Internship Legislation and Students Visa in Portugal

An Portuguese internship Opportunity Seizing Guide​

Are you looking to kickstart your career by gaining valuable professional experience in Portugal as a student or recent graduate? Navigating the legal requirements for internships can be overwhelming, with so much information available. However, Piktalent is here to help you make the most of the latest regulations and find the best internship opportunities.

Both Portuguese citizens and non-citizens must follow specific internship regulations to comply with Portuguese labor laws. However, the regulations may vary based on the individual’s citizenship status, including whether they are a national, EU citizen, or non-EU citizen.

EU citizens

As an EU, EEA, Andorra, or Switzerland national, Portugal is your oyster for the first 90 days. No visa, no fuss. Just pure exploration and opportunity.

1. Curricular Internships: These are mandatory components of specific university degrees or vocational training programs. They are designed to enhance the academic experience of students. Key points include:

  • Nature: Integrated into the academic curriculum.

  • Compensation: Typically unpaid but contribute to academic credits.

  • Social Security Internship Agreement: Not always required, but necessary for paid internships or those exceeding a certain duration.

2. Extra-Curricular Internships: These internships are pursued voluntarily by students or recent graduates to acquire hands-on experience in their study domain.

  • Nature: Voluntary, with a focus on imparting real-world experience.

  • Duration: Traineeships in Portugal are designed to be flexible. The standard duration is up to 12 months. However, for those undertaking compulsory traineeships to practice a specific profession, the duration can extend to 18 months.

  • Compensation: Trainees in Portugal are not just gaining experience; they’re also entitled to benefits. They should receive a meal allowance equivalent to what the promoter’s employees receive. If the company has a policy of providing meals, that works too. Importantly, the traineeship allowance should never be less than the social support index (SSI). As of 2023, the SSI was EUR 438.81, but it’s always good to check for the most recent figures.

  • Traineeship Contract: Every traineeship is unique, and so is its contract. This contract should detail:
    • Identification, signatures, and addresses of both the trainee and the promoter.
    • The trainee’s qualification level.
    • The traineeship’s duration and start date.
    • The specific area of the traineeship.
    • Duties or tasks assigned to the trainee.
    • The location and duration (daily or weekly) of traineeship activities.
    • The value of both the traineeship and meal allowances.
    • A copy of the insurance policy.

    For those who love to dive deep, the rules governing traineeships in Portugal are detailed in Decree Law No 66/2011 of 1 June 2011.

    Additional Opportunities: Portugal is always looking to boost employment. The ATIVAR.PT traineeships, facilitated by the Institute for Employment and Vocational Training (IEFP), offer fixed remuneration based on the trainee’s professional qualifications. The payment is a joint effort between the promoter and the IEFP. And here’s a sweet deal: there’s a bonus for promoters who decide to hire trainees after their traineeship concludes.

3. Social Security Internship Agreement: A contract between the intern and the Social Security Institute (SSI):

  • Duration: Mandatory for paid internships over 60 days.

  • Contributions: Interns pay social security contributions based on their stipend or salary.

  • Benefits: SSI provides health and accident insurance.

Exploring Portugal as an EU, EEA, Andorra, or Switzerland National
  • Initial Stay: For the first 90 days, no extra documentation is required. 

  • The Extended Stay: You need to obtain the “Registration Certificate” to extend your stay.

  • The Administrative steps: Begin with the local municipal council, the Câmara Municipal:

    • Book an appointment in advance, preferably online.

  • Document Checklist: Prepare for your appointment with:

    • European Passport or Identity Card: Your primary ID and proof of EU citizenship.

    • Portuguese Tax Number (NIF): Essential for tax matters.

    • Proof of Accommodation: Rental agreement, landlord letter, or hotel reservation.

    • Bank Account Details: A local Portuguese bank account is advised.

    • Activity Proof: Evidence of your internship or professional activity, such as an employer letter or internship details.

  • The Collection Day: After document verification, the Câmara Municipal will issue your registration certificate:

    • This certificate is your official recognition in the Portuguese community.

    • After five years, you may qualify for permanent residency in Portugal.


Non-EU citizens

Non-EU citizens aspiring to intern in Portugal must first secure the appropriate visa. The most common visa for this purpose is the Internship Visa. This visa is specifically tailored for those seeking professional experience in Portugal and is your legal gateway to the country.

