Interested in moving to Portugal? You’ve come to the right place. From residencies and visas to healthcare and property, we’re covering all the essentials for making the move.
Sat cosily in the corner of South-West Europe, Portugal is a favourite for expats from all over the world – and its popularity is on the rise. Between 2019 and 2020, the number of UK nationals living in Portugal increased by 34.6%.
As well as being a country with a beautiful coastline, charming towns, pulsating cities and lush green hills, Portugal is hailed as being incredibly safe and full of friendly folk.
If you’re planning on taking the trip to Portugal, our dica do dia is to follow along with this article for all you’ll need to know.
Before you pack up and move to Portugal, you’ll need to check if you need a visa. As a member of the European Union, citizens from EU/EFTA nations can stay in Portugal visa-free.
EU nationals can enter the country for three months to look for work or set up a business. Once employed/self-employed, they will receive all the same rights as Portuguese citizens. EU nationals wanting to stay in Portugal for longer than three months will need a registration certificate.
Non-EU/EFTA nationals may need a visa to enter the country. The UK has an agreement with Portugal, permitting its citizens to stay for 90 days without a visa. However, since Brexit, UK nationals will have to apply for a visa to stay in Portugal for longer than three months.
If you’re a Non-EU/EFTA national interested in getting Portuguese residency, you’ll have to apply for a residence permit. These are temporary initially and need to be renewed annually. You can acquire one from the Portuguese Foreigners and Borders Service, known as the SEF.
Once you’ve lived in Portugal for five continuous years, you can apply for permanent residency. After one year of living in Portugal with a permanent residence, the next step is Portuguese citizenship.
Healthcare in Portugal
The healthcare system in Portugal is free and available to all legal residents – including expats. The public health system, known as the National Health Service (Servicio Nacional de Saude, SNS), is managed by the Portuguese Ministry of Health (Ministério de Saúde).
Residents are covered for various types of primary and secondary care. This includes visits to the doctors and hospitals, giving birth, some dental treatment, and specialist care.
The SNS is generally free, however some fees have been added to the public in recent years. The service covers all of mainland Portugal, the only exceptions being regions such as Maderia and Azores. These areas have their own healthcare systems, managed by a central administration.
In addition to the SNS, people living in Portugal may receive healthcare services through other means. Occupation-based, social health insurance schemes are in place for professions like the military and police.
If you don’t qualify for the SNS (you don’t live and work in Portugal) you can buy private health insurance. Even if you are an official Portuguese resident, many expats like to take our private health insurance to reduce waiting times.
Best places to live in Portugal
Pinpointing the best places to live in Portugal is tough. It’s an incredibly varied nation, delivering a range of landscapes and lifestyles.
There’s a real mix of pulsating cities, historic towns and roasting beaches – so it’s all down to personal preference. Here’s a handful of our best places to live in Portugal.
There are few better places to start our list than the Algarve. A haven for expats and retirees, the Algarve has one of the best sunny climates in Europe and is surprisingly affordable considering its popularity.
It’s a large region with many great places to live but we’ve picked out Portimão. True to the Algarve’s reputation, Portimão is glowing with golden coastline and cracking weather. Its shores are dotted with trendy beach cafes and its historic town centre is full of life.
Portimão is quieter and more affordable than other areas of the Algarve and English is widely spoken.
City life at its best, Lisbon delivers the ultimate cosmopolitan experience. Its wonderfully diverse population creates an atmospheric buzz throughout the city. Lisbon is also full of history and culture and is close to glorious beaches too.
It’s also considered a fantastic place to work with great global connections, an abundance of job opportunities and the highest average salary of anywhere in Portugal.
Porto is occasionally overlooked by sun-seeking expats due to its northern location, but that isn’t to say the weather is bad by any means. Cheaper than Lisbon, this historic city is top-of-the-pile for food and wine and is loved by singles and families alike.
Its streets are lined with small, family-owned shops and restaurants and its rough-around-the-edges style gives it heaps of character.
Braga is a wonderful location for anyone after a cheaper and smaller city experience. As one of Portugal’s oldest cities, Braga is up and coming among expats and its affordability has been luring foreigners away from Lisbon and Porto in recent times.
Its historical heart is perfectly contrasted by a bustling, modern nightlife. You also get a taste of every landscape as Braga is less than an hour away from the beach, the mountains and next-door neighbour, Spain.
Property in Portugal
For foreigners, buying property in Portugal is a breeze. There are no restrictions on non-resident purchases, and you can bag a five-year residence permit for buying a property over €500,000.
It’s common for people in Portugal to own their own home, with an estimated 75% of the population acting as their own landlord.
To get a property of your own, you’ll first need a Personal Fiscal Number (Numero fiscal de contribuinte). You can source one from your local tax office or when you open a Portuguese bank account (this happens automatically).
Opening a bank account is not essential but can be massively helpful when transferring and exchanging large sums from abroad, as well as regular payments.
Once you’ve found your perfect property, it’s always a good idea to secure the services of a solicitor. Your solicitor will assess the property for you and help draw up a contract.
The law in Portugal requires you to employ a notary. They will inspect the details of the transaction and the property.
When all of that has gone through smoothly, you’ll sign a contract called a Contrato de Promessa de Compra e Venda. You can now proceed with the transaction.
Send money to Portugal
The process of moving to Portugal can be a stressful experience – and sorting out your money often sits top-of-the-list. If you’re in need of a stress-free way of moving your money, we can help.
At Privalgo, our business is to save you time and money with your exchange. Our world-beating personal service will guide you through the process while our market-leading rates ensure you’re getting the most for your money.
Book a conversation with a Privalgo Currency Specialist for free today and find out how we can take the stress out of your move to Portugal.Book a chat with a Currency Specialist