How to Study in Portugal for Indian Students?

We bring you a practical guide to Study in Portugal for Indian Students. We will talk about everything you are interested in knowing, such as types of visas, scholarships, cost of living and university admission requirements. Discover all the possibilities that await you!

Portugal is a Mediterranean country with an irresistible combination of beaches, culture and ancient history in every corner. Its many charms and solid educational system make it a very attractive destination to study for a degree or expand your knowledge with a Master’s or Doctorate.

How to Study in Portugal for Indian Students? What do you need?

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Few nations in the world can boast a history as rich and ancient as Portugal. Several of the most important civilizations of humanity, such as the Celts, Greeks and Romans, left their legacy in this country to make it the relic it is today.

With a welcoming Mediterranean climate, beautiful coastlines, vibrant cities and irresistible cuisine, studying in Portugal is an opportunity that no one would dare to refuse. Several of its universities are among the most prestigious in the world, not to mention the largest College of Engineering on the continent.

In terms of safety and the environment, this nation offers the perfect environment to get inspired, study the career of your dreams and invest in your future.

Over the past 20 years, development and research in Portugal have grown remarkably, becoming the most productive country in the European Union (EU) in terms of doctorates and scientific publications.

Thanks to its excellent reputation for higher education, Portugal welcomes twice as many international students as it did 8 years ago. This increase in international students motivated Universities to create more programs in English, the universal language.

Would you like to become one of them? 

If you live in India and want to study in Portugal, you will need one of the following visas:

  • Residence Visa for Studies and Research. Visa aimed at foreigners who do not come from the European Union, the European Economic Area or Switzerland, who wish to study in Portugal for more than 3 months. This visa is valid for 4 months. After this time, a Residence Permit must be requested.
  • Schengen Visa. Mandatory visa

On the other hand, if you do not intend to pursue a Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctorate, there is another study option: learn Portuguese in Portugal.

This language, with more than 200 million native speakers, has been the country’s official language since 1290, so the entire population uses it daily.

Read on for all the details about higher education in this European country and what it has to offer you as an international student.

How much does it Cost to Study in Portugal?

Although money does not buy happiness, it is an indispensable resource for studying in another country. The good news is that Portugal is a relatively cheap place to live compared to other countries like Switzerland, Norway, France and the UK.

According to the Expatistan website, you need at least $1,691 per month to live in Portugal. However, you should see this figure only as a reference. You may need more money if you want to live in the capital (Lisbon) and in a privileged area.

Another expensive city in Portugal is Cascais due to its strong tourist attraction. For small budgets, studying in cities like Coimbra, home to the famous University of Coimbra for its medieval architecture, is more advisable.

Because Portuguese universities set their fees, it is difficult to determine the average tuition for foreigners. It also does not help that there are public and private institutions because tuition fees vary quite a bit.

To give you a rough idea, for bachelor’s and master’s degrees, prices are usually between $1,140 and $1,500 at public universities. Some private universities, meanwhile, can charge more than $4,770 a year for the same levels of study.

If you want to know how much it would cost to study in Portugal, it is best to search for the program on the institution’s website.

Can you Study in Portugal for free?

For Indian, education in Portugal is not free. Despite this, choosing this country as an academic destination continues to be an excellent decision. The affordable cost of living and the existence of low tuition fees make Portugal an attractive candidate to study on a budget.

Also, to help offset some of the expenses, several scholarship programs are sponsored by the General Directorate of Higher Education (DGES).

To choose the beneficiaries, the DGES classifies the scholarships according to the merit or social circumstances of the student. There are also scholarships for students with disabilities.

Assuming you do not meet any of the requirements to apply to one of these programs, options are still available. Such is the case of bank loans or financial institutions, which commonly offer these services for higher education studies.

Studying University in Portugal

Universities in Portugal are respected study centres that focus on academic research. They offer Bachelor’s, Master and Doctoral programs. In the particular case of Bachelor’s degrees, finding courses taught in English is more difficult.

Portuguese Universities have everything necessary to receive students from anywhere in the world and maintain their international reputation. Each enjoys autonomy in various scientific, pedagogical, disciplinary and cultural aspects.

This means that, in a certain way, each University is unique and has the freedom to choose its evaluation process, design study plans, determine entrance requirements, etc. According to the source of financing, the universities to study in Portugal are divided into public and private.

As expected, several Portuguese Universities are in the 2021 QS World University Ranking. The first to appear is the University of Lisbon (position 357), the largest in the country with 18 faculties and more than 45,000 students enrolled.

Another institution that is in the same position in the ranking is the University of Porto, famous for its contribution to research in the country.

