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Moving to Portugal is easier than you think!

3 de May, 2024

Moving to Portugal is easier than you think!

Legal residency in Portugal can be one of the easiest ways to obtain citizenship by naturalization and move to the country.
Reading: 14 min

Moving to Portugal has become an increasingly common dream among individuals looking for a significant and positive change in their lives. Thanks to its quality of life and safety, Portugal is considered one of the best places in the world to live. In 2023, it ranked second in Europe (only behind Spain) in the Expat Insider ranking.

The country has also been featured in various international media outlets and collected awards in the tourism sector, generating a growing desire among people to settle in the country. If you also see yourself moving to Portugal, read on.

Here are all the steps you need to take to move . How do I get a residence visa? What is the cost of living in the country? How much do you earn? Which cities are the cheapest? How does the public healthcare system work? How to reunite family members when moving? Find out about all the advantages the country has to offer. You’ll see that moving to Portugal is much easier than you think!

How to move to Portugal?

To move to Portugal you will need to have Portuguese citizenship or a residence visa. Citizenship offers a direct way of establishing permanent residence.

Alternatively, a residence visa allows you to stay in the country for a specified period and can be renewed.

Here are the differences between a residence permit and a visa.

Do you want to live in Europe?

Realizing your goal of living in Europe or obtaining European citizenship can be simpler than you think. We offer personalized support to make the immigration process more accessible and uncomplicated.

Can I live in Portugal as a tourist?

We strongly recommend that you don’t do this!

Avoiding being in the country illegally is crucial, as there is a risk of deportation, fines and future difficulties in obtaining legal status.

In addition, you are excluded from healthcare services and the legal system, and face difficulties working legally. This can limit your opportunities and your income. To avoid these problems, make sure you have the right documentation.

Those traveling as tourists can only stay in the country for up to 90 days. In some cases it is possible to renew your tourist visa for another 90 days, but this is not such a simple process. Therefore, if you want to spend a longer period of time, you should look for safer alternatives.

Cais de Gaia, Porto

How to live in Portugal with Portuguese citizenship?

Living in Portugal is significantly easier for those with Portuguese citizenship. In this case, in terms of documents, you will only need your Portuguese passport or a document proving your citizenship, such as your Citizen Card. To live in the country, you’ll need to apply for a NIF (fiscal number), a user registration and social security registration. If you have a driver’s license, check the validation procedures in the country, depending on your nationality.

Having citizenship provides a number of opportunities for the individual, especially in the job market. And if you have Portuguese citizenship and Portuguese passport are free to move around the European area, including for work and study purposes. If you have the right to apply for Portuguese nationality today, don’t let the opportunity pass you by, as the laws are constantly changing.

Who can apply for Portuguese citizenship?

  • Son of a Portuguese;
  • Portuguese grandson;
  • Great-grandson* of Portuguese (indirectly);
  • Person married to a Portuguese citizen;
  • Person in stable union with Portuguese citizen;
  • Wife of a Portuguese citizen whose marriage took place before October 3,
  • Descended from Portuguese Sephardic Jews;
  • Legal resident in Portuguese territory;
  • Golden Visa holder and grouped family members (after 5 years of investment);
  • Child of a foreigner who has been adopted (up to the age of 15) by a Portuguese citizen;
  • Individuals born in Portugal;

We have a comprehensive article on obtaining Portuguese citizenship, including all the necessary documents and the deadlines involved. Click here to read it.

ARE YOU ENTITLED TO PORTUGUESE CITIZENSHIP? CONTACT US >

Moving to Portugal without Portuguese citizenship: Residence visas

You can also move to Portugal with a residence visa. A residence visa is a legal authorization granted by a country that allows a foreign individual to live and work temporarily in its territory.

There are different visas in Portugal, aimed at different audiences. There are modalities for investors, retirees, digital nomads, entrepreneurs, students and for highly qualified workers. Each category has specific requirements, but generally involves proving means of subsistence, health insurance, a clean criminal record and having a place of residence. After selecting the category and preparing the documents, you can submit the application to the Portuguese consulate in your country or directly in Portugal, depending on the circumstances.

