Moving to Portugal

This page has a great collection of helpful tips, useful websites and general information for those looking to move to Portugal. If you have any suggestions or can recommend any interesting websites – I’d love to hear from you…

Cost of Living in Portugal



specialises in providing a comprehensive range of information services and support to foreign residents and visitors to Portugal.

Portugal Forums

Expat Focus Global relocation advice for expatriates covering visas, residency, overseas employment, buying property abroad, international schools, offshore finance and more.

Expat Arrivals
Local info for Global Expats

Healthcare in Portugal

NHS Choices -Accessing healthcare in Portugal specialises in providing a comprehensive range of information services and support to foreign residents and visitors to Portugal.
Europe made easy
Help and advice on your life, work and travel in the EU


Portugal Visas and Work Permits

European Commission
Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion

US Citizens traveling or Moving to Portugal
Registration and Embassy Location, Entry and Exit requirements

US Embassy – Lisboa

Removals to and from Portugal

César Curado
Transportes Senhora da Agonia, Lda

We are based in Portugal and we do national and international removals.

We cover all EU countries with good service and rates!

Tel: 00 351 965653025
Serviço Completo de Mudanças
International Removals/Déménagements/

Happy with our service? don´t forget to leave your positive feedback here:

Top 10 Tips For Moving to Portugal

Article courtesy of Armishaws Removals

Moving abroad and becoming an expat in a foreign country is a choice made by thousands of individuals, couples and families every year. Some of those decide to make the leap to Portugal, where the sun (almost) always shines! We have produced these top ten tips for someone looking to move to Portugal from abroad.

1. Many motorways in Portugal have tolls. Some have tollbooths, but others only have an electronic system for paying, which is operated by Via Verde Portugal. Toll machines can be hired or bought in special Via Verde shops or at Portuguese post offices. If you end up on a Via Verde without a toll machine, you will need to pay the toll within 48 hours or you will earn a fine on top of the toll fee.
2. Attending school is compulsory in Portugal from the ages of six to fifteen and is called Ensino Básico (basic education). Education can either be state or private. Despite education being free in the state system, you will be expected to purchase books and other equipment.
3. Before the age of six, your child can attend a pre-school (kindergarten) if you so wish. There are a variety of types of pre-school, including state, private, charitable and cooperatives. Registration occurs during June and July. Requirements are typically a medical check, birth certificate, health card showing vaccinations and an inscription form.
4.There are also private schools teaching the Portuguese national curriculum and others that teach an international curriculum in various foreign languages. However, very few of these schools will go up to the secondary level. The schools should be registered with the Portuguese Ministry of Education. Note that an international curriculum is not automatically accepted by the Portuguese education system and so this should be considered when you are selecting a school and curriculum.
5. Once living in Portugal, you can apply for a Cartão de Utente (health card). This card gives foreign residents the same rights to treatment as Portuguese citizens and depending on circumstances, discounts on medicines. If you do not have this card and are permanently resident in Portugal, you will need to have private medical insurance.
6. Farmácias (chemists) are open in every town during normal shopping hours, which are typically 9 A.M. to 1 P.M. and 3 P.M. to 7 P.M. Outside of these hours there is a Farmácia de Serviço (duty chemist) available. Every chemist should have a list of the duty chemists in the area on its door. A chemist can also usually offer advice when you are unable to get to your health centre or family doctor.
7. As with all big decisions in life, research is the key and one must always remember that living somewhere is completely different to holidaying there.
8. Relocating on a permanent basis to another country, especially one which has a different language and culture, needs thorough planning. If you have children and need to work, this is even more crucial.
9. Initial Residency Certificate: After three months, and within 30 days, you must apply for an initial residency certificate at your local Câmara Municipal (council) or Freguesia (parish council).
10. The documents that may be required are a passport or national ID card, your Portuguese fiscal number, which is obtained from the local Serviço das Finanças (tax office), a European health card, proof of address and income (or you may simply be required to make a self-declaration regarding whether you are employed, self-employed or have other means to live), and proof of health insurance if you are not entitled to the Portuguese health system. Sometimes other details regarding your education and family are required.

