Portugal, the perfect hotspot for digital nomads

  • Home >
  • News >
  • Portugal, the perfect hotspot for digital nomads

Portugal, the perfect hotspot for digital nomads
Reading time: 8 minutes
Published: 19th January 2021, 4:24pm
Updated: 19th March 2021, 6:11pm

Besides being the third best city in the world to live in, the city was also recognized as one of the most popular cities in Europe for digital nomads by the Lonely Planet.

Portugal is developing into becoming an influential technology hub, spurred on by helpful governmental policies, a very talented and ever-growing workforce, and most importantly, many national and international companies, business and startups wanting to make the most of what the county has to offer to successfully grow.

2020 was a year that made us rethink our way of living and in which we learned two great lessons: the importance of changing the pace of life we lead and the possibility of working from almost anywhere in the world. Smart working is turning the working world, and Portugal is becoming a magnet for the ever-growing era of talented digital nomads. Proof of that is the recent announcement of the opening of Europe’s first digital nomad village, in the archipelago of Madeira. 

Floating in the middle of the Atlantic, the village is made for those who would like to get their job done while savoring a breathtaking ocean and mountain view. Sounds promising, right? Digital Nomads Madeira will host up to 100 remote workers. It will start on February 1, and last through June 30, 2021. The participants will be provided with a free working space, access to a Slack community, and free internet. Read all about this project here.

Although the ecosystem in Portugal is still in an “early phase”, the country has a very high quality of engineering professionals, and qualified workers at a competitive cost. Besides that, when compared to Spain, Italy and France, Portugal also has the seventh-highest English proficiency among non-native speakers.

It becomes important to mention that the capital, Lisbon, has been the host country of the largest tech event in the world - Web Summit. The founder and CEO of the event, Paddy Cosgrave, chose to host this huge yearly event here during the next years, despite receiving large sums of money from other cities in Europe, because he believes that the country “really fits in with the brand of Web Summit. It’s a startup nation” and that “there hasn’t been a better time to invest in this country, that will only keep growing in terms of development and stature.”

Besides Portugal based startups like Startup Portugal and Startup Lisbon, there are also well-known and influential companies that have chosen to invest, and create offices in Portugal, such as Google, BP, Nike, PepsiCo, LG and Samsung. This is a reason why more and more innovation parks are being developed - Taguspark, Lagoaspark, Parque Suécia, Quinta da Fonte, to name a few -, serving as an invitation card for already established, or upcoming startups to set up in Portugal. The Oeiras area in Lisbon has, for instance, been nicknamed as the “Silicon Valley of Europe’‘, due to its great pool of talent, and the great innovation and work that stem from there. 

Read also:

Your guide to Oeiras

Is living in Portugal expensive?

What’s also great about Portugal is that it’s pocket-friendly. Although accommodation prices might be a bit of a fuss in central cities, unlike many European capitals, you can get by on a small budget if you spend your money carefully. You can grab dinner somewhere decent for €20 to €30 and grab a beer at a local pub for no more than a euro.

The capital, for example, is divided into various neighbourhoods, each with its own atmosphere; a bit of research into the premium areas, and what each of them has to offer will help you in your endeavours here! Explore the best neighbourhoods to invest in.

Read also:

What are the running costs of a house in Portugal?

The Property Market, Residency and Tax Programmes in Portugal

How can I become a digital nomad in Portugal?

While there is no specific Portuguese remote work visa, foreign investors who want to establish businesses or startups opt for the Golden Visa or the Non-Habitual Residency schemes.

If you opt to invest in the Portuguese Golden Visa, you can buy a property for €350k, and obtain temporary residency. The immediate benefits are visa-free travel to the Schengen countries and family inclusion. After five years of fulfilling the requirements, you can apply for citizenship and permanent residency.

If you wish to become a digital nomad in the central cities of Lisbon or Porto through real estate investment, you may do so before January 2022. Learn more about the latest changes to the Portuguese Golden Visa programme here.

Another alternative is the D7 Visa and Residency Permit. These are intended for non-EU citizens with passive income. Once you’ve moved your tax residency to Portugal, you can then benefit from the NHR programme, which enables you to be tax-exempt, as well as have great tax reductions on your income, for 10 years. You can profit from a 20% fixed income tax (IRS) if you are a high-value-added skilled professional. Check the whole list of eligible professions here.

Read also:

Portuguese language test as a requirement to become a Portuguese citizen

Get in touch with our team and we will help you explore the best relocation option for you!

The Digital Nomad Visa (DNV)

As a result of the pandemic changes worldwide, many companies had to adapt to the new period we’re living in, hence several European countries have introduced EU Digital Nomad Visas.

There isn’t actually any investment as such when it comes to the DNV, unlike the residency by investment RCBI programmes. The closest visa category can be the actual work visa but this one could be an issue as you’re performing a job for another jurisdiction and getting your income from another country, and are not locally employed.

On the other hand, if you wish to stay in a country for longer than a simple tourist visa, you may give the DMV a try, as it will allow you longer stays. Just like tourist visas, Digital Nomad Visas are easy to obtain and do not require long paperwork nor a work contract.

Although individuals who hold a tourist visa are not permitted to work in the country (they can only participate in tourist activities), the Digital Nomad Visa officially states that the holder can work while in the country, as long as they do so remotely and on one’s own.

However, one should note that the rule regarding not working while in the country only applies to those who wish to be employed by a legal company. Those who generate income independently can continue to do so on a tourist visa in most places.

How does the Digital Nomad Visa work?

Each country issuing the DNV practices its own regulations and policies. Some allow eligible citizens to apply online, while others request a solicitor to submit their application in person through an embassy or consulate.

As standard rules, if you’re applying for a Digital Nomad Visa, you will need:

An eligible and valid passport

Proof of a passive remote income

Many countries may also require an application fee, and you should always check with the countries’ authorities whether you need additional documents such as medical insurance, vaccine certificates or any other European health requirements. Check below the list of both EU and Non-EU countries that offer you a Digital Nomad Visa or a Residency Permit to work independently as a digital nomad as of now.



20th January 2021
The Portuguese real estate market continues to live its best years The…
7th January 2021
Information update February 2021:  Learn everything about the 2022 changes…

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