Once you’ve entered the country with a visa, it’s time to apply for an AR – temporary residence permit. Over time, after renewals, the temporary permit can be converted into permanent residence. After five years living legally in Portugal, it is often possible to apply for Portuguese citizenship.

List of visa options for moving to Portugal

What are the options for Visas Portugal:

  • Golden Visa: This is the visa for investors. Aimed at those who wish to invest at least 250k euros in Portugal.
  • D1 Visa: Work Visa. Suitable for those who promise to work in Portugal.
  • D2 Visa: Entrepreneurs Visa. The best option for those who want to start a business in Portugal.
  • D3 Visa: Recommended for highly qualified workers.
  • D4 and D5 Visas: Aimed at those who want to study in Portugal.
  • D6 Visa: The Family Reunification Visa. Allows family members of a legal resident to live in Portugal.
  • D7 Visa: Visa for pensioners and passive income holders.
  • D8 Visa: Visa for digital nomads. Suitable for those who work remotely.
  • StartUP Visa: For entrepreneurs specifically in the field of innovation who want to open a StartUP.
  • Job Seeker: For those who wish to come to the country in search of employment

Living in Portugal as a pensioner

Among the most popular visas in Portugal is the D7 visa. This is known as the Pensioners’ Visa, but it is aimed at anyone with passive income. Passive income is considered:

  • pensions;
  • retirements;
  • real estate rentals;
  • corporate profits and dividends;
  • income from investment funds;
  • stock market applications;
  • income derived from intellectual or industrial property.

The financial requirements for the D7 Visa are very simple and have attractive values. You need to prove a monthly income of more than the equivalent of one Portuguese minimum wage and have deposited the equivalent of 12 minimum wages in a Portuguese bank account.

The applicant must also have a clean criminal record, with no convictions in Portugal punishable by deprivation of liberty of more than one year, regardless of whether or not they have served their sentence.

Learn everything about the D7 Visa by clicking here.

Living in Portugal as a Remote Worker

Another visa currently in high demand is the D8 Visa for Digital Nomads. It is ideal for those who work remotely. Obtaining the Digital Nomad Visa is simple and quick. It is accessible to both subordinate and independent workers.

The minimum income requirement is 4 times the current minimum wage.

Additionally, it’s necessary to make a deposit in Portugal, equivalent to 12 minimum wages, to demonstrate means of subsistence.

Furthermore, the applicant must also have a clean criminal record, without punishable convictions in Portugal with a custodial sentence exceeding 1 year, regardless of whether the sentence has been served or not.

Find out all about the Digital Nomad Visa by clicking here!

Is living in Portugal expensive?

Portugal is known for its affordable cost of living, which makes it an attractive option for many. However, determining an exact figure to answer this question is quite subjective. This is because each person has particular needs and values different aspects. For example, some people may need a car, while others feel comfortable using public transport. This illustrates how spending estimates vary considerably according to each person’s lifestyle and personal priorities.

In addition, the cost of living can vary substantially depending on the city you choose to live in. Living expenses represent a significant part of the budget , e there is a big difference in property prices in different cities across the country.

Remember: The choice of city in which you live will have a significant impact on the cost of living, making this decision crucial when planning your move to Portugal.

It is worth noting that Lisbon, Porto and Faro are the most expensive cities in the country, while living in other locations, such as Castelo Branco or Bragança (considered more affordable), can mean considerable savings in your budget.

How much does a couple spend per month in Portugal?

Just as a reference, I can tell you that a couple who own their own property can enjoy a comfortable standard of living with an average monthly income of around 1,800 euros. However, for those who have rent or mortgage expenses, a higher income will be needed to live comfortably.

See below for the average cost of living per couple in different cities across the country:

CityAverage Cost of Living (solteiro)*
Lisbon2.750
Porto2.250
Faro2.000
Braga2.050
Coimbra1.950
Setúbal1.900
Aveiro2.090

* The figures above refer to the cost of living for a couple with no kids, living in the city center, in a rented 1-bedroom apartment, without a car and with one simple vacation a year. To make your own estimate, visit numbeo.com. (Updated in May/24)

How much will rent cost in Portugal?

