If you (and your partner, if applicable) are citizens within a European country, without any nationality complications, you normally have the right to live, work and retire on Madeira if you comply with the laws and processes which govern this region of Portugal. However, you should check your circumstances with the Portuguese Consulate or Embassy in your country before planning a long term move to Madeira, regardless of your citizenship and nationality. If you do find yourself living here by default rather than through long term planning, then there shouldn’t be any problems, as many immigrants living on Madeira have gone through this route and later applied successfully for their residency permit.
For citizens and nationalities outside of the European community countries the rules are more complicated and the requirements are more stringent, so you should definitely check with your nearest Portuguese Consulate or Embassy to see if you are eligible for a residency permit.
The process to apply for a residency permit has been much simplified over recent years because of the developments within the European community. If you intend to stay on Madeira for more than 183 days, you should apply for either a temporary or permanent residential permit. If you stay for shorter periods (longer than a normal holiday), then it is necessary to register your presence on Madeira. Residency will be granted for between one and 10 years, depending on your circumstances, and can be renewed by following a similar but simpler quicker process than your original application.
Short term residence can be registered by the hotel or owner of the house in which you are staying, or you can also go your consulate (in Funchal, for British Citizens already on Madeira), who will register you and stamp your passport.
Applications for a Residency Permit should be made at the Serviço De Estrangeiros E Fronteiras (SEF), Unit 16, Loja Do Cidadão, Avenue Arriaga, n.º42-A, 9000-064 Funchal. Opening Hours 8.30 to 19.30 Monday to Friday, and 8.30 to 13.30 on Saturdays. If using the website link below, it can be switched into the English language.
The information you need to take depends on your circumstances, for example if you are working or retired, your residential permit will be granted after production of different documents.
The best way to find out what you need to do is to attend the SEF, taking as many documents with you as you can think of. Include your NIF number issued by your Finances Office, birth certificates, marriage certificates, passports, bank statements that show you have sufficient money to live on, or evidence of a private income, medical insurance policy (if you have one), proof of pension, employment contract and any other official documents that you can lay your hands on. You may be asked to obtain a translation into Portuguese for some documents, and you will be told what additional documents and information you need to provide. There will be some costs involved, and depending on your circumstances you should budget at least €300 per person, though this could well be lower. Renewal costs just a small fee of under €10, and will result in a 10 year permit.
If you can’t find out what you need on this page, go to the SEF website – CLICK HERE and select the English version if required.
DISCLAIMER – THE INFORMATION PROVIDED HERE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE PROFESSIONAL ADVICE, AND IS PROVIDED FOR BRIEF GUIDANCE ONLY, ON A BEST ENDEAVORS BASIS.
NO RESPONSIBILITY CAN BE ACCEPTED FOR THE ACCURACY OF INFORMATION SHOWN HERE, AND YOU SHOULD SEEK INDEPENDENT VERIFICATION OR PROFESSIONAL GUIDANCE. THIS PAGE WAS LAST UPDATED IN 2008.
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