MARROM-STONE specializes in advising clients on global investments for residence & citizenship. We ensure that our clients choose the best possible investment to achieve their global mobility requirements. With a passion for helping individuals & families secure their future and enhance their freedom. Find out all the necessary steps to move to Portugal in this comprehensive guide.
So why move to Portugal? The country’s friendly attitude, relaxing beaches, and growing city centers will make it worth your while. These are only a few of the benefits of going to Portugal. As most countries in Europe, you can expect free healthcare and education systems, appealing social security benefits for anyone who pays taxes, and the possibility of enjoying the same rights all around Europe if you stay in Portugal long enough.
Whether you prefer the quiet countryside, flourishing city centers, or anywhere in between, you will find the perfect spot in Portugal.
The process of relocating to Portugal is relatively easy if you follow the country’s customs rules, especially when coming from outside of Europe. Not doing so could mean your belongings end up being held at customs, which will require a good deal of persistence to get them back. You will need a Certificado de Bagagem (luggage certificate) from the Portuguese consulate or diplomatic mission, and a complete inventory of your possessions. Your items must arrive no later than 90 days after you enter the country.
Given the country’s geographic location, you may have a full range of options for shipping your household goods to Portugal—air freight, road, or sea. Choosing which one best suits you depends on your needs. Air freight is fast but expensive. Sea freight is slow but affordable. Road freight is right there in between, relatively fast and relatively cheap.
Storing your household goods in Portugal may need some preparation. There are not many storage companies in the country, but you are sure to find something close to your area if you do an online search. The biggest companies are open all year long, 24 hours a day. Beware that you will not find prices online for most companies, nor be able to book online—you may have to email or call the company beforehand to request their services.
If you are moving to Portugal with pets, you should know Portuguese law is fairly relaxed. Your four-legged friend should be vaccinated against rabies, which means it must be at least three months old. However, for breeds which are considered dangerous, you may need a special permit and a signed liability term.
As for your own vaccinations required for Portugal, no special precautions are needed. Having your routine vaccines up to date is enough, but as always, check with your doctor before leaving to know of any specific vaccines that could be beneficial for you.
Visas & Work Permits
Find out how to get a Portuguese visa and work permit as a foreign citizen. If you are an EU citizen, you are in luck—you can enter Portugal freely and only need to register in the country after three months.
The Portuguese visa application process takes place in your current country of residence, at the Portuguese embassy, diplomatic mission, or consular post. Do keep in mind, these processes are not very organized. You may be surprised to see that you are missing one or two documents even after being provided a full list of visa requirements for Portugal by your own embassy. When in doubt about any required document, research online, and contact the embassy or consular offices by phone or email well in advance.
There are different Portuguese visa types—which one you get will depend on your purpose for being in the country. You can ask for a visa for work, investment, study, family reunion, among others. Most Portuguese visas cost around 80 EUR (88 USD). Keep in mind, you need to pay for your residence card as well, which is about the same amount. Investment visas are considerably more expensive, at around 500 EUR (550 USD), plus 5,300 EUR (5,800 USD) for the residence card.
The Guide to Visa Types and Work Permit Requirements
EU residents will not need a visa to move to Portugal, but residents from all other countries will. There are several types of Portuguese visas which depend on the purpose of your stay, such as work visas and permits, self-employment visas, or visas for family reunification. For instance, you can apply for an EU blue card if you want a skilled-worker visa. Non-EU nationals must request a residence permit after arriving in the country and can apply for permanent residency after five years.
To apply for a Portuguese visa, you should first find out if you need one. EU citizens are not required to get a visa or permit, but still need to register with local authorities. Non-EU citizens will typically need a visa to enter the country and apply for a temporary residence permit once there.
All visa applications and processes are carried out by SEF, Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras, so get acquainted with them as you will need to contact them for all purposes related to your temporary or permanent residence permits. As of 2019, you can apply for visas online via their electronic platform, and schedule appointments to handle processes for residence permits.
Most Portuguese visa and permit requirements are relatively straightforward, and you can find all the information you need on official government websites. Just keep in mind that submitting documents in foreign languages requires presenting a notarized Portuguese translation as well.
Visas will cost around 80 EUR (88 USD) in most cases. You will also need to add the costs of residence permits, which are around the same amount. Fees for visas and residence permits in Portugal for investment purposes are by far the costliest, at around 500 and 5,000 EUR (550–5,500 USD), respectively.
