Why move to Portugal?

Moving to Portugal is a reality for more and more people. To this end, accessing a Portugal residency visa or even Portuguese citizenship is possible through a range of programs and options. As an example, the famous Residency by Investment and Portuguese Citizenship by Investment program (Portuguese Golden Visa) is one of these options. Additionally, there is also a range of opportunities for a Portuguese Work Visa.

Portuguese nationality comes with many benefits. Importantly, Portugal has a relaxed view of dual citizenship and will not ask new Portuguese citizens to relinquish their old nationalities.

So why are people immigrating to Portugal? Consistently Portugal has steadily climbed up global surveys for the best countries for immigration. In a 2019 survey Portugal ranked 3rd for Expat life. Let’s look at some of the reasons to move to Portugal.

Move to Portugal for the visa, residency, citizenship, and nationality options

Portuguese nationality is one of the world’s best. In fact, Portugal’s passport is ranked 5th in the world with visa-free travel to a staggering 185 destinations. Additionally, Portugal’s standing is one of a respected nation. As a result, Portugal has no regional or international enemies.

Portugal’s residency visa, citizenship, residency, and other immigration programs are world-class. This means there are many options available to people from all over the world.

The only drawback of these schemes is that Portuguese bureaucracy can be challenging to navigate. With this in mind, working with a trusted lawyer is strongly recommended.

Move to Portugal for the economy

Immigrating to Portugal allows you to have a low cost of living relative to your quality of life than you would elsewhere. This is true even in the larger cities of Lisbon and Porto (often ranked as the best cities to live in Portugal). In general costs are much cheaper than the equivalent life in the USA, Australia, Scandinavia, and in many other European counties.

The government has implemented policies for Portuguese Work Permits and Portuguese Residency Visas to attract global talent. The result is that these visa options have led to a thriving start-up scene, a tech boom, and digital nomad hub. It follows that this is a great country in which to live and work. Consequently, while scarce jobs were a real downside to immigrant life in Portugal this is rapidly changing.

Portuguese real estate has had a great decade. Accordingly, people purchasing a property in Portugal to access Portugal’s Golden Visa program have seen their investment deliver strong returns over the last decade. In spite of this, outside of Lisbon and Porto central areas, property is still very affordable.

In addition, for immigrants and people on a residency visa is relatively easy to open a bank account.

Move to Portugal for Healthcare

Portuguese residency, as well as Portuguese citizenship, gives you access to the Portuguese national healthcare system (Serviço Nacional de Saúde, or SNS) at an exceptionally low cost. Given that Portugal ranks 30th in the world for healthcare provision, ahead of the USA in 59th this is a fantastic benefit.

For those living in Portugal who want more choice in their health decisions, there is also a private health system with insurance. Again, this care system is excellent, with coverage available for less than a quarter of what you’d pay in the USA. And for that price, Portuguese private health insurance delivers services way beyond all but the most extensive plans in the USA.

Move to Portugal for the weather

Portugal is Europe’s sunniest country. Hence, mild winters and balmy summers are standard. In contrast there are beautiful high mountain ranges in the North. In fact in winter, the mountains do get snow so if you need a fix of the white stuff, it is available.

Move to Portugal for the people, cuisine, and culture

Living in Portugal means you get to hang out with Portuguese people. In short they are friendly, welcoming, enthusiastic. In general, English is widely spoken. Even where it is not spoken locals are unfailingly polite and patient. Even more appealing is the cuisine. Without reservation the quality of the cuisine is world-class, with a melting pot of cultural influences. Indeed, the food is fresh, affordable, and you’ll love the variety on offer.

Moving to Portugal

Do you want to buy property, house or apartment in Portugal? Are you a senior with the ambition to retire in Portugal? Maybe a student who long for studying abroad? Here in this new book, Maria Espinoza outlines the steps that will make the big move that much less painful.
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Portugal Residency

Portugal’s bureaucracy and immigration system can be complicated to navigate. Accordingly, access to a highly qualified and professional lawyer is critical to a successful application.

You can live and work freely in Portugal if you are a citizen of the European Union or European Economic Area (EEA).

Here are some of the ways to live in Portugal if you are a citizen of a non-EEA country:

Startup Visa

Officially launched in March 2018, the Startup Portugal Visa program aims to attract smart entrepreneurs to generate wealth and employment through innovation and know-how.  If you are an entrepreneur who wishes to develop or launch a startup in Portugal, this may be the residency visa for you.  To explain, there is no upfront capital requirement other than having to prove you can cover living expenses of €5150 per annum per person.  As a result, the application is based on the degree of innovation, the scalability of the business, the market potential, the capacity of the management team, and the potential for creating jobs.  Other requirements are:

  • The startup needs to be technology-focused,
  • The startup needs to show the potential to create jobs and to generate a turnover of 325,000€/ year.

Portugal Passive Income Visa (for retirees, religious or persons of independent means)

To qualify for the Portugal Passive Income Visa, you need to agree to base yourself in Portugal for eight months of the year (or six consecutive months) and prove a passive income.

That is all you need and you could be eligible for a Portugal Passive income visa. Examples of passive income visa qualifications are rental income, dividends, investment income and a pension.  Given that there are no published exact guidelines on income requirements to qualify for the Portugal passive income visa you need excellent advice. In this case our experienced local partner believes that €20,000 of annual income should be sufficient.

The passive income visa gives you free access and circulation in the Schengen Area, and the freedom to live and carry out work in Portugal. In addition, you also have the option to become a “non-habitual resident” of Portugal for tax purposes, which offers excellent taxation rates for ten years.

