Americans moving to Portugal - EU Seguros

Recent studies have shown that from over 60,000 expats that have decided to live in Portugal, 11 percent of them are US citizens.

Portugal is the preferred destination as it provides a high-quality life in a European country with a reduced cost of living. It is consistently ranked as one of the safest countries in the world, it has one of the top tier places for education in both finance, engineering and medical schools. It has a sunny weather, and is one of the oldest countries in the world, so it provides a wealth of culture and history available to anyone that chooses Portugal as its destination.

Portugal has been chosen as the first choice for the Golden Visa Program on a consistent basis, as the Portuguese Government got together with key-producers in this service sector so that the process could be streamlined as best as possible and anyone that chooses to obtain their visas could get the best experience in the least amount of time possible.

In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to know before moving to Portugal. We’ll cover the documents you’ll need, visa application, cost of living in Portugal, healthcare, education, retirement, and more.

Enjoy the read!

Do Americans Need a Visa to Move to Portugal?

No and Yes. Anyone with an American passport can enter the country for up to 90 days for tourism or business purposes, but after that if you will need a residency permit.

The Portuguese government offers two different kinds of visas:

1. Temporary Stay (under one year)

2. Permanent Residency (above one year)

A foreign citizen when authorized to reside in Portugal, is issued a residency permit.

Permanent Residency – The Visa Process

As an American, you have a couple of options to acquire the necessary visa or residency permit moving to Portugal for the long term.

The most common two to acquire your initial temporary residency permit are the Portugal Golden Visa and the D7 Visa.

The immigration and border service, referred to as SEF(Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras), carries out the visa application process. Applications can be done online, and as of 2020, residency permits can also be automatically renewed.

Portugal Golden Visa

The Golden Visa program allows applicants to invest in the Country and obtain Portuguese permanent residency cards.  The Golden Visa residency permit allows you to live, work, and study in Portugal and travel freely across the Schengen Area.

This name was given after all 26 European Countries signed a treaty allowing European Citizens to travel freely without the need for passport/border controls. This area functions as a single jurisdiction under a common visa policy. In practical terms it is a fancy name for most of European Countries.

Portugal’s D7 Visa

The D7 Visa, or the passive income visa,  is temporary and has an initial validity of 1 year. At the end of the first year, it can be renewed, if the requirements are maintained, becoming valid for 2 years, also renewable in the same conditions.

After 5 years of legal residence permit in Portugal, the applicant may choose to either:

1. apply for a Permanen Residence Permit, which will be valid for 5 years

2. request the Portuguese citizenship – provided that some legal requirements are fulfilled. 

If you’re planning to apply for D7 Visa, you’ll be required to submit documents that show your income. For more details, check out our article on the Portugal D7 Visa.

Benefits of Permanent Residence in Portugal

Permanent residents in Portugal gain many benefits such as access to opening and expanding busiensses, social security, healthcare, and education in the highest European standards.

Can Americans Obtain Portuguese Citizenship?

Yes! If you reside in Portugal for five years, you can apply for citizenship.

Becoming a citizen in Portugal means that you’re also a European citizen.  You can then live, work, study, and make use of the healthcare system in any European country or its Education System.

What Does Portugal Have To Offer?

Main Portuguese Cities and Regions

Lisbon, Cascais, Oporto, Algarve

Cost Of Living: (2-3 people)/month

Rent: 800-1.500

Water bill: 35

Electricity Bill: 30

Gas Bill: 15

Groceries: 350

Internet: 50

Healthcare: 30

Minimum wage: 665 per month (2021)

The Job Market

GPD is 74% services oriented.

Education in Ivy League Schools

Engineering: BSc 697/year, MSc 1.063,47/year–2.500/year

Medical School: Integrated MSc(BSc+MSc) = 2.700/year

Economics/Finance/Business: 697/year. MSc 1.063,47/year, PhD 3.000/year

Climate In Portugal

Sunny weather throughout. Lower end of Portugal hot summers 35-40º, upper part gets colder, cloudy in the winter with some rain.