Work Permits and Employment-Based Visas
Obtaining a work permit and employment visa is the first main step of your relocation to Portugal. If you are a national of the EU/EEA or Switzerland, you will not need a visa to enter the country—you simply need your national identity card. All other citizens from third countries will need to apply for a visa to enter Portugal.
In general, obtaining a visa for Portugal is not too difficult—the country is known as the gateway to Europe for a reason.
In this section, we focus on work and employment-based visas, so read on to learn about the requirements and application process. Temporary residence visas are covered further in this guide.
Portuguese Work Visas and Requirements
The exact way of applying for a visa depends on your nationality and the purpose of your stay. Typically, you will need to apply for a visa to obtain an authorization of residence, visto para obtenção de autorização de residência. This visa is valid for four months. Within that timeframe, you should enter the country (you are allowed two entries) and apply for a residence permit with SEF, the Portuguese Immigration and Border Services.
Types of Visas
Here are the different types of work visas you can request for moving to Portugal:
- residence visa for employees (including sports activities)
- residence visa for independent work
- residence visa for entrepreneurs
- residence visa for highly skilled workers, teachers, or artistic performers
To apply for a visa, you must go to a Portuguese diplomatic mission or consular post abroad. Know where to apply for a visa based on your nationality or current place of residence. Alternatively, you can begin your application process online at SAPA Portal, the automatic pre-scheduling system.
You will need to meet the following requirements:
- not been convicted of a crime
- not been prohibited to enter Portuguese territory
- have no indication of non-admission in the Schengen information system
- have no indication of non-admission in SEF’s information system
- be absent of any requirement that might disqualify you for a visa
You will need to present the following documents:
- Portuguese visa application form (available in both Portuguese and English)
- passport valid for at least three months longer than the duration of your stay
- two passport-sized photos
- valid travel insurance
- proof of your legal stay if applying from a country other than your country of origin
- proof of having sufficient means to support yourself during your stay, or a term of responsibility signed by a Portuguese citizen or resident
For employment visas, you will also need:
- a signed work contract (or promise of work), or a manifestation of interest by an employer;
- a declaration by the Instituto de Emprego e Formação Profissional (IEFP), the Portuguese Employment and Professional Training Institute;
- proof of your qualifications for the job.
Bureaucratic processes carried out in Portugal are known to be slow and sometimes incongruent. Often, this is the most frustrating aspect of immigrating to Portugal.
For example, you may be asked to show a plane ticket or a flight itinerary from a travel agency when applying for your visa, which is often not included in the list of requirements. This is so the embassy knows the exact period for which to issue your visa. To be safe, it is best to ask about all the requirements that apply to you, by emailing or calling the Portuguese embassy and diplomatic mission of your place of residence beforehand.
New Changes Have Streamlined the Immigration Process
Some recent changes to Portuguese immigration processes will make it easier to apply for residence or renew your stay:
- You are no longer required to have a criminal record certificate before applying at SEF. On the day of your appointment, you simply need to give SEF permission to access your registration so no need to go to the Portuguese criminal record services beforehand. (Please keep in mind this may not be true for all citizens entering from outside the EU.)
- You will be scheduled an appointment with SEF automatically when applying for a visa. You just need to inform your consulate or embassy of the date you plan on traveling to Portugal.
- You will be able to make an appointment with any SEF directorate or regional delegation, regardless of your area of residence.
- SEF will reuse documents already in their possession, avoiding unnecessary visits to SEF offices.
- You can renew your residence permit or request an extension of stay entirely online if you register at SEF Portal in MySEF.
- Immigrants who cannot prove their legal entrance into Portugal can still have their immigration status regularized through the exceptional regime for humanitarian reasons. They must meet all the requirements of eligibility established by law and have been working in Portugal for over a year while making contributions to social security.
All documents written in a foreign language must be accompanied by a notarized translation in Portuguese.
How Much Do Portuguese Work Visas Cost?
Submitting a request for a long-term work visa costs 83 EUR (91 USD). The issuance of the residence permit for this type of visa costs 72 EUR (79 USD).
If you wish to apply for an EU Blue Card, this will cost 107 EUR (117 USD), to which you would add 100 EUR (110 USD) for the residence permit once the visa is approved.
You may have to pay 17 EUR (18 USD) for photocopies of certificates or other documents.
