Top 10 tips for moving to Portugal
These tips for relocating to Portugal are brought to you by Arminshaws Removals and are of particular interest to potential expats who have children.
Moving abroad and becoming an expat in a foreign country is a choice made by thousands of individuals, couples and families every year. Some of those decide to make the leap to Portugal, where the sun (almost) always shines! We have produced these top ten tips for someone looking to move to Portugal from abroad.
1. Many motorways in Portugal have tolls. Some have tollbooths, but others only have an electronic system for paying, which is operated by Via Verde Portugal. Toll machines can be hired or bought in special Via Verde shops or at Portuguese post offices. If you end up on a Via Verde without a toll machine, you will need to pay the toll within 48 hours or you will earn a fine on top of the toll fee.
2. Attending school is compulsory in Portugal from the ages of six to fifteen and is called Ensino Básico (basic education). Education can either be state or private. Despite education being free in the state system, you will be expected to purchase books and other equipment.
3. Before the age of six, your child can attend a pre-school (kindergarten) if you so wish. There are a variety of types of pre-school, including state, private, charitable and cooperatives. Registration occurs during June and July. Requirements are typically a medical check, birth certificate, health card showing vaccinations and an inscription form.
4. There are also private schools teaching the Portuguese national curriculum and others that teach an international curriculum in various foreign languages. However, very few of these schools will go up to the secondary level. The schools should be registered with the Portuguese Ministry of Education. Note that an international curriculum is not automatically accepted by the Portuguese education system and so this should be considered when you are selecting a school and curriculum.
5. Once living in Portugal, you can apply for a Cartão de Utente (health card). This card gives foreign residents the same rights to treatment as Portuguese citizens and depending on circumstances, discounts on medicines. If you do not have this card and are permanently resident in Portugal, you will need to have private medical insurance.
6. Farmácias (chemists) are open in every town during normal shopping hours, which are typically 9 A.M. to 1 P.M. and 3 P.M. to 7 P.M. Outside of these hours there is a Farmácia de Serviço (duty chemist) available. Every chemist should have a list of the duty chemists in the area on its door. A chemist can also usually offer advice when you are unable to get to your health centre or family doctor.
7. As with all big decisions in life, research is the key and one must always remember that living somewhere is completely different to holidaying there.
8. Relocating on a permanent basis to another country, especially one which has a different language and culture, needs thorough planning. If you have children and need to work, this is even more crucial.
9. Initial Residency Certificate: After three months, and within 30 days, you must apply for an initial residency certificate at your local Câmara Municipal (council) or Freguesia (parish council).
10. The documents that may be required are a passport or national ID card, your Portuguese fiscal number, which is obtained from the local Serviço das Finanças (tax office), a European health card, proof of address and income (or you may simply be required to make a self-declaration regarding whether you are employed, self-employed or have other means to live), and proof of health insurance if you are not entitled to the Portuguese health system. Sometimes other details regarding your education and family are required.