These are some of the most useful resources I’ve come across in the 15 years I’ve been living in Portugal. It is by no means the most comprehensive resource but I add to it when I find something that may help my readers.
I can’t vouch for how up to date the contents of third party websites are but as a starting point, they should help you track down the information you’re looking for.
Relocating to another country is a massive change that affects you, the people who go with you and the ones you leave behind. There’s a lot to consider and many pitfalls to avoid, which is why Portugal-based expat coach, Deborah Dahab, has created a 6-month programme designed to help you prepare on a practical and emotional level.
Find out more about Deborah’s Master Your Move programme, which includes three 1:1 coaching sessions with her to discuss your specific situation.
She also has a short course, again with a 1:1 call, to help you plan an effective scouting trip, which has very different goals from a typical vacation, and make sure you gather all the information you need while you’re visiting your potential new home.
If you are still wondering whether living abroad is right for you, or where to relocate to, veteran travel writer and serial expat Tim Leffel’s Better Life For Half The Price guide also has different levels of add-on services to give you a little extra support in the decision-making process.
Insider information about moving to Portugal
When you’ve narrowed down your options to Portugal but haven’t yet taken the plunge, be sure to ask yourself these important questions and read some of these books before committing yourself to anything:
The first one is packed full of contact details for relevant services and advice about buying, selling and renting properties as well as work opportunities.
Videos and webinars
Although there are tons of YouTube videos about life in Portugal, and thousands of blog posts, it can be hard to know whether the information is up to date or accurate. To solve this problem, long-time Portugal expat, Amy Kraushaar, has built an impressive library of interviews and presentations with carefully vetted local experts. You can watch webinars on a whole host of topics relevant to moving to Portugal on Expacity.
There are occasionally free webinars but the real gold lies in the yearly membership where you can be confident that the information contained within the videos is correct and current, without any sales pitches at the end of the information.
You also get the chance to talk to other members, connect with experts you can trust and, if you choose the VIP option, you’ll get 1:1 time with Amy too.
Get 10% off eligible Expacity offers with my code: JULIE8099 (For offers with multiple payments or subscriptions the discount will be applied to the first payment)
Forums and more
If you want to talk to other people who are considering relocating to Portugal or who are already living here, check out Expats Portugal.
There’s a members forum and, for a small fee, you can upgrade your free membership and get access to lots of discounts on relevant services. They also offer webinars on important aspects of moving to Portugal for Premium members.
Admin, visas and finance
Get a feel for the cost of living in different parts of Portugal with this calculator and comparison site.
U.S. citizens and other 3rd country immigrants wondering about the necessary paperwork should take a look at this useful article.
If you’re buying or renting property in Portugal, you’ll need a NIF number, which is a tax ID number that’s used in many everyday transactions, including shopping and opening a bank account. Read this article to find out how to get your NIF online.
For those of you needing to open a Portuguese bank account from abroad, check out Bordr’s bank account service and get a €10 discount using my code: JULIE. They also offer combined NIF and bank account packages, again with the discount.
If you need information about tax, VAT and different kinds of tax/residency status in Portugal, Portal das Finanças has some information in English.
The High Commission For Migrations (Alto Comissariado para as Migrações) has a very useful website which answers many common questions about living, studying, and working in Portugal.
If you are a establishing temporary or long-term residency or immigrating to Portugal, these sites will have the information you need:
Portal of Portuguese Communities For obtaining a Portugal visa.
IMIGRANTE.PT is the official website for Portuguese immigration and information about residency requirements.
SEF Portugal’s Immigration and Borders Services (Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras) has the legislative information you need.
CNAI The National Centre of Support to the Immigrant (Centro Nacional de Apoio ao Imigrante) provides support after you’ve arrived in Portugal.
Starting a business in Portugal? This Invest In Tourism site is geared towards tourism-related investments but has some useful information.
Healthcare in Portugal
EU citizens who are legally resident in Portugal may be entitled to health care at subsidised costs but private health insurance is an option for those that prefer not to have to rely on the state services, or who are not from the EU.
