Childcare & Schools Education, Health, Housing & Papers

Transferring to a Portuguese school: what to do

Transferring to a Portuguese school: When to apply?

Transferring to a Portuguese school is a priority and a legal requirement if your child is at school age, from 6 to 18 years old. Unless your child is already enrolled with an online umbrella school. You can read more about this alternative in our article Homeschooling in Portugal.

This is one of the first things you will need to do upon arrival if you move during the school year.

Newcomers can enroll at school any time of the year, and as soon as possible.

If you have the choice, move before the beginning of the school year. This will give the school the chance to open an extra class to accommodate the newcomers, if needed.

Transferring to a Portuguese school: equivalence

When moving to Portugal, you will need equivalence, if your child is in the second school year or above. This equivalence, tells the Portuguese school which class the child should join.

Transferring to a Portuguese school: what documents?

To enroll your child at school you will need at least a few documents to start the process. However, do not worry if you are missing some of these. because schools are quite good at accommodating new students from abroad, and take them in while you take care of the paperwork.

The few documents you must have with you are as follows:

  • Child’s and parent’s Passport
  • Child’s NIF and parents NIF
  • Child’s pass photo

Once you enroll, expect your child to start school in a matter of a few days.

Meanwhile, you will be working on getting the other documents required by the school, and that usually take longer to be ready.

From the country of origin, you will need an official Portuguese translation of the” end-of-year report”. This must indicate the completed school year, cycle, or course, as well as the final grade. The translated document must be authenticated by the Portuguese Consulate in that country, or by the country of origin’s consulate in Portugal. Alternatively, the document can be apostilled in the country of origin.

The Portuguese papers that you will need include the following:

  • National Health System user number numero de Utente, which you will only be able to apply after 3 months in the country
  • Registration certificate from GP Centro de Saude. You will get this when you apply for a numero de utente
  • Up to date vaccine booklet
  • Vaccine certificate signed by the nurse at the Centro de Saude;
  • Social security, not mandatory.

Where to submit these documents?

To the main school of the area you are applying, Sede. In Ericeira, for instance, this will be EB Antonio Bento Franco.

Transferring to a Portuguese school: how long is the wait?

Once gather the basic documents and start the enrollment at school, your child should start her classes in a matter of a couple of days. Provided there is a place at that school. Otherwise, the waiting can be longer, as the main school, Sede will be looking for a place in the next most suitable school in the area.

In Ericeria, for instance, this may be one of the 4 primary schools in the Agrupamento Escolar de Ericeira (Carvoeira, Encarnacao, Santo Isidoro and Ericeira) or, the primary and middle school EB Antonio Bento Franco.

Otherwise, your child can go to one of the 6 schools in the Agrupamento de Mafra. These include the middle and secondary
main school
Sede, as well as the primary schools Helia Correira em Mafra, Sanches Brito, in A da Pera (just outside Mafra, on the main road to Ericeira), EB das Freguesias de Igreja Nova e Cheleiros, EB de Sao Miguel e Alcoinca or, EB do Sobral da Abelheira.

Transferring to a Portuguese school: any fees or expenses?

For enrolling your child, you will need €5,50 in cash.

During the school year, parents may need to pay, fully or partially, for books, food, and transport to school. The amount to be paid will depend on the Portuguese tax declaration from the previous year. Therefore, this does not apply to your child’s first year in a Portuguese school. However, schools often second-hand books to pass on to newcomers.

Read more about education in Ericeira here.

Thank you for reading and feel free to leave a comment below, I look forward to hearing from you!

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6 thoughts on “Transferring to a Portuguese school: what to do

  1. Hi – great info about schools. We are thinking of moving with a 9 and 11 year old from Poland. They had been going to an international school so far. Would you know how does the transfer to a local school look like when they speak no Portugeese? Thx Agata

    1. Hi Agata, thank you for stopping by. I have just called the main school in Ericeira, Bento Franco, to hear from them about your question. The lady told me that there were other children there who did not speak Portuguese when they first arrived. But, with the help of colleagues and teachers, these children all learnt the language. I asked if the children would need a special Portuguese training, but this would have to be assessed by the teacher, for each child. The only recommendations were the following.
      1 – to bring the officially translated documents/end of year report
      2 – whenever possible, the child should start the year from the beginning, in September.
      This information concerns the school in Ericeira only. If you are moving to the freguesia of Ericeira, this is where your children are likely to go. To keep in mind is that, the freguesia of Ericeira is quite small, geographically speaking.
      If your new address is outside the freguesia, say in Ribamar, which is within 4km north from the center of Ericeira, your children may go to Miramar. Whereas, if you are settling in Sobreiro, 6km east from the town center, the children may go to Mafra, instead.
      I have a friend, whose 7 year-old attends the primary school in Ericeira. He is fluent in both English and Portuguese and has been set with a non-Portuguese speaking student, from an English speaking country, to help with the adaptation, and this is going pretty well for both.
      I hope this answers your question Agata. And good luck!

  2. Thanks so much for the answer. I just read it. I was not notified it ever appeared. Our address is in the center of Ericeira. Bests Agata.

  3. Thanks so much for the answer. I just read it. I was not notified it ever appeared. Our address is in the center of Ericeira. Bests Agata.

    1. Hi Julise,
      Your child may be able to start school before you provide the school with the immunization certificate. You can take your foreign certificate to your local health center nurse. The nurse will issue a Portuguese copy and let you know when the next vaccine is due.
      All the best,

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