On this page you will find all the information I have gathered in my travels so far that could possibly help expatriates and potential expatriates. I will be updating this page as more information becomes available.
Accommodation in Lisbon:
Immigration to Portugal and Visas:
United States citizens DO NOT need a visa in order to visit Portugal as a tourist for up to 90 days. This is pretty much in accord with the rest of the European Union. Visit the U.S. State Department’s page on Portugal for more detailed information.
Residency/Work Permit for Portugal for United States citizens: AUTORIZAÇÃO DE RESIDÊNCIA
Visit the SEF Website for the official page for what is officially required to get authorized to live and work in Portugal. I have personally gone to the SEF office here in Lisbon and spoken to an official. In order to get a residency permit there are two ways of doing it. First, you get hired by a Portuguese company and they do all the paperwork for you. You come over with a work visa and everything is fine. Second, you come in on a tourist visa and get work here, then apply for a residency permit.
The official at SEF told me this is how you do it:
“To get residency card with work visa you have to be working for 6 months with social security deductions. You have to extend the tourist visa twice. Work on the tourist visa (not necessarily legal) for 6 months with social security deductions. To get social security go to Loja do Cidadão on the Avenida da Liberdade on the South end of Restauradores (metro stop). When you get hired, take your work contract there and apply for social security deductions. (These deductions also give you access to the public health care system). After 6 months you have proof from your employer of the deductions and then you can come back to SEF to apply for your residency permit.”
To extend your tourist visa, if you are intending on staying in Lisbon, call the SEF office 808-653-202 in Reboleira/Odivelas. Ask them what documents you need to bring with you. Plan on bringing at least your passport, two passport sized photos, proof of accommodation, bank statements proving you have enough money to stay another 3 months, and a criminal registry document from Portugal stating that you have a clean record (you get this in Restauradores, same place as social security).
UPDATED October 9, 2011:
I have successfully extended my tourist visa and this is what I did and what you will need: An appointment with the SEF in Odivelas. This office is located in the mall called Odivelas Parque. Walk towards the “Loja do Cidadão” once you are inside. The documents you need are your passport, passport photos, proof of accommodation from the Junta de Freguesia(more on that later), proof of means (bank statements showing you have at least $5,600 US AND the debit/credit card linked to the account), Declaração de Entrada (if you didn’t have your passport stamped by Portuguese customs upon entry), proof of a return flight (more on this later). You may also need the Registo Criminal but my agent didn’t ask for it.
Junta de Freguesia: It basically is an official statement issued by the Junta de Freguesia of your legal place of residence. In order to get this you have to go to a Junta office (they are all over the city) and present them with some sort of official correspondence to your home address (bank statement, phone bill, Finanças letter) etc. They will issue a paper with your address for 5,60 Euros.
Declaração de Entrada: If you didn’t fly directly into Portugal from outside the Schengen zone you won’t get an entry stamp into Portugal. In this case you have to go to SEF and ask for the declaration of entry. Bring your passport. Keep this slip of paper they give you.
Proof of Return Flight: This part is a bit BS in my opinion but all they want is a piece of paper with your name on it saying you have a “reservation” to go back to the USA 90 days from now. Go to any travel agent in the city (Abreu Viagens) and ask for a reservation slip for a flight 90 days after your initial tourist visa expires. This costs 5 Euros. You DO NOT have to purchase a real plane ticket! There is actually an Abreu Viagens right next to the Loja do Cidadão in Odivelas so you can get this piece of the puzzle last.
When you arrive in Portugal, make sure you either get an official entry stamp at the airport in Lisbon, OR go to the SEF within 3 days of arrival with your passport and ask for a Declaração de Entrada. This is basically a small slip of paper that officially documents your entry. Keep this because you will need it later on when extending your tourist visa.
The address of the SEF office in Lisbon is
Av. António Augusto de Aguiar, 20. Telephone: 213-585-500 Hours: 8:30AM-4:30PM. The nearest metro stop is São Sebastião on the Red Line.
Visit the Odivelas Parque website for the address for the SEF office in Odivelas for tourist visa extensions.
Updated: January 28th, 2012
I spoke with another representative from SEF and they told me some new and interesting tidbits about getting the Autorização de Residéncia. You have to be here in Portugal for 6 months (legally or illegally) to even begin to apply for it. The process starts on the website
Depending on your situation you have to apply under Article 88-9 or 89-2. If you are an “independent worker” on Green Receipts then you will use 89-2. You have to fill out the online form (which is in Portuguese). It is VERY important that you put under the date of entrance into Portugal a date that is 6 months or more from the date of the application. If not then the form will automatically generate a “you have 20 days to leave the country” message. Don’t just fake a date either because you have to prove the date with some sort of documentation (declaração de entrada). After you submit the form it will give you a list of documents and your application number and a passcode. You can go back to the website and enter the application number and passcode to check on the status of your application. Mine has been in process for several weeks so who knows how long it takes. I will update you when I have more information.
