Portugal! Our dear old ally! A rich, fascinating Mediterranean paradise of tropical beaches, stunning volcanic lagoons, captivating cobblestone villages and striking medieval history. Whilst Portugal can’t quite top countries like Spain when it comes to numbers of UK expatriates, but it remains extremely popular as both a retirement destination and a tourist site.
But what do you need to know about the nation before living there?
From cost of living comparisons to quality of life rankings and visa options, this is our little introduction to moving to Portugal…
Portugal is an extremely attractive country with a really colourful history – we weren’t kidding about them being our oldest ally either: Not only is the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance our oldest coalition, (the contract was signed in 1373) it’s also one of the oldest alliances in history!
But as interesting as the towering cliff-side castles and the ornate medieval cathedrals are, history is, understandably, only a portion of what Portugal can offer. What about the cost of a sandwich?! You may be wondering, or how safe is it at night?
First things first, Portugal ranks 13th in the world on the Numbeo quality of life rankings – that’s above heavy hitters like Norway, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan and France. It also gives other top expat locations a serious run for their money
Whilst no nation can brag about being crime free, in terms of peace and quiet, Portugal is also the third most ‘peaceful’ country in the world (according to the global peace index) and ranks as being more ‘crime-free’ than Hungary, New Zealand, Greece, and indeed the United Kingdom, on Numbeo’s crime rankings.
The lifestyle in Portugal is notoriously relaxed, as expressed by expat blogger Natasha Gallucci, echoes:
‘At first, life here in Portugal can seem very slow and laid back, (especially compared to the UK) but you soon get used to it! The landscape is absolutely wonderful and the cost of living in general is a lot cheaper. I wouldn’t trade my time spent here for anything!’
However, as slow as life may seem that definitely doesn’t mean that there’s a lack of things to do. There’s an abundance of cycling, canyoning, canoeing, cycling and walking routes, and if you’re looking for something a bit more meditative, there’s even whale and dolphin watching opportunities from many of the trails found along the coastline.
Lisbon, Portugal’s capital, gets more sunshine than Rome, Athens or Madrid and is a brilliant amalgamation of the modern and the traditional. There’s also a serious amount of cultural activity, as it enjoys a world renowned blues scene, an addiction for opera and numerous open-air festivals.
Right, down to the nitty gritty. First of all, if you’re an EU citizen your visa-less stay has no limit, though if you want to stay longer than 3 months you will have to apply for a registration certificate from the Town Hall in your area of residence. Once you’ve successfully received said certificate, it will be valid for 5 years. Anything beyond 5 years and you’ll have to apply for a permanent residence certificate. If you’re coming from Canada, the US, or Australia on the other hand, you can stay for 90 days and then you have to apply for said certificates.
When applying be sure to present proof of income, health insurance, university enrolment (if you’re a student) and other forms of ID.
It should also be noted that if you stay in Portugal longer than 183 consecutive days you are eligible to be taxed.
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