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Our guidelines on moving and living in Portugal

Moving and living in Portugal offers real advantages. Portugal has one of the best climates in Europe with an amazing sunshine, mild winters and summers that are cool. Another advantage is the security which is something often highly appreciated by new expatriates.

In addition, the cost of living which is well below the majority of EU countries is also a major factor in deciding to settle in Portugal. All these, combined with a very low tax rate for new expatriates have made Portugal become an important destination for foreigners.

Here are more tips and guidelines for settling down in Portugal.

"I saw Portugal as a real estate opportunity; I now realize it's much more than that. I bought an apartment two years ago but I come here very regularly for holidays or just a weekend. The diversity of the regions is remarkable."
Hervé, 39 years old

It’s the leading country in the world providing the most satisfaction for expatriates in 2017 as per the Expat Insider survey by Internations (13,000 expatriates surveyed in 188 countries). The factors studied were many (approximately 43 factors): among other things, Portugal is preferred for its hospitality, security, quality of care, well-being, ease of settling, and low taxation system for expatriates.

Other top rated countries after Portugal include Taiwan, Mexico, Cambodia, and Bahrain.

Portugal is cheapest country in Western Europe and among the cheapest in Europe, competing mainly with the Eastern European countries.

With a gross minimum wage of 580 Euros per month, consumer indices are extremely competitive.

By moving to Portugal, you will increase your purchasing power for the goods and services by:
+ 12% if you live in Spain
+ 27% if you live in France
+ 28% if you live in Belgium
+ 39% if you live in Luxembourg
+ 73% if you live in Switzerland

Portugal is the 3rd safest country in the world (2017 Global Peace Index) after New Zealand and Iceland. There are low risk of attacks, few serious crime, more social peace, and political stability. This survey is conducted annually in 163 countries.

The Portuguese health system is ranked as the 12th most efficient health service in the world. If you are retired, you do not lose your rights to your original health system (in the European Union). If you are an employee in Portugal, you are affiliated to the Portuguese health organization. It can be useful to subscribe to supplementary health insurance because waiting times for healthcare can vary from few weeks to some months.

Life in Portugal

Life in Portugal: The first areas of reflection.

In recent years, Portugal has been hailed as an expatriate country. These steps are important for those who have decided to take the plunge:

Preparing for your move

Are you ready to move to Portugal? Here are some of the things you need to prepare. However, it should be noted that this list is not exhaustive.
  • Finding a house in Portugal. You can initially stay in a furnished apartment for a short-term renting but once you decide to become a resident, you will have to find a long-term rental home or buy a primary residence. The rental market is virtually non-existent in Portugal, even in Lisbon. This trend often forces one to buy a property. Therefore, the choice of the investment is appropriate at the moment because the value of the property is increasing. This makes it an interesting financial deal. The choice of location will largely depend on your budget. For more on this topic, visit Portugal's Real Estate Portuguese website: https://www.maison-au-portugal.com/Immobilier-au-portugal/
  • Know your tax residence There certainly is a non-taxation agreement between your country and Portugal. Check with your tax office or a tax advisor.
  • Declare the change of residence with public and private organizations. Remember to declare your change of residence (pension, health insurance fund, tax office, insurance, banks.)
  • Car and driving license. If you change your residence and country, you will be required to register your vehicle in your new residence. You will need to make a customs declaration. The licences have equivalences at the European level but you have to follow certain procedures.
  • Matrimonial regime and marriage life. Cohabitation does exist in Portugal but the legal concept and its implications are different. The Civil Solidarity Pact does not exist. The matrimonial regime may have different consequences depending on things like the length of your marriage contract and your residence in the past 10 years. It is important to consult a specialist so that you can ask the right questions.
  • Choosing your succession plan. As of August 17, 2015, the European Union rules for succession states that the country of residence of the deceased applies for the succession laws (division of property) unless a person declares that he he/she wishes to retain the succession law of his nationality.

Arrival formalities

  • Apply for your residence permit with the Foreigners and Boarders Service which is the competent public body that you must inform. Delegations of authority are available at the Town Hall.
  • Apply for your NIF (tax identification number) which is necessary for any transaction in Portugal (opening a bank account, subscribing to an energy, or telecom contract, etc.)
  • Register with the Portuguese Health Services SNS (https://www.sns.gov.pt/). You can do this with the "Citizen's Bureau": https://www.portaldocidadao.pt/
  • Register your vehicles and get an insurance policy. This is important because there is a car tax in Portugal. Get information beforehand.
  • Learn Portuguese. Even if it is not absolutely necessary in the Algarve, Porto or Lisbon where you will easily find a cosmopolitan population, we strongly recommend taking few conversation classes for a successful integration. The Portuguese are multilingual people but they will appreciate that you taken this step.
  • How to make friends on the spot? The Portuguese are welcoming but reserved. You will need to learn more about them. In the main cities, there are many Francophone host associations that focus on expatriates. Feel free to contact them. They serve as a very good starting point for your social life!
  • Have fun living in Portugal!

Good to Know

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