Work permits for Portugal are granted differently, according to an expat's country of origin.

Expats who are nationals of an EU-member state don't need a work permit for Portugal for their first six months in the country. However, after this period they will be required to apply for a residence permit to live in Portugal. This is more of a formality and simply makes life easier when it comes to applying for a bank account in Portugal and also serves as proof of address.

Those moving to Portugal from outside the EU will either need to have a secure job offer or be married to a Portuguese citizen in order to apply for a work permit. 

Work permits for EU nationals

EU nationals aren't restricted from finding employment in Portugal and are granted a 90-day period to live in the country and find work without obtaining an EU registration certificate.

Some expats may need to apply for a residence card. This is a process that, albeit simple, results in its own long queues and delays. The residence card can only be obtained from the Portuguese Immigration Office (Serviços de Estrangeiros e Fronteiros).

Neither a work permit nor a residence card is needed for EU citizens working for an employment period of three months or less.

Work permits for non-EU nationals

Non-EU nationals can obtain a work permit for Portugal if offered a secure job contract by a formal employer. As there are regulations in place that encourage companies to hire members of other EU countries before looking outside the sphere, it can be difficult to solidify a job offer.

If an expat does manage to find a job offer, the hiring company starts the process by applying to the Portuguese Labour Authorities for the work permit with a copy of the contract. Once completed, the expat applicant must apply for a Portuguese work permit at their local Portuguese Embassy.

The work permit application process in Portugal can take up to eight months. Permits are usually granted for six months and are renewable.