Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras


Exit of Minors from the National Territory

The exit of Portuguese minors, as well and the entry and exit of foreign minors who are legal residents in this country is ruled by Decree-Law 138/2006, of 26 July, republished in annex to Decree-Law 19/2018 of 14 March (Article 23º) and by Act 23/2007, of 4th July, republished in annex to Law 102/2017 of 28 August (Article 31º).

In accordance to the national legislation in force, the Portuguese minors and the foreign minors who reside in Portugal and wish to leave the country (mainland Portugal, Madeira and Açores Islands) unaccompanied by both parents must hold a legally certified permit to travel, issued by the holder of parental responsibility.

While the permit to travel is mandatory, please notice that, regarding border control, the rules contained in the Schengen Agreement are applied to the travelers within the Schengen Agreement States.

This permit should appear in written form, dated and signed by the holder of parental responsibility lawfully attributed, and grant powers to a specifically designated and fully identified third person or persons to accompany the minor.

This permit can be used for a limited number within the deadline mentioned in the document which, however, cannot exceed one calendar year. Otherwise, if no deadline is mentioned, the permit is valid for six months from the issue date.

In the national territory, the recognition of signatures, in addition to be the notaries’ competency, is assigned to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, registrars, official registers, lawyers and solicitors. Private documents drawn outside Portugal, authenticated by a civil servant abroad, are authenticated according to the Portuguese law provided the signature of the civil servant is dully recognized by a Portuguese diplomatic or consular agent at the respective State and the signature of this agent is authenticated with the respective consular embossing stamp.

In view of the variety of family links that affect the definition of who holds parental responsibility, we itemise, in the table below, a few of the various possibilities: 

Minor, whose parents are married (to one another) or within cohabitation
- The travel permit must be granted and signed by one of the parents, only if the child is travelling without either of them; in cases where the child is travelling in the company of one parent, no permit is required, provided there is no opposition by the other parent*;

Minor, child of unmarried parents, divorced, legally separated, or whose marriage has been declared void or annulled
- The travel permit must be granted and signed by the parent holding custody and / or with whom the minor resides. In cases of joint parental responsibility, the minor may leave the country with either of them, provided there is no opposition by the other parent*;

Minor, who is orphan of one parent
- The travel permit must be issued and signed by the living parent.

Minor, whose parentage has been determined in relation to one parent only
The travel permit must be issued and signed by the person whose parenthood has been established;

Minor, whose custody has been awarded to a third person or to an education or social assistance establishment
- In such cases, the travel permit must be granted and signed by the person to whom the courts awarded parental responsibility;

Minor under tutelage
- The travel permit to minors, whose parents died or have been inhibited from holding the parental power, or who have been unable for a period exceeding 6 months from holding parental power, or who are unknown, and who have been placed by the court under the tutelage of a third person, must be granted and signed by the tutor designated by the Minor’s Court; In the absence of someone with the right conditions to receive the tutelage of the minor, the same can be placed under the tutelage of an educational or social assistance establishment, either public or private, in which case it is up to the respective Director to grant and sign the travel permit.

Adopted minor or minor going through adoption procedure
- The travel permit in such cases must be granted by the adoptive parent or by one of the adoptive parents in case they are married;

Emancipated minor
- A minor is emancipated either through marriage or by decision of his / her parents, attaining full legal capacity to rule his / her life and therefore no longer requires a travel permit. In order to prove the emancipated status, the person concerned only needs to exhibit the respective marriage certificate or birth certificate, depending on the case.

*Opposing the exit of a minor from national territory:

When a parent opposes the exit of a minor from national territory, the parent or person who holds parental power may directly inform the Immigration and Borders Service [SERVIÇO DE ESTRANGEIROS E FRONTEIRAS/ SEF] through the following contacts:

From Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 05:30 pm


Fax: + 351 214 236 646

Telephone number:
+ 351 217 115 000 (landline telephone)
+ 351 965 903 700 (mobile phone)

Outside regular working hours, or in emergency cases Border Posts can be informed directly.


When informing SEF you must clearly provide:

- Declaration, duly signed and dated and the full identification of the parent and that of the minor concerned, as well as the address and telephone number.

- A copy of the ID document of the person informing SEF.

- Copy of Birth Certificate of the minor, issued no more than 6 months ago.

- Copy of the agreement/court decision ruling the parental responsibilities, if applicable.

In the absence of one of the above documents the opposition will not be considered.

Although this information is not a judicial measure restraining the exit of the minor from national territory, it grants a period of six months to the complaining party, in order to apply to the relevant judicial authorities for a court’s ruling on this matter.

In this sense, it is advised to get a Court decision, even if temporary, which establishes the child's trips abroad or determines that the parental responsibility regime is changed.

In the case of an attempt to exit National Territory by an external border to a third country, SEF evaluates, at that moment, the conditions for the departure of the minor.

Given that there is free movement of persons within the Schengen area, departures from the National Territory to another country that is part of the Schengen Agreement are not controlled by Schengen States.

Documents required:

Authorisation for a National Minor to leave the country

Authorisation for a Foreign Resident Minor to leave the country​​​​​

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