Portugal HQA Visa The Ultimate Guide

Portugal HQA Visa: The Ultimate Guide

Updated: 13 February 2024

The Portugal HQA Visa program is intended for investors, entrepreneurs, and small and medium-sized enterprises. If you fall into this category and are looking to get residency in Portugal, which can be a fast-tracked priority, you can consider this visa option.

If you are one of the highly qualified professionals, you may apply for a Portugal HQA visa after you find a job in the country. Having a 2-year residence permit in Portugal, you also obtain the right to live and work there.

To help you navigate the HQA Visa Program, let’s take a closer look at its process and advantages.

HQA Visa Program: What are the Essentials and Program’s Basics?

Cost: Applicants are expected to make contributions of EUR 170,000.

Residency: It is issued for two plus three years. Permanent residency can be obtained within 5 years.

Citizenship: HQA Visa applicants are eligible to apply for citizenship after 5 years.

Reasons to Choose Portugal HQA Visa

  • European Union residency for the whole family
  • Access to local talent within Portugal’s startup investment environment
  • Security for property, banking, and conducting business in Europe
  • Route to obtaining a Portuguese passport and permanent residence status

Eligibility for the Portuguese HQA Program

  • 18 years old or older
  • Health insurance
  • Clean criminal record both in Portugal or abroad
  • Qualified specialists whose jobs are connected with intellectual labour
  • Having a higher education diploma and a work agreement
  • Or having a written guarantee with a Portuguese employer
  • *The salary must be higher than €1,330, which is 1.5 times higher than the average gross salary

*If you have a profession that is highly needed in Portugal, the minimum salary must be 1.2 times higher than the average. 

Dependents for Portugal’s HQA Program

  • Family members can apply for Portugal residence permit through HQA visa after the main applicant.
  • You can include your spouse or children under 18 in the application.
  • If you have children over 18 and they are dependent on you, you can apply for them as parents.
  • It is required that your full-age children study in Portugal, and they should be single.

Who Can be Considered Ideal Applicants for the HQA Visa?

  • High-level executives seeking a solution for residency
  • Entrepreneurs, investors, and business owners wanting to expand into new markets or who have a backup plan
  • Young professionals and cryptocurrency experts seeking a vibrant lifestyle with European values
  • Young couples and families pursuing a cheap, safe location to live, with a focus on healthcare and education
  • Retirement and frequent travelers who are financially self-sufficient and looking for wellness or cultural enrichment

Benefits of Portugal HQA Visa

  • Immigration to Portugal, where one can benefit from a temperate climate and live as an expat
  • Possibility of visiting other Schengen countries: You can travel to other Schengen nations without a visa as a Portuguese citizen, and you can spend up to 90 of your 180 days there.
  • Portugal’s typical income tax rates, which range from 14,5% to 48%, allow for tax optimization. 
  • Application for citizenship after five years. Portugal permits its residents to possess several passports; thus, there’s no need to give up their previous citizenship.

Residency and Citizenship Benefits for Entrepreneurs and Investors

  • EU residency and pathway to citizenship
  • Visa exemptions and unrestricted mobility within the European Union
  • Safe and fair first-world jurisdiction
  • Dual citizenship possibility

Tax and Banking Incentives

  • Tax and banking incentives, including NHR tax regime

Quality of Life

  • A strong healthcare system and less crime
  • A vibrant, diverse global community that is family-friendly
  • An established and reasonably priced real estate market
  • Adaptable physical presence

Cost and Value Benefits

  • Cost-effectiveness when compared with the Golden Visa
  • Sustainable alternative to Portugal Golden Visa

Support and Security

  • The government and universities of Portugal support HQA
  • More exclusive program with simple extension and quicker approval
  • Less money out of the total than other EU residency or citizenship programs
  • Less risks or expenses related to real estate management in the property market

Cost of Applying for HQA Visa in Portugal

The total cost to apply for a HQA Visa in Portugal is €170,000. You can discover the details for the other payments in the table below:

Payment 1€10,000Non-refundable payment to start the process and request appointment with AIMA (Agência para a Integração Migrações e Asilo)No
Payment 2€75,000Due on successful appointment with AIMA. Refundable until Payment 3 is due on the approval of the residence.Yes
Payment 3€85,000Due on success of receiving your residence ID. The amount remains refundable until renewal of the residence after 2 years.Yes

Requirements for Portugal HQA Visa

Here are the required documents for HQA Visa Portugal application.

