PortugalOfficial Name: Portuguese Republic
Must be valid for at least three months beyond your planned date of departure from the Schengen area.
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:
2 pages minimum
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:
Not required for stays under 90 days
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:
10,000 Euros or equivalent
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:
10,000 Euros or equivalent
Embassies and Consulates
Av. das Forças Armadas, Sete-Rios
Telephone: +(351) (21) 770-2122
EmergencyAfter-Hours Telephone: +(351) (21)-770-2122 or +(351) (21) 727-3300
Fax: +(351) (21) 727-2354
U.S. Consulate Ponta Delgada
Av. Príncipe do Mónaco No, 6-2 F
9500-237 Ponta Delgada, Açores
Telephone: +(351) (296) 282-216
EmergencyAfter-Hours Telephone: +(351) (296) 282-216 (listen for the duty officer's cell phone number)
Fax: +(351) (296) 287-216
Portugal is a developed and stable democracy with a developed economy. Tourist facilities are widely available. Read the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Portugal for additional information on U.S.-Portugal relations.
Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements
Portugal is a party to the Schengen Agreement. As such, U.S. citizens for business or tourism are permitted to stay in the Schengen area for 90 days without a visa within a six-month period. The passport should be valid for at least three months beyond the period of stay. For further details about travel into and within Schengen countries, please see our Schengen fact sheet.
Portuguese law requires some non-European Union foreign nationals to register with immigration officials within three working days of entering Portugal. The law only affects those who transit through another Schengen area country by air en route to Portugal and stay at noncommercial accommodations. If you would like to ensure that your entry is properly documented, you may need to request a stamp at an official point of entry, or download a “declaracão de entrada” (declaration of entry) from the Portuguese Immigration Service’s (SEF) website, and submit it to a local SEF office or police station within three days of entry. If you do not have a stamp in your passport, you may be questioned about how long you stayed in the Schengen area. If you are unable to prove how long you stayed, you could be fined upon your departure.
Visit the Embassy of Portugal website for the most current visa information. Or visit the Portuguese Consulates in Boston, MA; New Bedford, MA; Providence, RI; New York, NY; Newark, NJ; or San Francisco, CA. The Embassy of Portugal is located at 2012 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036, tel. (202) 350-5400. Visit the Government of Portugal's website for the most current contact information for Portuguese embassies and consulates.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Portugal.
Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.
Safety and Security
Similar to other countries in the Schengen area, Portugal’s open borders with its Western European neighbors allow possible terrorist groups to enter and exit the country with anonymity. U.S. citizens are reminded to remain vigilant with regard to their personal security.
General strikes and public protests against government austerity measures have occurred sporadically over the last three years. These are rarely violent, but travelers are advised to avoid areas where these public protests are taking place.
To stay connected:
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program so we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements.
- Follow the Bureau of Consular Affairs on Twitter and Facebook.
- Bookmark the Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution.
- Follow the U.S. Embassy in Portugal on Twitter and by visiting the Embassy’s website
- In the event of an emergency, contact us at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free within the U.S. and Canada, or via a regular toll line, 1-202-501-4444, from other countries.
Take some time before traveling to consider your personal security and checking for useful tips for traveling safely abroad.
CRIME: Portugal has a relatively low rate of violent crime; however, crime in all categories is steadily increasing. Your greatest crime risk is becoming a target of opportunity, such as pickpockets and purse snatchers, particularly at popular tourist sites and restaurants, or on public transportation. Pick-pockets take advantage of crowds getting on and off of all forms of public transportation, using the jostling of the crowd as a distraction. Wallets and cellphones are particularly vulnerable. Rental cars and vehicles with out-of-town or foreign license plates are frequent targets for break-ins, particularly when parked at popular tourist destinations and beaches. Remove visible luggage or personal items from cars when parking.
Keep your car doors locked when stopped at intersections. Avoid using automatic teller machines (ATMs) in isolated or poorly lighted areas. In general, visitors to Portugal should carry limited cash and credit cards on their person, and leave extra cash, credit cards, and personal documents at home or in a hotel safe. Avoid parks at dusk and after dark, as they are used for vice activities. Drugs are often sold at night, in the downtown area, especially near the bars and restaurants, and travelers are sometimes approached by drug dealers.
U.S. citizens pay attention to their surroundings when traveling in Portugal and report any concerns to the local police. Electronics are particularly vulnerable to theft, as is unattended luggage. Be careful on public transportation. When walking into train and metro stations at night; only enter well-lit and well-traveled stations. Vacation homes have been robbed. When renting vacation lodging, make sure to assess the accommodation’s security systems.