Armishaws Removals are experts in removals to Portugal, removals to Germany and removals to the rest of Europe. Visit them today to get your free quote.


63 thoughts on “Moving to Portugal

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  1. Wow, so great to have found your blog! I am a South African living in Portugal, have been here about a year now, and have recently started a blog too. This is a great source of useful info, thanks for sharing! xx


    1. Hello Kerry
      I am from SA and living in Bulgaria, I’m intending to move to Portugal next year. I have a dear friend in the Algarve were I spent 5 months a few years ago. At the moment it’s a toss-up between Greece and Portugal.

      I see this is an old blog!!!

      Cheers Esmond


      1. Hi ! We are South Africans, in the UK at present, looking to move over to Portugal (husband is Portuguese). Thinking of Lisbon, although I haven’t been over as yet to see any of the places!


        1. HI Jo, Im South African Portuguese & my husband is South African. We left the UK for Lisboa about 3 years ago – best move ever! We love Portugal & will stay for many years. We are self employed, think it is the better way around things. We visit Ericeira almost every week-end – can highly recommend it, magical place.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Hi Louisa. I’m reading blogs (and other info) on moving to Portugal at moment. My wife and I are both South African (still living in SA) and Portugal is definitely an option we are considering when thinking about leaving SA. We have two little boys aged 3 and 9. I speak some Portuguese after working in Mozambique for years, but both my wife and boys don’t. I realise that your post is almost a year old, but any advice would be most welcome!


          2. Hello,
            I came across this website and see that you are visitors to Ericeira. We too are in the process of moving and have settled for Ericeira as a place to live. If you are still visiting there, it would be nice to meet you for coffee sometime.


    1. Hi Marta,

      Thanks for stopping by and welcome 🙂
      We are in the Western Algarve. We went to Madeira several years ago…beautiful country, but the airport runway was so short it was “terrifying” – I screamed when we landed! We loved Maderia and I still pay a premim to buy Maderian bananas to this day. Are you from Madeira or Portugal?


      1. Well let me start by informing you that the Madeira airport is now normal size and the runway is quite long these days 😛 so no need to worry about tipping of the edge.
        And aswering your question: I’m both! I was born in Madeira and have lived here all my live : ) but since Madeira is a part of Portugal I’m also from Portugal.
        And if you like our bananas you should try our honey cake : ) it’s delicious!


  2. Hi Piglet,

    We are planing to move to portugal in the near future to the algarve/alentejo area. My husband is a rugby & formula one fan does any one know what cabal/statelite package
    in portugal would provide the above sports, my husband is English. we live in south africa, pretoria. Thank you.


    1. Wow! Some amazing scepimens is that spider poisonous? I used to be arachnophobic, can you tell? I cured myself and am now chief spider catcher in our house, responsible for their safe return to the wild (read unceremoniously tossed onto the porch). My natural inclination is still to recoil though! Skinnies I can handle, but big, solid, fat ones? Brilliantly taken photos btw x


  3. Hi Piglet.

    Thank you so much. We will contact them as soon as we move to Portugal.
    I enjoy reading your articles, especially the one about moving to Portugal.
    Yes it did help.
    Bye for now. Nanda


  4. Hi Piglet,

    Sorry only today replying to your note. I’ll definitely contact you again. We are now planing our move to Portugal, our target is to be in Portugal by spring next year. You website is very interesting, I like your article about moving to Portugal. Did you get your recipe for the Honey Cake? I have one – I can always send to you. Have a great weekend, enjoy the summer, down here in South Africa its bitterly cold at the moment. Chat again soon. Bye.


      1. Loved the slide show, great poem. Bugs here tend to be of the pteradacyl size. Moths the size of your hand, truantalas the size of plates and lizards the size of small crocodiles. The truantalas pull the fur out of their bottoms and throw it at you, and when it hits you it itches like fibreglass. Always avoid bald bottomed truantalas as they are obviously easily annoyed.