1. Types of Visas Available:

  • Short Stay Visa (Schengen Visa): Ideal for internships lasting up to 90 days. This visa also allows travel within the Schengen Area.

  • Temporary Stay Visa: For internships extending beyond 90 days but less than a year. This visa is tailored for longer internships or training programs.

  • Residence Visa for Work: If your internship is set to transition into a job or if it’s a paid position lasting over a year, this visa is the one to consider.

2. Securing the Internship Offer: Before any visa application, you need a formal internship offer from a recognized Portuguese entity. This document should clearly outline the internship’s scope, including tasks, duration, and any compensation details. It’s not just a formality; it’s a testament to your commitment and the company’s trust in your potential.

3. Health Insurance: Your health is paramount. Ensure you have comprehensive health insurance that covers potential medical exigencies in Portugal. While the country boasts an excellent healthcare system, being insured saves you from unforeseen medical expenses.

4. Work Regulations and Permits: Apart from the visa, you might need a work permit, especially if the internship is paid. The type of permit varies based on the internship’s nature and duration. It’s essential to clarify this with your employer and ensure all legalities are in place.

5. The Internship Landscape: While interning, remember that your rights and obligations might differ from regular employees. For instance, certain benefits like paid leaves might not apply. Always refer to your internship agreement for clarity on these nuances.

Portugal, with its rich culture and dynamic work environment, offers a unique platform for non-EU interns. While the visa and permit process might seem intricate, it’s a small step towards a rewarding professional journey in this beautiful country. Equip yourself with the right information, and you’re all set for an unforgettable experience in Portugal.


Portuguese Working Visas

Job regulations for foreigners

Exceptions to Visa Requirements for Internships: Non-EU citizens from countries with a visa exemption agreement with Portugal might not require a visa for internships lasting less than 90 days. However, for non-EU citizens, it’s essential to have a valid passport, and depending on your country of citizenship, you might need a specific visa or work permit to legally intern in Portugal.

Decent Work Agenda in Portugal: Main Changes to Labor Legislation Effective May 1, 2023
  1. Introduction of the Decent Work Agenda: The Portuguese government has introduced the Decent Work Agenda, which aims to promote decent work conditions and combat precarious employment relationships. This agenda is a response to the challenges posed by the new forms of work and the digital transformation of the economy.

  2. Changes to Internship Contracts:

    • Duration: Internship contracts can now last up to 12 months, with the possibility of a single renewal for another 12 months. This is a significant change from the previous maximum duration of 9 months.
    • Compensation: Interns are now entitled to receive at least the National Minimum Wage. This ensures that interns are fairly compensated for their work and prevents potential exploitation.
    • Termination: The termination of internship contracts has been made more flexible. Employers can now terminate the contract by giving 15 days’ notice, while interns can terminate the contract by giving 7 days’ notice.
  3. Enhanced Protection for Interns:

    • Equal Treatment: Interns are now entitled to the same rights as regular employees in terms of working conditions, health and safety, and access to training.
    • Social Security: Interns are now covered by Social Security, ensuring that they have access to benefits such as healthcare, unemployment benefits, and pensions.
  4. Obligations for Employers:

    • Registration: Employers are now required to register all internship contracts with the labor authorities. This ensures transparency and allows the authorities to monitor compliance with the new regulations.
    • Training: Employers must provide interns with adequate training and supervision throughout the duration of the internship. This ensures that interns gain valuable skills and experience during their internships.
  5. Sanctions: Employers who fail to comply with the new regulations may face sanctions, including fines and potential disqualification from receiving public subsidies.

These changes reflect the Portuguese government’s commitment to promoting decent work conditions and ensuring that interns are treated fairly and with respect. The Decent Work Agenda aims to strike a balance between the needs of employers and the rights of interns, ensuring that internships provide valuable learning experiences while also offering fair compensation and protection.

For a comprehensive understanding of the law, we recommend visiting the DRE website directly or consulting with legal experts familiar with Portuguese labor laws.
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Frequently Asked Questions

Eligible participants for internships in Portugal include students, recent graduates (up to 12 months after graduation), EU citizens (without the need for a work permit or visa), and non-EU citizens (subject to visa and work permit requirements). Requirements may vary, and it’s advisable to consult the host organization or Portuguese authorities for specific eligibility criteria.

Additionally, the Portuguese Institute for Employment and Professional Training (IEFP) offers internships specifically for unemployed individuals seeking work experience. These internships may have additional eligibility criteria, and interested individuals should consult the IEFP guidelines for more information.

