How We Got a Portugal Digital Nomad Visa in Bali: Personal Experience

Getting a Portuguese nomad visa is not as difficult as it seems at first glance. But everything suddenly turns into a challenge if you have to submit documents outside your country of citizenship, and you do not have a residence permit for another country.

This was exactly our case. Moreover, after receiving the coveted residence permit, we were among the first to apply for a Portuguese visa in this country: there was no one to learn from and we had to learn all the hard lessons ourselves.

In the article, I describe the entire process step by step: from choosing the type of visa and the country where you can quickly get a residence permit, to obtaining a Temporary stay visa at the Portuguese consulate in Jakarta. Along the way, I share all the nuances of applying from Indonesia, useful contacts and links for those who decide to take on this quest.

This is me at the consulate in Jakarta after getting my visas pasted in. I'm so damn glad that all this crap is over and we can finally fly to Portugal.

This is me at the consulate in Jakarta after getting my visas pasted in. I'm so damn glad that all this crap is over and we can finally fly to Portugal

What are Digital Nomad visas and how to choose the right type

In fact, Portugal has not one, but two Digital Nomad visas.

  • Residence visa (short term) — immigration visa type D for 120 days. Gives the right to enter Schengen twice and apply for a residence permit for 2 years. It can be extended once, and in the future apply for citizenship. The stated application review time is up to 60 working days.

This visa is requested by those who plan to move to Portugal. And all the articles on the Internet are devoted to obtaining a Residence visa.

  • Temporary stay (long term) — short-term visa type D for 1 year. Grants the right to live in Portugal for the entire period of validity of the visa, enter Schengen an unlimited number of times and stay in other Schengen countries for 90 days out of 180. The stated application review time is up to 30 working days.

This visa is suitable for those who want to try living in Portugal, travel around it and the Schengen countries. Since the visa does not lead to a residence permit, it is of little interest to anyone and there are no guides on how to obtain it.

The main condition for obtaining a visa is having a remote job with an income of €3,280 (4 minimum wages in Portugal) over the past 3 months.

A big plus: family members can receive a visa at the same time as the applicant, avoiding the lengthy process of reunification.

We planned to get a Residence visa, but during the process of collecting documents we changed our minds and applied for a Temporary stay.

What documents are needed?

The requirements and documents for both types of visas are almost the same.

  • Application for submission of documents. You can download the form to fill out on the VFS Global website or Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Portugal.

  • International passportvalid for at least 3 months after the end of the visa stay in Portugal.

  • certificate of good conduct from countries where you have lived for more than a year. The document must be apostilled, issued no more than 2 months ago and translated into Portuguese or English.

  • Bank statement with receipts for the last 3 months. It is desirable that the bank be foreign, but someone manages to receive with a Russian one.

  • Extract from the tax office with translation into Portuguese or English to confirm payment of taxes.

  • Contract with employer or clients. They can be either foreign or Russian. The main thing is that they are not on the list of those subject to EU sanctions. Contracts must be translated into Portuguese, except in cases where their original language is English.

  • Bank statement with savings. There are no official requirements for them, but there is an unspoken rule: one applicant needs at least 12 minimum wages in Portugal – €9840. If you are applying with a family, you will need another €4929 for a spouse and another €2952 for each child.

To increase the chances of visa approval, it is recommended to show a higher income, and in a foreign bank account.

  • Residential lease agreement. The requirements for it depend greatly on the country of application and the type of visa. For a Residence visa, a rental agreement for at least 1 year with registration with the tax service Finanças is most often required. It is recommended to use for searching for such housing For a Temporary stay, a 3-month reservation on Airbnb is often enough. What you will need in your case is best to look at cases with submission from your country in chats or take advice from MigRun specialists (when ordering link you will receive a 5% discount).

Planning to rent a place on Flatio? Check out thematic chats like Digital Nomad Visa to Portugal. They often sell discount coupons for this service.

  • Medical insurance. A standard travel insurance for a period equal to the duration of the visa will do: for a Residence visa for 120 days, for a Temporary stay for 1 year. We applied with a standard Nomad Insurance Genki.

  • Consent to a criminal record check in Portugal. You need to download and fill it out form.

  • Booking plane tickets. For a Residence visa, it is enough to have a reservation for tickets to Portugal approximately 2+ months after the application is submitted. For a Temporary stay visa, a reservation for return tickets is also required.

There is an opinion that a real purchased ticket increases the chances of the application being approved. But this is not certain.

