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Expat Exchange - Expat Guide to Residency in Portugal
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Expat Guide to Residency in Portugal

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Portugal Residency Advisors
Portugal Residency Advisors

Summary: Establishing residency in Portugal can be challenging. Here are some helpful tips for expats, retirees, and nomads.

Obtaining a residency visa in Portugal is not always easy, but our Guide to Residency in Portugal gives newcomers an overview of the steps involved and advice from others who have already navigated the process.

  • Gather the necessary documents for residency status in Portugal. This includes a valid passport, proof of address, proof of income, and a criminal record check.
  • Apply for a Tax Number.
    • Visit the Portuguese Tax Authority website and fill out the online application form.
    • Print out the completed form and take it to the local tax office.
    • Present the necessary documents to the tax office and wait for the Tax Number to be issued.
  • Apply for a Residence Permit.
    • Visit the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service website and fill out the online application form.
    • Print out the completed form and take it to the local immigration office.
    • Present the necessary documents to the immigration office and wait for the Residence Permit to be issued.
  • Register with the local town hall.
    • Visit the local town hall and fill out the registration form.
    • Present the necessary documents to the town hall and wait for the registration to be processed.

Portugal Residency Advisors

Portugal Residency Advisors is a full-service consulting firm dedicated to providing personalized services to individuals and families seeking to relocate to Portugal. With a team of experienced professionals and strategic partnerships, we are well-positioned to assist clients with all aspects of the relocation process.

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Portugal Residency Advisors

Portugal Residency Advisors is a full-service consulting firm dedicated to providing personalized services to individuals and families seeking to relocate to Portugal. With a team of experienced professionals and strategic partnerships, we are well-positioned to assist clients with all aspects of the relocation process.

Learn MoreConnect

Click connect to have our partner contact you via e-mail and/or phone.

What tips do expats have about residency and visas in Portugal?

"I applied for a Type I Visa from the Portuguese embassy in the US. It was basically a Schengen Visa which enabled me to be in Portugal for 4 months. During this 4 months I was supposed to obtain my resident card. However, due to the large backlog, I didn't obtain this until I was here 5 months. The process, starting with the Portuguese embassy in Washington D.C. was not really difficult but it was very stressful and took a long time. It started with an FBI background check - which took about 12 weeks. Then I had to obtain medical insurance, collect financial documents showing I had enough income to support myself without working, write a statement of why I wanted to retire in Portugal, fill out an application, have passport type photos taken and a copy of my passport notarized. The biggest challenge with this was being unable to find out exactly how much money/ income was required. After mailing all of these documents to the embassy, it look almost 5 weeks to get the approval. Then I mailed my passport to them and a request for a baggage certificate. The certificate enabled me to ship things to Portugal without paying duty. I received my passport back within a couple of weeks with my Visa attached. The resident card I just obtained is good for one year," said one expat living in Cascais.

"I obtained a temporary resident visa which was quite simple to obtain," wrote a member in Tavira .

"We entered on my European passport and have not encountered any snags so far. The process for getting the NIF (tax number) was long and drawn out but once it was our turn, we went through everything quite easily," commented one expat who made the move to Cascais.

"If you plan to stay in Portugal for a while, you will need a valid passport with at least six months of validity remaining. You will need to apply for a Long Term Residence Visa at the Portuguese Embassy or consulate in your home country. Depending on your length of stay, you may also need to apply for a Residence Permit once your visa is approved. Additionally, you may need a Temporary Residency Card if you plan to stay in Portugal for more than three months," remarked one expat living in Portugal.

"My wife and I had appts on 2 different dates. We brought all our papers and got there when they just opened and asked if they could take my wife. We got a very stern NO! Then the guard asked if my wifes appt was at the same center which it was. He left us for a moment and came back and said they would process both of us. I would go to the center where your appt is and ask if they could take you. Have a good reason and hope you get a good response," wrote one member in Albufeira.

Portugal Residency Advisors

Portugal Residency Advisors is a full-service consulting firm dedicated to providing personalized services to individuals and families seeking to relocate to Portugal. With a team of experienced professionals and strategic partnerships, we are well-positioned to assist clients with all aspects of the relocation process.

Learn MoreConnect

Click connect to have our partner contact you via e-mail and/or phone.

Portugal Residency Advisors

Portugal Residency Advisors is a full-service consulting firm dedicated to providing personalized services to individuals and families seeking to relocate to Portugal. With a team of experienced professionals and strategic partnerships, we are well-positioned to assist clients with all aspects of the relocation process.

Learn MoreConnect

Click connect to have our partner contact you via e-mail and/or phone.

"In order to enter Portugal as a non-resident, visitors must obtain a Schengen visa. Generally, Schengen visas allow short visits of up to 90 days within a 180 day period of time. Visitors who wish to stay longer must apply for a Residence Permit. The process of applying for a Schengen visa includes submitting an application, providing biometric information, paying the relevant fees, and attending an interview. In order to apply for residency in Portugal, applicants must first obtain a Residence Permit (unless the applicant is an EU citizen, in which case they can simply register as residents in Portugal). To apply for the permit, applicants must prove a legal source of income and submit a copy of a valid passport, two passport photos, and proof of address in Portugal. The process also includes an interview and a police record check. Once the permit is processed and issued, a residence card will be sent to the applicant's address," commented one member living in Portugal.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.


Portugal Residency Advisors
Portugal Residency Advisors

Portugal Residency Advisors
Portugal Residency Advisors

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