To do an internship in Portugal, you typically need to be enrolled in an educational institution, have a valid passport, obtain the necessary visa or residence permit, and have health insurance. Language skills may be required, and securing an internship offer is essential. Academic requirements and an internship agreement may also apply. Contact the Portuguese Embassy for detailed information.

The duration of an internship in Portugal varies, typically lasting from a few weeks to several months with the average duration typically being around 3 to 6 months. Some internships may be shorter, especially if they are part-time or project-based, while others may extend up to a year. The specific length depends on the internship program and agreement between the intern and the host organization, ranging from part-time or project-based positions to longer-term internships up to a year.

According to Portuguese law, the working hours for interns in Portugal cannot exceed 30 hours per week, which is considered part-time work. However, the actual working hours for interns may vary depending on the requirements of the specific program or host organization.

In addition, interns in Portugal are entitled to the same rest periods and breaks as other employees. This means that they should have at least one day off per week and rest periods of at least 11 consecutive hours per day. They may also be entitled to meal breaks, depending on the length of their working day.

It’s important for potential interns to confirm the working hours and rest periods for their specific program or host organization before accepting an offer.

The validity of a Portuguese work visa depends on the specific type of visa issued.

Short-stay visas, also known as Schengen visas, allow for stays of up to 90 days within a 180-day period. These visas are typically issued for the purpose of business, tourism, or short-term training programs and are not valid for employment purposes.

Long-stay visas, on the other hand, allow for stays of more than 90 days and are issued for the purpose of work, study, or family reunification, among others. The validity of a long-stay work visa can range from a few months to a year or more, depending on the specific circumstances and the discretion of the Portuguese immigration authorities.

After arriving in Portugal, individuals with a long-stay work visa will need to apply for a residency permit, which typically allows for stays of up to one year and can be renewed annually.

It’s important to note that the validity of a Portuguese work visa and residency permit can vary depending on the individual’s country of origin and the specific requirements of the Portuguese immigration authorities. It’s recommended to consult with the Portuguese embassy or consulate in your home country for specific information and requirements.

The cost of the Portuguese Internship visa fee may vary depending on the specific type of visa required and the country of origin of the applicant. However, as of April 2023, the fee for a short-stay Schengen visa, which is the type of visa typically required for internships that are less than 90 days in duration, is 80 Euros.

It’s important to note that the visa fee is non-refundable, even if the visa application is denied. In addition to the visa fee, applicants may also be required to pay additional fees for services such as biometric data collection, visa processing, and courier services.

It’s recommended to confirm the specific visa requirements and fees for your internship program or host organization with the Portuguese embassy or consulate in your home country.

Portuguese educational institutions play a vital role in the internship process by facilitating placement opportunities, providing guidance and supervision, and ensuring alignment with academic programs. They assist students in finding suitable internships, oversee agreements, and assess performance.

Here are some common aspects of their involvement:

  1. Internship Programs and Coordination: Portuguese educational institutions often have dedicated internship programs or departments that facilitate internships for their students. These programs help connect students with potential internship opportunities, both within Portugal and internationally. They may collaborate with companies, organizations, and other educational institutions to identify suitable internship placements.

  2. Internship Placement Support: Educational institutions can provide guidance and support in finding appropriate internship placements for their students. They may have established partnerships with companies or maintain a database of internship opportunities. They can assist students in identifying internships that align with their academic and career goals.

  3. Academic Supervision: In many cases, Portuguese educational institutions require students to have academic supervision during their internships. This supervision ensures that the internship experience is aligned with the student’s academic program and learning objectives. Academic supervisors may provide guidance, evaluate the student’s progress, and maintain communication with the host organization.

  4. Internship Agreements: The educational institution may be involved in facilitating the creation of internship agreements between the student, the host organization, and the institution itself. These agreements outline the terms and conditions of the internship, including the duration, tasks and responsibilities, evaluation methods, and any specific requirements or expectations.

  5. Evaluation and Assessment: Portuguese educational institutions often have evaluation and assessment processes in place to assess the student’s performance during the internship. This may involve regular progress reports, final evaluations, or presentations. The institution may collaborate with the host organization to gather feedback and ensure the internship meets the academic standards and requirements.