Portuguese Bank Account:
In order to get a local bank account here in Portugal (necessary if you want to get paid for your work) you have to do several things. First off, you have to go to the Finanças office (there are many sprinkled throughout the city) and apply for a NIF (Numero Identificado Fiscal). The NIF can either be easy or difficult depending on WHERE you apply for it and WHO you get as an agent at the Finanças.
As of August 2011 the documents you need for getting a NIF are your Passport and a signed letter from your employer indicating their intent on hiring you at a certain date in the near future and the salary you will be paid. Some Finanças agents will also ask for a sponsorship document. This is basically a binding statement signed by a Portuguese citizen saying that if you skip out on your tax payments they will pay them for you. Please note, YOU DO NOT need this document in reality and it is sort of BS in my opinion. I got my NIF with my passport and letter of employment intent from my employer. If they ask for a sponsorship document tell them its not necessary because you already have the letter from your employer BECAUSE the letter is the next document they would require after presenting them with the sponsorship papers. So if you already have the letter (which is much easier to get than the sponsorship) then you don’t need it. If they still won’t give it to you try another Finanças office and keep trying until someone gives you a NIF. Provide them with your current mailing address because they will mail you your Login name and password for the Finanças website. For freelancers, all Green Receipts (recibo verdes) are done online nowadays.
Once you have the NIF getting a bank account is easy. Go into a Portuguese bank (I use Millenium BCP) and present them with your NIF and Passport and they will set you up.
Once you have your bank account set up they should give you a number called a NIB. The NIB along with your NIF are the numbers you have to give to your employer so they can pay you.
To get a social security number you need to first have a NIF number and “start your activity”, which basically means you have to start working. Bring your work contract to Finanças and ask to “open your activity” and for green receipts and they should do something called “Inicio de actividade”, which is when you get a paper that proves that you started working and allows you to send green receipts to your employer to get paid.
Once you have your NIF and your Inicio de Actividade papers, take these along with your passport and the forms below filled out to the Loja do Cidadao in Restauradores. Go on a Saturday between 2PM and 3PM there will be no wait.
Afterwards, they will mail you your Social Security number. Take note that your first year of working in Portugal you are exempt from having to pay Social Security.
Things to see, things to do:
Photo tour of Alfama, historic district in Lisbon:
Calouste Gulbenkian Garden
Get off at São Sebastião station on the red line and follow signs to the Gulbenkian. Bring your lunch and a book.
Yellow Bus Tours of the city: Head to Praça da Figueira and look for the buses. Multiple tours for different parts of the city. It’s great for first-timers in Lisbon and its what I did my first two days here in this city.
Cost of Living in Lisbon
International City Cost Guide
|Furnished 2 bedroom house in good area – monthly rent||€1,000.00||$1,428.16||£867.04|
|Unfurnished 2 bedroom house in good area – monthly rent||€800.00||$1,142.53||£693.63|
|Furnished 2 bedroom apartment in good area – monthly rent||€700.00||$999.71||£606.93|
|Unfurnished 2 bedroom apartment in good area – monthly rent||€600.00||$856.90||£520.22|
|Room in shared apartment in good area – monthly rent||€300.00||$428.45||£260.11|
|2/3 star hotel – 1 night stay||€60.00||$85.69||£52.02|
|Food and Drink|
|Plain yoghurt 180gr./6.35oz.||€0.50||$0.71||£0.43|
|Eggs 12 (large)||€2.00||$2.86||£1.73|