Below we list the average rental prices per square meter in some Portuguese cities.

CityAverage rental cost/m2
Lisbon€ 21,60 /m²
Porto€ 17,40 /m²
Faro€ 12,90 /m²
Braga€ 9,30 /m²
Coimbra€ 11,50 /m²
Setúbal€ 12,20 /m²
Viseu€ 7,80 /m²
Leiria€ 8,00 /m²
Aveiro€ 11,70 /m²
Sintra € 13,00 /m²

Source: Idealista.pt in May 2024

What is the average salary in Portugal?

The minimum wage in Portugal in 2024 is €820.00.

According to INE – Instituto Nacional de Estatística, in 2024 , the average total gross monthly salary per employee (per job) was 1,670 euros.

Visual Coimbra

Where to Live in Portugal: Top Cities and the Cheapest

Portugal has an excellent transport infrastructure, with a well-connected rail network and good roads. The country also has excellent universities spread from north to south, as well as quality hospitals, guaranteeing a high standard of living wherever you are. So choosing the right place depends on your preferences and goals.

If you have the flexibility to work remotely, living in cheaper cities can be an excellent choice. Bragança, Covilhã, Castelo Branco, Santarém, Figueira da Foz, Viseu and Alcobaça are among those that offer excellent value for money. Find out here the cheapest cities in Portugal.

If you are looking for solid job opportunities in large companies, Lisbon could be the right choice. To reduce costs, consider metropolitan cities such as Amadora, Almada, Sintra and Montijo.

Porto is another option for those who like busier destinations. It has slightly lower costs than Lisbon, but with slightly more restricted opportunities. Gondomar, Braga, Guimarães and Santa Maria da Feira are economical options close to Porto.

For beaches and a hot market, Setúbal, Cascais, Matosinhos and the Algarve region are ideal.

Find out which are the main cities in Portugal.

What is the climate in Portugal?

According to the classification of the IPMA – Instituto Português do Mar e da Atmosfera (Portuguese Institute for the Sea and Atmosphere), the climate in Portugal is divided into two regions. Inland, to the south, there is a temperate climate with a rainy winter and a hot, dry summer. In the north and along the coast, the climate is temperate, with a rainy winter and a dry, slightly hot summer.

Lisbon

Summer (June to August): Summers in Lisbon are moderately hot, with average maximum temperatures ranging from 25°C to 30°C. Minimum night-time temperatures are generally between 17°C and 20°C.

Winter (December to February): Winters are mild and rainy in Lisbon, with average maximum temperatures between 13°C and 16°C. Minimum night-time temperatures range from 8°C to 11°C.

Porto

Summer (June to August): Summer in Porto is similar to that in Lisbon, with average maximum temperatures ranging from 23°C to 27°C. Minimum night-time temperatures are between 13°C and 16°C.

Winter (December to February): Winter in Porto is cooler and wetter, with average maximum temperatures between 12°C and 15°C. Minimum night-time temperatures range from 5°C to 7°C.

How to move to Portugal with your family?

Moving to Portugal with children and other family members is possible through the process of family reunification process, or D6 Visa . It should be noted that moving to Portugal with children is a very positive and worthwhile experience! The country offers a safe environment and is home to excellent schools, including free public institutions. The school term in Portugal starts in September and runs until June. Be aware of the deadlines for enrolling in Portuguese schools to avoid your child missing out on school.

In general, Portuguese society shows great respect for children and is well equipped to welcome them. What’s more, there are a number of leisure options for families, making adaptation enjoyable for everyone.

Please note that not only children are eligible for the D6 visa. The family members eligible for reunification are:

  • Spouse or common-law partner
  • children under 18
  • unmarried children over the age of 18 who are economically dependent and studying
  • Parents and parents-in-law who are economically dependent on the visa holder

To apply for family reunification in Portugal, the main applicant must be able to prove means of subsistence and adequate housing for the family. It is also essential to have a valid residence visa for the country. Most visas allow reunification. The exception is the Job Seeker’s Visa. For more details, contact our consultants.

