How to Study in Portugal for International Students

Despite being a relatively small country, Portugal is among the excellent study destinations in Europe. Universities here offer high-quality education at an affordable rate while living costs in its major cities are considerably cheaper than in other cities in Europe. If you ever need to unwind during school breaks, studying in Portugal means you need not travel far to visit its beaches and countryside. You’ll be back refreshed and in time for your next semester.

When it comes to the choices that are available, Portugal currently has 83 universities, from which 37 universities are a part of the public sector and 46 universities are private institutions.

Suppose you’re not just looking for any school but a well-performing school. In that case, the top universities in Portugal you should definitely check out are University of Porto, University of Lisbon, and NOVA University Lisbon.

Being able to study in Portugal as an international student starts with planning ahead of time, as the process of researching your institution, filling out forms, and completing your paperwork can take a vast amount of time. In this article, you will find out the application process to study in Portugal, along with information on tuition, language requirements, and visa applications. So, let’s dig in!

1. Cost of Studying in Portugal

When choosing a university, you also need to consider the tuition fees and your budget. Before applying to a university in Portugal, it’s best to have a general knowledge of the tuition fees there. The annual tuition fees for international undergraduate students range from 360 Euros to 16,000 Euros, while for master’s degree studies, the yearly tuition fees are between 360 Euros and 11,900 Euros.

Cost of Studying in Public Universities in Portugal

To give you an idea of how much it costs to study in Portugal, here are the tuition fees in these public and private universities:

Institution Bachelor’s International Tuition Fee Master’s International Tuition Fee
Nursing School of Coimbra 5,500 Euros 5,500 Euros
ISCTE – University Institute of Lisbon 5,500 Euros - 7,000 Euros 3,000 Euros - 5,000 Euros
University of Minho 872 Euros - 6,500 Euros 1,000 Euros - 6,500 Euros
Polytechnic Institute of Tomar 1,250 Euros - 1,450 Euros
Nursing School of Porto 3,500 Euros
Escola Superior Náutica Infante D. Henrique 2,000 Euros 2,500 Euros
Polytechnic Institute of Setubal 1,350 Euros 1,980 Euros
University of Beira Interior 5,000 Euros 1,500 Euros
University of the Algarve 1,500 Euros - 4,500 Euros 2,000 Euros - 4,500 Euros
University of Evora 2,500 Euros 2,500 Euros
University of Coimbra 7,000 Euros 7,000 Euros
University of Aveiro 4,650 Euros - 5,500 Euros 4,000 Euros - 5,500 Euros
University of Lisbon 3,000 Euros - 7,000 Euros 3,500 Euros - 7,000 Euros
Politecnico de Lisboa 1,650 Euros - 6,900 Euros 1,650 Euros - 6,900 Euros
University of the Azores 3,000 Euros - 4,000 Euros 1,180 Euros - 2,000 Euros
Polytechnic Institute of Braganca 1,329 Euros 1,329 Euros
University of Porto 1,925 Euros - 3,500 Euros 1,925 Euros - 4,000 Euros
Polytechnic Institute of Leiria 3,000 Euros 3,000 Euros
Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra 697 Euros
NOVA University Lisbon 3,500 Euros - 7,000 Euros 7,000 Euros - 11,900 Euros

Cost of Studying in Private Universities in Portugal

Institution Bachelor’s International Tuition Fee Master’s International Tuition Fee
D. Dinis Higher Institute 3,276 Euros - 3,449 Euros
Higher Institute of Administration and Languages 2,802 Euros
Manuel Teixeira Gomes Higher Education Institute 3,240 Euros - 3,672 Euros 2,908 Euros
Lusofona University of Porto 674 Euros - 782 Euros 550 Euros - 622 Euros
Egas Moniz Higher School of Health 4,503 Euros - 9,224 Euros
Instituto Superior Politecnico Gaya 360 Euros - 5,000 Euros 360 Euros - 6,000 Euros
Higher Institute of Entre Douro and Vouga 2,820 Euros 2,820 Euros
Portucalense University 3,929 Euros - 5,000 Euros
Fernando Pessoa University 2,932 Euros - 4,550 Euros
National Academy of Advanced Orchestral Studies 8,750 Euros - 16,000 Euros
Autonomous University of Lisbon 5,816 Euros 3,876 Euros
Artistic School of Porto 13,400 Euros 9,800 Euros
Instituto Politécnico da Lusofonia 3,742 Euros - 4,802 Euros 3,780 Euros - 4,025 Euros
ESAD Art and Design 4,500 Euros 4,500 Euros

If you’re looking for the most affordable universities in Portugal, check out the Cheap Universities in Portugal!

