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7 Tips For Living As An Expat In Portugal

The difficulties of being an expat discourage many individuals from taking advantage of the chance to live abroad. Yet, if you’re considering making Portugal your new home, you should know that the benefits of living there as an expat outweigh the drawbacks.

Portugal is a fascinating nation with kind and friendly people, free and high-quality healthcare, tasty cuisine, and pleasant weather all year round. Because of this, it has become a popular destination for expats of all ages and backgrounds.

To help you get started as an expat in Portugal, we’ve compiled a brief introduction to life there, complete with concise explanations of the procedures involved in securing residence and accessing medical treatment. Here are our 7 most important Portuguese tips.

Read here best things to know before visiting Portugal, buying a Madeira sim card, best Portugal sim card for tourist and the best Portuguese food

Tips Living As An Expat In Portugal


Getting a Residency

A resident permit is necessary for foreign nationals who desire to work and remain in Portugal for more than 90 days and is typically issued for a period of one to three years. Your application must be submitted to the nearest Portuguese embassy or consulate. Depending on your reasons for moving to Portugal and the length of time you expect to remain, you may be eligible for a certain form of permit.

          Golden Visa

If you have enough money for a substantial investment in Portugal, you may qualify for a Golden Visa. In exchange for a long-term residence permit and, ultimately, citizenship, the Golden Visa is one of the most desirable visas in the world for those who are not citizens of the European Union.

To meet the conditions for the Portugal golden visa 2024, you need not even be a Portuguese permanent resident. To qualify, you need to be physically present in the nation for a total of 7 days during the first year and 14 days for each of the following years. With this visa, you may bring your family members to join you, and they will be given permanent resident status at the same time you are.

          D7 Visa

Remote workers and digital nomads may use the D7 Retirement or Passive Income Visa. Since 2007, it’s been free. This visa is for non-EU/EEA/Swiss residents of Portugal with a decent passive income – income from real estate, retirement pensions, salaries, etc.

The primary candidate must earn €8,460 per year passively. Add 50% for a spouse and 30% for a dependent child. For a couple with one kid, the D7 visa requires €15,300 a year.

          D2 Visa

Whether you’re a freelancer, entrepreneur, or independent service provider from outside the EU/EEA/Switzerland, the Portugal D2 Visa may be appropriate for you.

This visa helps small and medium-sized firms attract international investment to grow the Portuguese economy. You must submit a business strategy with economic, technical, and cultural significance to apply.

Getting Healthcare

Portugal has excellent healthcare facilities for expats. All Portuguese residents – including expats – receive free and discounted healthcare. The first step is to register with the Institute da Solidariedade to get subsidized healthcare. 

You should register with the institute for social security after arriving and starting employment. After that, you’ll get a social security number. After acquiring the ID number and residency permission, the final step is to visit your local healthcare facility to acquire a user’s healthcare card and start using the state’s medical system.


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Opening a Bank Account

Although it is not mandatory by law for foreign nationals to open a bank account in Portugal, doing so would make life considerably simpler for those who want to move there by streamlining the processes of making tax payments and applying for visas.

A valid picture ID, proof of residence, evidence of work, and an NIF (Número de Identificação Fiscal) issued by the Portuguese tax department are required for opening a bank account in Portugal. You’ll need to go into most of the banks in person. In any instance, you’ll need to fill out some paperwork and put down at least the bare minimum in order to proceed. A few options for foreigners looking to open a bank account in Portugal include novobanco, ABANCA, and CGD.

Buying an Accommodation

It is likely that housing costs will consume most of your cash, however, this may vary widely depending on the area of Portugal to which you ultimately commit. Several different types of real estate are available, from vacant lots to mansions to townhouses to condominiums to luxury villas.

Properties in Cascais, Lisbon South Bay, and the Algarve are more expensive than those in inland areas because of their proximity to the coast. Buying a parcel of land in Portugal’s low-population heartland may cost as little as €40,000.00. However, this is dependent upon your specific needs for your ideal Portuguese property and the present situation of the Portuguese real estate market.

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Getting a Car

You’d be mistaken to believe that life in Portugal is manageable without a car. It might be, but then you wouldn’t get to see this wonderful nation with all its wonders, mysteries, and historic sites. Having a car is useful, even if just for getting around on a daily basis. Renting a vehicle in Portugal is a cheap option for a shorter period of time. If you want to save money, you should book it online in advance.

Food is so delicious

Traditional Portuguese food emphasize seafood, meat, olive oil, bread, tomato, herbs, and spices and may be found all around the country. The flavors are light and healthy. To wash it down, there are plenty of local wines and beverages to choose from.

Read here vegetarian food in Portugalfruits in Portugal and best breakfast in Portugal

Learning Language

Is learning Portuguese too much of a stretch for you? Even if you don’t know Portuguese, you may still live in Portugal, but you’ll miss out on a lot of the country’s charm. Thankfully, you can count on the Portuguese to lend a hand. It is nothing new for them to have guests from other countries or to live in a foreign country themselves.

They understand that there aren’t too many native Portuguese speakers in Europe, so they’ll likely need to learn your language to communicate. Watching movies and TV shows, chatting in cafes, reading packing labels, and switching your phone’s language settings are all great alternatives to taking a formal course in Portuguese.

Living As An Expat In Portugal: 6 Important Tips To Remember

It’s simpler to make the transition to a new country if you know you’re going to a place with plenty of opportunities and advantages. Those thinking about moving to Portugal as expats should rest easy knowing the country caters to a diverse population. This place has everything you could want, whether you like the hustle and bustle of a big metropolis or the peace and quiet of a little seaside village.

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Dirk Driedger

Tuesday 11th of July 2023

I have been living in Portugal (Algarve) for 6 years and the Portuguese state health care is terrible. People wait for many months for medical appointments, medical tests and surgery. I have private health care, and I can only recommend this as a necessity to improve on medical treatment times.

Ruben Arribas

Tuesday 11th of July 2023

Thanks Dirk! Private for sure its always better of course depends on when you are comparing but yeah I understand what you mean :)


Tuesday 11th of July 2023

I would consider updating this post. Portuguese officials are clamping down on digital nomads using the D7, since that’s a passive income visa primarily aimed at retirees. The new D8 visa, with much higher minimum income requirements (about €3,000 per month) is the way Portugal expects digi nomads to apply. I know, because I’m involved in the process.

Ruben Arribas

Tuesday 11th of July 2023

Thanks Jeff, I will be updating soon! Good luck with the process hope you get it :)