Taxis are a reliable means of transportation, though you should be alert to possible discrepancies between the meter fare and the amount requested by the driver. Always ask the taxi driver to use the meter. Always use a taxi from the queue or kiosk; do not utilize someone who walks up to you and offers you a ride.
Beaches are generally considered safe, but beachgoers should not leave their personal belongings unattended. Youth gangs have been known to congregate along the beaches between Lisbon and Cascais and occasionally accost/rob beach-goers. The authorities have increased their patrols in response to these incidences.
Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, if you purchase them you may also be breaking local law.
VICTIMS OF CRIME: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. We can:
- Replace a stolen passport.
- Help you find appropriate medical care if you are the victim of violent crimes such as assault or rape.
- Put you in contact with the appropriate police authorities, and if you want us to, contact family members or friends.
- Help you understand the local criminal justice process and direct you to local attorneys, although it is important to remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
Portugal has a crime victim’s assistance program, administered through an organization known by its acronym, "APAV."
APAV – (Lisbon)
Rua José Estêvão, 135 A, Pisos 1/2
tel. 21 358 79 00
fax 21 887 63 51
Serviços de Sede (Porto)
Rua Aurélio Paz dos Reis 351
tel. 22 834 68 40 | fax 22 834 68 41
Office hours in Lisbon are weekdays, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and 2 to 5:30 p.m.; tel: 351 21 358 79 00, and in Estoril, near Cascais, the office hours are weekdays, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and 2 to 7 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; tel: 21 466 42 71English speakers are available to help you.
The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Portugal is 112. For social welfare emergencies such as domestic violence or child abuse dial 144. English-speaking operators are available.
There is also an SOS immigrant line with English speaking operators ready to help you in case of emergency. You may contact them at 351 808 257 257 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m.
Please see our information on victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While you are traveling in Portugal, you are subject to its laws. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different from our own.
In some places you may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport with you or if you take pictures of certain buildings. In some places, driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail. These criminal penalties will vary from country to country. There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States, and you can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States.
If you break local laws in Portugal, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not wherever you go.
Possession and use of narcotic drugs is an administrative offense in Portugal, and users can face mandatory drug treatment. Penalties for trafficking in illegal drugs are severe, and offenders can expect long jail sentences.
Pepper spray is illegal in Portugal, and will be confiscated. Violators may be subject to a fine.
Arrest notifications in host country: While some countries will automatically notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested in that country, others may not. To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as you are arrested or detained overseas.
Portuguese customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or exportation from Portugal of such items as firearms, antiquities, medications, business equipment, sales samples, and other items. It is advisable to contact a Portuguese Embassy or Consulate in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements. Portugal's customs authorities encourage the use of an ATA (Admission Temporaire/ Temporary Admission) carnet for the temporary admission of professional equipment, commercial samples, and/or goods for exhibitions and fair purposes. ATA Carnet Headquarters located at the U.S Council for International Business, 1212 Avenue of The Americas, New York, NY 10036, issues and guarantees the ATA carnet in the United States. For additional information, please e-mail, or visit the United States Council for International Business for details.
WOMEN TRAVELER INFORMATION: If you are a woman traveling abroad, please review our travel tips for Women Travelers.
LGBT RIGHTS: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBT events in Portugal. For more detailed information about LGBT rights in Portugal, you may review the State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012. For further information on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) travel, please read our LGBT Travel Information page.
ACCESSIBILITY: While in Portugal, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from in the United States. General information on this subject is available on the website of Portugal Tourism Board.
Public transportation: Public transportation vehicles in general have specially reserved seats for individuals with disabilities, but some vehicles may not be equipped to load and secure wheelchairs mechanically.
Trains: The State Railway Operator, Caminhos do Ferro Portugueses (CP) has a service called “integrated mobility service” (SIM) aimed at helping passengers with reduced mobility. English-speaking customer service representatives can be reached by phone at 351 808 208 746 (7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Monday-Friday). SIM staff provide for train and station accessibility; assistance during boarding/exiting or during the train ride; and they also assist with trip planning. Some train stations are equipped with elevators. Note that while SIM service is free of charge, requests for information or assistance must be made at least 48 hours before travel. Additionally, CP offers discounts to residents of Portugal of up to 25 percent upon presentation of the “cartão do deficiente” (disabled person’s card). The card is available from CP ticket offices and is valid for two years. To qualify, applicants must have a Portuguese taxpayer ID number and provide certified proof of disability and proof of annual income. For additional information, please visit CP’s website.
