Who can be considered an International Student?

International Student is a student who does not have Portuguese nationality, who is not a national of a member state of the European Union, or others who do not reside in Portugal, without interruption for more than 2 years.

Decree-Law no. 36/2014, of 10 March, which regulates the International Student Statute, allows foreign students to apply for Portuguese higher education through a special competition to access and enter the undergraduate study cycles taught at Portuguese higher education institutions, which are responsible for carrying out the aforementioned competition.

For more information please consult

  1. Nationals of a member state of the European Union;
  2. The relatives of Portuguese or nationals of a member state of the European Union, regardless of their nationality;
  3. Those who are not nationals of a member state of the European Union and are not covered by the preceding paragraph, have legally resided in Portugal for more than two years, uninterruptedly, on January 1st of the year in which they intend to enter higher education, as well as the children who legally reside with them;
  4.  Those who are beneficiaries, on January 1 of the year in which they intend to enter higher education, with the status of equal rights and duties attributed under the international treaty granted between the Portuguese State and the State of which they are nationals;
  5. Those applying for higher education through special access and admission regimes regulated by Decree -Law no. 393 -A / 99, of 2 October, amended by Decree -Law no. 272/2009, of 1 of October.
  6. Foreign students attending a cycle of studies as part of an international mobility program are not covered by the concept of international student to be part of that cycle at a foreign higher education institution with which Universidade Nova de Lisboa has already established an agreement exchange programs with the same objective.
  1. The spouse of a citizen of the European Union;
  2. The partner with whom a citizen of the Union lives in a de facto union, established under the terms of the law, or with whom the citizen of the Union maintains a permanent relationship, duly certified, by the competent entity of the Member State where he resides;
  3. The direct descendant under the age of 21 or who is in charge of a citizen of the Union, as well as that of the spouse or partner within the meaning of the previous subparagraph;
  4. The direct ascendant who is in charge of a citizen of the Union, as well as that of the spouse or partner within the meaning of point 2).

Note: The status of International Student applies exclusively to candidates 1st cycle or 1st + 2nd cycle (Graduations) and never to candidates of 2nd cycle (Master) or 3rd cycle (Doctorate).

Access and admission conditions

  1. Holders of a qualification which, in the country in which it was obtained, gives them the right to apply and enter higher education in that country;
  2. Holders of a Portuguese secondary education diploma or legally equivalent qualification.

International students are admitted to the competition for access to higher education who, cumulatively:

  1. Have academic qualifications in the areas of knowledge required for the study cycle to which they are applying;
  2. Take the required internal tests for the course you intend to attend. The dates and matrices of the tests are defined annually by the
  3. Have knowledge of the language or languages in which the teaching will be taught; Have a minimum level of knowledge of the Portuguese language B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (QECRL)
  4. Meet the prerequisites, when applicable, under the terms of the applicable legislation.

The application for the special international student access and admission contest is made online on the dfa FCT-UNL academic management computer system, by filling in an application form and uploading the following documents:

  1. Simple photocopy of the personal identification document or passport, expressly stating the candidate’s nationality;
  2. Declaration, under honor, that the candidate does not have Portuguese nationality and is not covered by any of the conditions that, according to the International Student Statute, do not confer the status of International Student, according to the lines listed in number 2 of article 2 of Regulamento da FCT-UNL;
  3. Photocopy of teaching / training diplomas / certificates, namely the qualification that gives access to higher education in the country of origin and Portuguese secondary education or equivalent qualification;
  4. Photocopy of the document proving the level of mastery of the language of instruction;
  5. Proof of residence in the country where the applicant is domiciled.

The documents must be translated into Portuguese or English, whenever they are not issued and Portuguese, English, French or Spanish, and endorsed by the consular service or presented with the apposition of the Hague Apostille, issued by the competent authority of the State where the document originates .

The application is subject to the payment of a fee listed in the UNL Fees and Fees table.

Academic Evolution in Portugal

Higher education in Portugal is part of the European Higher Education Area, thus adopting a system of transferable and cumulative credits (ECTS), based on three study cycles:

Grau de Licenciado
(1º cycle)
Grau de Licenciado...
Grau de Mestre
(2º cycle)
Grau de Mestre...
Grau de Doutorado
(3º cycle)
Grau de Doutorado...
Text is not SVG - cannot display

European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS)

ECTS is the qualification system of the European Higher Education Area that facilitates the mobility of students between countries and the recognition of their academic qualifications and periods of study abroad.

A full year of study or work is equivalent to 60 ECTS credits. In a normal academic year, these credits are generally divided into several modules (subjects / subjects). A 1st cycle diploma (bacharelato) consists of 180 or 240 ECTS credits.

Participating institutions publish their course catalogs on the Internet; they include detailed descriptions of study programs, curricular units, university regulations and services for students.

Course unit descriptions include ‘learning outcomes’ (ie, the knowledge that students should obtain and the skills that they should acquire) and the volume of work (the time that students need to achieve those results).

Learning outcomes are expressed in credits. A student’s workload varies between 1500 and 1800 hours per school year and a credit usually corresponds to 25-30 hours of work.

The ECTS User Guide describes the system and how it is used in more detail.


If you have any doubts just get in contact through our email: