International Mail Forwarding with US Global Mail

Login to Contact Countga

About Countga





Currently Lives:

Citizen Of:

United States

Some Forum Posts:

Portugal: Health insurance options - Alliaz or Medis:

Hello. I possibly disagree with what SummerFest has said. I had health insurance thru BPI initially. It was a discount card only with Allianz. I later changed to Allianz thru AFPOP. This year's annual fee was 910 euros for Option B. There are several options thru AFPOP membership. But, as SummerFest says, check it out but be sure you are comparing oranges to oranges. Hope this helps a little. Countga

Portugal: Public Health, Numero de Utente.:

Hello, Marina2016 I have a public health number. This allows me to use public health that I have to pay for. That is, to have an appointment with a public health doctor I was told the cost is 35 euros. I am American. I did not get a Portuguese social security number. It is not required as an American as opposed to EU citizens. I also have private insurance thru AFPOP. My private insurance reimburses out of network visits at 80%. If I understand correctly, if and when you become a Portuguese citizen, then you would be entitled to public health like other citizens. Anybody correct me if my understanding is wrong. I hope this helps a little. Countga

Portugal: Banking in Portugal:

SummerFest How about an explanation of what you mean? I have used Transferwise for over a year & have never had a problem with them. They guarantee the rate for 24 hours and their cost is low for transfer amounts under $5000. There are sites that compare which are the best sites for transferring funds. So, please expand on what you are trying to say here so that everyone understands. Thanks, countga

Portugal: Nutritional Supplements in Portugal:

Hello LovetheBeach, I live in the small city of Tavira. There are several natural food & supplement stores here. There are also stores like Celeira in most all the major malls. They have over 40 stores in Portugal. Also, you can order direct from Amazon-UK or Amazon-Spain. They don't go through customs. Orders from the USA will be subject to customs and their 23% IVA. You can also order from Holland & Barrett out of the UK and their shipping charge is a flat 6.95 pounds. They also have half price sales and buy one & get one for a penny. Hope that helps. countga

Portugal: NHS Status:

Hello Captdave51. You can file yourself online at I did & I am not a computer guru, for sure. It does take a number of steps to get there. Once you apply you get a response in a couple of days online. Print the approval out & keep it for future use. That is a total ripoff by the attorney. Wow! They should be blacklisted. You can go to for more info about the NHR and also access their tax guides. Also: Also: These people have many brochures on NHR including how to register online. Hope this all helps. countga

Portugal: Apartments in Algarve:

Hello apfowlow. I live in the eastern Algarve. Not all real estate companies have rentals. As far as I know there are very few long term rentals available. There are many "holiday" rentals available though. That is short term at higher rates, generally weekly. However, starting September rates start decreasing gradually. One of the biggest rental companies in my area is East Algarve Property Rentals, It took me 6 months to get my current rental. It is a 2 bedroom/2 bath apartment with 1000 sq feet for $673 per month, depending on the current euro rate. I may or may not be around in September. Send me a private message if you wish to meet up or have specific questions. Hope this helps you. )) countga

Portugal: Lisbon, please:

Hi, Ever heard of Google Maps? I posted the address of Av Visconde Valmor 68 in it. It is back behind the Gulbenkian Museum ( a great museum, by the way). I noticed that the nearest metro stop , about 3 blocks from your location, was noted to be "Saldanha". A McDonalds was right across the street from the metro. Thus, I surmise that your original thought that you were in Saldanha was correct. You may want to go to Google Maps to help you on your search. I have been to Lisbon but I do not live there. Good luck in your search!

Portugal: Visa strategy:

Hello Big World. First, how old are you? Then next, go to Check out their medical insurance program thru Medal. If you have pre-existing conditions and can prove you had such coverage, Medal will also cover. I simply showed them my Medicare card and that was sufficient for them to cover my pre-existing conditions. There most expensive Option (A) costs around 1700 euros PER YEAR. That is about 142 euros per month or at today's current rate about $166 per month. Health insurance is paid annually in January each year. Something tells me that $166 per month is a lot cheaper than what you are paying for wonderful Obamacare. Also, once you become a resident you can sign up for public health. I have not done that yet but will do that shortly. Perhaps others on this site can talk about public health. I understand some people have both because it takes a while to get an appt at public health places. i hope this helps. I just checked afpop website. You have to be a member to get to the specific info. If you are interested I can send your their brochure, etc. Please send me a private message with your email address & I'll be happy to forward the information to you. Thanks. countga

Portugal: Residence Visa Health Insurance Requirement Help (US citizen):

Try or worldnomads for travel insurance.

Portugal: Visa help ! True or False ???:

Please note that as of 1 January 2017, holders of a United States passport could travel to 174 countries and territories visa-free or with visa on arrival. Obviously, we use our passport when we travel. A residence visa is totally different than the ability to travel, right? A standard residence visa for Portugal is called a "D" type visa. This is what appears as it is attached to to your passport. It is good for 120 days as shown on the visa. The visa also explicitly shows that it is a "Residencia" visa, per Article 58. To reiterate: if traveling to 174 different countries you do not need a visa. To relocate and become a resident of Portugal you apply for a Residencia, Type D visa. Does that help clear up confusion?

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

Portugal: Residence Permit Renewal:

Hello, renewal was easier than the first time. When you go to SEF website to set up an appointment for renewal there is a form for you to download and complete. It will tell you what to bring. As I recall I just had to show my monthly income. That was basically it. Cost was 151.50 euros as I recall. I am in Tavira so SEF access was good as opposed to what I have heard about Lisbon. Good luck! countga

Portugal: Roth IRAs - How does Portuguese IRS view these?:

Not trying to be a naysayer but I imagine it will be difficult to find a PT tax accountant that knows USA taxes in relationship to PT taxes. It seems to me most are acclimated to EU tax regimes, not US. For example, I went to a Blevins & Franks tax seminar in January and they appeared clueless about IRA accounts. I do not know how something called an Individual Retirement Account can be deemed income. And, a Roth IRA has already had taxes paid on the income input into the account, right? So, if somebody finds a PT tax expert who is also an expert on USA taxes then please let us all know.

Portugal: How does the Non-Habitual Resident Tax Scheme work?:

Hello, The following is based on a Tax Seminar presented by euroFinesco thru AFPOP on 27 January 2017. You can go to their website for information, as well. The NHR is currently a 10 year tax holiday for pensions. Those 10 years could change. For Example, Finland recently negotiated a different tax holiday term limited to 3 years. There are 2 classes of pensions. Civil for government service. Private for IRAs & Social Security. One can go online now to apply for the NHR. I did this recently and was approved in 2 days. There is a process, of course. First, one has to register on the website: Once you register you will be sent, via mail, a password. Once you have a password then you can enter the website. Here is the way to get to the NHR link: Servicos Tributarios>Cidadaos>Entregar>Pedido>Inscricao Residente Nao Habitual One has to apply within 90 days after the end of the first year that they are considered a resident (183 days or more). Please go to and click on "Publications" for more details about the NHR. Hope this information helps. Countga

Portugal: Pre-existing conditions and Pt health insurance:

Hello. I have Allianz coverage through Medal. I showed them my Medicare card and that was sufficient to cover me for pre-existing conditions. I have had Medicare coverage for 5+ years. Here is exactly what I was told by Medal: "Regarding the waiting period, Allianz can cancel the 60 days waiting period, we explain how you can do it: · if you are insured with a valid Health Insurance (the insurance can be from any country) you can send us the Insurance certificate (where must be mentioned the start of the insurance and the coverages), and we will ask Allianz to accept your pre-existing conditions since the beginning of your health insurance." This is from an email received on 24 August 2016. Hope this helps. countga

Portugal: Potential places to live:

Did you try :-)


Date Joined:


Total Posts:




Join Today (free)

Join Expat Exchange to meet expats in your area or get advice before your move. It's FREE and takes 1 minute!

Copyright 1997-2018 Burlingame Interactive, Inc.

Privacy Policy Legal