An estimated 17 million tourists visit Portugal every year, and if you exclude 2020 and 2021 (when the pandemic took hold and made it difficult for people to travel) those numbers have been rising every year since 2009.
It pales in comparison to nearby Spain and to some other major European destinations, but it’s quite an astonishing number when you consider that the population of Portugal is just over 10 million.
It essentially means that there are 1.7 annual tourists for every 1 Portuguese resident.
If you want to join all of those tourists and pay a visit to cities like Porto and Lisbon, you may need an ETIAS.
ETIAS Visa Waiver for Portugal
ETIAS stands for European Travel Information and Authorization System. It’s an electronic visa waiver program that applies to residents from 60 countries around the world.
If you reside in one of these countries, you will need to apply for an ETIAS before you visit Portugal. If not, it means that you either reside within the Schengen Zone and can travel freely, or you need to apply for a visa.
The ETIAS application process was designed to be as quick, simple, and hassle-free as possible. It’s mostly automated and it can be completed online. You don’t need to visit a consulate or embassy; you won’t be asked for your birth certificate and you don’t need to supply information pertaining to your work history or finances.
The application process should take just 5 to 10 minutes and it costs just €7 for applicants 18 and over.
Once authorization has been granted, it will be valid for the next 3 years and can be used to spend up to 90 consecutive days in Portugal.
Do I Need an ETIAS Visa Waiver to Visit Portugal?
If you live in one of the following countries, and you are traveling during 2023 or later (may also apply to travel during late-2022), you will need ETIAS authorization:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Costa Rica
- El Salvador
- Hong Kong
- Marshall Islands
- New Zealand
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Vincent
- Solomon Islands
- South Korea
- Timor Leste
- Trinidad and Tobago
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
- United States of America
Portugal and the Schengen Visa
An ETIAS authorization is fairly limited, as it only allows you to stay in Portugal (or other countries within the Schengen Zone) for 90 days within a 180-day period. It means that if you spend your first 90 days in the region, you will need to leave for 90 days before that cycle resets and you can return for another 3 months.
It’s not long enough for full-time study and you can’t work on an ETIAS, either. If you want to enter a Portuguese university or get work within the country, you will need to apply for a Schengen Visa.
As the name suggests, the Schengen Visa is valid throughout the Schengen Zone, not just in Portugal.
Visiting Portugal with an ETIAS Visa Waiver
Not only is there a lot to see in Portugal, but it also borders Spain. Both of these countries are in the Schengen Zone and so you can move between them with a valid ETIAS authorization.
There are no checkpoints and no strict border controls between these two nations. As long as you are legally allowed to enter one of them, you will be free to access the other, as well.