Can Students Work Part-Time in Portugal?

Studying abroad is an exciting venture, and Portugal has become an increasingly popular destination for international students. With its rich culture and beautiful landscapes, Portugal offers a captivating backdrop for international students. However, managing finances can be challenging. Fortunately, there’s a great solution that not only helps you sustain yourself but also enriches your overall experience – working part-time. In this article, we will explore the possibilities and regulations surrounding part-time work for international students in Portugal. We’ll provide you with insights, tips, and strategies to help you strike the perfect balance between academics and employment.

Read also here our overview of the living and studying cost in Portugal for students

Can I work in Portugal as an international student? 

Before diving into the world of part-time work in Portugal, it’s essential to understand the eligibility criteria. And yes, international students can work in Portugal, but they must meet specific requirements. Especially, if you’re a non-EU citizen on a student visa and residence permit in Portugal, you need an authorization from the SEF, the Portuguese Immigration and Border Service. The same goes if you want to undertake research work, internship, or even voluntary work in Portugal. As a matter of fact, your potential employer must inquire about the necessary permit at the SEF. On the other hand, students who are from the EU do not need any work permit to work in Portugal. 

How much can a student work in Portugal?

International students studying in Portugal enjoy the flexibility of working part-time during their academic journey. Under Portuguese immigration laws, those enrolled in full-time degree programs or courses lasting at least one academic year are granted the opportunity to work up to 20 hours per week during the semester. When holidays and semester breaks roll around, students can shift gears and work full-time. This allows them to both enrich their academic pursuits and gain valuable work experience. 

However, it’s important to note that the ability to work depends on one’s immigration status. Students holding a residence permit for studying in Portugal can take advantage of this opportunity, whereas those on short courses with Schengen visas may not. EU/EEA students, on the other hand, face no employment restrictions in Portugal.

How to Find Part-Time Jobs in Portugal for Students

Finding part-time employment in Portugal as a student can be a manageable task when approached strategically. University career centers, online job boards, and networking events are excellent avenues to explore job opportunities. Tips for students seeking part-time jobs include exploring opportunities on campus, collaborating with peers already employed, and considering positions near their college or residence for convenience. 


Many foreign students successfully secure positions in restaurants as waiting staff, or in international companies as customer care support. They can also work as cashiers at supermarkets and grocery stores in Portugal. Additionally, in Portugal, proficiency in languages beyond English, such as German, Arabic, French, Russian, Italian, and Spanish, is also highly sought after. 

This is especially the case if you’re exploring the tourism and hospitality sector, especially during summer break. You’ll even be luckier if you live in the Algarve region. Moreover, students can find part-time work tutoring subjects in STEM fields, teaching languages in language schools or foreign outlets. Others, if they have the required talent, can pursue creative avenues like photography, fashion design, art, and music. 


Job opportunities on-campus include internships, student associations, dormitory management, campus security, and positions like library assistants. Post-graduate students often find roles as teaching and research assistants in their respective departments. Overall, part-time employment in Portugal is an excellent way for students to gain experience and financial support, with various job options available both on and off-campus.

How much can students earn in Portugal?

And the next concern for part-time working students in Portugal: the salary. The pay changes based on where you work and what you do. Normally, students get a good hourly wage that helps them pay for their living costs. To know exactly how much, you should look up the pay rates for your job and where you are.

If we break it down by the hour, it’s about €4.40. You also get a bonus for two months every year. With those bonuses, the average minimum wage per hour is around €5.14. However, remember, working part-time isn’t enough to pay for everything. You can’t depend only on this money to cover your living costs in Portugal. 

Legal Regulations for Part-Time Work as an International Student in Portugal 

To work part-time in Portugal as an international student, you need to know the rules. The laws can differ based on where you’re from, your job, and your residency. Here’s a simple breakdown:

Residency Status

If you live in Portugal for tax reasons, you follow Portuguese tax rules for your worldwide income. You’re a tax resident if you spend over 183 days in Portugal in a year or have a permanent home there.

Paying Taxes

You’ll need a Portuguese Tax Identification Number (Número de Identificação Fiscal or NIF) to work legally. You can usually get it at the local tax office (Finanças).

Income Tax

The money you earn from part-time work gets taxed in Portugal. Tax rates depend on how much you earn, and there might be deductions or exceptions.

Social Security Contributions

Your employer might take social security money from your paycheck, depending on your income and work situation.

Tax Agreements

Check if there’s a tax agreement between Portugal and your home country. These agreements can change how your income is taxed and if you can get tax benefits.

Tax Returns

You might need to file a yearly tax return, even if you work part-time. The deadline is usually in April.

Legal Jobs

Make sure your employer follows Portuguese labor laws. Your work contract should say your hours, pay, and other work conditions.

Work Authorization

Check if your student visa or residence permit allows part-time work. Working without the right permission can get you in trouble.

Get Advice

Talk to your university’s international office or a tax advisor to follow the laws and get any tax benefits. Tax rules can change, so stay informed and get professional advice if you’re an international student working in Portugal.

Benefits of Working Part-Time While Studying in Portugal for International Students

Working part-time can provide numerous benefits for international students. And Portugal is welcoming to foreigners, and this extends to international students looking to work part-time. The Portuguese government recognizes the contributions of international students to their economy and culture, making it relatively straightforward for foreigners to secure part-time employment. 

This supportive environment enables students to reap the multifaceted benefits of working while pursuing their academic aspirations in this vibrant and welcoming country. Moreover, many students find part-time work to be a rewarding aspect of their overall educational experience. Here are some of the benefits of working part-time for students in Portugal:

Financial Support

Working part-time helps you cover your living expenses, such as accommodation, food, and transportation. It eases the financial burden on your family or personal savings, especially if you don’t have any scholarship support

Language and Cultural Immersion

Interacting with locals in a work environment provides a unique opportunity to improve your Portuguese language skills. Beyond the paycheck, this also offers an invaluable opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture.

Skill Development

Part-time work enhances your soft skills, including time management, communication, and problem-solving. These skills are invaluable in both your academic and professional life.

Networking Opportunities

You’ll have the chance to build a network of contacts in Portugal. And this can be beneficial when seeking internships or full-time employment after graduation.

Challenges You May Face

It’s essential to strike a balance between work and study to ensure your academic performance remains a priority. Other challenges you may face include: 

Language Barrier

While many Portuguese people speak English, you may still encounter language barriers in certain job settings. Embrace these challenges as opportunities for personal growth.

Work Rights and Benefits

Ensure your employer complies with Portuguese labor laws, including providing proper working conditions and fair compensation.

Stay back in Portugal to work after graduation

International students, when they finish their studies in Portugal, can choose to stay for work or more studies. Portugal offers good chances for post-graduation jobs and residence permits, making it attractive for starting careers.

Here’s the deal for non-EU students who want to stay longer: You need a job offer before your student visa ends. Before your student permit runs out, get a new residence permit.

But, don’t wait too long. If you ask more than 30 days after your allowed stay ends, they’ll say no. Your student permit turns into a residence permit based on your job, usually lasting one year and can be renewed twice for five years in total.


Studying in Portugal as an international student provides not only a world-class education, but also the chance to gain valuable work experience. By understanding the regulations, requirements, and opportunities for part-time work, students can make the most of their time in Portugal. From financial support to personal growth, working part-time in Portugal can enhance both your educational journey and your future career prospects. Moreover, balancing work and academics while studying in Portugal is an achievable goal. With proper planning, adherence to local laws, and effective time management, you can thrive in both your studies and part-time employment. Embrace this unique opportunity to gain valuable experience and create lasting memories in this charming European destination.

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