Business Visa in Portugal
If you need a shorter visa for business, you can request a business visa for the following purposes: seasonal work, independent work, highly qualified activities (such as researching, lecturing, etc.), employee transfers between headquarters or offices (must have been working for the company for at least one year).
To apply for this visa, you must go to the consular post and apply with the documents mentioned above. Alternatively, you can apply online through the SAPA Portal.
Family Visas: When You are Moving with Family
A foreign citizen who holds a valid residence permit in Portugal has the right to family reunification. This includes spouses or partners under common-law marriage, minor or disabled children under the couple’s or spouse’s care, minor adoptive children, children of age who are single and studying at a Portuguese education institute, minor siblings, and parents who are under the resident’s or spouse’s care.
The family’s, spouse’s, or fiancé’s visa process starts with the resident submitting a request for family reunification with SEF.
Required Documents to Submit
You will need:
- Proof that you have the right to family reunification (e.g. a residence permit in Portugal or an EU blue card)
- Proof of having entered Portugal legally, such as a visa
- Proof of the family ties (e.g. marriage certificate, birth or adoption certificate, etc.)
- The family members’ or spouse’s IDs, and copies
- Two passport-size photographs with a white background, if applying at the SEF office in Odivelas, Aveiro, or Braga
- The resident’s ID or passport
- Proof of accommodation
- Proof of sufficient financial means to support the family
- Permission for SEF to access the family members’ criminal record in Portugal
- The family members’ criminal record from the country where they have lived in the past year
All documents in a foreign language need an official translation to Portuguese. This is done at a Portuguese notary, your country’s consulate in Portugal, or a Portuguese consulate abroad.
Once this request has been approved, the spouse or family members may submit their request for a residence visa at a Portuguese consular post.
Finding accommodation in Portugal will not be an easy task, especially in the busy cities of Lisbon and Porto. In this section, we explain how to rent a house or apartment in this small European country.
Unfortunately, average rent is almost the same as the average salary, forcing both locals and expats to share accommodation. That also means the most affordable apartments and houses disappear fast. Even if you earn a good salary, you should expect rent to take up a significant part of your expenses.
In this section, we also cover everything you will need to know on how to buy a house in Portugal as a foreigner. We show you what housing in Portugal is like, from the different types of houses you can find to average house prices. As with most countries, prices will vary significantly if you wish to live in a big city or surrounding areas, or in the countryside.
Setting up utilities in Portugal should also be relatively easy. You can contact most utility companies online, and have them set up within a few days to a week. Some electricity companies have apps available, so you can send the exact count on your meter and not have to pay a cent extra.
Finding housing in Portugal is likely to be one of your top priorities when you move. With prices higher than ever, you can expect affordable options to disappear quickly. If you are going to be living on a Portuguese salary, you will find rent and mortgage expenses a strain.
There are different types of houses you can find in Portugal—from the common apartment you can find in all cities to the typical Portuguese farms located in more tranquil areas. Whether you are looking for houses and apartments for rent or to buy a house, we can show you some of the most common practices for the process of finding accommodation. We explain what long rental contracts normally look like in this country to what documents you will need for either renting or buying.
In the meantime, you can look for short-term rentals on popular holiday websites. Portugal is big on tourism so you will not lack options for short-term accommodation for when you first arrive and are settling in.
Renting a House or Apartment
In this guide, we go through all the steps you need to know on how to rent houses and apartments: from the process of finding your ideal home, breaking down how much it will cost you, to setting up utilities, internet, and more.
What is the Average Rent in Portugal?
On average, housing in Portugal costs around 1,100 EUR (1,200 USD) in rent per month. This number grew considerably from the 800 EUR (880 USD) registered just a year before.
Rent prices will vary greatly depending on the part of the country in which you choose to live and the type of housing you seek. Cities closer to the coast will typically be more expensive than the inland east side of the country. Lisbon and Porto top the list for the most expensive cities in the country.
When it comes to monthly rent prices, these are the most expensive districts:
|Most expensive districts||EUR||USD|
The minimum house rent you will find in Portugal is in the district of Guarda. Since the average rental price in this district is less than 350 EUR (385 USD), it means you can find housing that is less than this amount.
The districts with the lowest average rental prices per month are:
Renting in Portugal as a Foreigner
Renting in Portugal should not be a problem for foreigners. However, you might experience some difficulty communicating with potential landlords when viewing a house. Some older generations may not speak any language other than Portuguese.
