number of other countries are permitted to enter Portugal without a visa and stay for up to three months. A list of these countries can be found here: Portugal Trade and Tourism

Citizens of the European EFTA and EEA Member Countries do not require a visa or work permit in order to work and live in Portugal.

If you are not a European Union country passport holder then you will need to apply for the appropriate work and residency permits. The employer wishing to hire you must apply for the work permit on your behalf. If you wish to engage in voluntary work of a short term nature then you do not need a permit for this.

For more information see Portugal Trade and Tourism

We also suggest that you contact the nearest consulate or embassy of the country you wish to visit to ensure you have the most recent and accurate information.


Volunteering in Portugal

Just like most countries around the world, Portugal has felt the effects of the global economic crunch. Poverty level in the country is 18%, and there are many people that need food, clothing and shelter. There are many opportunities for volunteers to either work in humanitarian projects or in environment related projects in Portugal.

For volunteers interested in staying in cities; there are projects involving driving around the cities and delivering food to the homeless people living on the streets. The homeless people living on the streets of Lisbon come from different countries. Volunteers with various language skills are a big bonus to the project, as they can connect with the homeless.

The language of the internet is also the language of commerce and technology. For the younger generation to succeed in a competitive job market, it is a must learn language. Native English speakers can volunteer to teach English at the free language centres and provide a much needed service that is not accessible to youth of this class. In return the volunteers get to connect as non-tourists with the native residents, make new friends and explore the locality in their free time.

The coastal areas of Portugal also need volunteers interested in conservation work. There is the option of working in clean up teams, and tree planting operations. Some projects even allow volunteers to name the trees they have planted. Additionally there are also Do-It-Yourself projects like renovation of old hotels and guest houses in the inner part of the country.


Working in Portugal

Portugal is a developed country with a mixed economy. Its trading partners are mostly countries from the European Union. Most of its industry revolves around manufacturing which has nominal need for expat workers. Alternative energy and technology industries are now taking root.

Pace of work in Portugal is slower than most European & Western nations, as are the wages, but the quality of life is better. Unemployment is on the high side so many of the native residents opt for condensed versions of self-employment schemes.

Jobs in Portugal are generally filled by word of mouth. Majority of the jobs never make it to print media, as they are marketed through social connections. Also different expatriate communities give preference to hiring workers originating from their own part of the world. So the best way for foreigners to secure jobs is to develop links in communities with background similar to their own.

Self-employment is another option for foreigners wishing to settle in Portugal. Just ensure that your skills can be transferred. Having a Portuguese business partner with some experience will make setting up the new business that much easier. Before making any investments discuss with a local tax advisor and begin very slowly so losses, if any, are kept to the minimum.

Temporary employment in hotels, tour operators, bars or restaurants is possible during the high tourist season in places like Albufeira, Alvor, Monte Gordo, Ferragudo, and Armacao de Pera.  English teachers are highly sought after in cities and towns and offer good job opportunities for foreigners looking for short term work. Workers with childcare experience can find jobs as Au Pairs. While wages may be low, food and accommodation is usually provided and there won’t always be a need to speak Portuguese.


Studying in Portugal

Education has played an important role in Portuguese civilization. The country is home to one of Europe’s first universities and at that time education was accessible to only the most honoured citizens. Now universities operate according to the Bologna convention to facilitate the maximum number of international students. Five of the Portuguese universities have earned a place in the World University Rankings list.

Most courses offered at undergraduate level are conducted in Portuguese while English-taught programs are more common at graduate level. There are two types of institutes of higher education in Portugal: polytechnics and universities. University education concentrates more on academics while polytechnics train students for specific careers. In subjects like engineering, humanities and management there are lot of overlaps between the two types of institutes.

There is a large variety of short term study programs ranging from a few weeks to full year certificate programs for international students. Admission to these programs is set by the university itself. Certain foundation courses may even take work experience into consideration along with other mandatory qualifications when accepting a student.

Students from EU countries do not need an entry visa but do need to show proof of funds to cover cost of studies. Students from non-EU countries will have to get a visa to study in Portugal which takes about two months to process. For more specific details, you have to check with the Portuguese embassy in your home country.

Private universities in Portugal are more expensive than public institutions. Generally, foreign students have to finance their own studies, as there are almost no scholarships or financial aid available. The good news is that Portugal is still cheap compared to other European countries.


Before you take off

Please contact us if you believe information on this page is incorrect, misleading or offensive, or if something important is missing.

The International Wanderer aims to provide you with up to date and accurate information. However, content is submitted by writers/wanderers from all over the globe. Sometimes we will get it wrong. Furthermore, working holiday and other visa opportunities and requirements (or numbers allocated) may change. New working holiday agreements are constantly being negotiated between countries. We suggest that you contact the nearest consulate or embassy of the country you wish to visit to ensure you have the most recent and accurate information. For further information about this website see our Terms & Conditions.