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Portugal Traveler Information - Travel Advice

Travel Advice with a Travel Advisory overview from the US State Department. Here we cover Visa, Safety & Security, local Laws and Insurance in our Portugal Traveler Information guide.

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Note: Always check that your destination country is one approved for travel by your travel insurance provider.

Portugal Map

Quick Facts

PASSPORT VALIDITY: 3 months beyond the date of intended departure.

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES: 2 pages.

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED: Not required for stays in the Schengen area under 90 days and within a 180-day period. A new period begins after a 90-day absence from the Schengen area.

VACCINATIONS: None.

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY: 10,000 Euros or equivalent.

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT: 10,000 Euros or equivalent.

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Lisbon

Av. das Forças Armadas, Sete-Rios
1600-081 Lisbon
Portugal
Telephone:
 +(351) (21) 770-2122
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(351) (21)-770-2122 or +(351) (21) 727-3300
Fax: +(351) (21) 727-2354
Email: conslisbon@state.gov
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Consulates

U.S. Consulate Ponta Delgada
Av. Príncipe do Mónaco No, 6-2 F
9500-237 Ponta Delgada, Açores
Portugal
Telephone:
+(351) (296) 308-330
EmergencyAfter-Hours Telephone: +(351) (21) 727-3300
Fax: +(351) (296) 287-216
Email: ConsPontaDelgada@state.gov

Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Portugal for additional information on U.S.-Portugal relations.

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Please visit U.S. Embassy Portugal’s COVID-19 Webpage for important information on entry/ exit requirements related to COVID-19 in Portugal. Non-essential (tourism) travel is currently prohibited for U.S. citizens arriving directly from the United States.

Visit the Embassy of Portugal website for the most current visa information. 

Portugal is a party to the Schengen Agreement and part of the European Union.

Traveling Through Europe: If you are planning to visit or travel through European countries, you should be familiar with the requirements of the Schengen Agreement. 

  • U.S. citizens may enter Portugal for up to 90 days for tourism or business without a visa.
  • Your passport should be valid for at least three months beyond the period of stay.  If you plan on transiting a Schengen country, review our U.S. Travelers in Europe page.   
  • You will need sufficient proof of funds and a return plane ticket. 

For general travel into and within Schengen countries, please see our Schengen fact sheet. For additional information about visas for the Schengen area, see the Schengen Visa page.

If you are not staying in a hotel or a similar tourist accommodation, you are required to register your presence in Portugal with the Portuguese Immigration Service (SEF) within three working days of entering Portugal. You must download a declaration of entry form (declaracão de entrada) from SEF's website and personally submit it to the nearest SEF office within three business days of entry. Failure to comply with these requirements will result in an administrative offense punishable with a fine from €60 to €160.

Under Portuguese Immigration law, foreign minors under 18 years of age entering or exiting Portugal must possess an authorization letter of parental consent to travel, if travelling with adults other than their parent(s) or legal guardian. The document must be signed and dated, with the signature(s) certified by a notary. The letter of parental consent to travel must include the dates and reason for travel and the details about the adult responsible for the child.

Find additional information on traveling with minors on the Portuguese Immigration Service webpage.

HIV/AIDS Restrictions: The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Portugal.

Find information on dual nationality, prevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.

Safety and Security

Credible information indicates terrorist groups continue plotting possible near-term attacks in Europe. All European countries, including Portugal, remain potentially vulnerable to attacks from transnational terrorist organizations. U.S. citizens are reminded to remain vigilant with regard to their personal security.

Crime: Crimes of opportunity, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, particularly at popular tourist sites, restaurants, and on public transportation, are common. Pickpockets take advantage of crowds getting on and off all forms of public transportation, such as the popular Tram 28, using the jostling of the crowd as a distraction. Avoid standing near the doors on public transportation, as thieves will often strike just as the train/bus doors open and then dash onto the platform and disappear into the crowd.

