Portugal, known for its rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning scenery, attracts professionals seeking career advancement and a high standard of living. Thus, doctors considering emigration to Portugal have a favorable environment for professional and personal growth. This blog tackles “How can foreign-trained doctors become a doctor in Portugal?”, opportunities, and the easiest method to immigrate to Portugal as a doctor.

How to Immigrate to Portugal as a Doctor?

How to work as a doctor in Portugal? You can adhere to the general steps listed below to start working as a doctor in Portugal:

  1. Check Eligibility
  2. Recognize Your Qualifications
  3. Find Employment
  4. Obtain a Visa
  5. Work Permit
  6. Register with Ordem dos Médicos to Get a Portuguese Medical License
  7. Residence Permit
  8. Settle in Portugal

Step 1. Check Eligibility

To become a doctor in Portugal, first ensure that you meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • A valid medical degree from a recognized university is required. You should meet the standards set by the Portuguese government for medical professionals. Aside from that, show proof of experience, professional licensing, and specialization or residency.
  • It’s important to know Portuguese. For proof of your language skills, you may have to take a test, like the Portuguese Language Test for Health Professionals (Provas de Comunicação Médica).
  • Being a medical practitioner means being ethical and professional. Your eligibility may be affected by disciplinary actions or malpractice claims.
  • If you are a non-EU/EEA citizen, you will need the appropriate visa and work permit.
  • Demonstrate your commitment to learning and growing. There’s a chance you’ll have to prove you’re continuing your education.
  • Portugal requires adequate medical malpractice insurance. Various health insurance plans are available through private companies like Medis, Multicare, and AdvanceCare.

Step 2. Recognize Your Qualifications

To immigrate to Portugal as a doctor, your medical degree must be recognized. If you earned your medical degree outside the EU or EEA, follow these steps usually:

  1. Contact the Ordem dos Médicos (Portuguese Medical Association). They can advise on submission requirements and documentation.
  2. You may need to submit medical school transcripts, diplomas, and other documents. Make sure these documents are translated.
  3. If Portuguese authorities don’t recognize your medical school, contact your school for official documents to prove its accreditation.
  4. The Ordem dos Médicos will assess your documents and qualifications for Portuguese compliance. Be patient.
  5. Submit the recognition application and pay any fees. For current fees, consult the Ordem dos Médicos.
  6. If your qualifications fall short of Portuguese Medical Association standards, you may need additional courses.
  7. After qualifying, the Ordem dos Médicos will issue a certificate. This certificate is essential for a Portuguese medical license and practice.

Step 3. Find Employment

To immigrate to Portugal as a doctor, find a job offer. It will simplify the process of getting a visa. Use Sapo Emprego, Expresso Emprego, or LinkedIn to find healthcare jobs in Portugal. Explore hospital, clinic, and healthcare jobs. Check the contract for details on your role, working hours, salary, benefits, and other expectations before accepting a job. You must understand your employment terms and conditions before accepting the job.

Step 4. Obtain a Visa

Foreign doctors in Portugal must go through these steps to get a doctor’s work visa in Portugal:

  1. Doctors usually apply for work or residence visas for skilled professionals. Ask the Portuguese embassy or consulate in your country for advice.
  2. Collect your passport, job offer and contract, proof of accommodation in Portugal, and proof of financial support.
  3. Fill out the visa application. Your country’s Portuguese embassy or consulate website usually has this form.
  4. Visa application fees vary by type. Check the current fee with the embassy or consulate.
  5. Send your visa application and documents to the Portuguese embassy in your country. Include a self-addressed, prepaid envelope for document return.
  6. You may need to provide biometric fingerprints and photos and attend an embassy or consulate interview. Prepare to discuss your qualifications, work plans, and Portugal goals.
  7. It’s important to apply for a visa early because processing times vary.
  8. If your visa is approved and issued, the embassy will notify you. They’ll attach a visa sticker to your passport.

Step 5. Work Permit

To immigrate to Portugal as a doctor, you need a work permit. Work permits in Portugal require several steps:

  1. Your employer must request work authorization from the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service. Your employment contract and other documents are needed to support your application.
  2. Provide a copy of your passport, visa, and professional qualifications.
  3. You may need biometric fingerprints and a photo at a local SEF office.
  4. Application processing by the SEF can take weeks. Apply early for your desired start date.
  5. Your employer will be notified after work permit approval.
  6. SEF will notify you and your employer when the work permit is ready.
  7. Work permits can be obtained from the SEF by you or your employer.
  8. You can legally work in Portugal with a work permit.

