Top 10 Tips For Moving to Portugal

Your New Home in Portugal

Your New Home in Portugal

Welcome back to Expat in Lisbon. Today we have for you a very special post for those potential expats who are looking to trade their current locale for the sunny Mediterranean climate of Portugal. Want 300 days of sunshine per year or more? Check. Want great food, world class wine, and lots of history? Check. What about watersports, golf, and endless kilometers of white sand beaches? Double check.

Arrabida Beach

Arrabida Beach

Moving to a new country can seem like and incredibly daunting and life changing task, and in some cases, it is. But there are folks out there that can make your life much easier and guide you every step of the way. Our good friends at Armishaws Removals are experts in Portugal removals, and if you prefer the snow to sunshine, Germany removals, as well as removals to the rest of Europe. You can visit them via the links above for a free quote today. They were kind enough to compile a list of the Top 10 Tips potential expats need to know before taking the plunge:

Top 10 Tips For Moving to Portugal

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/pharmacies) 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

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.

Well, I believe that as a starting point those tips are a great place to begin your research. For more info also visit my section on Expat Resources.

Thanks for visiting, and as always,

Lisboa Espera Por Ti

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