The degrees conferred by the Universities in Portugal are:

  • DegreeStudies at this level usually take 3-4 years to complete.
  • Master. Equivalent to a Master’s degree, it takes 1 or 2 years to complete.
  • Duotorament. Regarding Doctorate studies, they usually take 3 years.

Study in Portugal Requirements

To study in Portugal as a Indian, you must adapt to a system designed especially for international students. First, to make things clear.

We will explain the conditions that you must meet to be considered an international student:

  • Not have Portuguese nationality.
  • Not have the nationality of any of the EU Member States.
  • If you are not a direct relative of a Portuguese or a citizen of any of the countries that make up the EU, regardless of your nationality.
  • Not having permanent residence in Portugal and not being a direct relative of a foreigner with a Residence Permit for stays longer than 2 years.
  • A student does not benefit from an international treaty between Portugal and their country of origin.

If you meet any of these conditions, you may have to meet other requirements and follow a different admission process.

In general, and understanding that Portuguese Universities are autonomous training centres, the main admission requirements for a bachelor’s degree are:

  • Have a diploma or certificate that grants you admission to a University in your country or a Portuguese Baccalaureate Degree or equivalent. A diploma or certificate that gives you access to higher education in your country is understood to mean any document issued by an authorized secondary education institution. This document must certify that you have completed your secondary studies and have the right to enrol in a Portuguese university. If you do not have this document, you must have a Portuguese High School Diploma or equivalent.
  • Have specific academic qualifications for the chosen study cycle or present a written and oral test. In some cases, if you do not have specific qualifications for the degree of your choice, the University may ask you to take a written and oral test.
  • Study in Portugal without IElTS: Most of the bachelor programs in Portugal are in Portuguese. In that case, you must prove that you have the B2 level of the language according to the CEFR. It may be the case that they assess your command of the language through a videoconference. If the program is in English, you will also need to show your knowledge through an exam such as TOEFL or IELTS.
  • Satisfy the prerequisites of the program. Some programs of the Universities in Portugal require meeting specific prerequisites. For example, at the University of Porto, careers such as Archeology or History of Art require visual skills such as perceiving colours and shapes.

For more information on the requirements to study in Portugal, please visit the official portal of the University of your interest.

What are they going to ask you at a Polytechnic?

Another higher education institutions where you can start your training are the Polytechnics (Instituições Politécnicas ). The main difference between a Polytechnic Institution and a University in Portugal is that they focus more on preparing for a particular career.

In other words, the Polytechnics specialize in creating study plans that lead to a good performance in the labour market. Regardless of the program you choose, if you want to learn the knowledge and skills that you will put to use in your future employment, studying at a Polytechnic is the best choice.

However, although they have different orientations from

universities, they share some characteristics. For example, both institutions have followed the Bologna Process since 2005 and offer degrees in engineering, management and humanities.

In order to study at a Portuguese Polytechnic, you must meet the specific requirements of the program and the institution. Language skills and a high school diploma recognized in Portugal are essential conditions.

What is the process to be accepted?

To be accepted into any higher education institution in Portugal, you must start the process directly on the platform of the University or polytechnic.

Choose the program you want to study in Portugal, read the description on the institution’s website and review the specific requirements you must meet.

If you want to know more about the admission system for international students in Portugal, open the following page.

Study in Portugal for International Students

Visa to Study in Portugal

Are you sure you want to study in this country with a high academic level? Below we tell you about the types of visas, their requirements and the process you must complete to fulfil your dream.

Residence Visa for Studies and Research

Do you want to study for a bachelor’s degree in Portugal? Would you like to send your child to study in this country for more than 3 months? 

In any of the cases, if you are from India and do not have the nationality of a State of the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you will need this visa.

The Residence Visa for Studies and Research is a long-term visa that leads to a Residence Permit. Its initial validity is 4 months, so you will have to process your permit to continue your stay legally in the country.

What I need?

  • Application form. You can request it at the Portuguese Embassy or Consulate that corresponds to you or view it online here.
  • Passport or equivalent travel document, valid for a minimum of 3 months after returning to your country. For example, if you study in Portugal for 3 years, your passport must be valid for 3 years and 3 months.
  • 2 Recent passport-type photos, in colour and on a white background. The quality of the photos must be good enough to identify you. Do not use glasses, hats or any other accessories covering your face.
  • Medical insurance with a minimum coverage of $35,879. You must ensure that this travel medical insurance covers all expenses for medical emergencies and repatriation. In addition, it must be valid for the entire Schengen Area and not only in Portugal.
  • Proof of legal residence in the country where the visa is requested. This document is only necessary if you are living in a country other than the country of nationality on your passport.
  • Request for consultation of criminal records by the Immigration and Border Service (SEF). To view the application form, go to this link.
  • Criminal record. If you are over 16 years old, you need a criminal record certificate issued in your country of origin or in the nation where you have lived for more than 1 year.
  • Proof of monetary funds. They can be bank or credit card statements or a Declaration of Responsibility. The Declaration of Responsibility must be signed by a Portuguese citizen or a foreigner living legally in Portugal.
  • Acceptance letter from a Higher Education Institution in Portugal or proof that you meet the Admission Requirements. If you have already been accepted to a Portuguese University or Polytechnic, you may not need to submit some of the documents on this list.
  • $108 to pay the consular fee.

