I have been prepping for my D7 Visa application for months. I have researched extensively. Website after website. Forum after forum. Group after group. All information gathering.
The volume of information available is substantial. But what becomes overwhelming is the variety of opinions people have. Those who have made their application have a story to tell. Some positive. Some negative.
There are so many companies and websites that promise the “complete guide” to make your D7 Visa. Many of the companies offer a comprehensive service to ensure an application has the greatest success of being granted.
At present, I feel confident in the research and planning I have undertaken. I have also completed the application in draft format.
As I’ve worked through the process, I can clearly understand why people would use professional support for their applications. There is differing guidance on many of the websites and the legislation changes periodically so having this expertise to guide through the process would be beneficial.
However, I have approached the preparation for my visa independently of any direct professional support.
This is my preferred approach. I am incredibly independent and I have dealt with almost all aspects of personal “business” on my own. This has meant that the ultimate decision lies with me, but to get to that point, I need to ensure I’ve got enough information to make that decision.
For me undertaking the research to understand every root and branch of the process brings me confidence and understanding. This is important to me. Maybe it’s because I’m too independent, or maybe I just need to control my own destiny. Either way, I need to understand.
Throughout the process though, there are a few individuals who have offered or provided support (I’m going to come calling to cash in the offers soon) and I have a company and lawyer available in case I need additional support.
I’m still a couple of months away from submitting, but I’m detailing my progress in case I have missed anything or people can give additional support or advice.
D7 Visa application preparation
The D7 Visa allows non-EU citizens to get Portuguese residency provided they have sufficient income to sustain themselves during their stay in Portugal.
From all the websites I have researched, I tend to revert to the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. For me, this gives me almost all of the resources in one place and has proved extremely helpful. I have also used the Renovating Life website, which is also a great resource. It has a US focus, but the information is really helpful.
So, my progress to date:
NIF – Completed
I used a company called NIF Online to obtain my NIF. For me, this was the most convenient. The whole process was completed online including validating my identification. There was a slight delay due to changes to the computer system at the Finanças, but the whole process was completed within four weeks.
Bank account – Completed
With my NIF in hand, I was able to open a Portuguese bank account on my scouting trip. I had undertaken research and decided to open a Banco CTT account. My understanding is that the Banco CTT account is often used by Portuguese residents who are on a lower income. This is partly because there is no fee for the account (unless you have a debit card which is charged annually) and because there is a Correios de Portugal (CTT) in almost every village and town.
There are lots of people who have experienced difficulties with the CTT (mainly the postal service) which I am sure puts a lot of people off considering them as a bank. However, I have received fantastic service from them. There was a small hiccup in opening the account due to an additional form required due to Brexit, but other than that, I am fully operating my account online from the UK.
The other main reason for opening an account with Banco CTT is because I don’t know where in Portugal I will live, but having the knowledge that no matter where I end up, there will be a CTT in the village.
D7 Application Form – Downloaded and draft completed
The D7 Application Form is readily available online. It’s free to download. Nothing more to say.
Passport – Validity checked
I know, it’s obvious. But the expiry date of the passport is critical. To obtain my visa, I need to have a minimum of 90 days remaining following the expiry of my visa. Add in the period to apply and process my application, this really means that I need to have a minimum of a year remaining on my passport on the date of the application.
Passport photos – Planned
With my application, I need to submit two passport-sized photos taken within six months of the date of application. I’ve scheduled these to be taken in the next month.
Funds in Portuguese bank account – Completed
I must have a minimum means of subsistence which is based on two years of the minimum monthly salary in Portugal. This is currently (January 2022) €16,920, based on 24 months of €705 per month. As soon as I opened my Banco CTT account, I was fortunate that the exchange rate was favourable so transferred this across. Since then, I have been gradually transferring more when the rate has been high.
Realistically, the amount will have been in my Portuguese bank account for at least six months before I submit my application, which I am led to believe is looked at more favourably than just transferring the amount across the day before.
Proof of means of subsistence – Prepared and ready
I need to prove that I have means of subsistence as stipulated by Portuguese law. This is proof of either passive income or earned income at a minimum of €705 per month. I am fortunate that I have a UK property which I rent out and the contract and bank statements should be sufficient for this proof of subsistence.
I will support this with other smaller income streams as well as evidence of other investments, savings and pensions (although I’m nowhere near claiming them yet!).
This is one area where I will be seeking some additional guidance as there appears to be some discretion or discrepancy as to the individual consulate’s interpretation of this. Either way, I will ensure I have proof of the minimum income level.
UK Criminal Record Check – Scheduled
I need to get a copy of my criminal record from the Criminal Records Office (ACRO). Should be straightforward…
Portuguese Criminal Record Check – Downloaded and drafted
In addition to my UK criminal record check, I also must give authorisation to the Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras (SEF). The authorisation form is free to download. I have prepared a draft with the information included.
Medical/health/travel insurance – Quote obtained
I have obtained a couple of quotes for the minimum level of medical cover required. I already have annual travel insurance, which I believe will meet the minimum requirement although there is some discrepancy over the maximum overseas stay. However, I am exploring the other options which will ensure I exceed the minimum level required.
Personal statement – Drafted
This is understood to be one of the most important documents that are submitted. In fact, it is the only form that is not evidence-based. Proving you’ve got a NIF, bank account and financial means is a tick box exercise – you either meet it or you don’t – but the personal statement is much more important.
This is the only part of the application process which allows me to explain why I wish to move to Portugal. I drafted a version more than a year ago. Since then, I’ve regularly reviewed it and, to be honest, it hasn’t changed much. It will require a further edit the week before I put my application in, but I’m pleased with it.
Travel itinerary – Completed
For those who regularly read my blog, you will know that I have recently purchased my ticket to Portugal. It’s all booked, and I’ve got the ticket to prove it!
Proof of current residency – Completed
By providing the other information, it will include proof of current residency and address. However, for completeness, I will be providing two original documents with my current address.
References – Planned
While it is not critical, I have lined up three individuals to prepare a reference in support of my application which I will be able to include in the supporting documents.
Proof of Portuguese address – Slow progress
I am making gradual, yet slow, progress towards securing the proof of Portuguese address. My blog “the buy or rent dilemma” explains the challenges of finding a rental property to satisfy the D7 Visa requirement or buying a property before my visa is granted.
It continues to be a dilemma and one that isn’t easy or quick to resolve. I feel I am making progress, but I have a couple of deadlines looming where progress needs to be made. If not, I’m back out to Portugal to find somewhere to rent in March.
Overall, I feel confident in the progress I’ve made. There is still much to do, but most are dependent on scheduling around the application date. For example, I need to obtain my passport photos in the six months before I apply, and I need to ensure my criminal record is received immediately prior to applying.
However, I welcome guidance, advice, and feedback on the progress I am making in preparing for my D7 Visa application. And, if I get stuck, I know a few people who can definitely guide me in the right direction.
Just as a reminder, I write my blog for personal reasons and to share my adventure with other likeminded people, many of whom are on their own journey. I am sharing my experience and approach to the D7 Visa process. I am not giving advice or recommendation. The companies I have detailed or linked to in this blog are ones I have used personally and I do not receive any payment or commission from them.
This blog has been a long one, but I hope it’s been of interest. As always, if you get this far, I appreciate it very much. Thank you. Muito obrigado.