We decided to play it safe and applied with real Emirates return tickets.

  • Motivation letter in English. In it, you need to tell in detail about yourself, your interest in Portugal, your work, income and savings. Justify the discrepancies between the set of documents and the requirements (if any) and highlight the points to strengthen the case.

It is believed that a good letter increases the chances of approval. Examples of such letters can be found in thematic chats or at MigRun.

  • Two color photos on a white background measuring 3.5 x 4.5 cm.

  • Residence permit scanif you are submitting documents from a country other than your country of citizenship.

  • Marriage certificateif you are applying with your spouse. The certificate must be apostilled, translated into Portuguese or English, and no more than 6 months must have passed since the date of issue.

  • Birth certificateif you are traveling with a child. The certificate must be apostilled, translated into Portuguese or English, and no more than 6 months must have passed since the date of issue.

  • Certificate of registration of individual entrepreneur in English or Portuguese if you are a freelancer.

We also included a certificate of individual entrepreneur registration in English with this package.

This is a standard list of documents, but it is not a fact that such a set will be sufficient in your case. Therefore, before submitting, I recommend that you clarify the requirements at the Portuguese consulate in your country and check the list of documents on the VFS Global website.

In which countries can you quickly and easily obtain a residence permit?

The big minus of the Portuguese nomad visa is that you cannot enter the country with a tourist Schengen visa and apply for a visa on the spot. This can only be done in the country of your citizenship or residence.

The next slot for applying in Russia was only in six months, and we did not have residency in another country, so we first had to choose a place to obtain a residence permit.

We had 3 options available:

Serbia. The process of obtaining a residence permit for individual entrepreneurship is simple, but long: a month to prepare and submit documents, and then another 2 months of waiting for the residence permit itself.


  • Consulate of Portugal in the country;

  • a large database of cases with approval of nomad visas submitted from Serbia, all the requirements of the consulate are known.


  • too popular a place to apply for a visa, difficult to get a slot, queues appear;

  • sometimes they suspend accepting applications.

Montenegro. A residence permit can also be obtained through individual entrepreneurship. The stated timeframes are: 3 weeks to collect the package of documents and submit it, a month of waiting for the card for the main applicant, and another month of waiting for the spouse to receive the residence permit.


  • a large number of cases of obtaining a residence permit, it is easy to find all the information in expat chats;

  • The requirements for documents and preferences of visa officers are still clear, which reduces the likelihood of unpleasant surprises.


  • There is no Portuguese consulate, all applications are processed in Serbia, where you will also have to go to get your visa pasted in if approved;

  • the spouse receives a residence permit only after the main applicant, which has an unpleasant effect on the timing;

  • the process of obtaining a residence permit has only become more complicated in recent years, there is a chance to get caught up in the next round of changes and increase the overall timeframe.

Indonesia. “Residence permit” is issued without any grounds and is issued simultaneously to all family members within 1.5 months.


  • the only document required is a foreign passport;

  • everything is done remotely, you only need to come to the immigration office once to submit biometrics;

  • There is no need to catch slots, documents are submitted twice a week on a first come, first served basis.


  • expensive, obtaining a residence permit for one person will cost $1700;

  • There are no described cases of obtaining a visa with submission in Indonesia, you can expect anything.

Why did you choose Indonesia?

Mostly by process of elimination.

At that time, our friends went the way of Montenegro and their entire quest from the moment of applying for a residence permit to receiving a nomad visa took almost 9 months. We were not ready to spend so much time in this country.

We have been to Serbia twice, and despite all the advantages of the country for expats from the Russian Federation, we had an irrational dislike for it. Therefore, we did not want to stay there even for 5-6 months. And the flight to it was far and expensive for us.

In the end, the option with Indonesia remained. Or more precisely with Bali, since we were already on the island on a tourist visa. This option seemed the fastest and simple. Plus there were hopes that no one in Indonesia needed a Portuguese nomad visa, so the consulate would process our application quickly.

How to get a residence permit in Indonesia

In Indonesia there is no such thing as Residence permitbut there is its analogue – KITAS – special permission for a limited stay in the country.

There are many types of this KITAS, the most popular of them is the investor one for 2 years. It does not allow you to work in the country, but it does give you the right to apply for visas in it. In addition, you get the opportunity to get cheaper insurance, services in clinics at discounted prices, an unlimited number of entries into Indonesia, as well as discounted admission to attractions.