Documents that may be requested:

  • Reservation of a flight to Portugal.
  • Proof of accommodation. If the Portuguese institution does not provide residence, you may need to show a rental agreement or a room reservation.

Important. If you are a minor or were selected for a scholarship, the requirements to apply for the Residence Visa for Studies and Research may differ.


  1. Find the office that represents Portugal in your country. Before you look for the documents on the list and worry about the application process, you must look for the Portuguese Embassy or Consulate in your country. If you are unsure how to find it, go to this page and select the country where you live.
  2. Register on the portal of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Portugal. If you want to submit your application online and follow the status of it, it is best to register in this system. To go to the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, click here. Remember that even if you use this platform, you still have to go to the consular office that corresponds to you in person.
  3. Deliver the documents. The next step is to submit all relevant documents and attend the consular interview. Remember that this process varies depending on the country where you are.
  4. Wait for the decision. Under normal circumstances, a Residence Visa for Studies and Research decision takes 60 days. However, in special situations, the wait can be extended longer.
  5. Study in Portugal. Once your visa has been approved, you are ready to pack your things and study in Portugal as a foreigner.

Can you study and work? Study and Work in Portugal

No, the Residence Visa for Studies and Research is exclusively for academic purposes. To study and work in Portugal, you must apply for a specific permit for paid activities.

Schengen Visa

The Schengen Visa is a short-stay visa for stays that do not exceed 3 months. It is mandatory for citizens of some countries who wish to enter the Schengen Area, where Portugal is located.

Do you want to know whether or not you need to process this visa?

Then open this link and check the list of countries with visa exemptions to study in Portugal for up to 90 days.

You do not need to do this procedure if you are from a visa-free country. On the other hand, if your country requires a Schengen Visa, as in Bolivia and the Dominican Republic, here we tell you what you should do.

What I need?

  • Completed and signed application form. If you are a minor or have a disability, the form must be completed by your legal guardian. To see what the form is like and the information you must enter, go to this link.
  • Valid and original passport. This travel document must be valid 3 months after the date of return to your country.
  • Copy of previous visas and passports (if applicable). 
  • Passport-type photograph. 
  • Reservation of plane ticket to Portugal (round trip). You must only book the ticket because it is not recommended to buy it until your visa is approved.
  • Certificate of legal residence in your country of residence. This applies only in cases where you apply for the Schengen Visa in a country other than your nationality.
  • Travel medical insurance. In order to study in Portugal for less than 90 days, you need to take out travel medical insurance. This insurance must be valid throughout your stay and in all member countries of the Schengen Area. The minimum coverage accepted is $35,879 and must cover medical emergencies, hospitalization and repatriation expenses.
  • Hotel reservation or Declaration of Responsibility. Both documents are required to prove where you plan to stay during your visit to Portugal. If you stay with a relative, you must show proof of the family bond.
  • Proof of financial solvency. The Portuguese authorities will need your bank statements for the last 3 months to verify that you can afford your entire stay in Portugal and your return to your country.
  • Labour and work certificate. 
  • An invitation or letter explaining the main reason for your visit to Portugal. As in this case, it is about studies. The ideal is to present a letter or document explaining that you have been accepted into a short course in Portugal.
  • Pay the visa fee. The price may vary depending on your country.


  • Go to the Consulate or Embassy of Portugal website in your country for more information. The best way to start the application process for a Schengen Visa is by visiting the website of the consular office that corresponds to you. You can see the list of embassies and consulates here.
  • Gather the documents and set a date for your appointment. After checking all the documents and requirements, you must meet, contact the Portuguese consular representative in your country and set an appointment to deliver the documents.
  • Wait for the decision. According to the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Schengen Visa applications are processed 15 days after submitting the documents and verifying their validity. However, in cases where more documents are required, it can be extended up to 45 days.
  • Prepare your trip to Portugal. Do you have your Schengen Visa? Perfect! You can now buy your plane ticket and study in Portugal for up to 3 months.

Can you Study and Work?

No, Schengen visas do not grant permission to work in Portugal or any of the Member States of the Schengen Area.

In which Universities can I study in Portugal?

