An alternative to the Golden Visa: High Qualified Activities (HQA or D3) Visa

Articles 09/06/2022

This work contract should be valid for at least one year with a salary of around € 1.500 minimum.

Besides the general information needed to request a Visa, it will be necessary to provide the work contract/promise, academic qualifications, curriculum vitae and professional certificate when required for that specific profession.

But what type of activities are included in this category?

  • Management or leading positions: per example, managers and board members; or
  • Specializations in scientific or intellectual activities: such as engineers, IT experts, PhD students, health workers, etc.

The process starts in the country of origin, where documents should be sent to the Consulate/VSF (depending on the country).

This visa can take up to 60 days to be issued.

Once your visa is approved, it will be valid for four months, and within this period you must enter the Portuguese territory to obtain the residence permit. You will then have to schedule an appointment with Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras (SEF) to do so.

With this, you get access to all the European Union countries.

It is worth mentioning that once you arrive in Portugal, you also have another option: instead of choosing the residence permit, you can go for the Blue Card. The main difference between the two regimes is that with the Blue Card, after 18 months of its issuance, the applicant gets permission to go to another European country and exercise the highly qualified activity there.

Currently, this residence permit is valid for two years from the date of issuance, and it is renewable for successive periods of three years.

After completing the five years of residence in Portugal, it would be possible to apply for permanent residence or even for a Portuguese nationality, which is excellent since the Portuguese passport is one of the strongest in the world!

The content of this information does not constitute any specific legal advice; the latter can only be given when faced with a specific case. Please contact us for any further clarification or information deemed necessary in what concerns the application of the law.


  • Maria Margarida Torres
  • Daniela de Oliveira Colaço

Practice Areas

  • Immigration Law