Portugal’s Working Holiday Visa for Australians

Portugal’s Working Holiday Visa for Australians
Lisbon, Portugal. Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com.

From the nice beaches and great food, to the historic old cities, mild weather and laid-back lifestyle, Portugal is an attractive place to visit on multiple fronts. Located on the western edge of the European continent, Portugal is also a relatively affordable place to live. The country also has a thriving startup and tech scene, making it popular with expats and digital nomads.

If you’re an Australian citizen aged between 18 and 31 years old, and you’ve completed at least some form of higher education, you could apply for a Working Holiday visa to stay in Portugal for up to 12 months! During this time, you may work in Portugal for up to six months and study for up to four months.

Most other countries only offer working holidays to people who haven’t yet turned 31 years old at the time of application. Portugal offers an extra year as 31-year-olds can also apply.

Lisbon and Porto are Portugal’s main cities, but the European country also has lots of charming beachside towns. Madeira and the Azores islands are part of Portugal’s territory as well.

Although English is widely spoken in the major cities and tourist locations, note that Australians will need at least a “functional” level of Portuguese to apply for a working holiday visa in Portugal.

This page contains useful information about the Portuguese working holiday visa for Australian citizens. It was last updated on 14 April 2022.

Travel to Portugal is currently allowed, but some COVID-19 entry requirements may be in place. See the Visit Portugal website for the latest information on COVID-19 travel restrictions for Portugal.

Key facts about Portugal

  • Population: Approx. 10 million
  • Official language: Portuguese
  • Capital city: Lisbon (Lisboa in Portuguese)
  • Largest cities: Lisbon, Porto, Amadora, Braga
  • Currency: Euro
Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon, Portugal. Photo by Matt Graham.

Portugal Working Holiday Visa requirements

Portugal offers working holiday visas to citizens of Australia, Argentina, Canada, Chile, Japan, New Zealand, Peru, South Korea & USA. See the Portugal Ministry of Foreign Affairs website for more information.

This information is applicable to Australian citizens and may vary for citizens of other countries.

To apply for a Portugal working holiday visa as an Australian citizen, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Aged between 18-31 years old (inclusive) at the time of application
  • Hold tertiary qualification/s or have successfully completed at least two years of university study
  • Speak at least a functional level of Portuguese
  • Have sufficient savings to travel to/from Portugal and support yourself initially
  • Hold travel & health insurance to cover your entire stay

You cannot apply for this visa if you:

  • Will be accompanied by dependent children
  • Have a criminal record
  • Have already held a Portuguese working holiday visa

More information is available on the Portuguese government’s website.

Documents needed to apply for this visa

When applying for a working holiday visa for Portugal as an Australian citizen, you will need to provide the following documents:

  • Bank statement/s showing sufficient financial means to support yourself
  • Proof of return flights to Portugal and/or sufficient funds to purchase a ticket
  • Travel insurance valid for the entire duration of your stay which covers hospital & medical repatriation costs
  • A letter of Australian government support and a “signed solemn statement” explaining why you want to live in Portugal
  • Proof of “at least functional” Portuguese language proficiency
  • Completed visa application form with a passport-sized photo, form authorising criminal record verification, and a signed “statement of responsibility” (see the long-stay visa forms on the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs website)
  • Self-addressed envelope for your passport to be returned.

Note: While the Portuguese government still lists a letter of Australian government support as a visa requirement, Australia’s Department of Home Affairs no longer lists Portugal as a country for which Australians are required to get a letter. It is possible that the Portuguese government has not yet updated its website to remove this old requirement.

This visa costs AUD$180.45 (payable by money order or bank transfer).

How to apply for a Portugal Working Holiday Visa

You can apply through the Consulate General of Portugal in Sydney. After paying the visa fee, you would need to send the required documents to the consulate. It takes up to 30 days to process visa application.

After applying, you will be contacted to arrange an interview. You can request an interview exemption if you provide proof of Portuguese language proficiency with your visa application (e.g. a certificate from a Portuguese language school/instructor).

