Family reunification

What is the family reunification

Family reunification is a mobility program which is available to family members of non-EU individuals who have a residence permit in Portugal.

Who can aplly for family reunification

According to nº 1 of article 98 of Law nº 23/2007, of 04 June, you are entitled to family reunification:

1 – A citizen with a valid residence permit has the right to family reunification with family members who are outside the national territory, who have lived with him/her in another country, depend on him/her or cohabit with him/her, regardless of whether the family ties are prior or subsequent to the resident’s entry.

This means that all family members who have legally entered national territory and who depend on or cohabit with the holder of a valid residence permit may themselves obtain their own residence card, as long as it is proven that they have no criminal record, have a home and have means of subsistence.

Article 99(1) of the Foreigns Portuguese Law indicates which family members are entitled to family reunification.

1 – For the purposes of the provisions of the previous article, the following are considered members of the resident’s family:

a) The spouse;

b) Children who are minors or incapacitated and are dependants of the couple or one of the spouses;

c) Minors adopted by the applicant when not married, by the applicant or by the spouse, pursuant to a decision of the competent authority of the country of origin, provided that the law of that country recognizes the adopted children’s rights and duties identical to those of natural parentage and that the decision is recognized by Portugal;

d) adult children who are dependants of the couple or one of the spouses, who are single and are studying in an educational establishment in Portugal;

e) adult dependent children of the couple or one of the spouses, who are unmarried and in education, where the holder of the right to reunification has a residence permit granted under Article 90a;

f) Ascendants in the direct line and in the first degree of the resident or his/her spouse, provided that they are dependent on him/her;

g) Minor siblings, provided that they are under the resident’s guardianship, in accordance with a decision issued by the competent authority of the country of origin and provided that such decision is recognised by Portugal.

In article 100 it also indicates the situations related to de facto union:

1 – Family reunification may be authorised with:

a) The partner who maintains, in national territory or outside it, with the foreign citizen, a de facto union, duly proved under the terms of the law;

b) Unmarried minor or incapacitated children, including adopted children of the de facto partner, as long as they are legally entrusted to him/her.

What's the process

The request for family reunion (defined in article 103 of the Aliens Act) must be made by the holder of the temporary residence permit, and an appointment will be scheduled by telephone at SEF where the documents (apostilled and translated if applicable) proving the family relationship, as well as the means of subsistence and proof of address will be presented. Here the biometric data will be collected (photograph and fingerprints) in order to issue the residence permit card. The deadlines applied are the same as for the first holder (period of 2 years and renewable for another 3). Finally after 5 years, you can apply for a permanent residence permit or even apply for nationality. In order to keep these residence permits you must stay in Portuguese territory at least 185 days per year.

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