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A Comprehensive Guide on Moving to Portugal

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  • Gustavo De faz

    The quality of InterNations' members convinced me to join. And I've indeed received a very warm welcome from fellow Lisbon expats..

Have a look at our all-hands guide on how to move to Portugal. Our sections cover every step of the relocation process: from getting a visa to finding housing, schools, handling your finances, and more. For each of these sections, we cover all things to know when relocating. So, is it easy or hard to move to Portugal? This will mostly depend on how much time you have to plan your relocation. However, even if you are diligent with your research, it’s safe to say dealing with government bureaucracy is almost always challenging.

So why move to Portugal? The country’s friendly attitude, relaxing beaches, and growing city centers will make it worth your while. These are only a few of the benefits of going to Portugal. As most countries in Europe, you can expect free healthcare and education systems, appealing social security benefits for anyone who pays taxes, and the possibility of enjoying the same rights all around Europe if you stay in Portugal long enough.

Whether you prefer the quiet countryside, flourishing city centers, or anywhere in between, you will find the perfect spot in Portugal.

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All You Need to Know About Relocating Your Household Goods and Pets

The process of relocating to Portugal is relatively easy if you follow the country’s customs rules, especially when coming from outside of Europe. Not doing so could mean your belongings end up being held at customs, which will require a good deal of persistence to get them back. You will need a Certificado de Bagagem (luggage certificate) from the Portuguese consulate or diplomatic mission, and a complete inventory of your possessions. Your items must arrive no later than 90 days after you enter the country.

Given the country’s geographic location, you may have a full range of options for shipping your household goods to Portugal—air freight, road, or sea. Choosing which one best suits you depends on your needs. Air freight is fast but expensive. Sea freight is slow but affordable. Road freight is right there in between, relatively fast and relatively cheap.

Storing your household goods in Portugal may need some preparation. There are not many storage companies in the country, but you are sure to find something close to your area if you do an online search. The biggest companies are open all year long, 24 hours a day. Beware that you will not find prices online for most companies, nor be able to book online—you may have to email or call the company beforehand to request their services.

If you are moving to Portugal with pets, you should know Portuguese law is fairly relaxed. Your four-legged friend should be vaccinated against rabies, which means it must be at least three months old. However, for breeds which are considered dangerous, you may need a special permit and a signed liability term.

As for your own vaccinations required for Portugal, no special precautions are needed. Having your routine vaccines up to date is enough, but as always, check with your doctor before leaving to know of any specific vaccines that could be beneficial for you.

Read our complete guide on relocating to Portugal

The Guide to Visa Types and Work Permit Requirements

Find out how to get a Portuguese visa and work permit as a foreign citizen. If you are an EU citizen, you are in luck—you can enter Portugal freely and only need to register in the country after three months.

The Portuguese visa application process takes place in your current country of residence, at the Portuguese embassy, diplomatic mission, or consular post. Do keep in mind, these processes are not very organized. You may be surprised to see that you are missing one or two documents even after being provided a full list of visa requirements for Portugal by your own embassy. When in doubt about any required document, research online, and contact the embassy or consular offices by phone or email well in advance.

There are different Portuguese visa types—which one you get will depend on your purpose for being in the country. You can ask for a visa for work, investment, study, family reunion, among others. Most Portuguese visas cost around 80 EUR (88 USD). Keep in mind, you need to pay for your residence card as well, which is about the same amount. Investment visas are considerably more expensive, at around 500 EUR (550 USD), plus 5,300 EUR (5,800 USD) for the residence card.

Read our complete guide on visas & work permits in Portugal

Everything You Need to Know About Finding a New Home

Finding accommodation in Portugal will not be an easy task, especially in the busy cities of Lisbon and Porto. In this section, we explain how to rent a house or apartment in this small European country.

Unfortunately, average rent is almost the same as the average salary, forcing both locals and expats to share accommodation. That also means the most affordable apartments and houses disappear fast. Even if you earn a good salary, you should expect rent to take up a significant part of your expenses.

In this section, we also cover everything you will need to know on how to buy a house in Portugal as a foreigner. We show you what housing in Portugal is like, from the different types of houses you can find to average house prices. As with most countries, prices will vary significantly if you wish to live in a big city or surrounding areas, or in the countryside.

Setting up utilities in Portugal should also be relatively easy. You can contact most utility companies online, and have them set up within a few days to a week. Some electricity companies have apps available, so you can send the exact count on your meter and not have to pay a cent extra.

Read our complete guide on housing in Portugal

Health Insurance and the Healthcare System of Portugal Explained

Find out how the healthcare system and health insurance in Portugal works. The Portuguese public healthcare system is free for resident taxpayers. It is high quality too, just not very speedy. Expect waiting times for just about everything: registering to see family doctors, seeing specialists, elective surgery, and so on. Between visiting your family doctor, getting a request for a medical exam, receiving the results, and taking it back to your family doctor or specialist, you could wait several months to years, depending on the specialty. For that reason, many people choose to take out private health insurance in Portugal, which is relatively affordable.

Read on to know what to expect when giving birth in Portugal and how to find a doctor in the country, in both the public and private healthcare systems. For private doctors, a quick online search for hospitals and clinics should suffice—just make sure the doctor or center is part of your insurer’s network of partners. For public healthcare, you will have to register with the city hall before going to the local health center, and for the busiest ones, you may be placed on a waiting list.

Read our complete guide on insurance & healthcare in Portugal

Connect with like-minded expatriates

Discover our welcoming community of expats! You’ll find many ways to network, socialize, and make new friends. Attend online and in-person events that bring global minds together.

May 26, 2024, 9:30 AM
28 attendees
Join us for a Hiking Day to explore the North of Portugal border to Spain, from Caminha to Guarda The itinerary is Caminha-Guarda (19km), which also includes part of Santiago's walk along the coast w
May 26, 2024, 4:00 PM
1 attendee
Wong Kar Wai's famous romance featuring Hong Kong
May 27, 2024, 7:30 PM
9 attendees
Come along for an evening of New Orleans Jazz by The Dixie Kings at the Tivoli Hotel in Lagos Western Algarve. Happy hour drinks in the Aroma Bar 6.30p.m. to 7.30p.m. Jazz from 8.30p.m. Relax and lis
Jun 2, 2024, 10:30 AM
18 attendees
A unique experience where you can contemplate a beautiful landscape from a different perspective, the kayak! Day trip, the itinerary is Melres - Crestuma (12km) Program: 9h30 - Meeting point – Cam

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  • Gustavo De faz

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