In general though, you will experience the same struggles as nationals when it comes to finding affordable housing and securing a place. In cities like Porto or Lisbon, rentals are likely to be taken off the market within one or two days of having been advertised.
What are the Required Documents for Renting?
You will need the following documents when signing a rental contract in Portugal:
- valid ID or passport
- last paystubs or tax return
If you cannot provide a paystub or tax return, you may be asked for a guarantor. They will need to provide the same documents.
As a tenant, you can request the following documents from your landlord:
- caderneta predial (land register)
- licença de habitação (habitation certificate, a license that guarantees the building can be inhabited)
- energy certificate
You are typically asked for a deposit equal to one or two months’ rent in advance.
Furnished or Unfurnished Homes
You will find both furnished and unfurnished accommodation in Portugal. An apartamento mobilado is a furnished rental. This usually means the accommodation has all the essential furniture such as beds, couches, and dressers, and might even include some decor.
Unfurnished apartments will typically have a functional kitchen, with a stove, oven, and cupboards, and a fully functional bathroom.
Short-Term Rentals: Things to Know
If you need a short-term or vacation rental when you first arrive in Portugal, you will not have any difficulty finding a variety of options. You can find a vacation rental for almost anywhere in the country on popular accommodation websites.
You will not need any documents for short-term rentals besides your ID or passport. As for average costs, a vacation rental can cost between 25 and 100 EUR (27–110 USD) a night, depending on the place.
Rental Contract and Deposit
The most common rental contracts, or contratos de arrendamento, are one-year contracts, two years, and even up to six years. Contracts longer than six years are also possible, but less common. The maximum period established by law for a rental contract is 30 years.
As of now, you can still sign a contract for six months or less, but recent changes in law have made the minimum contract duration one year, so soon enough this will no longer be an option.
Rental contracts in Portugal have a duration of two years by default—that is if the contract does not mention the duration. It is typically renewed for three years when there is no other indication.
Your rental contract should have the following information:
- personal details of both parties such as name, date of birth, nationality, and marital status
- exact location of the rental property
- number and date of the licença de habitação (habitation license)
- rules and conditions established between tenant and landlord
Rental Process and Rules: Landlords and Tenants
As for some rules you can expect as a tenant in Portugal, here are the things to know:
- Having a written contract is mandatory—verbal contracts are not legally recognized.
- Your landlord may forbid you from subletting the rental.
- Your landlord can increase your rent once a year, depending on the duration of your contract.
- Your landlord does not have the right to enter your home without permission. That being said, you can report them if they enter or have entered the property using their own key.
- Your landlord is obligated to register the rental contract with Portal das Finanças, the official website of Portuguese tax authorities.
- You may only deduct taxes on your expenses with rent if your legal address matches the address on your rent invoices. If you move into a new place, you have one month to change your address on your valid ID in the country.
- If you plan on renting with a pet or adopting one in the meantime, make sure to state that and include a clause in your contract that allows you to do so, so you do not run into issues later on.
- If you have lived in your rental for at least one third of your contract, you can terminate that contract. You will have to notify your landlord four months (120 days) before the date you intend to leave.
Utility Bill Payments
When renting in Portugal, the most common practice is for tenants to pay their own utility bills. In these cases, you would need a contract with each utility company under your own name and a bank account for payment through direct debit.
However, it is also not uncommon for utility costs to be included in the monthly rent, especially if your contract is short-term. This can be advantageous for tenants, since it means they would not need to draw up utility contracts. For the case of water, this would require visiting the company’s offices in person with your rental contract.
On the other hand, this monthly cost tends to be a fixed amount added to your rent, instead of the actual expenses. That means you cannot account for utility costs if you need to reduce your spending, and you may be paying this expense when going on vacation or abroad.
As always, if you opt for a rental with utility bills included in the rental price, make sure to ask for invoices of such expenses, even if just to estimate what your rent should be with utilities included.
Banks & Taxes
Opening a bank account in Portugal usually requires a few documents, a minimum deposit, and a visit to a branch. We provide a list of best banks in Portugal, options for no fee bank accounts, online banking, and bank accounts in Portugal for non-residents who wish to open one while still abroad.
We also cover all you need to know about the tax system: how much the tax is in Portugal for your salary range, how to file your taxes online with Portal das Finanças, and how to get a NIF, the Portuguese tax number which you will need for practically everything.
