Portugal 90 day rule explained
There is a lot of confusion surrounding the 90 day rule and 180 day rule for people visiting Portugal or other Schengen countries. The 90 day rule might seem confusing, but it's really quite simple once you understand who it applies to and not.
In this article we will explain in detail how the 90- and 180- day rule to Portugal works and who is affected and not.
What Is Schengen?
To explain the 90 and 180 day rule for Portugal, we must first explain what Schengen is. Schengen is the name given to the group of European EEA countries, that include the EU nations, plus Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Lichtenstein. The four countries are associate members of the Schengen zone, but are not members of the EU.
One of the founding pillars of the EU is to ensure free movement of people and goods between the member countries. That means that any citizen of a EU member state, or an EEA country may freely travel in the whole of the Schengen area without applying for a visa for any of the member countries.
Member countries of the EEA include:
- Czech Republic
- Iceland (Not EU Member)
- Liechtenstein (Not EU Member)
- Norway (Not EU Member)
- Switzerland (Not EU Member)
Citizens who are EU nationals can travel within the area visa-free and with no restrictions on the amount of time they spend in each country.
That means that any non-EEA citizen wanting to visit Portugal or another Schengen country can do so without applying for a visa, but they may only stay 90 days over a period of 180 days.
How the Schengen 90/180 Rule works
Under the terms of the Schengen agreement non-EEA nationals cannot spend more than a total of 90 days over any given period of 180 days without applying for a visa to the Schengen area.
Once a non-EEA citizen has spent 90 days in Portugal, or any other Schengen country they may not return to any Schengen country until 90 more days have passed, since they last left.
Let's take an example:
You enter Portugal on January 1st and may stay until June 30th of the same year. You then have to leave Portugal, and can not return until the end of September, without applying for a visa to enter Portugal.
Stay 90 days, then leave for 90 days, = 180 days
For the 90 days you are free to travel visa free to any other Schengen country, but remember, the 90 days counts towards all Schengen countries and not just the one you first entered.
You may enter Portugal and spend 3 weeks, before travelling to France for 8 weeks and then Norway for 1 week, but after 90 days you must leave the Schengen area.
Who is affected by the 90/180 day rule of Portugal?
The Schengen 90/180-day rule applies for all non-EEA citizens. As of January 1st 2021, that also includes British nationals as they voted to leave the EU (Brexit)
Who can travel visa free to Portugal under the 90 day rule?
There are many countries whose citizens might enter Portugal or the Schengen area for 90 days without applying for a visa to Portugal.This counties include:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Costa Rica
- El Salvador
- Hong Kong
- Marshall Islands
- New Zealand
- North Macedonia
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- San Marino
- Solomon Islands
- South Korea
- Timor Leste
- Trinidad and Tobago
- United Arab Emirates
- United States - Guide to visiting, or moving to Portugal from the US
- Vatican City
- United Kingdom
Entry requirements to Portugal and Schengen from other countries
If you are a citizen of a third-world country you will need to obtain a visa to meet the entry requirements of Portugal. You can find a full list of the countries this obtains to her: Schengen visa in order to enter any member country of the Schengen Area.
How to count my 90 days in Portugal?
The 90 days you are allowed to stay in Portugal and the Schengen area start counting from when you enter Portugal by plane. If you, however, are arriving by car, the clock starts counting when you enter the first Schengen country.
This means that if you are driving from the UK to Portugal, your 90 days start as soon as you enter France, and not when you actually enter Portugal.
Do I have to stay for the full 90 days?
No, you are free to break up your 90 days up in several shorter visits. As long as you do not spend more than 90 days over a period of 180 days you are good. You could for example spend 3 weeks in January, then 3 weeks in April and the remaining weeks in June.
What if I want to stay longer than 90 days?
There are very stiff penalties if you overstay your 90 day limit, and in the worst case scenario you could be denied entry to Portugal or Schengen for several years. So what do you do if you want, or need to spend more than 90 days over a period of 180 days?
Well, you simply apply for a visa to meet the entry requirements for Portugal and the Schengen area. For Portugal there are several different visas you can apply for. Among the most popular we find Portugal Golden Visa, the D7 Visa and the newer Portugal Digital Nomad Visa.
How can Portugal know that I have stayed longer than 90 days?
When you enter Portugal or the Schengen area from a non-EEA state your passport will be stamped, and a computer program will keep track of how long you spend in Portugal each time.
If you are found to overstay the 90 days you will be tracked down by the police or immigration office and deported from the country. This may result in hefty finds and denied entry at a later time.