Opening a Bank Account in Portugal as a US Citizen

Portugal allows non-residents and non-habitual residentes to open a bank account in Portugal. As a first step, the non-resident needs to obtain a NIF in Portugal and then go to a branch and open a bank account, some fiscal representative here accountant or lawyer to use a Portuguese address.

Taxes for American Expats in Portugal

Americans will benefit from an attractive tax-regime.For instance, the income received from the investment fund is taxed at 0% For more on taxes, you can visit this article: Portuguese Tax System

What Do Expats Think of Portugal?

Recent studies were conducted to determine what is the main reason expats find as the most important one they choose to stay . Out of 94% respondents mentioned quality of life.

How Can I Move To Portugal?

The first step is to get in contact with a local IFA (Independent Financial Advisor) and an Immigration Lawyer. These are the key people to help you move here. The best ones are fiduciary, as these are independent from the services they offer, so they can guide you through your best options.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can American Citizens Move to Portugal?

Yes for up to 90 days. If you wish to live there long-term, then you will need to get a residence permit.

How Much Money Do You Need to Immigrate to Portugal?

The government makes it easy for Americans to obtain residency, as the main source of revenue of Portugal is Tourism and all its connected services. An immigration lawyer will cost you between €1.000-€5.000 to take care of the whole process. For the investment, you can choose several routes, the typical ones being investing in a property, investing in a fund or directly wiring a transfer. More on this on this article.

Can Americans apply for Portugal Golden Visa?

Americans can and usually apply for Portugal’s Golden Visa. The Golden Visa program is a residency by investment program available for any non-EU citizen. A growing number of US citizens find Portugal to be an interesting country to invest in and obtain a residency or second citizenship in.  Check out our guide on Portugal Golden Visa for Americans.

Is Healthcare in Portugal Free?

Public healthcare is free for those under the age of 18 and over the age of 65. For other ages, it’s not entirely free, but it’s cheap.

Is an American Driver’s License Valid in Portugal?

Yes, you can use a car in Portugal with your American driver’s license.

Is it Safe to Drive in Portugal?

Portugal has one of the best roads and highway systems in the world.  Lisbon, as its capital, is the only city with relatively dense traffic. Most other cities in the country offer a smooth ride.

How Does the Cost of Living in Portugal Compare to the US?

The average salary in Portugal ranges between €800-1,000 per month. The threshold to start living without thinking about current expenses is around 2.500 eur/month

What are the Cons of Moving to Portugal from the USA?

You’ll find that the culture is different from America. Portugal is a slower paced country, very welcoming for outside people coming in.

With a long-standing history of having people from different cultures living together, you’ll feel this as typical setting in Portuguese culture.

How long can a US citizen live in Portugal?

US citizens may enter Portugal for up to 90 days for business or for tourism without the need for a Portuguese visa. If you would like to move to Portugal and spend more than three months there, then you’ll need to get an appropriate visa or a residence permit. The process of moving to Portugal for American expats is straightforward.

How many American expats live in Portugal?

Recent data shows that the number of registered American expats in Portugal is 6,600 and increasing by the day. Americans choose to come here for the high quality of life and low cost of living. Portugal is ranked as one of the safest in the world, with multiple Ivy League Schools, with a vibrant Tech Startup community and lots of opportunities to invest.

Can I retire to Portugal from USA?

Yes. Most Americans that come here are from 45 above, typically in the 50-50 range. Many senior people choose to retire in Portugal. This is a Mediterranean country that offers much to retirees. For more information, check out our extensive article on Retiring in Portugal.

Do American expats need insurance in Portugal?

Yes. If you’re only traveling to Portugal and spending less than 90 days in Portugal, we advise that you get travel insurance from a carrier like AIG.

If you’re looking to move to Portugal, on the other hand, you should get a Portuguese visa as a temporary Portuguese visa won’t provide you with health care in the country.

Where do most American expats live in Portugal?

The largest American expat communities in the country are located in Lisbon, Cascais, Algarve, and Porto.

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Why Americans choose Portugal as the main destination for the Golden Visa
In this article we will show why Portugal is the #1 destination for Americans when moving to Europe. Learn why Portugal is the #1 choice.
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