Step 6. Register with Ordem dos Médicos to Get a Portuguese Medical License

How do I register as a doctor in Portugal? In Portugal, you must register with the Ordem dos Médicos (Portuguese Medical Association) for getting a medical license in Portugal.

  1. Ask the Ordem dos Médicos about registration. They will advise and document.
  2. Fill out the Ordem dos Médicos registration form.
  3. The Ordem dos Médicos may require a copy of your medical degree, proof of professional licensing, identification, and other documents.
  4. Send your completed application and documents to the Ordem dos Médicos.
  5. The Ordem dos Médicos will review your application and documents to ensure compliance.
  6. Register and pay any fees.
  7. The Ordem dos Médicos will notify you of your registration approval.
  8. After approval, you will join the Ordem dos Médicos and receive a Portuguese medical license.

Step 7. Residence Permit

Temporary visa holders must apply for a residence permit within the first few months after they immigrate to Portugal as a doctor. Follow these steps to get a Portuguese residence permit:

  1. You must enter Portugal within your temporary visa’s validity.
  2. Visit the nearest Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF) office within a few months of arrival. If needed, make an appointment.
  3. Apply for a residence permit at SEF offices.
  4. Prepare a passport, visa, proof of housing, evidence of financial support, and a certificate of no criminal record from your home country.
  5. You may need to provide fingerprints and a photo at the SEF office.
  6. Payment of the residence permit processing fee varies by type.
  7. Application processing by the SEF can take weeks.
  8. If your residence permit is approved, the SEF will notify you.
  9. You or your legal representative can get the residence permit from SEF.
  10. Know your residence permit expiration date and renew early if needed.

Step 8. Settle in Portugal

You can immigrate to Portugal as a doctor with a visa, work permit, and professional credentials. When you’re a doctor in Portugal, you’ve got to:

  • Find a place to live.
  • Ensure you’re registered with your local health system or have private coverage.
  • Get an account at a local bank.
  • Make sure you have a Portuguese Tax Identification Number (NIF).
  • Make sure you have the right visa, residence permit, and credentials.
  • Understand local customs and improve your Portuguese.
  • Make connections on a professional and social level.
  • School enrollment is important for your children.
  • Ensure that essential utilities are set up.
  • If necessary, obtain a driver’s license and learn about local transportation options.
  • A healthcare facility, a bank, or a supermarket can be found nearby.
  • Legal and immigration advice should be sought from an expert.

How to Find Doctor Jobs in Portugal?

As mentioned, to immigrate to Portugal as a doctor, you must have a job offer. To find doctor jobs in Portugal:

  • Use websites that offer jobs, such as Sapo Emprego and Indeed Portugal.
  • Make connections with other medical professionals.
  • Register with Portugal-specific medical staffing firms.
  • Check the websites of hospitals and other healthcare facilities for job openings.
  • Join organizations and societies for professionals in your field of medicine.
  • Look through medical publications and journals for job postings.
  • Speak with medical departments and hospitals directly.
How to Work and Immigrate to Portugal as a Doctor

Jobs for Doctors in Portugal

Doctor jobs in Portugal include:

  • General Practitioners
  • Specialists in various medical fields
  • Hospitalists
  • Surgeons
  • Anesthesiologists
  • Radiologists
  • Pediatricians
  • Gynecologists/Obstetricians
  • Psychiatrists
  • Pathologists
  • Emergency Medicine Physicians
  • Medical Researchers
  • Medical Professors/Instructors
  • Public Health Officials
  • Telemedicine Consultants
  • Medical Consultants
  • Occupational Health Physicians
  • Clinical Trial Investigators
  • Palliative Care Specialists
  • Medical Administrators/Managers

How Much is the Salary of Doctors in Portugal in 2024?

In Portugal the average monthly doctor salary in Portugal is around 6,470 EUR. The range of salaries is 2,380 to 10,900 euros.

Salary Based on Experience Level

  • 2 to 5 years of experience: On average, 32% more than newcomers and juniors.
  • More than 5 years of experience: 36% more than doctors with less than five years.
  • 10 years of experience: The salary rises by 21% and an extra 14% once you reach the fifteen-year milestone.

Do Doctors Speak English in Portugal?

