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United States

Some Forum Posts:

Portugal: Pharmacy drugs:

Hello. Please give some examples of what you are looking for. I have glaucoma and I can tell you even without insurance for the drugs they are at least 70% less than what they cost in the US with insurance. If you have a short list I can try to check for you on Monday. Generally, prices are similar among the various pharmacies and there is one always open in your town. Here, we have a list posted on the pharmacy door who is open. If you have a public health card the prescription will be even cheaper. For example, one drug I use would go from 18 euros to 2 euros. Hope that gives you some idea. countga

Portugal: Shipping your stuff to Portugal:

Hello, First of all, allow me to assure you that no matter where you move you will run across unscrupulous people, both in the US and abroad. My goods were in storage in FL for almost 2 years. When I gave them the order to move them to Portugal in October last year they magically came up with a $2900 charge for pick up & transfer to Miami. That figure had never been presented before! So, I went looking for different movers. I decided on a company called International Movers Network out of NY. They shipped in December. The goods didn't arrive until the end of January. I had bought a "Baggage Certificate" from the PT Embassy in DC. It expired the end of December & they refused several times to renew or extend it. They said I should have moved immediately and refused to comprehend the hurdle I faced in October. So, I supplied my inventory & value of every box to my agent in Lisbon & to Customs. It was for a total of 4762 euros. Customs totally ignored that and came up with their own value of more than twice that value without opening one box! Thus, I had to pay over 2200 euros in VAT based on what was in their heads. I also note that the agents in Lisbon paid for fees and duties out of their pocket & then charge you additional fee for that privilege. So, if you are going to move goods, make sure you do it well in advance of your 1 year deadline. Be sure also, to get complete estimates for all fees & costs for both the shipper or mover in the States and the agent in Lisbon. I would suggest you also get references for both the mover & the receiving agent and that you check the BBB, the Department of Transportation or Interstate Commerce Commission for complaints or problems with the USA mover. I had a 20 foot container & it was not full. I had 155 boxes in total of which more than 1/2 were the "small" shipping box found at Lowe's or Home Depot. I refer to them as book boxes. I hope my experience is of assistance. One simply has to do their homework and check and double check. I have moved internationally at least 6 times and each time has been an experience. LOL! Good luck! countga

Portugal: Apartment hunting:

Hello. I am in Tavira. Try As per previous replies you have hit the high season. I registered with East Algarve in August of last year and found current rental with them in January based on an email they sent out. Also expect rates for long term rentals to be going up. For example, my previous apartment owner increased their rate from 600 to 750 euros after I left. & got it. Also, try They cover the whole country. Good luck! countga

Portugal: Shipping Boxes from California?:

Hello. Is this all you are shipping within the next year? Did you get a Baggage Certificate from the Portuguese Embassy? Certificate costs little and is good for one year. That is it must be shipped & received within one year from arriving in Portugal. Otherwise, you are subject to possible horrific customs duties. I shipped one box (Lowe's small box) from Florida via the US Postal Service last year. They (Customs) opened the box and then proceeded to charge me $152 for items probably worth less than $300. They had a much higher value. It does not matter what your inventory says either, about contents or value. They make up their own value and charge you up to 23% VAT. If you have a Baggage Certificate no duty is charged. You might wish to see what it would cost to bring as additional baggage on your flight or boat. Actually, I understand if you come by boat you can bring lots of baggage as long as it fits in your room. Anyway, some things to think about. Hope that helps! :-) countga

Portugal: Health insurance:

Hello! Your key word here is "affordable". You can get international insurance coverage from Cigna or Bupa but it's not affordable to me. Otherwise, you need to be a resident and have a fiscal number (like a social security number). The cheapest & best I have found is through the association called AFPOP As a member, you can get insurance through a insurance broker called MEDAL. The insurance company is Allianz. I have Option B that costs around 840 euros per YEAR. Pro rated for partial years. Option A costs twice as much. with higher limits and a few extras. You should be able to check it out at You can also get a discount card through a Portuguese bank such as BPI or Millenillum. But, it's just a discount card. It was accepted by SEF when getting my original residence visa. However, one does have to have their fiscal number to open a bank account. Another note: Have to be 70 or under to get MEDAL coverage thru AFPOP. I signed up for insurance a few months prior to my 71st birthday. Hope this all makes sense to you. countga

Portugal: Best Village/Town North of Portugal:

Hello. I think your original question needs clarification. Did you mean any city north of Lisbon? North of Portugal is the country of Spain.

Portugal: Visa Response Timeline?:

The ANSWER would be NO because the visa goes in your passport and you need the passport to travel, right? Good try but no cigar! :-)

Portugal: Selecting a bank & transferring money:

Hello robtrev. I have been in Portugal since Dec 2015. I use Schwab Bank. I use a USA address (my daughter). I transfer money at least monthly. I watch the rates using the website. I have found to be the cheapest way to transfer funds. For example, 5 minutes ago I transferred $1300 into euros. The fee was $12.87. It will be in my bank in Portugal in 7 hours. I use BPI here and they have been good to me. Friendly and helpful, at least at my local branch. I had worked in banks for many years so they aren't cheap. I suggest calling your US Bank and ask them how much it would cost to transfer $1300 to a bank in Portugal. That way you have a basis of comparison. If I had to guess there will be at least a $20+ wiring fee plus they take a cut on the exchange rate. The exchange rate is constantly moving. That is why I check Hope this helps you. Good luck! countga

Portugal: Residency Visa:

Wrong. Trump had nothing to do with the so called "visa wars". There is no requirement starting in May. Fake news! Source: Money magazine: The vote is part of the ongoing dispute known as the "visa war," which stems from the fact that the United States still requires visas for visitors from five European Union countries—Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland, and Romania—while American travelers have no such requirements to visit there. The EU's resolution is threatening that the visa waiver Americans enjoy for travel all over Europe could be dropped until the U.S. gets rid of its visa requirements for all European Union members. Many observers are skeptical Europe will ever be so bold as to require visas of American travelers. There are just too many dollars (or euros, or francs) at stake: U.S. visitors accounted for 27.4 million arrivals in Europe in 2016, up 8% compared to 2015. What's more, business is expected to be on the rise. Prior to the recent controversy, forecasts from the likes of AAA called for a "significant amount of demand for travelers visiting Europe in 2017," in particular because of the strength of the U.S. dollar and more affordable transatlantic flights. If and when a visa requirement on Americans is ever instituted in Europe, there will likely be ample warning so that travelers aren't confused or put off. "Americans need not start queuing at the French embassy just yet," the Economist explained. "Implementing the parliament’s recommendation would require the agreement of all EU members, which would probably take years." Hope that better explains the "visa" situation.

Portugal: Cascais vs Lagos:

It is like comparing an apple to an orange. It depends that time of year one is visiting. Cascais can be great in the Spring/Summer. Lagos is generally pretty good year round. Cascais is probably the most expensive city in Portugal while Lagos is pretty standard in the Algarve area. There are beaches in Cascais & Lagos. There are expats in both places. Cascais gives one access via train directly to Lisbon. There are also trains & buses in the Algarve. There are quaint villages and good meals anywhere. For the Algarve read the book by Karl Bradshaw-White called Algarve Travel Guide, 54 Cities/Towns/ Villages. Hope that helps! countga


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