Moving to Portugal: The Definitive Guide

Moving to Portugal: The Definitive Guide

Considering moving abroad to Portugal? Whether you plan on making the move yourself, or together with family or friends, Portugal is an amazing country that offers just about everything one might want. 

But such a big decision should not be done lightly. Therefore we have covered some of the various things you should consider and know about before moving. Enjoy!

About Portugal

Portugal is a beautiful and culturally rich country located in southwestern Europe. It is known for its rich history, picturesque towns, and stunning beaches. It neighbors Spain as the only country with a fixed border, but also connected through the Mediterranean Ocean to many other countries, like Italy, France and more.

The country is also home to some of the world’s most iconic landmarks such as the Jeronimos Monastery, the Belem Tower, and the historic city of Evora. The official language is Portuguese, and the currency is the Euro.

The weather is pleasant most of the year, with mild winters and warm summers, making it ideal for those who enjoy outdoor activities and sunshine.

Why move to Portugal?

Moving to Portugal can be a great decision, it offers the stunning Mediterranean climate, with mild winters and warm summers, making it a great destination for those who enjoy outdoor activities and sunshine. 

Portugal also has a rich cultural heritage and is known for its art, architecture, and history. From the ancient ruins of Evora to the baroque architecture of Sintra, there is plenty to explore and discover.

Safety is also an important aspect of living in Portugal, it is considered one of the safest countries in Europe which is great for families and retirees. The healthcare system is also well-regarded and provides affordable and accessible healthcare to all residents.

Additionally, Portugal has a relatively low cost of living compared to other European countries, making it an attractive option for those looking to stretch their budget further.

Rules and regulations for moving to Portugal

Citizens of the EU are free to move within the various member states as they wish. However, there are still some rules and regulations to keep in mind. For expats from outside of the European Union, there are even more things to consider. 

In this section we have listed the most important ones, but remember to check with your government and the Portuguese authorities for any updates or changes to our list.

EU citizens moving to Portugal

As mentioned earlier, it is relatively easy for a EU citizen to move to Portugal. And while you do need to apply for a long-term residence permit, you will not need any special visas or work permits, and you can therefore find a job quickly.

  • You must be able to support yourself financially without becoming a burden on the Portuguese social welfare system.
  • You must have health insurance that covers you in Portugal, either through your own insurance provider or the Portuguese national health system.
  • You cannot have a criminal record or be considered a threat to public security.
  • You must register with the local authorities within 8 days of arrival.
  • You must have a valid ID or passport as proof of your EU citizenship.
  • You may need to apply for the EU long-term residence permit if you plan to stay for more than 3 months.

Non-EU citizens moving to Portugal

In this case you will typically need to obtain a visa and/or work permit before being able to move and reside in Portugal. The specific requirements will depend on your specific circumstances, such as the length of stay, the purpose of the move, and the type of work you will be doing.

For stays of more than 90 days, non-EU citizens will typically need to apply for a long-stay visa. You can obtain a short-stay visa first, and then work on the longer one while already in the country.

Next up is what is called a residence permit, and is needed in order to fully move into a home or purchase property with the intent of living in Portugal. This permit is renewable, and it will allow the holder to stay and work in Portugal for a certain period of time.

Lastly, you will also need to obtain a work permit before being able to work in Portugal. This is important since you are required to find work in most cases in order to get the aforementioned permits and visas.

Challenges of moving to Portugal

One of the most difficult things for outsiders is learning the language. Even though English is widely spoken in Portugal, it may be difficult to navigate daily tasks and official procedures if you do not speak Portuguese. Many jobs also require a proficiency in their native tongue.

Finding a job in Portugal can therefore be challenging, especially for non-EU citizens or those without fluent Portuguese. But keep in mind that the country is fairly modern, and many global corporations and franchises exist in the larger cities, offering great opportunities for someone fluent in another language.

Finding a place to live in Portugal can be difficult, especially in popular cities like Lisbon and Porto. The housing market is competitive and prices can be high. It is recommended to find a trusted friend or agent to help you scout the market. 

Portugal has a relatively high tax rate compared to other European countries. Therefore you should spend some time to understand the tax system and regulations, so you are aware of how much you will be paying.

Tips for moving to Portugal

Portugal has its own unique culture and customs, and it can take time to adjust to the new way of life. Keep an open mind, and do not be afraid to mingle with the locals to learn their ways.

Understand the rules and regulations in Portugal before you move, so you know what to expect when it comes to official procedures like registering with the local authorities, obtaining a residence permit and paying taxes.

Portugal has a relatively low cost of living compared to other European countries, but it can still be expensive for some, especially in popular tourist areas like Lisbon and Porto.

Portugal has a Mediterranean climate, which is great for some but not ideal for others. Winters can be mild and summers are hot, which can be a challenge to adapt to. Remember to research the specific area you are moving to as well, as there can be some local things you might need to adapt to as well.