Subway (Metro): Thirty-one of Lisbon Metro’s 52 stations offer full accessibility to people with disabilities. There are no reduced fares for passengers with disabilities. There are, however, elevators and moving walkways at main stations that provide access from the platform to street level, as well as payment machines adapted for passengers with disabilities and/or visual impairment. Passengers with visual disabilities can travel with their guide dogs as long as their service animals are leashed and muzzled. Check Lisbon Metro’s website for more information.
Porto’s new metro system affords accessibility for passengers with disabilities system-wide with a network of elevators, ramps, and spaces for wheelchairs onboard metro cars. Check Porto Metro’s website for more information about accessibility.
Airports: All Portuguese airports provide wheelchairs and bathrooms to accommodate disabilities.
Parking: Parking for people with disabilities, designated with a wheelchair symbol, is available in most supermarkets and commercial centers. Some lots offer free parking to vehicles displaying a disabled parking sign. There are no discounts for street parking.
The National Help Line for the Disabled (Linha Nacional de Apoio à Deficiência) can be reached by phone at 35121 795-9545 (10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. Monday – Friday). Assistance is only available in Portuguese.
Good medical care is available, but facilities may be limited outside urban areas. Public hospitals offer services at costs lower than private hospitals, but may not maintain the same comforts as hospitals in the United States. You should obtain insurance that covers medical services from a private Portuguese hospital or clinic. Private hospitals will ask for a credit card or other form of payment upon admission. In a life-threatening emergency, you can ask for a public ambulance by calling the national emergency response telephone number, 112. On the other hand, private ambulances should only be used for transport, not life-threatening emergencies, and usually require on-the-spot payment. Note that the responsiveness of emergency services is not up to U.S. standards.
Prescription Medicines: Mailing prescription medicines from the United States to Portugal, violates Portuguese law. Prescription medications mailed to Portugal are usually impounded by the Portuguese customs office. When this occurs, your medications may not be released. If you use prescription medicine, you must bring a sufficient supply with you to cover your anticipated stay in Portugal, along with a copy of your physician's prescription. Should an unforeseen need for prescription refills or new medications arise, Portuguese pharmacies generally carry equivalent medications to those found in the United States; however, they may be sold under a different brand, may not be available in the same dosage, and may require a prescription from a local doctor.
You can find detailed information on vaccinations and other health precautions on the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website, which contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.
Travel & Transportation
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: Road conditions in Portugal can differ significantly from those in the United States.
While Portugal has significantly expanded its motorway network with well-constructed roads, leading to a resulting decrease in accidents and fatalities, its road-accident fatality rate is still higher than the EU average, according to Eurostat. You should use caution, as aggressive driving habits and high speeds pose special hazards. Use appropriate care and caution while on the roadways, practice safe driving habits, and adhere to the applicable speed limits.
Fines for traffic offenses are substantial in Portugal. Speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and the use of mobile phones while driving are heavily penalized. Use of seatbelts is mandatory for drivers and passengers. Small children must be in child safety seats in the rear seat with the seatbelts fastened..
When in a vehicle accident, Portuguese law requires you to leave your vehicle where it is and immediately notify the police. Other safety precautions are necessary – please refer to local laws. The police in continental Portugal have the authority to fine on-the-spot and most of their vehicles have portable ATM machines to facilitate immediate payment.
Taxis are a reliable means of transportation, but are subject to the same road conditions listed above. Refer to the crime section of this page to alert yourself to other threats relating to taxis.
Buses are reliable.
In the Azores, driving can be challenging due to narrow cobblestone streets, blind curves, blind corners, and livestock on country roads. In contrast to the situation on the Portuguese mainland, payments are not made on the spot; traffic violations are registered by radar and later forwarded to the offender via the postal service. Taxis do not have meters; the fare consists of a base fee plus a posted rate per kilometer traveled. Public buses are inexpensive. Bus services begin at 7 a.m. and generally operate until 8 p.m., depending on the destination.
U.S. citizen visitors to Portugal may drive with a valid U.S. driver's license for up to six months. For international driving permits, please contact AAA or the National Auto Club.
Please also refer to our Road Safety page for more information.
For specific information concerning Portuguese driver's permits, road safety, vehicle inspection and mandatory insurance, please contact the Portuguese National Tourist Office located in the United States by telephone at (800) 767-8842 or visit the website for the Institute of Mobility and Land Transport.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Portugal’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Portugal’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.