The Portugal Gateway — A Source of Unicorn Energy

Not any old horse can evolve into a Unicorn, and not every blue-ribbon winning horse has the entitlement to be named a Unicorn either. To become a Unicorn, a company must be forged within the energy and spirit of a Unicorn. An organization so tight and sailing right in its venture, that it basically runs on magic. But where does a start-up or company find a source of “Unicorn Energy”? 

Well, much like Silicon Valley, California in the U.S.A., Unicorn Energy can be found in little pockets across the globe — we’ll take a good look at Portugal as a gateway for Unicorn Energy and why many are choosing this destination as a new home away from home.

Over the recent years, Portugal has gained much fame amongst the savvy tech and innovation crowds. Bringing in talented foreigners and expats from all around the world that are qualified and certified in important digital development areas. Fields such as engineering, robotics, research and development, coders, hackers, app builders, digital marketing agents, and developers are at the forefront of the tech boom in Portugal. 

This makes many people today want to know, “How do I move to Portugal?” “How do I set up shop to get started abroad?” In this article, we’ll find out how to plan out your arrival and have you eating pastel de nata in no time. 

ph: daria shevtsova

Time for Change

The Covid19 pandemic has caused various shifts and changes to the overall workforce landscape and operations. Let’s zoom in on “The Great Resignation” phenomenon sweeping across the international working community. Once heavy lockdown restrictions were lifted from most countries, lots of people enjoyed their work from home circumstances. So much, that they are now looking for other places, like Portugal, to establish their new home to work from. Why? Lots of good reasons! But to make a big move to another country where you can live and work, you’re going to have to jump through those fiery rings of bureaucracy. We have you covered.

Hasta La Visa

Visas and permits come in all shapes and sizes and suit each individual according to their needs. So let’s go over some visas and permits that you can apply for to get the ball rolling for your move to Portugal. 

  • SHORT TERM VISA: For short-term temporary contracts of less than six months, a Portuguese work visa is necessary. It is available to employees and self-employed workers who have passed a labour authority evaluation (IEFP). If you are involved in academic teaching, scientific research, certain training and service provisions supplied by members of the World Trade Organization, or highly qualified professional activities your temporary stay visa can be extended for up to one year.

  • LONG TERM VISA: Non-EU citizens who plan to work in Portugal for more than six months will need this Portuguese work visa. Because Portugal is part of the Schengen Area, the work visa is a long-term Schengen Visa (type D), which allows the bearer to travel freely between the 26 Schengen nations. Luckily, citizens of the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Israel can apply for this visa from within Portugal within 90 days after arrival, according to bilateral agreements.

After you've received your visa, you'll need to apply for a Portuguese resident permit from within the country. Find out more about how to apply for a short or long visa to proceed with any permits you’ll need while you’re here, and you’ll be happy you did. 

  • STANDARD WORK PERMIT: For most employees working in Portugal, this is the usual residence permit. The permit is valid for one year and can be renewed up to five times before the bearer can apply for permanent residence in Portugal.

  • SPECIALIZED WORK PERMIT: This is a residency permit for individuals in high-skilled occupations, scientific researchers, and academic professionals. The permit is valid for one year and can also be renewed up to five times before the bearer can apply for permanent residence in Portugal.

  • EU BLUE CARD: The Blue Card scheme acts as a Portuguese work visa and residency for highly qualified workers from non-EU countries. You can apply for an EU Blue Card if you have a higher qualification, are a paid team member with a work contract or binding job offer in an EU country for at least one year, and have a gross annual salary of at least one and a half times the national average of the country (around €50,700).

Observation: Non-EU nationals can work in 24 of the 27 EU member states using EU Blue Cards that are good for one to four years (excluding Denmark, Ireland, and the UK). After 18 months in Portugal, a Blue Card holder can apply for a residence visa for researchers or highly skilled migrants.

  • GOLD PERMIT: Also known as the “The Gold Visa”, is a unique Portuguese visa scheme designed to entice international investment into the country. The Portuguese golden visa programme expedites the process of obtaining a Portuguese residence permit for non-EU investors who engage in real estate or create a business in Portugal. Basically, a quick easy pass through Portuguese bureaucracy if you have the funds to invest in the country. 

You can find out more about basic and specialized visas through government portals, EU Blue card information and how to apply, and also on how to go through the gold visa process to invest. Information is power when it comes to settling down somewhere new, so it’s best to plan ahead and apply to what is relative to you and your situation before moving your home to Portugal. 

While we’re at it, here are some basic documents you’ll need to have in hand to apply for any of these visas or permits: 

  1. Passport photo (standard 5x5 cm)
  2. Passport with copies of your prior visas
  3. Information on your flight reservation
  4. Medical insurance coverage up to €30,000 in expenditures
  5. Housing proof
  6. Employment contract (if necessary)

Free Bird

If you’re a freelance agent looking to move to Portugal to set up a small business and partner up with the multitude of companies and coworking spaces that are available, there are also some things to think about. Self-employed persons can work for a third-party employer; however, they must first get a standard residency permit.

Non-EU/EFTA residents who wish to start a small business or operate as a freelancer in Portugal must go through the same procedure as employees to get a Portuguese resident visa. However, the residence permit you will be issued is special to self-employed employees, and it will require additional papers relating to your business operations as well as tax office registration for your business or self-employment.

Portugal Powerhouse

The reason why people living in Portugal have been able to thrive in their respected ventures and projects has been mainly due to the lifestyle and environment that it offers. With a toned-down pace from the “rat race”, people have more time to build a healthier life for themselves while also maintaining a better work/life balance. This means a happier team, more productivity, healthier work outputs, and overall growth in development. In essence, Portugal provides a powerhouse of Unicorn Energy for ambitious entrepreneurs who now understand what people are expecting out of their workplaces after the introduction of a hybrid or remote work lifestyle.

Now more than ever is the perfect time to shake things up and move on to somewhere new and start up a start-up, or move your multinational to become fully global — and Portugal is the right place.

We’d be more than happy to answer any more questions regarding Portugal and the work environment. We’re also prepared to help you find the perfect spots in Portugal to get you set up to work, build a start-up base, or just share an excellent office environment. Email us to find out more on how we can help you, and we’d love to.

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