|Bread (white loaf) 1 kg./2.20lbs.||€1.00||$1.43||£0.87|
|Bread Whole (wheat loaf)1 kg./2.20lbs.||€1.00||$1.43||£0.87|
|Rice (long grain) 1kg./2.20lbs.||€0.75||$1.07||£0.65|
|Sugar (white) 1kg./2.20lbs.||€1.20||$1.71||£1.04|
|Flour (white) 1kg./2.20lbs.||€0.60||$0.86||£0.52|
|Cornflakes (packet) 375gr./13.23oz.||€2.50||$3.57||£2.17|
|Coffee (instant) 125gr./4.41oz.||€3.00||$4.28||£2.60|
|Coffee (ground) 500gr./17.63oz./||€4.00||$5.71||£3.47|
|Tea bags (pack 25)||€3.00||$4.28||£2.60|
|Coca Cola 1lt./2.11pints||€1.00||$1.43||£0.87|
|Mineral water (still) 1lt./2.11pints||€1.00||$1.43||£0.87|
|Mineral water (sparkling) 1lt/2.11pints||€1.00||$1.43||£0.87|
|Orange juice 1lt./2.11pints||€1.50||$2.14||£1.30|
|Olive oil 1lt./2.11pints||€3.00||$4.28||£2.60|
|Corn oil 1lt./2.11pints||€1.50||$2.14||£1.30|
|Peas (can) 250gr./8.82oz.||€1.00||$1.43||£0.87|
|Beans (can) 250gr./8.82oz.||€1.00||$1.43||£0.87|
|Whole peeled tomatoes (can) 250gr./8.82oz.||€0.60||$0.86||£0.52|
|Peaches (can) 500gr./17.63oz.||€1.50||$2.14||£1.30|
|Pineapple (can) 500gr./17.63oz.||€1.50||$2.14||£1.30|
|Fresh beef filet 1kg./2.20lbs.||€10.00||$14.28||£8.67|
|Fresh roast beef 1kg./2.20lbs.||€8.00||$11.43||£6.94|
|Fresh minced beef 1kg./2.20lbs.||€2.50||$3.57||£2.17|
|Fresh veal 1kg./2.20lbs.||€8.00||$11.43||£6.94|
|Fresh lamb on bone 1kg./2.20lbs.||€12.00||$17.14||£10.40|
|Lamb chops 1kg./2.20lbs.||€9.00||$12.85||£7.80|
|Pork chops 1kg./2.20lbs.||€5.00||$7.14||£4.34|
|Pork loin 1kg./2.20lbs.||€7.00||$10.00||£6.07|
|Cooked ham 1kg./2.20lbs.||€4.00||$5.71||£3.47|
|Chicken (fresh whole) 1kg./2.20lbs.||€4.00||$5.71||£3.47|
|Fresh salmon 1kg./2.20lbs.||€10.00||$14.28||£8.67|
|Fresh cod or similar white fish 1kg./2.20lbs.||€6.00||$8.57||£5.20|
|Table salt 500gr./1.10lbs.||€0.50||$0.71||£0.43|
|Black pepper 50gr./1.76oz.||€1.00||$1.43||£0.87|
|Frozen pizza 320gr./11.29oz.||€2.00||$2.86||£1.73|
|Ice cream 1lt./2.11pints||€2.50||$3.57||£2.17|
|Fresh or frozen apple pie 500gr./1.10lbs.||€2.50||$3.57||£2.17|
|Milk chocolate (bar) 100gr./3.52oz.||€1.00||$1.43||£0.87|
|Biscuits (plain) 200gr./7.05oz.||€0.80||$1.14||£0.69|
|Beer (local, can) 0.33lt./11.15oz.||€0.50||$0.71||£0.43|
|Beer (imported, can)0.33lt./11.15oz.||€0.70||$1.00||£0.61|
|Table wine 0.75lt./1.58pints||€2.00||$2.86||£1.73|
|Fine wine 0.75lt./1.58pints||€5.00||$7.14||£4.34|
|Scotch whisky 0.75lt./1.58pints||€10.00||$14.28||£8.67|
|Cigarettes (20 pack, imported)||€4.00||$5.71||£3.47|
|Pipe tobacco 50gr./1.76oz.||€3.00||$4.28||£2.60|
|Laundry detergent 2.5kg./5.51lbs.||€7.50||$10.71||£6.50|
|Dishwashing liquid 500ml./1.58pints||€2.50||$3.57||£2.17|
|Furniture polish 330gr./11.64oz.||€2.00||$2.86||£1.73|
|Insect killer spray 330gr./11.64oz.||€2.00||$2.86||£1.73|
|Shower gel 250ml./8.45oz.||€2.00||$2.86||£1.73|
|Shampoo 200 ml./6.76oz.||€2.50||$3.57||£2.17|
|Razors/blades (5 pack)||€3.50||$5.00||£3.03|
|Aspirin (100 tablets)||€5.00||$7.14||£4.34|
|Men’s shampoo & haircut||€12.00||$17.14||£10.40|
|Women’s shampoo & haircut||€15.00||$21.42||£13.01|
|Telephone line (monthly rental)||€25.00||$35.70||£21.68|
|Purchase of low cost Mobile/cell phone||€30.00||$42.84||£26.01|
|3 minute telephone call – home phone||€0.60||$0.86||£0.52|
|3 minute telephone call – mobile/cell phone||€1.50||$2.14||£1.30|
|Monthly energy costs apartment (100sq.m./1076sq.ft.)||€100.00||$142.82||£86.70|
|Eating Out, Entertainment & Health|
|Three-course dinner in restaurant||€25.00||$35.70||£21.68|
|Cup of coffee in bar/cafe||€1.00||$1.43||£0.87|
|Beer in bar||€1.00||$1.43||£0.87|
|Taxi rate per km./0.62 miles||€2.00||$2.86||£1.73|
|City centre bus fare (3km./1.86miles)||€1.50||$2.14||£1.30|
|Car hire (up to 1800cc) daily||€40.00||$57.13||£34.68|
|Fitness club annual fee||€600.00||$856.90||£520.22|
|Web cafe (30 mins.)||€1.50||$2.14||£1.30|
|Private doctor GP (30 mins)||€70.00||$99.97||£60.69|
|Pair of jeans||€30.00||$42.84||£26.01|
City Cost Observations
Data provided by Mr. Anthony Paul Turner, Lisbon, Portugal.