  • Safeguard your passport and identity documents when traveling throughout Portugal. Foreigners who arrive in Portugal without a valid passport will not be permitted to enter and will be returned to their point of origin.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and take personal security measures to stay safe. Thefts of backpacks, electronics and luggage occur regularly. Do not leave valuables in rental cars, especially those with stickers identifying the vehicle as a rental car. Tourists are frequent victims of petty crime/car break-ins.
  • Avoid using automatic teller machines (ATMs) in isolated or poorly lit areas. Use the buddy system and indoor bank ATMs when possible. Leave extra cash, credit cards, and personal documents at home or in a hotel safe.
  • Keep doors and windows of private rentals locked at all times, taking extra care if easily accessed from the street or other places.
  • Illicit drug transactions increase at night, and travelers are often approached by drug dealers in the downtown area of Lisbon, especially near the bars and restaurants. Some travelers have reported incidents in which criminals used drugs to assault or rob them. Use caution when accepting open drinks at bars or clubs, and do not leave drinks unattended.
  • Always use a taxi from the queue or kiosk. Do not go with someone who walks up to you and offers a ride. If you have called a ride sharing service such as Uber, confirm that the car information in the App matches the vehicle you are entering.
  • Tourists should not leave personal items or valuables unattended while at the beach.
  • Reports of thefts from rental homes and online rental apartments have increased.  Secure belongings and lock windows while away or sleeping.

Demonstrations occur in Portugal. They may take place in response to political or economic issues, on politically significant holidays, and during international events.

  • Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly become violent.
  • Avoid areas around protests and demonstrations.
  • Check local media for updates and traffic advisories.

International Financial Scams: See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information.

Victims of Crime: Local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes. Report crimes to the local police at 112 (National Emergency Number) and contact the U.S. Embassy at +(351) (21) 770-2122 or the emergency after-hours telephone: +(351) (21)-770-2122 or +(351) (21) 727-3300.

  • U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault should seek medical attention if needed and are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance.
  • For social welfare emergencies such as domestic violence or child abuse, dial the National Social Emergency Line - 144. English-speaking operators are available.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide information on victim’s compensation programs in the United States
  • provide information about a Portuguese victim assistance program, administered through an organization known by its acronym “APAV”  
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
  • help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • replace a stolen or lost passport

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance. Additionally, Portugal has an “SOS” immigrant line with English-speaking operators who are 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.

Tourism: The tourism industry is generally regulated and rules regarding best practices and safety inspections are regularly enforced. Hazardous areas/activities are identified with appropriate signage, and professional staff is typically on hand in support of organized activities. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is widely available throughout the country. Outside of a major metropolitan center, it may take more time for first responders and medical professionals to stabilize a patient and provide life-saving assistance. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.

Natural Disasters: In the event of a natural disaster or other widespread emergency, travelers can monitor the Portuguese Civil Protection Authority’s website at Prociv.pt for the latest information. All U.S. citizens living or traveling in Portugal should also monitor local news reports, follow directions from local officials, and take appropriate action needed.  Additionally, information about areas in Portugal impacted by any events can be found at: https://www.prociv.pt/en-us/SITUACAOOPERACIONAL/Pages/ocorrenciassignificativas.aspx.

We recommend all Americans enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages, alerts, and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. 

  • Filming and photographing the police or military and certain buildings in Portugal is illegal and could lead to arrest or detention.
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol could land you in jail.
  • Possession and/or use of narcotics and illegal drugs can result in fines, administrative penalties, mandatory drug treatment, criminal punishment, or prison, depending on type, quantity and usage.  
  • Penalties for trafficking illegal drugs are severe. Offenders can expect long jail sentences.
  • Pepper spray is illegal and will be confiscated. Persons carrying it are subject to fines or prison.
  • Possession of unlicensed metal detectors is strictly forbidden, and persons caught with them are subject to fines.
  • Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities prior to practicing or operating a business.  

Furthermore, some U.S. laws allow criminal prosecution in the United States, regardless of where the crime was committed. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. Your U.S. passport will not help you avoid arrest or prosecution.

See our webpage for further information.

Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:

LGBTI Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in Portugal. Seeour LGBTI Travel Information  page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance:General information on accessibility and accommodations is available on the website of the Portuguese Tourism Board.