The English skills of Portuguese medical professionals can vary widely. You can more easily find a doctor who speaks English in larger cities, particularly those that attract tourists. Those who have studied abroad, especially in an English-speaking country, have a better chance of mastering the language. While most doctors should be able to communicate effectively in English, their proficiency may vary. There may be fewer medical professionals who are fluent in English in more outlying areas.

Is There a Difference Between Foreign Doctors and EU Doctors Immigrating to Portugal?

There is a distinction in Portugal between doctors who are EU citizens and those who are not. Under EU law, doctors’ medical degrees are automatically recognized, allowing them to practice without additional testing. The Ordem dos Médicos (order of physicians Portugal) must conduct a more in-depth evaluation of doctors outside the EU to ensure they are up to par with Portuguese requirements. Language tests and other factors may be necessary. Despite these differences in evaluation, doctors from the EU and outside of the EU who meet the requirements and obtain licenses are allowed to practice in Portugal.

Immigrate to Portugal as a Doctor: Let’s Recap

Moving to Portugal as a doctor can be a fulfilling and rewarding opportunity for medical professionals. Portugal offers a high standard of living, a desirable work-life balance, and an alluring healthcare system.

It is essential to fulfill the prerequisite requirements, such as having a recognized medical degree, obtaining a medical license from the Ordem dos Médicos, and meeting language requirements, to immigrate to Portugal as a doctor successfully.

To ensure a smooth transition and compliance with all legal requirements, it is crucial to stay informed about current immigration procedures, consult with the appropriate regulatory bodies, or seek professional advice.


Yes, a doctor with a foreign medical degree can work in Portugal. However, you must have the Ordem dos Médicos accept your degree, fulfill the prerequisites, and go through the required licensing procedures.

You must complete a medical program and pass the Portuguese Medical Association’s language proficiency test.

The average yearly salary for a doctor or physician is around 6,470 EUR.

Yes, it is possible to work as a foreign doctor in Portugal.

There is no legal restriction on working in Portugal as an American.

Depending on experience and specialization, the salary usually ranges between €25,000 and €50,000 a year.

In Portugal, many doctors speak English, especially in the cities.

In Portuguese, the name for a doctor is “Médico.”

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  1. Asim says:


    • Max says:

      Your qualifications and experience as a Pediatric specialist with 7.5 years’ experience, along with your wife’s background as a Gynecologist with 4 years’ experience, make you both strong candidates for working and immigrating to Portugal. Begin by researching healthcare institutions in Portugal that align with your specialties. For immigration, navigate the visa and work permit process specific to medical professionals, and ensure you meet language proficiency requirements. Validation of your qualifications and obtaining medical licensing will be important steps. Seek guidance from immigration experts and professionals experienced in assisting medical professionals. Your skills can contribute positively to Portugal’s healthcare sector.

      • Azra says:

        I m gynecologist

        • Max says:

          Consider your language proficiency if you wish to immigrate to Portugal as a gynecologist. It is essential to obtain a job offer from a hospital, clinic, or medical institution in Portugal before applying for medical registration with the Portuguese Medical Association. When you arrive, apply for a residence permit, ensure you have health insurance, and apply for the appropriate work visa. You will find it easier to make a smooth transition if you are familiar with Portuguese healthcare regulations and local life. If you have any questions regarding the process or requirements, please contact the Portuguese embassy or consulate closest to you.

      • Azra says:

        i m diploma holder from irland mrcog part 1 from uk gynecologist

        • Max says:

          The MRCOG Part I from the UK and the diploma from Ireland must both meet Portuguese requirements if you wish to become a gynecologist in Portugal. It may be necessary to have Portuguese language proficiency. The Portuguese Medical Association requires you to register as a physician and obtain a job offer from a hospital, clinic, or medical institution in Portugal. When you arrive, consider applying for a residence permit after obtaining the appropriate work visa and health insurance coverage. Get familiar with Portuguese healthcare regulations and local life in order to make the transition as smooth as possible. Make sure you stay on top of evolving requirements by contacting the nearest Portuguese embassy or consulate.

  2. James says:

    Good luck finding people to guide you through this process! Everyone has an opinion and advice to offer. However, NO ONE knows how to navigate the legendary Portuguese bureaucracy. Seriously, I have been given different advice from doctors, lawyers, even the secretary of the ordem dos medicos… no one knows how to get this done.