Golden beaches, cobblestone lanes, and the scent of chargrilled seafood await in Portugal. But before you book your ticket to Europe’s sunniest coastline, make sure you’re up to date on the latest entry requirements.

Citizens from many countries need a visa to visit Portugal, while those that don’t (those from the US, the UK, and Australia) will see new requirements starting in mid-2024. Here’s a rundown of Portugal’s visa requirements, with information on how long you can stay and how to extend your vacation if you simply can’t bear to leave.

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Travel is a breeze if you’re a Schengen Area citizen

Portugal is part of the Schengen Area, a bloc of 26 European countries that allow free movement of people between each of them. As such, citizens from any of these countries do not need a visa to visit Portugal, though if staying longer than three months they must request a registration certificate.

Some non-EU countries also enjoy hassle-free travel (for now)

Citizens from the UK, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, the USA, Israel, Japan, and Singapore can stay in Portugal for up to 90 days in any six-month period without a visa. Non-Schengen European countries and a number of Latin American nations share the same privilege too.

After staying 90 days, travelers will need to leave the Schengen Area for at least 90 days before re-entering. Stays of more than 90 days require a visa. Things will change in 2024 when Portugal introduces a new visa-waiver program. Skip to the final section below for more information.

Tourists climbing the steps to Bom Jesus do Monte near Braga, Portugal
Getting a visa for Portugal shouldn't be an uphill battle © Cortyn / Shutterstock

Others – like India, Nepal and Turkey – require a visa

Citizens from a number of countries – including India, Pakistan, Nepal, Turkey, and South Africa – need a visa to visit Portugal. The most common visa type for tourists is a Schengen visa, which allows visitors to travel through any Schengen country, including Portugal, during the period the visa is valid (usually 90 days). A complete list of the countries that require a visa to enter Portugal is detailed on the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

You should apply for your Schengen visa at your nearest Portuguese embassy or consulate in your country of origin. If you plan to visit multiple Schengen countries, alongside Portugal, then apply at the embassy or consulate of the Schengen country you are planning to spend the most time in. Schengen visas cost €80 for adults and €40 for children aged 6 to 12 (there is no charge for children under 6).

If you wish to extend a visa once you're in Portugal (or a 90-day period of visa-free stay) contact the Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras (Foreigners and Borders Service), which has branches in most major towns. You can book an appointment and download the relevant visa extension forms on the organization’s website.

Get a Youth Mobility Visa for a working holiday

Citizens of Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, New Zealand, Peru, South Korea, and the USA can apply for Youth Mobility Visas, essentially working holiday visas. These allow citizens to visit Portugal for tourist purposes for up to a year and work for up to six months during their stay. Holders of this visa need to be aged between 18 and 30 (31 in Peru and Australia; 35 in Canada) and must show a return ticket and proof of adequate funds for the duration of their stay. This visa cannot be extended and can only be granted once per person.

Happy young couple walking on pier at the waterfront, Lisbon, Portugal
Portugal's new visa scheme is on the horizon © Westend61 / Getty Images

Portugal has canceled all Covid travel requirements

As of July 1, 2022, all Covid requirements have been lifted so travelers no longer need proof of vaccination or a certificate of recovery in order to enter Portugal. This situation could change in the future so check the latest requirements well in advance at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Say hello to the new ETIAS scheme in 2024

The EU has finally committed to a significant change affecting some travelers heading to Portugal and other EU nations. In mid-2024, a new visa-waiver program called ETIAS (which stands for the European Travel Information and Authorisation System) will come into force; this program was originally scheduled for May 2023 but has been pushed back to an unconfirmed date in 2024.

In essence, ETIAS replaces the visa-free travel arrangement for non-Schengen Area visitors. Citizens of the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and 50-plus other countries will be required to complete an ETIAS travel authorization prior to arrival. That means filling out an online form, submitting passport info, and paying a small fee (around €7 per person).

The official authorization will then be sent by email, with approval typically granted in under an hour for most applicants. The usual rules apply here: you can stay for a maximum of 90 days in a 180-day period. 

Note that this doesn’t affect citizens of countries that previously required visas – the process for them stays the same. Similarly, nothing has changed for citizens and residents of the Schengen Area, who are exempt from ETIAS requirements. You can find a complete list of nationalities that must apply for an ETIAS visa here.

This article was first published May 27, 2021 and updated May 27, 2023.

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