Family Reunification Visa: How to Take Your Family to Portugal

21 de September, 2023

Family Reunification Visa: How to Take Your Family to Portugal

Find out how to take your family to Portugal. Find out about the Family Reunification Visa (D6 Visa) and the Family Accompaniment Visa.
Reading: 5 min

If you are planning to to move to Portugal it’s natural to want to take your family
to Portugal with you. Fortunately, family reunification is a process that allows family members of individuals who acquire residence visas in Portugal to join them in the country. The aim is to provide a more enjoyable and complete experience for expats, strengthening family ties with the country on a lasting basis.

Family reunification is a right guaranteed by law. It offers family members not only the opportunity to live in Portugal, but also to work legally. It also allows access to public services and national social benefits.

Find out all about the Family Reunification Visa (D6 Visa) and the Family Accompaniment Visa here. Find out the differences between them, who is entitled to apply for reunification in Portugal, what documents are required and how to apply.

Who can apply for family reunification in Portugal?

In Portugal, the following family members of the holder of the residence visa are entitled to family reunification:

  • Minor or incapacitated children or stepchildren.
  • Over 18, children or stepchildren studying in Portugal and single.
  • Spouses or partners (stable union proven for more than 2 years).
  • Parents or parents-in-law, as long as they are economically dependent.
  • Parents or parents-in-law over 65 (no need for economic dependence).

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Difference between Family Reunification Visa (D6 Visa) and Family Accompaniment Visa

There are currently two types of visa with the same objective, which is to bring families together. They are:

  • D6 Visa or Family Reunification Visa This visa is aimed at family members of foreigners who are already living in Portugal.
  • Family Accompaniment Visa : for applications made together with the main family member’s visa.

Which visas in Portugal allow family unions?

All residence visas
residence visas allow you to include your family in your move to Portugal.

It should be noted that the
work-seeker visa does not allow for this reunification
, as it is a short-term visa. In this case, the individual is required to obtain a work contract and a residence permit. Only then can they apply for the D6 visa.

What documents are required to take the family to Portugal?

It is currently possible to apply for the holder’s visa together with the accompanying family members. The documents required are:

  • Completed application;
  • Proof of family ties;
  • Two identical passport photos;
  • Passport or other valid travel document;
  • Proof that you have accommodation in PT;
  • Proof that you have means of subsistence;
  • Authorization from the family member to consult the Portuguese criminal record, whenever they have stayed in Portugal for more than one year in the last 5 years (except children under 16);
  • Criminal record certificate issued by the competent authority of the family member’s country of nationality and the country in which they have resided for more than one year.

Documents required in specific cases:

  • Partner in stable union: Indicative proof of de facto union can include documents that show the couple sharing expenses. These include: joint utility bills, joint rental or mortgage agreements, a health plan with one partner listed as a dependent of the other, the existence of a joint bank account or even a formal declaration of a stable union;
  • Dependent incapable adult children: Proof of incapacity of adult child;
  • Adopted children: Certificate of the decision that decreed the adoption, accompanied by a certificate of the decision of the national authority that recognized it;
  • Children of legal age, unmarried, dependent: Copy of full narrative birth certificate, proof of economic dependency and document of enrollment in educational establishment in Portugal;
  • First-degree ascendant under the age of 65: Proof of economic dependence, in the case of minor siblings Certificate of the decision that decreed guardianship, accompanied by a certificate of the decision of the national authority that recognized it, where applicable;
  • Minor child unaccompanied by a parent: Written authorization from the non-resident parent authenticated by a Portuguese consular authority or a copy of the decision assigning the legal trust of the minor child or guardianship of the incapacitated person to the resident or his/her spouse, when applicable.

For those who are already living in Portugal and wish to bring their family, it is necessary to make an appointment for an interview at the SEF and obtain prior authorization, which must be included in the D6 visa application.

Please note: You must apply for the family reunification visa within 90 days of SEF issuing the permit. If you don’t apply in time, the favorable decision on family reunification will become invalid.

When to apply for a “family visa”?

Although it is possible to apply when you arrive in Portugal, whenever possible we advise you to apply together with your main visa application.

Where to apply for family reunification?

  • Family Accompaniment Visa: At the Portuguese Consulate in the country where you live, together with the visa application of the main applicant.
  • Family Reunification Visa (D6 Visa): At the Immigration and Borders Service (SEF). A face-to-face appointment is required. The family member seeking reunification must appear in person at the SEF office to have their biometric data taken during the application. The application can be submitted at any SEF directorate or regional office.

Family support and the new law on foreigners

With the changes to the law on foreigners that took place in 2022, it is now possible to apply for the residence visa of both the main holder and their accompanying family members.

The change has made the family reunification process more accessible, allowing all applications relating to family members to be submitted at the same time.

In the past, the application could only be started once the main visa applicant’s file had been approved. Only then was it possible to schedule an interview with the Immigration and Borders Service. Facing difficulties in finding an available time for this interview was a significant challenge and this difficulty still persists for those who do not apply in advance.

How long does it take to bring the family to Portugal?

The waiting time for the Family Accompaniment Visa has been long, up to a year.

For those who choose to apply for a D6 visa (after the main visa holder has traveled), the biggest difficulty is getting an appointment at SEF. You have to keep an eye out for new vacancies and call constantly to get an appointment.

Is it possible to work on a reunification visa?

Yes, reunited family members will have a residence permit and will be able to work, study and access local public services.

Taking the family to Portugal

On your journey to find a new life in Portugal, remember that reuniting your family is a fundamental step in realizing your dream. The Portuguese government values and supports family reunification. Be patient and persevere, because the result will be worth it.

Although the Atlantic Bridge does not carry out the family reunification service individually, we are available to help you with your project as a whole. We have experienced professionals to help you identify the best residence visa, choosing your new home and even prepare your pet for the trip. We are at your side to help make your dream of living in Portugal a reality. Contact us !



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