  • Passport copy 
  • Proof of address 
  • CV or professional qualifications
  • The filled-in visa application form
  • Two color photos 3×4 cm
  • Higher education diploma
  • No criminal record certificate with an apostille
  • Employment contract or its written guarantee

In addition, proof of residence in Portugal, such as a rental agreement, must be presented when applying for a residence permit with an HQA Visa.

Portuguese HQA Visa Program: What to Remember

  • The Portugal HQA Visa program is a unique opportunity for highly skilled professionals seeking to relocate to Portugal.
  • HQA Visa Portugal offers a fast and confident path to Portuguese residency and, eventually, Portuguese citizenship.
  • The Portugal HQA Visa eligibility criteria are designed to attract top talent from around the world.
  • The Portugal HQA Visa program does not have business performance requirements, making it an attractive option for individuals and startups.
  • Successful applicants of the Portugal HQA Visa program can enjoy the benefits of Portuguese residency, including access to healthcare, education, and the ability to live and work freely within the country.
  •  Empowered startups can thrive under the Portugal HQA Visa program due to its supportive and innovative environment.
  • After five years of legal residency under the Portugal HQA Visa, applicants may be eligible to apply for Portuguese citizenship.


The Portugal HQA Visa Program is a fast and cost-effective way to obtain a residency permit in Portugal. It offers family reunification for those seeking to live in Portugal. The program is flexible for remote workers and ambitious entrepreneurs looking to establish or expand their businesses in Europe.

It may be a comprehensive, family-friendly, and business-oriented approach to immigration. The program values skills, respecting family ties, and supporting business aspirations. So either you are aiming to apply for improving your career or to live with your family, you have your options available.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there tax advantages to participating in the Portuguese HQA program?

Leverage Portugal’s favorable tax regime, including the Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) tax program, designed to offer significant tax efficiencies. The banking system in Portugal is robust and entrepreneur-friendly, offering a range of incentives. Portugal’s usual income tax rates range from 14,5% to 48%. However, new residents may pay this tax at the fixed 20% rate if they obtain it.

What are the criteria that make the Portuguese HQA Program different?

The Portugal HQA Visa Program is designed for highly skilled professionals such as managers, IT specialists, engineers, doctors, and scientists. The program offers fast-tracked priority residency in Portugal with exceptions to in-country stay requirements. It also provides several opportunities to optimize participants’ global tax position.

How can I acquire an HQA Visa and a Portugal residence permit?

To acquire an HQA Visa, you must provide a higher education diploma and a work agreement or a written guarantee with a Portuguese employer. The minimum term of the contract is a year. There are also salary requirements: it must be 1.5 times higher than the average gross salary in Portugal or three times higher than the social support index.

Do I need to have a business idea to qualify for Portugal’s HQA Visa program?

It is not necessary for you to have a completely developed company idea in order to apply. The quality of the candidate is what determines admission to the HQA program, not the merits of your business idea.

How long does the application process take?

Portuguese authorities are required by law to grant an HQA (High Quality Activity) Visa within 30 days of the application being received. The complete process can take three to six months, starting with the first consultation and ending with the arrival of the residency card after the landing appointment in Portugal.

Does Portugal HQA Visa offer permanent residency?

Candidates for Citizenship or Permanent Residency must have been lawful residents of Portugal for five years in a row.

What is the main difference between the Portugal Golden Visa and the Portugal HQA Visa?

This program gives a real link to create a road to EU citizenship with flexible time on the ground, setting it apart from the Golden Visa. The Portugal HQA Visa program is a less expensive option than the Golden Visa program. It provides expedited application processing together with Golden Visa perks. There are no income or performance targets to meet, nor are there any local hiring restrictions. You have the freedom to take an active or passive role.

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