HQA Visa: Portugal’s Highly Qualified

What is the Portugal HQA Visa?

The HQA program for highly qualified specialists is one of the options for moving to Portugal under an employment contract. Within 4 months after visa approval, the applicant submits documents for a temporary residence permit. After 5 years of being a Portuguese resident, one can apply for permanent residence or citizenship.

Portugal HQA Visa Requirements

Higher Education: Confirmed by a diploma from an educational institution or a certificate

One-year Employment Contract: Or the promise of a work contract for a period of 12 months or more

Salary of €1, 452+: 3 times the amount of IAS social support (in 2023 = €484)

What are the benefits of the Portugal HQA Visa?

The obtaining process takes up to 2 months and does not require investments. Immediately after the approval, the holder must apply for a residence permit to SEF
Portuguese residents enjoy the right to:

  • Visa-free entry and travel within 26 Schengen countries;
  • Family reunion in Portugal. The spouse, children, parents, brothers and sisters who are dependent on one of the spouses can join the main applicant;
  • Acquisition of Portuguese citizenship. After 5 years with a residence permit, you can apply for permanent residence or a country’s passport.
  • Joining the special tax regime for non-permanent residents of the NHR. Available to foreigners who officially live in Portugal and have not been tax residents for the previous 5 years.

Who can get a Portugal HQA Visa?

HQA Visa applicants come from a very diverse range of sectors and industries. They frequently work for or own businesses in fintech, healthcare and medical technology, science, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology or nanotechnology, industrial processing, IT, blockchain, crypto, and e-commerce.
Demanded specialists with a higher-education diploma or profile certificates can apply for a visa. At the same time, the position in the work contract must correspond to the speciality indicated in the document on education.
Two groups of specialists can obtain a visa:

  • First step: Heads of companies – top managers, directors.
  • Workers in the intellectual sphere – engineers, scientists, lawyers.

The HQA visa can also be obtained by;

  • A spouse;
  • Parents over 65;
  • Parents under 65 if financially dependent on the main applicant;
  • Children under 18;
  • Children over 18 if unmarried, studying, or financially dependent on the main applicant,

Apply Visa

Costs and Fees of an HQA Visa

To process an HQA Visa application, you may pay about €90. Issuing a residence permit card will cost €200. It is also important for the immigration service to provide health insurance worth €400.

A foreigner confirms the residence address in Portugal to obtain a residence permit. Renting an apartment depends on the region and starts from €500 per month.

Opening a bank account in Portugal is often required when signing a lease agreement. Payment of rent payments and utilities usually takes place in a non-cash way

Other expenses for obtaining a visa and residence permit include the lawyer’s assistance and agents to find apartments. Their cost depends on the chosen company and its services.

List of documents to apply for an HQA Visa

The list of documents does not depend on the place of application and includes the following:
  • A visa application form;
  • 2 colour photos of 3x4 cm;
  • An international passport and its copy;
  • A certificate of no criminal records with an apostille,
  • Permission to check criminal records in Portugal;
  • Health insurance;
  • An employment contract or a written promise of an employment contract for a period of one year with a salary of at least a certain amount;
  • Confirmation of qualification: the original diploma of higher professional education or other certificates with an apostille.

You must attach an HQA Visa and an apartment rental agreement when further applying for a residence permit.

Step-by-step process of obtaining an HQA Visa

You can get a highly skilled activity visa and a residence permit at the same time. For example, you come to Portugal on a Schengen visa and submit to the SEF.
The following procedure will be required if the applicant has already contracted with a local employer.

  • Sign up for an application : To the Migration Service of Portugal by phone or on the website. Apply under Article 90.2.
  • Paperwork : On the appointed day, the applicant arrives at the office of the migration service with the documents. The list is the same as when applying outside of Portugal..
  • Get a residence permit :Consideration of documents takes about a month, after which the applicant receives a residence permit card
  • Renew the residence card after two years : A residence permit, upon renewal, is issued for three years. The applicant collects the same package of documents as when submitting the first application.