Living in Portugal - A Guide for Expats
Are you considering a move to Portugal? This sunny European country offers a unique blend of stunning landscapes, vibrant cities, and a relaxed way of life. With its affordable cost of living and welcoming culture, Portugal has become a popular destination for expats and digital nomads.
Language in Portugal and English Proficiency:
The official language of Portugal is Portuguese, but English is widely spoken, especially in metropolitan areas like Lisbon and Porto. In fact, English is the second most common language spoken in Portugal. Additionally, French and Spanish are also spoken by a significant portion of the population, making it easier for expats to communicate and integrate into Portuguese society.
Response to COVID-19 in Portugal:
Portugal has been proactive in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The government implemented strict measures to contain the spread of the virus, including banning large gatherings, closing schools, and declaring a state of emergency. As a result, Portugal has managed to keep its mortality rate relatively low compared to other countries. The country has also been successful in rolling out vaccinations, with a high percentage of the population now fully vaccinated. However, it is important to stay informed about the current travel restrictions and entry requirements before planning your move to Portugal.
How to Move to Portugal as an Expat:
Finding accommodation and expat communities in Portugal offers a wide range of housing options, from modern apartments in bustling cities to charming villas in the countryside. Websites and real estate agents can help expats find suitable accommodation based on their budget and preferences. Expats can also connect with various expat communities in Portugal, which provide a support network and opportunities for socializing and networking.
Can expats buy property in Portugal? Yes, expats can buy property in Portugal with no restrictions. In fact, the cost of real estate in Portugal is relatively affordable compared to other European countries, making it an attractive option for those looking to invest in property. Expats may also qualify for Portugal's golden visa program, which grants residency to those who purchase property above a certain value.
Top Tips for Living in Portugal as an Expat
Here are some essential tips for expats living in Portugal:
Learn the basics of the Portuguese language to help you navigate daily life and connect with the local community.
Take advantage of Portugal's affordable cost of living, but be mindful of potential bureaucratic processes and lower wages in some industries.
Embrace Portuguese culture and customs, including enjoying the delicious cuisine, exploring the vibrant arts scene, and participating in local celebrations and events.
Connect with expat communities and socialize with both expats and locals to build a support network and make new friends.
Familiarize yourself with the healthcare system, consider private health insurance for added coverage, and ensure you have all the necessary documents for accessing healthcare services.
Jobs, Visas, and Working in Portugal:
While Portugal offers a high quality of life, it is important to consider job opportunities and salary expectations before making the move. The Portuguese economy has been recovering from the effects of the financial crisis, and certain industries, such as manufacturing, agriculture, and tourism, offer more employment opportunities. Expats may need to obtain the appropriate work visa or residency permit to legally work in Portugal. EU citizens can live and work in Portugal freely, while non-EU citizens will need to follow specific visa requirements.
Cost of Living and Moving to Portugal:
Portugal is known for its affordability, with a cost of living approximately 20%-30% cheaper than the UK. Rent, consumer goods, and property prices are significantly lower in Portugal compared to other parts of Europe. However, it is important to consider your income and financial situation, as wages may be lower in Portugal. Conducting thorough research and budgeting before moving will help you plan your finances accordingly.
Banking and Finance in Portugal:
Opening a bank account in Portugal is relatively straightforward and can be done either online or in person. Portuguese banks offer various services, and expats can choose from a range of financial institutions. Having a Portuguese bank account will make it easier to manage your finances, pay taxes, and handle everyday banking needs.
Healthcare and Insurance in Portugal:
Portugal has a state-funded healthcare system that provides basic coverage for all residents, including expats. The country also offers private healthcare options for those who wish to have additional coverage and access to a wider range of services. Expats are advised to consider international health insurance to ensure they have adequate coverage and access to English-speaking doctors and specialists.
Culture and Customs in Portugal:
Portugal boasts a rich cultural heritage, from its traditional cuisine to its literary traditions and architectural wonders. Exploring Portuguese culture means discovering local delicacies like Portuguese cheeses and drinks, immersing yourself in traditional cuisine, and visiting local eateries and must-try restaurants. The country also celebrates its cultural heritage through events like Portugal Day and showcases its iconic architecture and traditional handicrafts.
Living in Portugal as an expat offers numerous benefits, including safety, affordable cost of living, a welcoming community, and a high quality of life. However, it is important to be aware of potential challenges such as bureaucracy, lower wages in certain industries, and the need to learn the Portuguese language. With proper preparation and research, Portugal can be an ideal destination for those seeking a new adventure abroad. So, if you're considering a move to Portugal, seize the opportunity to experience the natural beauty, rich culture, and warm hospitality that this country has to offer. Happy relocating!