If you read articles on the topic, it may seem that getting KITAS is an unrealistic task. But in reality, this is a business put on stream.

How it works:

  1. Contact an agency that deals with visa issues. For example, Legal Indonesia or Belkin Group.

  2. Send them a scan of your passport, a selfie of yourself on a white background, and your address in Indonesia.

  3. Pay $1700 for each person who needs KITAS.

  4. You receive a special document that you need to show to border guards upon arrival in Indonesia. If you are already on the island, you will have to fly out and fly back into the country with this document. In theory, you can do it all without leaving Indonesia, but this will negatively affect the time it takes to obtain KITAS.

  5. The agency's courier comes to you at the specified address to pick up your passports, and the manager tells you the date you need to come to the immigration office to submit your biometrics.

  6. At the appointed time, give your fingerprints and take a photo at the immigration office.

  7. You receive a passport with a ready KITAS with home delivery.

It turned out that KITAS is not a plastic card, but a small paper insert on a paper clip in a foreign passport. It's good that there is an electronic version in case of loss.

It turned out that KITAS is not a plastic card, but a small paper insert on a paper clip in a foreign passport. It's good that there is an electronic version in case of loss.

The whole process took us 2 months. And it would have been even faster if we had flown from Bangkok to Bali immediately after receiving the coveted document for the border guards. We decided not to change our plans and stayed in Thailand for another 2 weeks.

What does the process of getting a visa to Bali look like in theory?

There is no Portuguese consulate on the island, so VFS Global is integrated into the standard process:

  1. Submitting documents at the VFS Global visa application centre on the island.

  2. Transporting documents to the Portuguese Consulate in Jakarta.

  3. Application review at the consulate.

  4. Application forwarding and approval by AIMA in Portugal.

  5. Pasting visas into passports in Jakarta.

  6. Transporting passports to Bali via VFS.

VFS intervention has the following features:

  • Plus. No need to catch slots, come on reception days and submit a package of documents in the order of a live queue.

  • MinusThe application is accepted together with the passport, and you cannot leave the territory of Indonesia.

It later turned out that it is possible to take back the passports while the application is being reviewed and return them for a visa sticker after approval. This can be done remotely through VFS Global or in person, by picking up the passports at the Portuguese Consulate in Jakarta by agreement with the officer reviewing the application. But for unknown reasons, this information is not advertised anywhere.

How it looked in practice for us

The whole application review process was a hell of a circus and consumed a fair amount of nerves.

August 16th. We applied for a visa and learned from a VFS employee that the average application review time is 15 days. The forecast seemed very optimistic, so we nevertheless mentally prepared ourselves to wait for the standard 30 working days for this visa.

16 of September. We started checking the application status tracking page on the VFS website every day. But everything was stable there — “Your visa application is under process at Portugal Embassy in Indonesia, Jakarta.”

October 1st. Silence. To calm my anxiety, I climbed Digital Nomad Visa to Portugalwhere I found the contacts of a person who, for €35, can call AIMA in Portugal and find out the status of an application. We contacted AIMA three times through this person, and three times the operator did not find our applications in the system. VFS did not answer our questions, they only sent a link, which we used to track the status of the application all this time.

October 16th. The days stated for consideration passed, and we began writing from various emails to the consulate in Jakarta. But they ignored all letters related to the status of the application. We had to switch to heavy artillery – calls.

During one of the calls we learned that something had broken in their “IT system” and our application was stuck in Limbo between VFS and the consulate. That is, the documents were just lying there all this time, and no one was working on them.

17 October. We called the consulate again to make sure that the application had been processed. The officer confirmed this and said to wait from 7 to 60 days.

27th October. No word from the consulate, so we call AIMA again through a special person to find out the status of the application. But it is still not in the system.

October 30. The consulate requests a document to confirm that the employer does not mind that his employee will perform duties from the territory of Portugal. The next day we sent this document.

November 7th. We check by phone whether the document has been accepted and find out that it has not: a document with an electronic signature is not suitable. Instead, we need a scan of the same document with a live signature, as well as a scan of the passport or ID of the person who signed the document to verify the authenticity of the signature.

November 9We miraculously receive all of this and send it to the officer.

the 13th of November. We check by phone again whether the document has been accepted, and again we find out that it has not. We need to send a “Certification of Completion” to confirm the first version of this document with an electronic signature. They sent the certificate on the same day.