Can I work or study in Portugal for the 90 days?
No. If you enter Portugal or another Schengen country under the 90/180 day rules, you may not work or study in the country. If you wish to work og study, you will need to apply for a D7 Visa, Digital Nomad Visa or a student Visa.
Can I apply for a Visa once in Portugal?
No. If you want to stay in Portugal for more than 90 days, you must apply before arriving in the country, or you will have to leave and then apply for a visa.
Frequently asked questions about the 90 - 180 day rule for Portugal
What countries do the 90 day rule apply to?
The 90 day rule applies to all the Schengen countries. If you are a non-EEA citizen you may only spend 90 days over a period of 180 days in a Schengen country.
Does the 90 day rule apply to Brits going to Portugal
Yes. After the UK left the EU (Brexit) Brits going to Portugal may only stay for 90 days unless they apply for a Visa for Portugal.
Does the 90 day rule apply to Americans
Yes. As America is not a member of the Schengen area, Americans visiting Portugal, may only stay for 90 days over a period of 180 days. If you wish to stay longer than 90 days, you must meet the entry requirements for a Portugal visa.
Can I stay longer than 90 days in Portugal without a visa?
No. If you are a non-EEA citizen you may only stay in Portugal for 90 days over a period of 180 days without a visa.
Can I apply for a visa once in Portugal?
No. If you are a non-EEA citizen you may only stay in Portugal for 90 days. If you plan to stay longer than 90 days you must apply for a visa before travelling to Portugal. Once in Portugal you may not apply for a Portugal visa.
What is the 90 to 180 day rule for Portugal?
The 90 day rule applies to non-EEA citizens entering Portugal or another Schengen country. Citizens from a country that are not members of the Schengen may only stay for 90 days in any 180 day period. For longer stays, visitors must apply for a visa to enter Portugal.
Does the 90 day rule apply to Portugal?
Yes. The 90 to 180 day rule applies for the whole Schengen area, which Portugal is a part of. Citizens from outside the Schengen area may only spend 90 days in Portugal without applying for a Portugal Visa.
How long can a US citizen live in Portugal?
Americans looking to go to Portugal may stay for up to 90 days without applying for a Portugal Visa. After spending 90 days in Portugal, American citizens must leave Portugal and may not return before 90 days have passed. For longer stays in Portugal Americans must apply for either a Portugal Golden Visa, D7 Visa or a Portugal Digital Nomad Visa.
How long can a UK citizen live in Portugal?
After Brexit UK citizens may only spend 90 days in Portugal over a period of 180 days. For longer stays in Portugal a British citizen must apply for either a D7 Visa, Portugal Digital Nomad Visa or the Portugal Golden Visa.
How does the 90 days in 180 work in Portugal?
If you enter Portugal under the 90 to 180 day rule, you may not work for the 90 days. If you wish to work in Portugal you must apply for a work visa, such as the Digital Nomad Visa, D7 Visa or D2 Visa.
How do they know I have stayed for 90 days in Portugal?
When you enter Portugal from a non-EEA country your passport will be stamped and a computer program will then keep track of how long you stay. If you overstay the 90 day limit, you will be deported and potentially be denied entry to Portugal at a later time.
What happens if I stay longer than 90 days in Portugal?
If you stay longer than 90 days in Portugal you will be deported, and you could potentially be denied entry at a later time. You may also be fined for overstaying your visit.
Can I work in Portugal under the 90 day rule?
No. If you enter Portugal under the 90 day rule you may not work for the 90 days. If you wish to work in Portugal long, or short term, you will have to apply for a work visa to Portugal
Can I enter Portugal more than one time during that period?
Yes. The 90 days you are allowed to stay in Portugal may be split over several visits. As long as you remember you can only stay a maximum of 90 days over a period of 180 days.
What travel documents are needed to travel for 90 days in Portugal
The entry requirements for Portugal under the 90 days include having medical insurance approved by Portugal. A valid passport less than 10 years old. You might also need to prove that you have the finances to support yourself for the 90 day period, as you are not allowed to work in Portugal under the 90 day rule.
Do I need insurance when going to Portugal for 90 days?
Yes. To enter Portugal under the 90 day rule, you must have proof of medical insurance that is approved by Portugal. Insurance can be purchased online from Europe Assistance or MondialCare.
Can I study in Portugal for 90 days?
No, If you enter Portugal under the 90 day rule you might not study in the country. If you intend to study in Portugal you must apply for a Portugal student Visa.