A Comprehensive Guide about Opening a Bank Account and Managing Your Taxes
Everything you need to know about managing your finances in Portugal is covered in this section. We show you step-by-step how you can open a bank account. Both residents and non-residents must have a Portuguese tax number (NIF) to open a bank account in Portugal. Non-residents will need a tax representative to apply for a NIF. Learn about the tax brackets in Portugal and how to qualify for the special tax regime for expats, which only taxes 20% of your income.
Need to move abroad? Organizing an international relocation is not something you should do on your own. As expats, we understand what you need, and offer the the essential services to help you move and live abroad easily. Contact us today to jump start your move, and begin the preparations with our free relocation checklist.
Get to know the Portuguese banking and tax system in this section so you can open a bank account and pay taxes in this country. We explain the entire process of opening a bank account, for both residents and non-residents, the types of documents you will need, and more.
Find out which banks are right for you, whether you want options for online banking, international banks, or no-fee bank accounts. You can open a bank account entirely online, which means you can have your account ready before even moving to the country—just make sure to check all the necessary documentation to ensure you have everything you need.
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How to Open a Bank Account in Portugal
If you want to know how to open a bank account in Portugal as a non-resident, this section covers all the requirements and processes of getting your finances in order in Portugal.
We explain what documents you will need, what the process is like, and show you some of your options for banks, be it international banks, no-fee bank accounts, or online banking.
Can I Open a Bank Account in Portugal?
Yes, you can open a bank account in Portugal as a foreigner. For most banks, setting up a Portuguese bank account requires a visit to a branch. If your bank allows you to open an account online, you are still expected to visit the branch in person to finalize the process. If you open an account online from overseas, expect to have to visit the branch in person when you arrive in Portugal.
Read on to learn about the required documents to open a bank account as a non-resident as well as a resident.
Requirements and Documents to Open a Bank Account
To open a bank account in Portugal, you typically must provide
- a valid ID such as your national identity card or your passport;
- NIF, the Portuguese tax number;
- proof of address (e.g., recent bill or letter you have received in the mail in the past three months with your name and address visible);
- proof of employment (e.g., last payslip or a statement from an employer).
If you are not employed, you can still open an account in Portugal. However, in this case, you will want to bring a promise of a work contract or proof that you are registered with the Centro de Emprego, the Portuguese employment center.
If you are a non-resident, or are not in Portuguese territory, you may be able to open an account entirely online with no need to visit the branch in person.
Best Banks in Portugal
Below is a list of some of the biggest banks in Portugal:
- Caixa Geral de Depósitos
- Millenium BCP
- Novo Banco
- Banco BPI
- Banco Santander Totta
The standard working hours for banks in Portugal are between 8:30 and 15:00. This means banks are open during lunch hours, which is also their busiest time of the day. You may find some banks open on Saturday mornings as well.
International Banks in Portugal
The majority of banks in the country are Portuguese. However, Portugal is home to some branches of international banks. You can always opt for these banks and their banking products if you are looking for specific offers for expats:
- BNP Paribas
- Deutsche Bank
- ING Bank
Some banks from Brazil, China, or Angola also have branches in Portugal, so you may even find your current bank in the country.
Best Online Banks in Portugal
The following banks have both options for online banking and opening an account online:
- Banco N26
- Caixa Geral de Depósitos
- Millenium BCP
- Novo Banco
After you have submitted all the necessary documents (mentioned above), you are required to do a video call with the bank to confirm your identity—this replaces the bank visit. Opening an account online in Portugal as a non-resident is not possible, unless you have a Portuguese tax number (NIF).
Bank Fees and Minimum Deposit
Portuguese banks typically charge a monthly fee for their banking services. The Portuguese spend on average 60 EUR (66 USD) on bank fees a year.
In reality, this is unnecessary. There are several options of no-fee bank accounts in the country, although some banks offer more complete services than others.
The banks that offer no-fee bank accounts in Portugal are:
- Banco CCT;
- Banco BPI;
- BNI Europa;
- Caixa Geral de Depósitos.
Of this list, the most complete banking products are offered by ActivoBank and Banco CTT. While all have products free of charge, the other banks listed start charging fees under certain conditions (e.g, if you decide to open a current account with another bank, make a certain number of bank transfers, request a credit card, etc.)
Both ActivoBank and Banco CTT require a minimum deposit. ActivoBank sets that minimum to 250 EUR (275 USD), while Banco CTT asks for 100 EUR (110 USD).
Contacts: email@example.com I +351 93 200 3000 I +351 93 200 2200
June 23, 2020