  5. Hi Piglet,
    How are you, hope you well and enjoying your summer. Have you tried to do the Honey cake yet. I have a question for you do one know if there is an ex-pat community in Figueira da Foz, we are know looking to buy in that area, the algarve a liitle to expensive for our budget. Will chat again soon.
    Take care. Nanda


      1. Hi Piglet,
        No I did not receive your e-mail. No problem – that sounds great. Here another e-mail address you can use also.
        I will look forward to you Portuguese Christmas recipes – hope someone gives you a nice and easy recipe for “Bolo Rei”.
        Bye for now!


  6. Hi there :-). Thanks for these useful info… I am thinking about moving to Porto for a while…. (little or longer, that depends a lot of things :-)…). I would just like to ask you for your opinion on how hard it is to find a job in Portugal for an expat. I can speak very basic Portuguese, but nothing stunning, really. I currently work as compliance manager, but am willing to work in whatever other field…. I know it is very general… but just to get a little insight / idea on what I would be going into.
    Have a great day! Bye!


    1. Hi Katka, and welcome. Portugal has quite a high unemployment. I think the best idea before you quit your current job is to take some holiday and come over to investigate in person. In the meantime I will see if I can find some employment agencies who may be able to give you a better idea. I will investigate and revert.



  7. I live in Northern Tennessee. Built a cottage on my country property
    2 years ago.
    Have always wanted to travel. Years have gone by fast, marriage, children, divorce, building homes and now finally home. My son lives in Bangkok,
    and would like to visit. But I do not think I can leave my woods haven….


  8. I would like to introduce myself my name is Maria de Fatima Mourão, I am Portuguese living in Ferreira do Alentejo not far from Beja.The deep Alentejo; isolated, quiet and near nature. I also like cooking and i do grow my vegetables and fruits has i do agriculture for my family and to sell
    I speak good English and I usually assist the local foreigner community with some settlement issues and given basic Portuguese lessons.
    I am the responsible of a website that intends to give help in the many aspects for people who wants to settle in Portugal. I have seen your website which gives several kinds of help and my intention with this contact is to introduce this website and offer our services to the communityithat you contact.
    We wish that you visit our website and that you appreciate and also if you want give your opinion
    The link is

    Best Regards
    Fátima Mourão


  9. Hey Piglet,
    It’s great to find your blog. I’m an American and have been living in Portugal for two years. We have started a small organic farm project here near Guimaraes. it’s great to read of others who have found success her! If you’re interested here the link to my blog- I’m only just getting into this 😉


    1. Hi Alice
      I am from India ( Mumbai) and planning to move in Portugal with my family (husband and two kids) But we don’t have any relatives or friends in Portugal. Even we like to work in farm.
      But i am thinking that how will get visa ? can u help & suggest. Because on tourist visa how long we will stay their. If will get work there can we apply from there for more long stay visa. How we will get residency permit there ? Please give us idea . We are eagerly waiting to come in Portugal but no option and help from any where. Can you please suggest & help ????


  10. Stumbled across your blog.
    I have family in Portugal, St. Joa de Madeira, and would love to move there one day. Am living in, Jhb, SA. Your blog is smashing.
    Will sit and plough through it this evening.


  11. Hi, just found your site through the expat newsletter. I am from UK, lived in Canada for a year, lived in South Africa for 18 years, sailed from UK and round west med during 2011 and have now landed in Madeira – love it and hoping to buy property here and live here. Looking forward to trying some of your portuguese recipes as soon as I get off our yacht and into a proper kitchen again.


  12. Hi Piglet(great name)
    Iwas wondering if there is any clubs or groups in the silver coast as all the things that interest me seem to be based in Lisbon and I live in Calda Da Rainha so its a good hour away-can anyone help as i dont speak Portugese yet!


  13. Thanks for the information you provided in this blog..I am gald to inform you that after reading this blog I will definetly visit this all places with my family and also tell my all freinds to regarding this beautiful places.


