Portugal, known for its stunning coastline, rich history, and warm climate, is an increasingly popular destination for expats and digital nomads. Whether you’re moving for work, retirement, or a change of scenery, here’s a comprehensive guide to help you navigate the process.

  1. Visa and Residency Requirements

Short-Term Stays (Up to 90 Days)

  • Tourist Visa: Citizens from the EU, US, Canada, Australia, and many other countries can enter Portugal without a visa for up to 90 days.
  • Schengen Visa: If you’re not from a visa-exempt country, you’ll need a Schengen visa for short stays.

Temporary Stay National Visas

  • Temporary Visa: For stays up to one year.  It allows multiple entries, meaning that you can leave the country for short periods. The types of Temporary Stay visas are the following:
  • Temporary work visa.
  • Study Visa.
  • Professional training, internship or volunteering visa.
  • Medical treatment visa.
  • Youth mobility visa.
  • Religious purposes visa.
  • Pursue sports activity.

Long-Term Stays

  • Also known as Residency Visas, for stays of over one year, which are the following:
  • D1 Visa: For individuals with a job offer from a Portuguese employer.
  • D2 Visa: Suitable for entrepreneurs and freelancers.
  • D3 Visa: Best option of highly skilled workers.
  • D4 Visa: Study Visa for all educational levels from secondary school upwards, study exchange, internship or voluntary service
  • D5 Visa: Suitable for Higher education programs for students already residing in Portugal
  • D6 Visa: The family reunion visa.
  • D7 Visa: Ideal for retirees and those with passive income.
  • Golden Visa: For significant investment in Portugal (e.g., real estate or business).
  • Digital Nomad Visa: For remote workers.

Residency and Citizenship in Portugal

After five continuous years of living in Portugal, you can apply for permanent residence in Portugal. You can also apply for Portuguese citizenship after five years of legal residence in Portugal. Citizenship applications can be made earlier in certain circumstances, for example, if you are married to a Portuguese citizen.

  1. Finding Accommodation
  • Renting: A diverse range of rental options can be found on popular websites such as Idealista, OLX, Imovirtual and Casa Sapo.
  • Buying Property: More straightforward for EU citizens. Non-EU citizens may face additional requirements and it is advisable to hire the assistance of an experience Real Estate Lawyer.

Key Areas:

  • Lisbon: Capital city with vibrant culture and gastronomic scene.
  • Porto: Known for its historic center, local people and wine.
  • Algarve: Popular with retirees for its beaches and golf courses.
  • Madeira and Azores: Ideal for those seeking a quieter island life.
  1. Cost of Living
  • Housing: Varies significantly by region. Lisbon is more expensive than Porto, with medium of 21,6 €/m2.
  • Utilities: Electricity, water, and gas are considered relatively affordable.
  • Groceries and Dining: Generally cheaper than in many Western countries.
  • Transportation: Public transport is efficient and affordable.
  1. Healthcare
  • Public Healthcare: Available to residents. Quality is generally high, though wait times can be long. They offer free medical care for both citizens and residents in Portugal.
  • Private Healthcare: Faster service and access to more specialized medical areas, with many expats and even locals opting for private health insurance. Health insurance policies in Portugal provide packages to your circumstances, offering a variety of coverage and prices that tend to be much cheaper than other countries.

Health Insurance:

  • EU citizens can use the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) temporarily.
  • Non-EU citizens must have health insurance as part of their visa requirements.
  1. Education
  • Public Schools: Free for all residents.
  • Private and International Schools: Offer curricula in English, French, and other languages. Popular choices for expat and bilingual families.
  1. Language
  • Portuguese: The official language. Learning basics is highly recommended.
  • English: Widely spoken in touristic areas and among younger generations.
  • Other languages: Rarely spoken by the locals.
  1. Culture and Lifestyle
  • Social Etiquette: Friendly and informal. Family-oriented society.
  • Cuisine: Famous for seafood, pastries (like Pastéis de Nata), and wines (especially Port wine).
  • Festivals: Numerous local festivals, including Carnival, Santo António in Lisbon and São João in Porto.
  1. Financial Considerations

Banking: Many international banks operate in Portugal. Opening a local bank account is straightforward.


If you are in Portugal for more than 183 days in a single calendar year, you will typically be considered a Portuguese tax resident and will have to pay taxes in the country.

Income tax rates vary, from 14,5% to 48%, depending on your personal and professional situation.  However, Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) scheme offers tax benefits for expats. High advisable to consult a Tax Lawyer if you have different streams of income.

Driving:  Driving licenses from countries such as Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, the United Kingdom and Switzerland, among other members of the OECD and CPLP, allow you to drive in Portugal without having to exchange them for a Portuguese driving license.

If your driving license is from a European Union country, you can drive in Portugal until it expires.

If your license is from a country with a bilateral agreement with Portugal, you have up to 2 years to exchange it for a Portuguese license. However, if the license was issued by a country that does not adhere to the international conventions, you must exchange it immediately.


Moving to Portugal can be a rewarding experience with its welcoming culture, beautiful landscapes, and high quality of life. With proper planning and understanding of the requirements, your transition can be smooth and enjoyable.

For more specific information or personalized advice, consider consulting with an experienced immigration lawyer.

Best of lucks with your move! We look forward to having you here!

Start typing and press Enter to search