Relocating to Portugal: After a while of living in a foreign country, it begins to feel less foreign.
Suddenly, for the first time, you hear yourself refer to it as home, which can be surprising at times. This is a crucial point in the life of any expat, when you truly feel at home in your new country.
From this vantage point, it can be difficult to recall how we felt before we moved, the doubts and fears that plague anyone considering relocating. However, because there have been so many people who have gone before us, the steps are quite clear.
Depending on your nationality, the length of your stay, and the reason for your visit, you may require a visa or be able to travel freely in Portugal with just your identity card.
If you are arriving from the EU/EEA/Swiss, also known as the Schengen Area, you will be able to enter the country without a visa, with the same rights as all other EU citizens – if you intend to stay longer than three months, you will need to request a registration certificate.
The D7 visa works for anyone who can demonstrate that they have a monthly income sufficient to support their lifestyle and are not financially dependent on the Portuguese government. This can take the form of pension payments, income from remote work and freelance work, or any other type of passive income.
If you do not intend on retiring, another option for relocating to Portugal is the D2 visa. It which allows anyone to come to Portugal to start a small to medium-sized business. You would need to provide proof that the business is viable. Plus ou need to have at least €5000 in start-up capital. You can also bring any dependents with this visa.
If neither of these options is appropriate for your situation, the ‘Golden Visa’ may be more appropriate. This necessitates a substantial investment in Portugal, typically through the purchase of real estate. Donating or transferring funds is also acceptable, as is establishing a company employing at least 5 people.
After you’ve determined what you need to do to get your relocation started, you’ll need to decide where you want to live. Although Portugal is not a large country, there is a significant difference in weather between the north and south. And, while it is a reasonably priced place to live, property prices vary greatly depending on location.
Property in urban areas such as Lisbon and Porto will cost much more. Popular holiday destinations such as the Algarve will cost even more. However, further afield, there are attractive country properties to be had for far less than you might expect, and in a compact destination like this, you’re never far from the cultural centers.
The NIF (Nero de Identificaço Fiscal or Nero de Contribuinte) is a tax identification number necessary for all transactions in the country. If you are relocating to Portugal, obtaining this should be your first priority upon arrival. You’ll need it to open a bank account and purchase the property. You can obtain NIFs from your local tax authority.
These days, opening a bank account in a new location is as simple as going to the branch office. With a few relevant documents and a minimum deposit, you’re good to go.
However, if your financial situation is more complicated – for example, if you receive pension income or have significant assets outside of the country – there may be more complicated issues to consider, such as tax liability. This, combined with the possibility of a language barrier, can lead to misunderstandings and additional costs on your part.
You can put yourself in the best financial position for your new life in Portugal by speaking with a qualified, independent financial advisor. You may discover, for example, that you are no longer eligible to invest in the types of funds you previously did, or that there are complexities in the double taxation laws on assets you hold elsewhere. It is always a good idea to consult with professionals.
Healthcare is critical to feeling at ease in your new home. The good news is that anyone registered as a resident can register to use the Portuguese national health service (SNS) in the same way that a Portuguese citizen can. Even if you intend to have private health insurance, it’s a good idea to check this off your to-do list.