15th of November. We again clarify whether the documents have been accepted and what the approximate timeframe for further consideration is. The documents have been accepted, but the question about the timeframe has been ignored.

November 17th. Again, we call AIMA through a special person to check the status of the application. But it is still not in the system.

November 21. We check the status of the application with the officer and find out that he sent everything to AIMA and is waiting for their verdict. How long it will take is unknown.

By this point, we were, to put it mildly, tired of the island and accidentally learned about the possibility of picking up our passports. We no longer believed in VFS, so we decided to pick them up from the capital ourselves, so that we could spend the remaining waiting period traveling around Southeast Asia.

November 30thWe pick up our passports from the consulate in Jakarta and head to Malaysia.

December 4. A message comes from the officer – both our visas are ready, we can take our passports for stickers. We didn't really trust the officer either, so we asked the person to call AIMA again. They said that one visa is ready, and the second is still under consideration. By this point, we were planning to spend another week in Vietnam, so we decided not to rush.

12 December. We arrive at the consulate in Indonesia to have visas pasted into our passports. Judging by the dates on them, one visa was indeed ready on December 4, and the second one only on December 8. Immediately after the pasting, we took tickets for the next flight to Portugal and flew to Lisbon 4 hours later.

This whole story cost 27 letters to the officer, 16 independent calls to the consulate in Indonesia and 6 paid calls to AIMA in Portugal.

The entire process of obtaining visas from the moment of submitting documents to the sticker took almost 4 months.

How it looked in practice for other people

It turned out that three more couples had applied for a Portuguese nomad visa in Bali before us. Everyone got approval, but the process itself was also slow.

  • Confused visa types: issued a Residence visa instead of a Temporary stay visa and vice versa. In one case, the confusion occurred at the stage of submitting documents to VFS, but the guys, at the cost of lengthy correspondence and video interviews with officers, managed to replay everything. In another case, the error occurred in AIMA and it was not possible to fix it.

  • They took a long time to consider the applications. In two cases out of three, the process lasted for 5 months. The only thing that helped speed up the review was Portuguese lawyers. They were hired specifically to push AIMA and defend the interests of applicants.

  • Requested documents againIn two out of three cases, the application was not accepted for processing for so long that the documents “rotted” and an updated starter package had to be submitted again.

There was also one person after us, but he gave up when they asked for his employer's ID or passport. Instead, he got a Dutch tourist visa and after 2 months he got a residence permit on a Spanish nomad visa.

What to consider when applying for a nomad visa in Indonesia

Despite the whole circus with the application review, we were still lucky: the process took 4 months, not six months. And if we had known in advance the potential difficulties and peculiarities of interaction with the consulate, we could have done it in the stated 2 months. And taking into account the time to obtain a residence permit – in 3.5 months.

If you suddenly decide to repeat our quest with serving in Indonesia, then:

  • Don't be afraid to push the officer at the consulate. Write to him by email and call by phone if your letters are ignored. Check the status of the application and whether your document has been accepted. This will greatly speed up the process.

  • Check what the officer said.. Call through special people in AIMA and clarify information about the application with the original source. We were helped in this matter by Catherine.

  • Collect your passport immediately after submitting your documents. Or, even before submitting, get a second passport. This way, you won't be “locked” inside one country without documents and will worry less about the potential loss of your only passport if something doesn't go according to plan. And waiting for the AIMA decision while traveling in Southeast Asia will be easier.

  • Choose a city based on other people's cases. In some cities in Portugal, AIMA processes cases much slower than in others: somewhere the average time can be around 30 days, and somewhere it can take 120 days to fly out. To avoid running into a “particularly lucky city”, look at other people’s cases over the past 3 months. Tables D Visa to Portugal And AIMA statistics to help you. There is no 100% guarantee that your application will be considered in the city specified in the questionnaire, but judging by the chats, this happens most often.

What's next

Our visas give us the right to stay in Portugal for a whole year, but we decided not to stay there for the entire period and went to “test” other countries. We visited Spain, France, Austria, Georgia, Montenegro and Cyprus.

Next on the agenda: Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and then returning to Indonesia to apply for a Residence visa and explore the country's other islands while awaiting approval.

I talk about all these movements and searches for a place for permanent residence in the Telegram channel “So we're moving!”. Every month a new country and more than 20 posts about the nuances of life there. There you will also find announcements of the release of new nomad visas and stories from the everyday life of nomads.

Good luck and patience to all who intend to follow our path! You will need them.

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