Work or Business Visa

If you have a recognized university degree or professional experience as well as a work contract or binding job offer, you may be eligible for an "EU Blue Card."   The Blue Card is a four-year temporary work and residence permit.  The Portugal Work Visa also gives you free movement within the Schengen area and enables your family to join you. In addition, if you do not have a work contract or job offer, you can register on the EU Blue Card Network, where European employers can view your details and connect with you appropriate job opportunities.  Also, the EU Blue Card Network is also where you can apply for the EU Blue Card.

Alternatively, if you intend to work for longer than six months and do not meet the EU Blue Card requirements, you need a Portuguese residence permit.  In this case to obtain a residence permit, you must prove that you have a signed work contract or promise of a work contract and the required experience and qualifications for the job.  Finally, you must also demonstrate sufficient means of subsistence, travel insurance, and a return ticket.

Through your Family

If your spouse is a citizen or permanent resident of Portugal, you are probably eligible for Portugal residency.  To this end the Portuguese government must recognize your status as a spouse. Due to the definition of “spouse” differing by country, each Marriage Visa is different.

See the citizenship section below for more information on residency or citizenship based on descent.

Working Holiday visa

Citizens of Argentina, Australia, Chile, Japan, and South Korea aged 18 to 30 can apply for a two-year Portuguese working holiday visa.

Student Visa and Researcher Visa

Student visas and researcher visas are available to citizens of certain countries.  For more information, click here.


GDP Per Capita
$20,182  (Rank: 43)
Disposable Income
$1,082  (Rank: 65)
Life Expectancy
81.10  (Rank: 23)
Education Index
73.00%  (Rank: 54)
Corruption Index
62%  (Rank: 30)
Murders Per Year
124  (Rank: 74)
Crime Index
35.39  (Rank: 38)
Environmental Protection
75.80%  (Rank: 17)
Gender Equality
73.70%  (Rank: 31)
Annual Tourists
9,092,000  (Rank: 35)

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Republic; parliamentary democracy





Population Density

112 per square km

Portugal Citizenship

Portuguese nationality and a Portuguese passport are very rewarding. For instance, the Portuguese passport offers visa-free access to 185 countries and territories (including the European Union). Undoubtedly this makes the Portuguese passport one of the world’s best (as a matter of fact, it was ranked the 5th  most powerful passport in a 2019 survey).

Citizenship by Descent

If one or both of your parents were citizens when you were born, you are probably also a citizen.

If you are a descendant of a Sephardic Jew who was persecuted and left the Iberian Peninsula, you can apply for naturalization as a Portuguese citizen.  Please have a read of the full article we have written on this topic here.

Citizenship by Double Descent

If one or both of your grandparents are/were citizens of Portugal, then you are eligible to become a naturalized citizen of Portugal with no residency requirements.

Citizenship by Naturalization

Once you have lived in Portugal for five years, you can apply for citizenship.  As part of the application, you need to pass a language skills test and meet other requirements.

Citizenship through Marriage

If your spouse is a citizen, you can apply for citizenship after living together in Portugal for a period of 3 years. 

Portugal Citizenship by Investment

The Portugal Golden Residence Permit Program (or the Portugal Golden Visa) is one of the most popular Residency by Investment programs in Europe and for good reasons.  Not only can you live and work in Portugal, but you also get visa-free access to all Schengen countries.  To qualify for Portuguese Residency by Investment, you are only required to stay in Portugal for a period of 7 or more days, in the first year, and 14 or more days in the subsequent years.  After six years, you can become a naturalized Portuguese citizen and get a Portuguese passport.

To be eligible, you need to invest in one of the following ways:

  • Invest more than €500,000 in Portuguese real estate/property.
  • Invest in Portuguese real estate/property to the value of €350,000 or above if the construction of the building dates back more than 30 years or it is located in an urban regeneration area.
  • Invest more than €350,000 in shares, investment funds, or in venture capital fund of funds geared to the capitalization of companies, whose maturity at the time of investment is at least five years.  60% of the investment should be realized in companies whose head office is located in Portugal.
  • Invest more than €350,000 in a commercial company whose head office is in Portugal, combined with the creation or keeping of 5 new permanent jobs for a minimum period of three years.
  • Transfer €1,000,000 of capital funds to Portugal.
  • Invest €350,000 or more in research activities conducted by public or private scientific research institutions in Portugal.
  • Invest more than €250,000 in artistic output or supporting the arts or for reconstruction or refurbishment of the national heritage.
  • Invest in an enterprise that creates at least ten Portuguese jobs.

Quality of Life

Rank: 30

Cost of Living

Rank: 59


Rank: 38

Average Temp.


Rank: 126


The Portugal Golden Residence Permit Program is one of the most popular Residency by Investment programs in Europe and for good reasons.  Not only can you live and work in Portugal but you also get visa free access to all Schengen countries.  You are only required to stay in Portugal for a period of 7 or more days, in the first year, and 14 or more days, in the subsequent years.  After 6 years you can becomes a naturalised citizen and get a Portuguese passport.  There are many ways to qualify but the most popular way is to purchase Real Estate for €350k or more or by investing in local shares also for the value of €350k or more.  

Our partners in Portugal have years of experience in helping our clients to find great investments in either property or shares as well as making the application process as seamless as possible.  So not only will you end up with an EU passport after 6 years but you could also have a valuable investment in Europe

Golden Visa Key Points

Programme Name:Golden Visa Minimum investment:EUR 350,000
Time to permanent residency: Immediate Time to citizenship:6 years
Typical processing time:4 months Minimum stay:7 days per year
Visa Free Countries:160 Passport Ranking:11th
Cost of Living Rank:59th Corruption Rank:30th

Resources & Links

The passport for Portugal allows you to travel to 160 countries without a visa.

Its global rank is 11.

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