Be aware that early retirees from the UK may need to make special arrangements. Once you’re of state pension age, you’ll get an S1 form that covers the reciprocal payments for healthcare but in the interim period, you may have to take out private insurance if you’re not contributing to the Portuguese social security system. More details on the UK Government website about health service and pension entitlements.
This table explains the circumstances which grant access to the Portuguese Health Service.
The DECO website is a consumer protection site (in Portuguese) and, among other things, offers a price comparison tool for health insurance in Portugal.
Economising on travel in Portugal
My Portugal travel deals page also has some great resources for saving money on car rental, flights, accommodation and tours.
Unless you are already fluent in Portuguese, you should find these resources helpful when it comes to communicating in Portugal:
My favourite resource is Practice Portuguese, which has a learning platform, podcasts, quizzes, videos and a new translation tool that gives premium subscribers the option of formal or informal European Portuguese. It beats Google Translate hands down and will help you avoid some embarrasing situations!
Driving in Portugal
It can take a bit of getting used to so here are my 25 Essential Tips For Driving In Portugal Without Losing Your Cool
If you or your visitors need to rent a car, read this first: How To Rent A Car In Portugal And Avoid Sneaky Extra Charges
If you’re happy using an online platform to cut out the middleman and get the best rates of the moment, Wise is easy to use and only takes about a day to get funds from bank to bank.
They have also introduced a new Borderless account which allows you to send or receive payments in other currencies from a holding account and avoid paying currency exchange fees when the money reaches or leaves your normal bank account.
Read more about how Wise, formerly Transferwise, works in this post.
Facebook groups for expats
I’ve tried expat forums in the past but find that Facebook groups tend to be more helpful if you have questions or just fancy connecting with other English-speakers for some moral support.
Tip: Look for ones that are well-moderated as people with too much time on their hands sometimes get a bit nasty. Report any nonsense or abuse to the moderator so they can weigh in and ban offenders if necessary.
One of the most helpful Facebook groups I’ve come across for foreigners living in Portugal is Americans & Friends in Portugal, especially for Americans and other 3rd country nationals trying to find their way through the haze of bureaucracy and visa requirements.
For buying and selling used goods in central Portugal, Second Hand Treasures is great.
There are many others so use the search function to find and join ones that are local to you. The Silver Coast and Algarve have particularly active groups.
There are groups for specific interests, e.g. crafters, gardeners, people doing up old properties and walking groups. Ask around if you can’t find what you want with a simple search.
Other online resources for living in Portugal
Safe Communities Portugal is a non-profit organisation that aims to prevent crime and promote safety for tourists and residents in Portugal.
Good Morning Portugal is a morning radio programme run by Carl Munson, who moved to Central Portugal with his young family in 2017. Every weekday from 9 am he invites various guests from Portuguese language teachers, resident bloggers, relocation specialists and others to join him on the show.
My A to Z of Portugal
A few years ago, I wrote this series of posts, most of which are about my experience of living in Portugal as a foreigner. They include the frustrations, delights and surprises I encountered and may provide you with reassurance, information or just a giggle.
See the list here: My Personal A to Z of Portugal
You’ll find my other expat-related posts in this archive.
Comfort food and supplies
While you can get pretty much everything you are likely to need in Portugal, some of your favourite brands may be noticeably missing from supermarket shelves. If you have not been able to satisfy your craving for Ginger Nuts, Bisto gravy granules or mince pies, you could treat yourself to a ‘comfort package’.
British Corner Shop now do smaller parcels so you don’t have to go crazy when filling your online shopping basket just to meet the minimum order levels.
Forest fire information
Unfortunately, forest fires are a scary reality every year in Portugal so if you’re living anywhere near a forested area, you’ll want to be able to find out the current situation if there is a fire.
Fogos.pt is fairly good and there’s an app which you can set up to send you alerts of fires in your area.
ProCiv is usually a bit more reliable.
If you’re in Central Portugal, this is a helpful Facebook group for getting current information about fires.
To check which areas have been burnt and to see locations of current fires, the Copernicus site is good, although not very intuitive.
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