Updated on Monday, 13 June 2022…
Yes, they can – although in 2022, things look like they’re getting a bit more complicated.
During 2020, 2021 and 2022 to date, the answer was yes digital nomads could apply for the D7 – with a high level of probability.
Provided that you earned enough stable, foreign sourced income, and that your foreign employer allows you to work remotely from Portugal…
AND that you had sufficient savings to deposit in a Portuguese bank account, your chances of getting approved for the D7 Visa were high.
IMPORTANT: Based on our first-hand experiences during this time, many consulates required you to have a permanent employment contract, and you should ideally have been stable in your current role for at least one year (12 months+).
In addition, a formal letter of authorization from your employer, confirming both your employment, AND explicitly authorizing you to work remotely from Portugal, was required as well. And this letter had to be on an official company letterhead.
Moreover, while the minimum required recurring income per month, as of 2022, is €705+ (€8,424,+ per year), the more you could show above this amount, the better.
You’d ideally need to earn several times more than this minimum (and ideally in the range of €2,000 – €2,500+ to help maximize your changes of success).
Your application would also have been more likely to succeed if you had additional passive income, e.g. from renting out a property, royalty earnings, and if you have access to significant savings.
While this remote work visa was historically packaged as a retirement visa, and required stable passive savings in the form of pension benefits or long-term rental income, the Portuguese immigration authorities have been approving remote workers with significant offshore salary earnings as well in 2021 and 2022.
But as of May 2022, we have become aware of applicants with only one “active” income stream – a remote salary or freelance income – being rejected again, even though their average earnings and savings were substantial.
The reality is that the binding legislation and rules pertaining to the D7 Visa were never changed to accommodate freelancers and digital nomads – they were simply being interpreted more liberally.
And the Portuguese authorities enjoy a large swathe of discretion when it comes to the D7 program – there are no guarantees that any one applicant WILL be approved.
To be clear – there is not yet enough evidence of this to establish a clear trend, but early indications are that the Portuguese authorities are getting more picky about whom they approve for the D7 program.
And in light of the sheer tsunami of demand we’ve seen for the program since the start of the pandemic and the meteoric rise of remote work globally, this wouldn’t be at all surprising.
We’ll be sure to revisit this topic as soon as we receive any new and concrete feedback from SEF in this regard.
Contact us now for more information and to see if you are currently eligible.