The Portuguese government does not clearly define what is considered to be a “functional” level of Portuguese for the purpose of a Work and Holiday visa. But if you have a certificate showing that you have completed a Portuguese language course at an A2 level (at a minimum), this may be sufficient to exempt you from having to do an interview. The certificate can be from an online or in-person language course.

See the Portuguese Consulate General website or email the consulate at consulado.sidney@mne.pt for more information.


While best efforts are made to keep this information updated, we do not guarantee its accuracy. If you spot an error, would like to suggest new information to be added or simply have a question, please let us know in the comments and we’ll endeavour to respond or update the article as quickly as possible!

8 thoughts on “Portugal’s Working Holiday Visa for Australians

  1. Hi I am enquiring about potentially getting a Portuguese working visa for later on this year. Is it 100% a requirement that I have some form of higher education?

    1. I believe it is (at least two years of full-time tertiary study). This is based on reciprocity as Australia asks the same of Portuguese citizens coming to Australia on a Work and Holiday visa.

  2. Hi, thanks for this info! I am currently studying Portuguese and hope to apply for this visa next year (at the age of 31). I was wondering if you know what a ‘functional level’ of Portuguese might be? And what an exemption to the interview might look like – would a signed letter from my teacher be enough?

    I’m also wondering if you know how competitive it is? Needing to purchase flights and insurance before the visa application does make sense, but it also makes it seem like it mustn’t be too competitive – because if it is what do people who aren’t successful do with their flights and insurance they can’t use?

    Thanks so much for this blog post, it’s super informative and helpful 🙂

    Caitlin

    1. Hi Caitlin,

      The Consulate General of Portugal in Sydney would be able to give you a more accurate answer than I can, because they are the ones processing these visa applications.

      Their website is quite vague on what they consider to be “at least functional” Portuguese, unfortunately. Like the higher education requirement, this is listed as a requirement due to reciprocity (Australia requires Portuguese citizens coming for a working holiday to have functional English). But I don’t think it’s as strictly enforced as the higher education requirement.

      As Portugal accepts an A2 level of Portuguese to become a resident, I would suspect a similar level may be accepted for a working holiday visa. But honestly, if you have a certificate from a language school saying that you’ve completed a Portuguese language course, you know what an abacaxi is and you remember to pull the door that says “puxe”, you’ll probably be fine. 😉

      Regarding how competitive it is, I would be surprised if the quota was ever completely filled. As long as you meet all the visa requirements, I don’t see any reason your application would be rejected.

  3. Hey Matt,
    – is it necessary to be in Australia while applying for this visa? Is it possible to apply in country like the German and Netherlands WHVs?

    1. Germany and the Netherlands are really exceptions to the rule here. I believe you do need to apply before you arrive in Portugal.

      That said, it may not be necessary to physically attend the Portuguese Consulate General in Sydney. You can apply for the visa online (https://pedidodevistos.mne.pt/VistosOnline/) and send the required documents by mail to the Consulate General. If you send proof of functional Portuguese skills with the application (e.g. a certificate from a language school) then you may also be able to get an exemption from needing an interview. See https://sidney.consuladoportugal.mne.gov.pt/en/the-consulate/news/news2

      That said, I believe it is intended that you are supposed to be in Australia when applying for this visa.

  4. Just wondering exactly what classifies as ‘functional’ Portuguese. For example, if I completed a course and passed the outcomes below;

    “Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and basic phrases. Can introduce him/herself and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where he/she lives, people he/she knows and things he/she has. Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.”

    Would that be enough to pass?

    Cheers

    1. Hi Serena, please have a look at my response to Caitlin’s question above.

      The information from the Portuguese government is quite vague, so I can’t really answer this. You may wish to contact the Portuguese Consulate General in Australia directly and ask them, as they are ultimately the people who will be processing your visa application.

      That said, I believe a certificate showing you have completed an A2 level of Portuguese would be sufficient. I’m not sure what course you’re referring to but it sounds like it would be at about an A1 level, so you might need to keep studying a little further. The certificate can be from an online course.

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