Portugal is an attractive country not just for its education system, but for its active lifestyle and accessible living costs. The education system is diverse and degree courses (undergraduate and postgraduate) are offered in many fields of study. Students who seek an academic degree can enrol in a university while students that aim for a technical specialization have the chance to earn a degree from polytechnic universities.
In order to be able to complete a degree in Portugal, you will need to speak both English and Portuguese. However, the experience of a study course in the most western country of mainland Europe will be rewarding.
Before you apply to a polytechnic or university degree course in Portugal you should check if you need a student visa and learn about the steps you should take to earn it.
If you decided to study abroad in Portugal and come from an EU/EEA or Schengen country, good news! You won’t need a Portuguese student visa. Otherwise, follow the next steps and prepare to apply for your student visa:
1. Decide on a university to apply to and get your acceptance letter
If you’re still not sure where you want to study in Portugal, you will have to decide before you can start your student visa application process. After being accepted at a Portuguese university, you’ll get an acceptance letter required for visa application.
Consider some of the best universities in Portugal
- Universidade de Aveiro
- University of Coimbra
- University of Lisbon
- University of Porto
- Universidade Nova de Lisboa
Find the right universities depending on the discipline you want to study:
- Master's degrees in General Engineering in Portugal
- Master's degrees in Management in Portugal
- Master's degrees in Computer Sciences in Portugal
- Master's degrees in Biomedical Engineering in Portugal
2. Find out what type of visa you need to study in Portugal
For study purposes, you can apply to one of the following visas for Portugal:
- Transit and short-term Schengen stay visa (visa C) – for students who apply to a short study or language course that lasts maximum 6 months. This visa allows you one, two or multiple entries.
- Schengen National 'Long-stay' visa (type D) – for students who apply to an academic study degree.
3. When and where to apply for the student visa?
Apply for the student visa for Portugal at the Portuguese Embassy or Consulate in your home country or the nearest location. Find out where is the Portugal consulate in your country.
4. Tips about my visa application
Schedule a visa interview on the website of the Portuguese embassy in your area.
Try to schedule the appointment for visa interview as soon as possible, as it may take up to 2-3 months to be issued.
Double-check all requirements and to make sure you have all the documents before submitting them. Keep copies of your file, as you may need some of the documents.
After you receive your visa, you may be required to comply with some health requirements such as vaccination.
5. Language requirements for my study in Portugal
In order to obtain a study visa for Portugal, there are no specific language requirements. Since this is one of the mandatory conditions for admission in a Portuguese university, consulates don’t consider applicants should present any proof of language proficiency as well.
However, visa officers will be more impressed and will appreciate if you speak Portuguese at least on a conversational level.
6. Required application documents
- Completed application form
- One coloured passport photograph
- A valid passport that expires after at least three months from your return home, with at least one blank visa page
- Proof that you paid the application fee which may cost up to 170 EUR
- Letter of acceptance from the university/polytechnics you applied to
- Proof of financial resources to support yourself during your stay in Portugal
- Proof of health insurance coverage
- A valid travel ticket or confirmed reservation to Portugal
- Confirmed accommodation arrangements
- Criminal records
7. Working in Portugal as an international student
EU/EEA students are allowed to work in Portugal without any restrictions or time limit.
Students from outside the EU/EEA can take up casual employment (up to 20 hours/week or in full-time regime during vacations.).
8. Conditions to apply for a residence permit in Portugal
All students should apply for a residence card (Autorização de Residência) within four months of their arrival in Portugal at a local city council hall.
Documents required for a residence permit:
- application form
- valid passport plus one photocopy
- two identical recent, colour passport photos
- proof of income / financial independence
- proof of accommodation