Study and work in Portugal: learn how to live legally in the country

Study and work in Portugal: learn how to live legally in the country

Is it possible to study and work in Portugal at the same time? This is a common question for foreigners who are going to college in the country and want to get a job to supplement their income.

To clarify this doubt, we elaborated this article with information about the Portuguese norms for this type of situation. Check out.

Article Index

  • Is it possible to study and work in Portugal?
  • Visas to study and work in Portugal
  • New rules for studying and working in Portugal
  • SEF
  • Rules to follow for studying and working in Portugal
  • Major Risks of Working Without a Visa
  • Tips

Is it possible to study and work in Portugal?

Yes, it is possible to study and work in Portugal as long as you have the appropriate visa for it. Thus, if your goal is to attend college, you must apply for a student visa for Portugal.

If you can work in the country, you need to report to the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) as soon as possible. Then the agency will update your new condition as a foreigner in the country.

To study and work in Portugal at the same time, under the new Portuguese Migration Law, it is no longer necessary to apply for a work permit by the SEF. In this case, you should only notify the entity and submit the requested documents.

Visas to study and work in Portugal

Anyone wishing to study in Portugal must issue a student visa at the Portuguese Consulate. With this document in hand, your stay in the country will be regularized.

But it is common for some students to start working in the country to earn a higher income or specialize professionally. In this situation, the only procedure to do is to notify SEF about the new role.

Student visa update for work

However, if you receive a permanent job offer from a Portuguese company, it is recommended to change your student visa to a work visa.

Both the contracting company and you can perform this process. For this procedure, you must have Social Security enrollment and submit the following documentation:

  • Legal employment contract ;
  • Valid residence visa;
  • Passport or valid travel document;
  • Request for application completed correctly and signed by the applicant;
  • Two recent photos, with a smooth background and right identification conditions;
  • Declaration proving accommodation;
  • Proof of means of subsistence, according to Ordinance No. 1563/2007, of 11/12;
  • Authorization to consult the criminal record;
  • Proof of TIN;
  • Document proving the regularity of the social security contribution during the period of exemption from payments.

Check out the necessary documentation to get the visa for Portugal.

New rules for studying and working in Portugal

Until 2017, to be able to study and work in Portugal it was necessary to have authorization from SEF (Foreigners and Borders Service). This body’s main function was to ascertain whether the workload of the university course was compatible with the work.

Until then, this procedure was bureaucratic and time-consuming, as it was analyzed case by case. During this time, students were out of work and could lose job opportunities.

However, due to a change in the Portuguese Migration Law, this procedure is no longer necessary. Now students wishing to work in the country need only to notify the SEF.


The Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) is a Portuguese public agency that acts with the legalization of foreigners outside the European Union in the country.

As stated above, students must notify the organization if they wish to engage in paid work. To perform this upgrade, documents such as:

  • Contract or promise of an employment contract;
  • Proof of enrollment in Social Security;
  • Start of activity in Finance if you are working as a freelancer.

Scheduling at SEF must be done in advance as the queue is long. This process can be accomplished in three different ways:


You can schedule an appointment at SEF through the industry relationship channel at 808 202 653 (landline) or 808 962 690 (mobile phone). The service is held from Monday to Friday from 9h to 17:30.


Another option is to schedule your time through the E-counter on the official SEF website. Just visit the SEF website to make the appointment.


If you are unsuccessful with the other alternatives, you can go to a SEF service desk in Portugal. The ideal is to go early because passwords run out fast and in the industry, you will just schedule a time.

Rules to follow for studying and working in Portugal

The first rule you must meet to study and work in Portugal at the same time is to notify SEF of your new condition. This will allow you to do both activities smoothly and without problems with the government.

The second rule is that this possibility is valid only for students enrolled in a college in Portugal. High School students, with a visa to study in Portugal, cannot work in paid work.

Although the country does not set a maximum time limit for an international student to work, it is essential to be clear that employment is a supplement and should not interrupt your workload in college.

Major Risks of Working Without a Visa

Working without authorization in Portugal is a risky situation. If the SEF inspectorate finds that you are working illegally, you may face sanctions, and you may still be at risk of not being paid for your work. In addition, the company may also be fined.

Also, foreigners working irregularly in Portugal cannot complain to the government. After all, they do not comply with the country’s labor laws.

To prevent this from happening, seek to regularize your situation in the country, and opt for severe companies that do not hire foreigners illegally. This is the best way to study and work in Portugal without having headaches in the future.


Studying and working in Portugal at the same time requires proper planning. It starts before you arrive in the country, with your approval at a Portuguese university.

As the school year in Portugal begins in September, the selection processes for undergraduate or postgraduate programs start at the beginning of the year. With the acceptance of the university, provide the documentation to apply for a student visa at the Portuguese consulates.

During this period, it is interesting to access job sites in Portugal and participate in some online selection processes. Pay attention to the workload and opt for those jobs that do not hinder your studies.

You may also want to read:

Part-Time Jobs as an International student in New Zealand

Study and work in Canada

How to work in New Zealand

How to study and work in New Zealand?