  14. Hello,
    My friend and I will soon be travelling in Portugal and have some questions, maybe you could help to answer. Since Portugal is having financial problems will this cause us any problem as travelers? We will be traveling from Lisbon to the Algarve, is the bus the best way to do this. We are very nervous about driving. We are also thinking about going to Gibraltar and possibly Morocco. It looks as if there is not an easy way to get there from the South of Portugal, is that true? Thanks for any help you can give me.


  15. Hi
    We are living in South Africa and are considering moving to Portugal. My husband has Portuguese citizenship as well as our children. We have been to Algarve where his grand parents live. I just want to know what is the correct procedure to follow and what documents are needed to move there.


    1. Hi Miki!

      I am living from Cape Town and my fiancé has a portuguese passport. We are planning to get married in December and move to Portugal in January. His family owns a flat in Lisbon.

      Have you found out anything about the procedures? What we need to plan and sort out etc? What must I (with SA passport) do in order to find work amd settle down in Portugal?


  16. Best secret place of Portugal: to well know the country and its roots, it is important to know Braga (city with over 2000 years of history) and Guimarães (the birthplace of the nation, with its beautiful castle).
    Suggested sleeping accommodation: Quinta Dom José Rural Tourism for a peacefull stay!


  17. Hi
    We are living in India and are considering moving to Portugal. My husband and children. I just want to know what is the correct procedure to follow and what documents are needed to move there.


  18. Hi Piglet,
    Thank you for your information. But should i come on tourist visa and can i get work on tourist visa and also how long we will stay there. And if we will come on tourist visa and later on if we will get work can we increase our visa or residency permit. Please reply…


  19. Hello Piglet!

    We are based in Portugal and we do national and international removals and would like to ask if you can add our company listing on your blog?

    We cover all EU countries with good service and rates!


    César Curado
    Transportes Senhora da Agonia,Lda
    00 351 965653025
    Serviço Completo de Mudanças
    International Removals/Déménagements/

    Happy with our service? don´t forget to leave your positive feedback here:


  20. hi,
    As a family have been to portugal on a number of occassions and our conversations as a family about moving there have become more frequent. I found your blog and read it with interest it has answered a lot of questions for me.


  21. Hi,
    We are in the midst of renovating a old farm house in the hills north of Monchique. The issue of security is troubling me. The contractor states that aluminium doors and window shutters are sufficient. I have my doubts. Do you know where I can find information about local security companies and proper home protection?
    Thanks for your assistance.


  22. Hi Kerry
    I am a South African looking to move to Portugal with my boyfriend who has an EU Passport, whereas I do not. I was wondering if you had any advice on how to go about this. Looking forward to your response!

    Emma Adrain


  23. Hi, my fiance and I want to move to Portugal, she has a European passport and a job there, I have a South African passport and need to find a job there, how do I go about the move? How do I find a job there? If anyone can advise or point me in the direction to get there it would be greatly appreciated.


  24. Hi my name is laetitia and I am busy researching we are currently still based in south africa but with all the land issues are considering moving abroad and as hubby just obtained his citizenship and we are in the process of obtaining citizenship for our daughter age 16 myself as I am south african afrikaans speaking will need to focus on citizenship later but with our daughter only having 2 years left in high school do not see any futher for her in south Africa we need to look at our options and need some guidance advice on south African already staying in madeira / Portugal on the following
    Relocate portugal or madeira? even though hubbys family is from madeira
    I work full time in the corporate sector as an executive assistant/ office manager to and want to continue work- would Portugal or madeira be the best to job hunt
    Daughter when completing high school wants to do further studies in fashion design – complete a diploma in fashion – are there any places in madeira or Portugal that would cater for this in english
    And lastly
    Hubby is self employed soecialise in spraypainting and panelbeating and in rebuilt Ford ST engines
    We are planning a trip to Portugal and Madeira the first for all of us next year but want you guidance and advice in the above matter also what we need to consider around housing transportation etc
    Any guidance or advice would be greatly appreciated


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