Suddenly, for the first time you hear yourself refer to it out loud as home, which can sometimes come as a bit of a surprise. This is an important moment in the life of any expat, when you truly feel like you have arrived in your new home country. From this settled vantagepoint, it can be difficult to remember just how it felt before we made the move, the doubts and fears that beset anyone intent on relocating. But it’s a well-trodden path with so many going before us the steps are quite clear and help is at hand.
Depending on your nationality, how long you intend to stay and the reason for your arrival in the first place; you may find you need a visa of some sort or are perhaps able to travel freely with just your identity card.
If you are arriving from the EU/EEA/Swiss or also referred to as the Schengen Area, you will be able to enter the country without a visa, enjoying the same rights as all other EU citizens – if you intend to stay more than 3 months however, you will need to request a registration certificate.
Without EU/EEA citizenship there are a number of different options open to you. The D7 visa is granted to anyone who can prove that they have a monthly income that supports their lifestyle and is not dependant on the Portuguese Government. This can be in the form of pension payments, income from remote working and freelance, or any other type of passive income. It’s not without reason that this is known as the ‘retirement visa’ – a simple, stress free way of relocating.
If you are not yet of retirement age, another option could be the D2 visa – this enables anyone to come to Portugal to set up a small to medium sized business. You would need to include proof that the business is viable and have start-up capital of at least €5000. This visa also allows you to bring along any dependents.
If neither of these options fits your situation, the ‘Golden Visa’ may be more suitable to your needs. This requires that you make a substantial investment in Portugal, usually through buying property, but donating or transferring money is equally as acceptable – as is setting up a company that employs at least 5 people.
Having clarified what, you need to do to in order to set your relocation in motion, next you need to decide where you would like to live. Although Portugal isn’t a large country, there’s a great deal of difference between the north and south, certainly in terms of weather. And although it’s a relatively inexpensive place to live, property prices can vary wildly depending on location. You can expect to pay a lot more for property in the urban centres such as Lisbon and Porto, and naturally the popular holiday destinations like the Algarve come at a premium. But further afield there are handsome country properties to be had for far less than you might expect; and in a compact destination like this, you’re never too far away from the cultural centres.
Portuguese tax number
The NIF (Número de Identificação Fiscal or Número de Contribuinte) is a tax identification number that is necessary to make any sort of transaction in the country. Obtaining this should be your very first step on arrival as it’s needed to open a bank account and to buy a property. NIF’s can be obtained at your local tax authority office.
These days there’s really not much to setting up a bank account in a new location, a trip to the branch office with a few relevant documents and a minimum deposit, then you’re all set. But if your financial affairs are more complex - maybe you are receiving pension income or have significant assets outside of the country - then there can be trickier issues such as tax liability to consider. This combined with the potential language barrier can lead to misunderstandings and more expense on your behalf.
By speaking with a qualified, independent financial advisor who really knows the local market, you put yourself in the best possible financial position for your new life in Portugal. You may find for example that you are no longer eligible to invest in the type of funds that you used to, or there may be intricacies in the double taxation laws on assets you hold elsewhere. Speaking to the professionals is always wise in this situation.
Key to feeling at ease in your new home is healthcare, knowing that you are covered should anything happen is a real blessing. The good news here is that anyone registered as a resident can also register to access the Portuguese national health service (SNS) on the same basis as a Portuguese citizen. Even if you intend to have private health cover, it’s prudent to make sure that this is ticked off your to-do list.