Moving to Portugal : Complete guide - 2022

In recent years, the Portuguese regions have become increasingly popular and the number of expatriates is growing. They attract more and more tourists from all over the world, which gives this country a good international reputation. Today, Portugal is a very popular country to move to because of its cultural richness, its varied landscapes and its sweet way of life. Unlike some countries in the European Union, the Portuguese administration is very advantageous to expatriates. With that said, how to settle down in this new attractive country ? We will discuss all the steps to take to live in Portugal in this article.
Castle in Sintra

Moving to Portugal: what you need to know before you leave

Even though Portugal is a great place to live, it is still necessary to know some basic Portuguese before leaving your home country. Such a recommendation should not be taken lightly since the Portuguese population does not necessarily master English, especially if you plan to move outside of big cities, like Lisbon or Porto.

Although the average price of a property is lower, the popularity of Lisbon is increasing the pressure on land prices. If you want to live in Portugal, you have to plan for the rent as it represents the main expense, especially in Lisbon. Regarding other expenses, you should know that the standard of living is particularly 20% less expensive than in some other European countries. For example, retired people and young European expatriates can work in Lisbon and live comfortably.

If you would like more information on the cost of renting in Portugal, then contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in your country of expatriation or the Portuguese consulate in your country of origin. These different institutions are able to find the right plans so that you have a property that meets your requirements. The Portuguese Consulate and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of your country of expatriation can give you tips on how to settle down and start a business.

Here are some basic tasks that need to be done by future expatriates wishing to live in Portugal : 

  • Request a NIF, as it will be needed for every procedures in Portugal
  • Go to the town hall and ask for a certificate of civil status
  • Open a bank account in Portugal to better manage your finances
  • If you are retired or self-employed, then you can apply in writing for non-habitual residence
  • etc…

It is also important to note that the status of non-habitual resident is specifically reserved for expatriates who carry out a professional activity. It is an advantageous status that makes expatriates pay 0% tax on foreign income. People working in the public sector cannot benefit from this status. The same applies to expatriates with a so-called value-added activity.

Taxes Taxes

Moving to Portugal: how to get there ?

Any French expatriate wishing to live abroad must complete a few administrative steps. In order to settle for three months in the Portuguese regions, you must request a European registration certificate from your local prefecture or civil status department. To do so, you will need an identity document and a declaration on your honor of your professional activity. In this way, the Portuguese tax authorities will be able to better calculate your income tax based on the taxable bases for expatriates.

In order to circulate freely in the Portuguese regions, French expatriates must exchange their driving license for a new one issued by the Portuguese state. At the same time, it is not necessary to have a visa or a work permit before settling in a main residence in Portugal, as it is a European Union country.

Also, to live in Portugal more than a few months, you will probably need basic things like renting an apartment, opening a bank account or subscribing to health insurance. In order to do so, you will need to request a NIF number, which is the Portuguese taxpayer number, and you can do so even before you come into Portugal, through services that request a NIF on your behalf.

Moving to Portugal: the importance of an international health insurance

In order to live and work abroad (especially in Portugal), it is necessary to have a health insurance policy. Although a work permit is not required, health care is mandatory. This is why the Portuguese administration requires a life insurance policy for European expatriates. This is especially true for long-term residents. Whether you are a young expatriate citizen or a French retiree, health care coverage is mandatory.

Young expatriates working in Portugal are automatically covered by Portuguese social security. Retirees can transfer their French social security rights to the Portuguese administration, along with their non-habitual resident status. To do so, they just need to obtain the social security number and present it before their departure.

Street in Portugal Street in Portugal

Moving to Portugal: what are the advantages of such an expatriation ?

Located 2 hours by air from Paris, the Portuguese region is one of the best destinations for expatriation in the European Union. This is possible because the cost of living in Portugal is lower than in some European countries. In Portuguese cities, the average price of a property is particularly low. This is why Portugal is considered an advantageous destination for foreign retirees and young expatriates. 

In recent years, the Portuguese regions have attracted several startups and entrepreneurs from all over the world. This dynamism in the economic sector is one of the reasons why many European expatriates wish to live in Portugal. Also, this new attractive country now has some advantageous aspects for French expatriate students. The latter can now reside in Portugal on a residence basis while benefiting from social protection.

If Portugal is considered today as a newly attractive country, it is mainly due to its fiscal advantages. Indeed, the income tax of each non-habitual resident is assessed at 20%. Expatriate retirees can also benefit from a total tax exemption for a period of 10 years, provided that they live in Portugal for a minimum of 183 days per year (according to the Portuguese tax administration). Also, moving to Portugal is an advantageous option to avoid double taxation while enjoying a lower standard of living.

Updated at 01-11-2023 by AnchorLess

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