Retiring in Portugal - What do you need to know?

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Retiring in Portugal - What do you need to know?
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Published: 13th March 2020, 12:39pm

Information update January 2021: Read updated information on the Portuguese Golden Visa here.

As more and more people are discovering, Portugal is a marvellous place to live. It’s not only about real estate opportunities, reduced cost of living and quality healthcare; the food is also wonderful, especially the fresh fish, speciality cheeses and scrumptious pastries. The country is also geographically beautiful, being internationally renowned for excellent wine, including the legendary port wine. And most important, the quality of life here is great. Here, life is not about struggling to earn more or to acquire more; it’s about savouring what you do have with your family and friends.

If Portugal is in your radar screen, you will definitely find the best place for you, whether you’re someone who likes the big-city life like Lisbon or Porto, a quiet oceanfront place like the Silver Coast, or a fairytale place like Sintra. You can also head south, to the expat-friendly Algarve for the warmest weather in Portugal, and sun-drenched pristine beaches stretching along miles of beautiful rock formations.

Frequently Asked Questions about what you need to know about retiring in Portugal

1. What are the best places to retire in Portugal and how much money do I need?

In Portugal, the influence of a very diverse set of cultures is evident in the drastic contrast offered by its regions. Whereas the sunny Algarve, in the south, is influenced by the Moors, in the north, Porto city has its roots anchored within the Iberian peninsula. Check here the best places to retire in Portugal for under 30.000€.

2. Who can retire in Portugal?

If you’re from the EU and wish to retire in Portugal you may apply for a residence permit from the regional offices of the Portuguese Immigration Service or SEF (Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras).

If you’re a non-EU citizen, you need to require your residence permit from the Portuguese consular office in your home country. The requirements to do so are: 

  • Having a valid passport;

  • Proof of income;

  • Proof of health insurance;

  • Criminal background check. 

You may also get a temporary permit that allows you to live in the country for 5 years before requesting permanent residence.

You can also retire in Portugal through the Golden Visa scheme, but you must meet one of the following requirements in the real estate sector:

  • Make a purchase of real estate with a value of at least 500.000€;

  • Purchase real estate with a value of at least 350.000€ to renovate (the property must either have construction dating back more than 30 years or be in areas of urban regeneration);

  • Make a purchase of 280.000€ in a low-density area.

Learn more about 3 routes to acquiring Portuguese Citizenship.

3. What are the advantages of retiring in Portugal under the Non-Habitual Residence Scheme?

Portugal NHR status provides tax advantages to those who establish their residence for Portuguese tax purposes, enabling them to have tax breaks for 10 consecutive years. Read more about Portugal NHR here.

4. Can I go to the doctor if I retire in Portugal?

Yes. Healthcare in Portugal is available for the ex-pats who are legal residents in the country. This includes non-working residents under certain conditions, such as unemployed, retired, or dependent family members.

5. Can foreign children access school in Portugal?

Yes. Within the Portuguese education system, there are options that fit every budget (public, private and international schools), however, if you plan to raise your kids in a multicultural setting, then international schools might be the best option. Know more about the Best schools in Portugal to enrol my kids.

6. Is learning the Portuguese language a problem?

No. Portuguese is the sixth most spoken language in the world, being a very accessible language to learn.

7. I am retiring in the Algarve. How can I move around?

If your preferred place to live is the Algarve, you can get around by bus, train, taxis, rental cars and transfers. Check Portugal Airport Transfer, a family-friendly company solely specialized in driving you around the Algarve.

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Buying Property in Portugal

Portugal Homes has very experienced and knowledgeable professionals working with some of the most established and reputable developers Portugal has to offer. Our vast experience allows us to guide you through the best investment choices.

Whether you want a holiday home or an investment property, we select the best units for your profile and take care of all the process from start to finish. Even after the sale! Our After Sales services assume the responsibility of furnishing your property at your taste, taking care of the property in your absence, managing the rentals if you wish to rent your property when you’re not in Portugal and so much more!

To learn more about the Portuguese Non-Habitual Resident Program and our After Sales services, please fill the form below.

My property advisor, Mathew McGurn, was truly excellent! His knowledge, professionalism and attention to details was much appreciated. He worked hard to not only find a property that fit all my requirements, he negotiated successfully with agents making sure my offer won over other buyers bidding for the same property. In addition, his communication skills, prompt response time and general help with my getting settled in Portugal went above and beyond the normal.

Investor from the USA

Dear Sérgio, thank you so much for arranging our 1º Esquerdo place. We love our place, and your attention to detail is very much appreciated. 

Tim Thronson - Investor from the USA

A full service, one stop opportunity. Very easy for us a foreigners. Ryan Dunn went above and beyond for us. We appreciate him and his work!

Jose Arias - Investor from the USA

Everyone I met with and spoke with has been extremely knowledgeable and professional. Dealing with native English speakers who understand things from my perspective was very reassuring. Finally, knowing that I had Matthew in my corner gave me the confidence to proceed with the process of buying an apartment in Lisbon. Thanks very much.

Investor from the USA

So far it has been great. Simon is very knowledgeable and friendly.

Loay El Abiad - Investor from Saudi Arabia

It's fantastic how Ryan had complete knowledge regarding Lisbon and dealt with us in a great manner.

Akbar Ali - Investor from Pakistan