Attention! The residence permit is only granted if the applicant has no convictions for crimes punishable by more than one year.. In addition, the applicant must not be in the period of prohibition of entry into national territory after measures of removal from the country.

How does public health work in Portugal?

A public healthcare in Portugal has been universal and totally free since 2022 when user charges stopped being charged. All residents, nationals and foreigners, regardless of their economic and social status, can take advantage of this right. Through a national register, each individual (or user) is accompanied by a doctor who is responsible for their history, vaccination records and any treatments they may need.

Many medicines are also free or reimbursed by the government to make them more affordable for patients.

Read here 8 interesting facts about health in Portugal

How to obtain tax residency in Portugal?

Portuguese law stipulates that, after 183 years in Portuguese territory, a foreign citizen is already recognized as a tax resident. At this point, it is necessary to obtain a NIF – Tax Identification Number if you don’t already have one.

The NIF is a key part of the Portuguese tax system and is required for a number of financial and administrative transactions in the country. As well as being required for tax returns, the NIF is used in a variety of situations, such as opening bank accounts, rental contracts, buying property and vehicles, among others.

If you have income, you will also have to pay taxes and file an IRS (Income Tax). It is essential to be aware of tax benefits, such as the Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) Status. Through this tax regime, and depending on your activity, you can have your income taxed at a flat rate and also avoid double taxation. In addition, you will only be taxed 10% on the value of pensions from abroad. The RNH is valid for 10 years.

Moving to another country involves many complex issues, especially when it comes to financial assets. It is important to ensure that you are complying with all the laws correctly, to avoid legal and financial problems. The help of a specialist is essential, especially for those who have income from different sources, or high and diversified assets. Talk to Atlantic Bridge and schedule your tax consultation with a specialist.

SCHEDULE YOUR TAX CONSULTATION >

What are the advantages of living in Portugal?

Living in Portugal offers a unique combination of exceptional quality of life, mild climate, rich cultural heritage, affordable living costs and beautiful landscapes. With a high-quality healthcare system, security, diverse gastronomic options and a strategic location in Europe, Portugal attracts residents looking for tranquillity, job opportunities and an enriching experience in a welcoming environment.

What’s more, the country has visas for a variety of profiles, which makes the move easier and safer.

Serra do Pilar Monastery

Is Moving to Portugal worth it?

Based on my own experience, I can guarantee that living in Portugal is a truly rewarding choice! The city is known for its safety, the cuisine is simply delicious, and the hospitality of the people is remarkable. In addition to these attractions, the country’s privileged location makes traveling not only to destinations in America but also to other corners of Europe easy. Who doesn’t like to travel?

Furthermore, immersing oneself in a new country with a distinct lifestyle offers an incredible opportunity for personal growth and overcoming challenges. Interacting with new people, the challenge of having a new job… All of this helps to broaden horizons and stimulate continuous learning, in addition to being very enjoyable.

So how do I start preparing for my move to Portugal?

Start planning your move in advance. Talk to your whole family before making any decisions. Make savings to guarantee yourself financially for the first few months of your stay, or in the event of an emergency. If you have pets, check all the procedures required to transport your pet. Also, be aware of the process to validate your driver’s license, as depending on your country of origin, you may need to obtain a national driving permit.

If possible, ask for the help of professionals specialized in the subject. Atlantic Bridge’s consultants are ready to advise you on the best course of action. Our experienced team will help you obtain the necessary documents and fill in the forms accurately, avoiding errors and delays in the processing of your visa or Portuguese citizenship application. With specialized support, you will be better prepared to face the challenges of the moving process and ensure a smooth and successful transition to Portugal.

WANT TO MOVE TO PORTUGAL? TALK TO AN EXPERT >

*Silvia Resende is a journalist at Atlantic Bridge. Brazilian (from Bahia), she arrived in Portugal in 2015 to build a new life with her family. She has a Master’s degree in Communication Sciences from the University of Porto. She has worked as a TV presenter, reporter and event producer. As well as being a content creator, she also works as a tour guide in Porto and loves living in Portugal!

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Silvia Resende

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Silvia Resende

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