  • Driving:  You can drive with your U.S.-issued license for up to six months. Please note that many highways require a toll for use. Highway tolls in Portugal can be confusing, please visit https://www.portugaltolls.com/en/web/portal-de-portagens/home for more information.
  • Public transportation: Public transportation, in general, has 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 de Ferro Portugueses (also known as CP – Combóios de Portugal), has a free service called “integrated mobility service” (SIM). 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 provides train and station accessibility, assistance with boarding/exiting or during the train ride, and assistance with trip planning. Some train stations are equipped with elevators. Requests for information or assistance must be made at least 48 hours before travel. For additional information, please visit Caminhos de Ferro Portugueses’ Caminhos de Ferro Portuguese.
  • Subway (Metro): Thirty-one of Lisbon Metro’s 52 stations offer full accessibility to people with disabilities. Elevators and moving walkways at main stations 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 provides system-wide accessibility for passengers  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 persons with disabilities.
  • Parking: Designated parking with a wheelchair symbol is available in most supermarkets and commercial centers. The National Help Line for the Disabled (Linha Nacional de Apoio à Deficiência) can be reached by phone at +351 21 795-9545 (10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday). Assistance is only available in Portuguese.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

Health

Please visit U.S. Embassy Portugal’s COVID-19 Webpage for more information on entry/exit requirements related to COVID-19 in Portugal.

For emergency services in Portugal, dial 112.  Ambulance services are widely available, but training and availability of emergency responders may be below U.S. standards. 

The U.S. government does not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.  Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance.

  • Good medical care is available, but facilities may be limited outside urban areas. Public hospitals offer services at costs lower than private hospitals.
  • Payment is expected upon admission at private hospitals.
  • Call the national emergency response for an ambulance at 112 for life-threatening emergencies.

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage. We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

If traveling with prescription medication, check with the Government of Portugal to ensure the medication is legal in Portugal. Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription. Portuguese law prohibits the mailing of prescription medicines from the United States to Portugal. Any prescription medications mailed to Portugal will be impounded by the Portuguese customs office.

You should bring a sufficient supply of medication with you to cover your anticipated stay in Portugal, along with a copy of your physician's prescription. Portuguese pharmacies generally carry equivalent medications to those found in the United States; however, they may be sold under a different brand name, may not be available in the same dosage, or may require a prescription from a local doctor.

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

Air Quality: Visit AirNow Department of State for information on air quality at U.S. Embassies and Consulates.

The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of doctors and hospitals for Medical Assistance. We do not endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic.

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: While Portugal has significantly expanded its motorway network with well-constructed roads that decreased the total number of accidents and fatalities, its road-accident fatality rate is still high. Use caution when driving, 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.

Traffic Laws: It is against the law to speed, drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or use a mobile phone while driving. Fines for traffic offenses are substantial.

  • Seatbelts are mandatory for drivers and all passengers. Small children must be in a child safety seat in the rear seat with seatbelts fastened.
  • Portuguese law requires you to leave your vehicle where it is and immediately notify the police when involved in a traffic accident. The national emergency phone number 112.
  • Police in Portugal have the authority to fine on-the-spot and most of their vehicles have portable payment machines to facilitate immediate payment.
  • You 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.

Public Transportation: Taxis and prominent ride-sharing services such as Uber are a reliable means of transportation. Refer to the crime section of this page to alert yourself to other threats related to taxis and ride-sharing services. Bus service is also reliable.

In the Azores, driving can be challenging due to narrow cobblestone streets, blind curves, blind corners, and livestock on country roads. Public buses are inexpensive. Bus services begin at 7 a.m. and generally operate until 8 p.m., depending on the destination.

See our Road Safety page for more information. Visit the website of Portugal’s national tourist office and the national authority responsible for road safety.

Aviation Safety Oversight:

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed that the government of Portugal’s Civil Aviation Authority is 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.

Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Portugal should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be available on the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency broadcast warnings.

Fact Sheet

Please see Fact Sheet for Portugal here.

For additional travel information

International Parental Child Abduction

Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in Portugal. For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA) report.

Fact Sheet

Please see Fact Sheet for this country/area. 

For additional travel information

International Parental Child Abduction 

Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in Portugal. For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA) report.

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