Relocation Checklist to Settle In Portugal

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Portugal is a country that continues to attract many visitors. Many of whom are expatriates or those looking to settle there. The country is beautiful, the locals are inviting, and the cuisine is wonderful. 

If you are one of those looking to relocate, please read on. We will share a checklist that will be a wonderful reference point in the process.

1. Read Up On the Country

Do take the time to research or read up on the country. Articles such as this can provide some fantastic insights. But, there is a lot to know about Portugal.

Fill up on relevant information that will help you settle in quicker. Learn more about the people, culture, ways and cost of living, housing, and so much more.

2. Residency and Visa Requirements

There are various ways to get residency in Portugal. If you currently live in some European countries, you will not need a visa. The same applies to places like New Zealand, Australia, and the US. They enjoy an exemption due to the visa-free requirement. 

If your country does not fall in this category, then a visa is necessary. The type you get depends on why you are going.

Once you arrive in Portugal, apply for a temporary residence permit. If you stay for five years, they can give you permanent residency.

Simply visit the Portugal consulate in your country to apply. They can reject the application if you have a criminal record. If the authorities had previously evicted you or placed a prohibition on your re-entry, you will not qualify.

Do note that there are other ways to get into the country. One method that isn’t known to all is acquiring European citizenship by investment. It provides a fast method to get a second passport.

Here is what you need to know about the investment program.

  • You must invest some money into a specific project in Portugal. It could be in real estate, capital transfer, or investment funds. The minimum amount is €280,000. After which, you can qualify for the Portugal Golden Visa.
  • The second passport by investment opens up so many opportunities. You can travel freely within Europe. It also allows for the inclusion of family members. 
  • Do seek the services of experts to help if you decide to go the second citizenship by investment route. It could save you a lot of time and headache by letting them handle the processes. 

3. Have the Relevant Documentation

Like traveling to any other country, there are particular documents you must have. These include a passport and driver’s license.

Do find out if you will need to change the driving license to a Portuguese one though. Some EU licenses are acceptable in the country. 

The Department of Foreign Affairs recommends visitors get a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), and other travel insurance. The latter should cover medical evacuation/repatriation and legal costs.

You will also need some documents to open a bank account. This includes the NIF tax number, ID, proof of address, and employment. Opening an account is easy, and most banks offer online application processes. 

Do keep up with checking the site for relevant Covid-related information. As of December 2021, passengers have to show negative Covid tests.  

4. Plan Your Finances

 If you are moving for work purposes, your employer might facilitate things like housing and travel. But, it helps to have a general idea of how much you are likely to spend every month.

Take the example of a couple of suburban areas like Estoril, and Vila Nova de Famalicão. You may spend up to $2,300 per month.

A two-bedroom apartment in such areas will cost about $700. Of course, if you do away with, or cut down on some expenses, you could get by on a lot less. 

Once you know where you are planning to settle, it will become easier for you to calculate. Some cities have tons of ex-pats. Such include Lisbon, Braga, proto, Funchal, and Braga.

Remember, citizenship by investment programs allows you to own real estate. In this case, buying may not be a bad idea. 

5. The Job Market

You may need a source of income. There are tons of job opportunities in Portugal. The country is very welcoming of ex-pats and investors. Social peace and political stability have people running to Portugal to set up businesses.

With a population of slightly over 10 million comprising mainly the aging, the government needs people to settle in the country. The situation is dire due to a low birth rate.

And, the country loses a lot of its workforce due to emigration. If you speak a little Portuguese and native English, you are very employable. 

Do sign up with the tax system if you are planning to work. You can do this at any one of the tax agencies. It is against the law not to declare your income. Also, you are liable to pay taxes if you have been in Portugal for 183 days. 

You may also get some tax breaks by applying for Non-Habitual Residency (NHR). Let’s say you have a second passport, Portugal will not tax any income you receive from the other country. Take the time and research this a little bit more. 

6. Education and Healthcare

If moving with the family, it pays to know about the education system. If you get citizenship, it gives you rights like any other citizen. That means, until the age of 18, your kids will enjoy free access to education.

Of course, like any other country, there is the option of going to private schools that offer either English and American curriculum.  

Once you get permanent residence, you will also have access to the public health system. The government fully pays or subsidizes part of the costs, making it very cheap. Until then, it pays to have private health insurance. 

Final Thoughts

Relocating or settling in Portugal does not have to be a scary process. At least, not if you have a proper checklist. We have looked at health, education, jobs, and the cost of living.

You also know about applying for visas or signing up for citizenship through investment programs.

Please take the time to carry out proper research. It also doesn’t hurt to seek additional information from the professionals. It can save you a lot of time and money by avoiding some relocation mistakes.

Good luck with your move to Portugal. You will love living in this beautiful country. 

Also Read: Tips For Packing When Moving To Another Place!



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