  6. Academic Credit: In some cases, internships completed through educational institutions may be eligible for academic credit. The institution may have specific guidelines and criteria for granting academic credit for internships. Students may need to fulfill certain academic requirements, such as submitting reports or completing reflective assignments, to earn credit for their internship experience.

It depends on your nationality and the duration of the internship.

If you are a citizen of the European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you do not need a visa to participate in an internship in Portugal.

If you are a citizen of a non-EU/EEA country and your internship is less than 90 days, you may not need a visa if your country has a visa exemption agreement with Portugal. However, if your country does not have a visa exemption agreement, you will need to apply for a short-stay Schengen visa.

If your internship is longer than 90 days, you will need to apply for a long-stay visa, also known as a temporary stay visa or Type D visa. This visa allows you to stay in Portugal for more than 90 days and must be obtained before your arrival in Portugal.

It’s important to confirm the specific visa requirements for your internship program or host organization with the Portuguese embassy or consulate in your home country.

Yes, non-EU citizens generally need a visa for internships in Portugal. The specific visa requirements depend on the internship duration and nature. It is important to consult the Portuguese Embassy or Consulate for accurate information and to start the visa application process in advance.

It is important to note that the visa application process typically involves submitting various documents, such as a completed application form, a valid passport, proof of health insurance, proof of accommodation in Portugal, proof of financial means to support yourself during the internship, and a letter of acceptance from the host organization or educational institution. 

To apply for a visa, you will typically need to submit a completed application form, valid passport, proof of health insurance, proof of accommodation in Portugal, proof of financial means to support yourself during the internship, and other supporting documents. It is recommended to contact the Portuguese Embassy or Consulate in your home country to get detailed information about the application process and required documents.

Non-EU citizens generally need to obtain work authorization or a work permit specifically for the internship in order to work legally in Portugal. The host organization or employer may be responsible for initiating the work permit application process. It is important to consult with the host organization and the Portuguese immigration authorities to determine the specific work permit requirements.

The language requirements for internships in Portugal may vary depending on the specific internship position and host organization. Some internships may require proficiency in Portuguese, while others may be conducted in English or other languages. It is advisable to review the internship requirements or contact the host organization for information regarding language proficiency expectations.

The availability of financial support or compensation for internships in Portugal may vary depending on the internship program, host organization, and applicable regulations. Some internships may offer financial support or a stipend to cover living expenses, while others may be unpaid. It is recommended to discuss the terms of the internship, including compensation, with the host organization before accepting the internship offer.

  1. Discover Exciting Opportunities: Explore vibrant internship opportunities in Portugal through Piktalent offers or by connecting with educational institutions and internship programs.

  2. Gather Your Documents: Get your travel essentials in order! Ensure your passport or identification card is up-to-date and ready for an amazing internship adventure in Portugal.

  3. Connect with Host Organization: Reach out to the host organization offering the internship to inquire about their specific documentation requirements. They will guide you on the necessary paperwork and provide you with any application forms.

  4. Showcase Your Skills: Craft a standout application package that highlights your talents. Polish your CV, tailor your captivating cover letter, and gather any additional documents that the host organization may require.

  5. Embrace the Awaited Moment: Sit back with excitement as the host organization reviews applications and selects outstanding candidates. Once chosen, celebrate your success and relish the moment they provide you with a formal offer or acceptance letter.

  6. Prepare for an Incredible Journey: Make thrilling travel arrangements to Portugal, securing your passage to a land of rich culture and stunning landscapes. Plan your accommodations to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable stay during your internship. Consider factors such as location, cost, and proximity to your workplace.

  7. Prioritize Your Well-being: Ensure peace of mind by arranging suitable healthcare coverage during your time in Portugal. If you possess a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), it may provide essential coverage during your internship.

  8. Embrace the Adventure: Upon arrival in Portugal, embrace the charm of the country and prepare for an incredible experience. If your internship exceeds three months, follow the necessary steps to register your stay with the local authorities, adding an exciting stamp to your journey. Contact the local town hall or foreigner’s office for specific registration requirements and procedures.

  9. Dive into Professional Growth: Immerse yourself in your internship experience, soaking up valuable knowledge, expanding your network, and honing your skills. Follow the guidance and instructions provided by the host organization, making the most of every opportunity.

Remember, specific steps and requirements may vary based on the internship and host organization. For detailed and tailored guidance, reach out directly to the host organization. They are your best resource, providing valuable insights to help you embark on a rewarding internship in Portugal.

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