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Portugal: Visas and Housing

Moving to Portugal can be a fascinating experience for expats, even if the economy is still quite vulnerable. As the home of two of the most beautiful and well-known cities of the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal has much more in store for you than the wine and sunshine that made the country famous.
The Algarve is one of the most popular and beautiful parts of the country, both for relocation and travel.

Entry Visas for Portugal

Portugal is part of the borderless inner-European Schengen Area of currently 26 European countries. If you hail from one of the member countries of this area, you won’t need an entry visa for visits or business trips to Portugal that do not exceed three months. If you are not a citizen or resident of a country within the Schengen Area, please check whether or not your country has signed a visa exemption agreement with Portugal.

If neither of the two abovementioned options applies to you, you need to apply for a short-stay visa at the Portuguese mission in your country of origin. The process is fairly uncomplicated and short; along with the visa application and your passport, you need to send proof as to your means of subsistence during your stay as well as an outline of the purpose of your trip to Portugal. Furthermore, you must be in possession of travel insurance and a ticket that ensures your return travel.

If you should decide to skip the fact-finding trip before your actual relocation to Portugal and opt to apply for a temporary stay visa or a residency visa, you will obviously no longer need to apply for a separate entry visa. We have taken a closer look at the purpose, requirements, and application process of both visas mentioned above in our article on working in Portugal.

Pre-Departure Health Tips

Luckily, there is no need to get any special type of vaccination before traveling to Portugal, although people who will be in contact with bats during their stay should get their rabies vaccination refreshed before departure. Also, certain contaminated foods and water can cause hepatitis A, so it would be a good idea to consult your doctor about whether or not you will need this vaccination. The overwhelming majority of expats, however, will not need to take special precaution before taking off to their new life in Europe’s westernmost country — getting your routine vaccinations checked up and renewed, if necessary, will be enough. We have compiled further info on the healthcare infrastructure in the country in our article on living in Portugal.

Finding a Place to Live

Due to an improvement in the Portuguese economy, the prices on the housing market have continued to rise in the past months and years. In the Lisbon Metropolitan Area, housing prices were up by 2.59% in October 2016 compared to that time the previous year.  As there is no limitation as to foreign ownership of Portuguese property, expats could opt to buy housing in Portugal, instead of renting. Obviously, this would only benefit those with long-term plans of staying in the country.

Apartments for rent are easily found via the usual channels such as the internet and local newspapers, for example on websites such as Casa Sapo. However, apartments are often rather scarce in the various parts of Portugal which are most attractive for expats, and are thus much sought-after. Monthly rents are often not exactly cheap for a country with a relatively low — from an EU point of view — per capita income, especially in the two metro regions of the country, but should be manageable for expats. As of December 2017, the average monthly rent for a 45-square-meter furnished studio in a normal area is 504 EUR, and 834 EUR in an expensive area.


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