Moving to Portugal

Americans Moving to Portugal

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Portugal has been a second home to many foreigners for a long time. It attracts expats mainly because of the safety and opportunities offered. These include a high quality of life, well-developed healthcare, and an education system. Many US citizens are among those expats relocating to Portugal. Their intention is mainly to retire, live in, and have a high quality of life in a European country.

In 2019, more than 60,000 people decided to move to Portugal. Among them, 11 percent were American citizens.

In addition to the amenities and a quality lifestyle, Portugal also offers residence permits for foreigners. Non-EU citizens can get Portuguese residence within a short time after investing in the country.

You can find more details about life in Portugal for expats and how to get residence in Portugal.

Life in Portugal

Portugal offers all-year-round warm weather as well as a number of natural beauties. You can find traces of history in every corner. The pristine beaches are also quite popular among expats and tourists.

Portuguese people are as warm as the weather here. They’re mostly open-minded and easy-going.

A Place for Families

The Family Life Index indicated that Portugal ranks ninth out of 50 destinations for great family life. The education and the availability of childcare contributed to this rank as well.

Also, the work and life balance are quite well-balanced. So, this leaves you more time with your family and friends.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Portugal is quite low despite high living standards. Even in Lisbon, you can live on $2,200 on average per month as a couple. If you live in a smaller city or the countryside, it even drops to $1,700.

Compared to the US, the rents are also affordable enough. In Lisbon, you can rent a one/two-bedroom apartment for around $1,000 a month. Again, if it’s a smaller city, the rent can drop to as low as $400.

Buying real estate is another option if you plan to live here longer. You can also consider this option to get EU residency. The Golden Visa Program Portugal offers this opportunity for non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens. You can find more information about this program in the Residence Permits section below.

In general, grocery shopping is way more affordable in Portugal. Furthermore, you can find fresh seafood here at an affordable amount. In addition, diets like wine, olive oil, and milk are also cheap here whereas they are considered luxury in the US.

The Job Market in Portugal

Portugal has had a growing economy, especially in the last few years. The number of startup and tech companies has also grown.


Both public and private healthcare systems are available in Portugal. If you’re a resident, or under 18 or over 65 years of age, you have access to the public healthcare system. However, temporary residents cannot benefit from it. Still, private health insurance is quite affordable. A basic plan costs around €440 a year, and a comprehensive one can cost up to $1,100.


Free education is available to residents and citizens up to 18 years of age. International schools with an American curriculum are also available in Portugal as well. It may cost between $450 and $550 a month. The average tuition fee for a private university is around $3,200.

Residence Permits for US Citizens While Moving to Portugal

US citizens can enter without a visa. They can stay here for up to 90 days for business or touristic purposes. For more duration of stay, you’ll need a residence permit and a visa.

When moving to Portugal, you can choose from several types of visas including work, residence, or family reunification.

Portugal Golden Visa Is Another Option To Get Fast Access to EU Residency

Since 2012, Portugal has provided residency for thousands of foreign investors. Under this program, you can invest in Portugal and get a residence right in Portugal at first. At the end of five years, you can apply for Portuguese citizenship as well. Once you get citizenship, you’ll become an EU citizen at the same time. This allows you to live, study and work in any EU country you want.

The investment options include real estate investment, capital transfer, donations, and fund subscription. Within around six months, you can have access to your Golden Visa. You can also include your immediate family members in this program. This means that they can benefit from the same rights you do.

What To Know Before You Relocate to Portugal

Moving from the US to Portugal is an easy process. You can find some of the important issues below when you move to Portugal.


The Luggage Certificate (Certificado de Bagagem) is one of the important documents you need. It’s easy to get it from your local Portuguese consulate. You can get it within a few days.

Flying and Shipping Your Possessions

It’s easy and affordable to move your possessions from the US to Portugal. Road, sea freight, and air freight are your options when doing this. Note that sea freight is a bit more affordable but slower than air freight. Airfreight takes around two to four business days for express shipping. The standard shipping takes five to eight days.


No official laws for vaccinations exist in Portugal. Still, it’s advisable to consult your local physician before you move.

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One Reply to “Americans Moving to Portugal”

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