Portugal or the Portuguese Republic is on the Iberian Peninsula, situated in Europe’s southwestern portion. The country is considered as mainland Europe’s westernmost country. The vast Atlantic Ocean lies on its southern and western area while Spain borders it on its eastern and northern portions. The other parts of Portugal include the Atlantic archipelagos of Madeira and Azores.
Portugal has a Mediterranean climate and has one of Europe’s warmest countries. This is best felt in the Azores and Madeira areas where there are narrow temperature variations throughout the year.
Tagus is the main river that splits mainland Portugal. Portugal’s northern areas are mountainous with interior areas of plateaus enclosed in river valleys. Rolling plains between the Algarve and Tagusare are truly breathtaking sites in the country. Occasional snow is expected along its northern portion, mostly from October to May in the country’s southern portion. Its coastal areas also experience snowfall once every 5 or 6 years.
The economy of Portugal is based on the industry and services it offers, which include its automotive industry and software services. The business sectors are geared toward traditional industries such as clothing, textiles, and cork along with footwear products, beverages and wood products. Beverages produced by factories in this country include juice, beer, soft drinks and wine among others.
The country currently focuses on private investments, exports and even on the development of their high-tech sectors. Their exportation of technology has downsized their importations.
The current conditions though in the country have been lamented in Portugal Expat Forum last May 14, 2009:
The recession is worldwide. There have been people involved here, including a lot of expats who have had to sell their holiday homes. This has been mainly on the Algarve though, prices on the Silver coast have been pretty stable.
The Immigration Policy of Portugal
The Prime Minister of Portugal, Jose Socrates, has requested for a common immigration policy with that of the European Union due to Europe’s growing number of illegal immigrants. The proposed common policy aims to involve the harmonization of laws with regards to the entry of the immigrants. It aims to improve “border” cooperation and to provide joint aids towards other nations.
Around 25 members of the European Union are currently framing this immigration policy. As of now, discussions about this joint policy are well underway. This is due to the complex issue of aligning various national rules as well as solutions to the growing number of illegal immigrants.
This is considered as politically urgent. With Portugal counting 450,000 illegal immigrants, its population of about 10.5 million has already escalated to serious conditions such as high unemployment rates and low GDP in the past few years.
European citizens only need an ID to enter Portugal. Other nationals have 2 options for entering Portugal, which include:
1. Securing a visa through a private company offering visa services. Some of these companies have online communication options, which means they can be contacted through email among other digital communication protocols. However, it is still best to check their accreditation status supposedly granted by embassies.
2. Applying in person at a Portugal embassy in your locality. Those living in London need to secure an application from the embassy of Portugal in London. The areas it caters to include:
• Channel Islands;
• Greater London;
• Isles of Sicily;
• Isle of Wight;
• Wiltshire; and
• Sussex (West and East).
The premium rate appt. number of the London Consulate is 09065 540789. 1.00 GBP is charged per minute, and only those who have an appointment will be entertained in person. Otherwise, you will not be admitted at the said Portuguese Consulate. Those in other countries need to contact the Portugal Embassy of Manchester.
As for other visa applicants, you need to have a passport valid for at least six months beyond the date of the trip. The passport must at lease have a minimum of two blank facing pages for stamp purposes.
An applicant for a Portugal tourist visa needs to initially make a booking prior to submitting the completed visa application. Here is the list of nationalities required to personally apply for a Portugal Tourist Visa:
• Democratic Republic of Congo
• Hong Kong
• Frandesspas Document
• North Korea
• Travel Document Holders
• Siera Leone
• Saudi Arabia
• Sri Lanka
• United Arab Emirates
Applicants are also required to attach the following documents to their visa application:
• a completely blank visa page for the Portugal visa, your passport, and your UK visa that should satisfy the requirements of the Portugal Embassy in London (if you are applying from London)
• a stamp on your present passport for UK visas
• a copy of your “fully” paid travel receipts as well as the originals
• a copy of your accommodation details while in Portugal together with the originals
• a copy of your Bank Statement together with the original (the minimum balance should be no less than £50 each day you plan to travel in this country)
• an original and a copy of your College or Employment Letter
• an original and a copy of your last 3 Payslips
• travel Insurance
• three Colored Passport Pictures (should have white background and visible shoulders)
• completed and signed Visa Application for Portugal
• completed and signed Private office case sheet along with their terms and Conditions (if you will secure this through a private company)
• money to pay for Office Handling Fee and Portugal Embassy Fees
For family members or for a spouse of an EU national, marriage certificates as well as birth certificates should be notarized by the noted embassy of the foreign national.
As for work permits into Portugal, an expat shared their experience in the Portugal Expat Forum last August 10, 2009:
I’m in the process of getting my work visa for Portugal. It’s not that difficult to get, provided your employer is has advertised the job in Portugal for 30 days before hiring you, and is willing to run around a bit to get all the necessary paperwork together.
After advertising the job for 30 days, the employer has to get a declaration from the IEFP (Instituto do Emprego e Formacao Profissional) to prove that they have done so and were unable to recruit a suitable candidate locally or in the EU. This then has to be submitted, along with a signed employment contract, proof of travel insurance (1 year), police clearance and AIDS and Hepatitis checks, to the consular section at the Portuguese embassy in SA (if you’re in SA). Apparently the quota for hiring foreigners in Portugal is full, but they will assess each situation on a case-by-case basis. If you’re being employed as a skilled worker, it shouldn’t be a problem. It takes about 2-3 weeks for the visa section in Lisbon to process the visa.
I’m waiting for my visa at the moment, and will hopefully get it this week.
The standard visa fee for private companies ranges from £46 to £48 while an office service charge is from £94.00 to £100.00. The total cost ranges from £140.00 to £160.00. This already includes the £60 embassy fee. You need to pay an additional fee of £6.00 if you want to be informed regularly.
Officially though, the following are the visa fees charged:
Note that the EU has decided that all Schengen states are to charge 60 euro for entry visas from 1 January 2007.
National visas have different fees:
- Residence visa : 80 Euros;
- Temporary stay : 65 Euros, including for:
- Short stay (1-90 days): 60 Euros;
- Transit Visa : 60 Euros
- VVTL Visa (only valid to Portugal): 60 Euros;
Delays and even rejection may happen if incorrect and insufficient documentation of your visa application was presented. Make sure you seek the advice of accredited travel offices. Better yet, transact only with the Portuguese embassy.