Among the universities where you can study are:

  • The University of Lisbon.
  • University of Porto.
  • ISCTE – University Institute of Lisbon.
  • University of Coimbra.
  • Portuguese Catholic University.
  • Polytechnic Institute of Leiria.
  • University of Minho.
  • Aveiro University.
  • NOVA – School of Business and Economics.
  • University of Beira Interior.
  • University of the Algarve.
  • Polytechnic Institute of Viseu.
  • University of Evora.
  • European University of Lisbon.

The most sought Public Universities in Portugal

  • New University of Lisbon
  • Minho’s University
  • University of Algarve
  • University of Aveiro

Private Universities with the best international agreements

Portuguese Catholic University

Visa to Study Portuguese

Those interested in studying Portuguese in Portugal must apply for a visa according to their nationality, and the time they plan to be in the country.

As there is no specific visa, for this reason, the duration of your stay is what defines the type of visa that corresponds to you.

For example, for an intensive Portuguese course that lasts 6 months, you will need a Residence Visa for Studies and Research.

On the other hand, for a summer course of about 8 or 10 weeks, you may not need a visa if your country is exempt.

Where can I Study Portuguese in Portugal?

If you ask yourself this question, you are on the right track. Learning Portuguese should be one of your goals if you plan to move to Portugal to study at University.

Although there are programs taught in English (especially at the postgraduate level), most Portuguese do not feel comfortable speaking English.

Also, to expand your study options and apply for a better job, the best thing you can do is study Portuguese. Furthermore, we speak the official language in Portugal and many other countries.

Have we convinced you? Then take a look at these Portuguese academies in Portugal:

  • IberlinguasThe language centre is in Lisbon, where Portuguese, English and Spanish courses are offered. His classes are taught to small groups of foreigners, using communicative methods that guarantee to learn Portuguese faster, easier and more fun.
  • CIAL Center for Languages. Experienced Portuguese academy in Lisbon with more than 50 years of teaching languages. It has several groups and private courses and seminars for professionals.
  • Inlingua Porto. Institute located in the city of Porto with 35 years of experience. They have a dynamic e-learning platform so you can learn Portuguese from home.

What are the language institutes or academies going to ask you for?

We cannot tell you precisely what requirements you can meet to study Portuguese in Portugal. Each academy may require different conditions for a particular course.

To give you an idea, some general requirements are:

  • Submit a level test. If you are not a beginner student, this is done only to know which class corresponds to you.
  • Pay half or the total of the course. Some academies, such as Iberlínguas, allow international students to pay 50% of the course at the time of registration. Then, they are given 1 month to pay off the other half.
  • Apply for a visa if necessary. As we mentioned before, there is no specific visa to study Portuguese, but you may have to apply for one depending on the duration of the course and your nationality.

What is the process to be accepted?

There is no general process to be accepted into a language centre to study in Portugal. In most cases, you just have to enter the provider’s online platform, fill out the registration form and pay the corresponding fee.

Scholarships and Grants to Study in Portugal

The Government, some Organizations and the Universities and Polytechnics in Portugal sponsor scholarships and support for international students. Some of these programs are:

  • DGES scholarshipsGrants are sponsored by the General Directorate of Higher Education in Portugal. They are valid for any level of study in Portuguese higher education institutions and are awarded for a full academic year, with some exceptions.
  • Merit ScholarshipsSupport is offered in all higher education institutions in Portugal, both public and private. They are aimed at students with exemplary performance, regardless of their economic status.
  • FCT Scholarships. The Foundation sponsors scholarships for the Science and Technology of Portugal. Every year, the FCT holds public competitions in which research grants are awarded to students interested in pursuing a doctorate in Portugal.

Many Universities and Polytechnics have a system of scholarships to study in Portugal as a foreigner. For more information on this, visit the institution’s website of your interest or open this link.

Study and Work in Portugal

Unlike other European countries, in Portugal, working with a Residence Visa for Studies and Research is impossible. If you need to get a part-time job to cover your expenses, you have to contact the authorities and ask what the procedure to do is.

The Residence Visa for Studies and Research is only valid for 4 months, so you must process a different permit after this time. In that opportunity, you can take advantage of requesting a procedure allowing you to get a job in Portugal legally.

If you get a permit from the Portuguese Immigration and Border Service (SEF), you can carry out a paid activity, but with some restrictions.

Have you finished your studies and want to stay and work in Portugal?

Many international students want to stay in Portugal to work after graduation. If you belong to this group, there are several job portals with thousands of daily vacancies.

One of them is Trovit, famous for being very easy to use and for the number of employers who use it.

Other popular job search engines are Jooble and Expresso Emprego, with thousands of offers in different sectors and markets.