Besides tuition fees, you also need to consider other expenses like books, accommodation, and living expenses.

2. Requirements to Study in Portugal for International Students

Once you have an idea of how much tuition fees are to study in Portugal, it’s time to consider preparing the paperwork to apply to those universities. Academic institutions have varying admission requirements, but the ones you should always prepare in advance are your academic records, such as a transcript of records or diploma from a previous academic level, and travel documents, such as your passport and visa.

Some institutions that offer master’s programs might also ask for a statement of purpose, a curriculum vitae or résumé, and letters of recommendation. There are also degree programs where you need to take an admissions test before you can apply. Besides these, universities might also require you to submit proof of language proficiency.

In Portugal, English and Portuguese are the languages of instruction. If you’re looking to study in any of the academic institutions here, you might need to prove language proficiency by taking standardized tests, such as TOEFL, IELTS, and Duolingo for English. Depending on the institution and the language of instruction for your program, you might also have to prove your language proficiency by submitting CEFR for Portuguese.

To give you an idea, here are some universities in Portugal and their required minimum scores for each program level.

D. Dinis Higher Institute

Bachelor’s degree

Master’s degree

Instituto Superior Miguel Torga

Bachelor’s degree

Master’s degree

Nursing School of Coimbra

Bachelor’s degree

Master’s degree

Typically, you can find information about language requirements on the admissions requirements page of the university. You can also check out if the university has a dedicated language requirements page for international students.

Application Procedure to Study in Portugal

The specific admission process may vary depending on the university. The good news is that most institutions in Portugal have online applications available on their websites, like University of Porto and University of Lisbon. To help you with this, we also compiled the official websites and admission pages of some of the top institutions in Portugal.

University of Porto

University of Lisbon

NOVA University Lisbon

Make sure to gather all the information you need for the admission process. As you apply to these institutions, expect that they may ask for additional requirements depending on your nationality, degree, or program. So, it’s best to keep your lines active.

After completing your academic and language requirements, it’s time to apply!

The admission process in Portugal differs from one university to another, so it’s best to contact your chosen school beforehand. Please note that the admission process for international students may take some time, so be sure to know the application dates and apply early.

The application process may take weeks or months, depending on your timing, nationality, degree, and other factors. To make the most of your application, make sure to completely follow the admission steps and submit the necessary requirements to ensure that you’ll be accepted to your chosen university in Portugal.

The key to being admitted to your chosen school will depend on your punctuality and the quality of your application. So make sure to complete the requirements beforehand and follow the steps in applying. After this, you’ll wait for a week or a month for the results.

4. Visa Application for International Students in Portugal

Now that you’re accepted into your chosen institution, it’s time to apply for a student visa in Portugal. A student visa is an essential document for studying abroad. It’s an important government document that you need to present before going to Portugal as an international student.

In this section, let’s briefly discuss the requirements needed and how you can apply for a student visa in Portugal. If you’re going to stay here for your studies, you will need to obtain a Long-term Visa (Type D).

To start your student visa application in Portugal, you will need to present the following:

  1. Official form
  2. Passport or travel document with at least 3 months validity after the duration of stay
  3. 2 passport photos
  4. Valid travel insurance
  5. Proof of being in a regular situation if applying for a visa from a different country other than the country of origin
  6. Request for criminal record inquiry
  7. Criminal record certificate from the country of origin
  8. Proof of accommodation and means of subsistence
  9. Proof of acceptance to a university or accredited academic institution
  10. Proof of sufficient sources to attend the study program
  11. Admission or eligibility for admission certificate

Kindly take note that these requirements may vary depending on your nationality. So, please expect that may ask for additional requirements. Moreover, you will be required to pay a student visa application fee. The visa application fee in Portugal is 90 EUR.

After preparing your requirements and application fees, it’s time to apply for a student visa! The first steps in getting your student visa are:

  1. Check the nearest Portugal embassy or consulate in your location.
  2. Schedule an appointment and interview at the embassy or consulate.
  3. Complete the application form and gather the requirements.
  4. Pay the visa application fee.
  5. Go to the embassy or consulate on your appointment and bring all necessary documents.
  6. Wait for visa processing.
  7. Receive the visa.

For more information regarding the specific steps in applying for a student visa, visit or contact the nearest embassy or consulate in your home country. They are the ones responsible for processing your student visa application.

That’s it! After getting your student visa, you can now officially study in Portugal. Make sure to book a flight early, before your classes start, so that you’ll have ample time to explore and familiarize yourself in your new place!