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The Definitive Guide to moving to Portugal from the UK

Daydreaming about relocating to Portugal from the UK? Whether you're enticed by the country's sublime coastline, rich culture, or favourable climate, embarking on such a lifestyle change entails meticulous planning and consideration. From grasping the process of moving to Portugal, to navigating the intricacies of local customs, this Definitive Guide aims to equip you with the essential knowledge and practical insights needed to make your move to Portugal seamless and rewarding. Whether you're seeking new career opportunities, tax benefits, education, or simply yearning for the expat lifestyle in Portugal, join us in this Definitive Guide as we delve into the intricacies of making Portugal your new from home.

Visa Requirements

Portugal presents various visa types to accommodate different purposes, including tourism, work, study, and residence. Here are some of the main visa types available to Brits:

  1. Schengen Visa (Short-Stay Visa):
    • The Schengen visa allows holders to stay in Portugal and other Schengen Area countries for up to 90 days within a 180-day period.
    • This visa is suitable for short-term visits, such as tourism, business trips, or visiting family and friends.
    • UK citizens can travel to Portugal and other Schengen countries without a visa for short stays under 90 days within a 180-day period.
  2. Temporary Stay Visa (Type D Visa):
    • For British expats planning to stay in Portugal for longer than 90 days, a Temporary Stay Visa, also known as a Type D Visa, is required.
    • This visa is divided into various subcategories based on the purpose of stay, including work visa, study visa, family reunification visa, and retirement visa.
    • Applicants need to provide specific documentation depending on the type of visa they're applying for, such as employment contracts, proof of educational enrolment, or evidence of family relationships.
  3. Golden Visa (Residency by Investment):
    • The Golden Visa program offers residency in Portugal to non-EU citizens who make qualifying investments in the country.
    • Eligible investments include donations to arts, venture capital/private equity fund, company and job creation, or funding research activities.
    • Holders of the Golden Visa and their families are granted residency permits, which can eventually lead to permanent residency or citizenship.
  4. D7 Visa (Passive Income Visa):
    • The D7 visa is designed for individuals with regular passive income who wish to reside in Portugal without engaging in local employment.
    • Suitable for retirees, freelancers, remote workers, or individuals with income from investments or pensions.
    • Applicants need to demonstrate a stable income source meeting certain financial requirements.
  5. Student Visa:
    • Student visas are for UK expats enrolled in recognized educational institutions in Portugal.
    • Applicants must provide proof of admission to a Portuguese educational institution, sufficient funds to support themselves, and health insurance coverage.
    • The duration of the visa typically corresponds to the length of the academic program.
  6. Non-habitual residence (NHR) – NO LONGER ACCEPTING APPLICANTS:
    • As of 01 January 2024, Portugal’s popular NHR VISA program is no longer accepting new applicants.
    • However, those who have already received their NHR status and have established tax residency can enjoy reduced tax rates for 10 years.
    • NHR holders enjoy tax exemption on certain types of foreign source income and lower taxes on income from other high-value activities.
  7. Tax Incentive Scheme for scientific Research and Innovation (TISRI) (NHR replacement):
    • Primary benefit of the TISRI is a reduced tax rate on certain types of income and a full exemption on other types. Foreign source income, like with the NHR scheme, will be tax exempt.
    • Those who can apply for TISRI include research workers with a Ph.D., certain senior roles in the financial industry, professors in university, those working in Madeira/Azores, with the criteria for eligibility to be defined by the respective local autonomous governments, and those who work for or members of the statutory bodies of certified start-up companies.


These are some of the main visa types available in Portugal for British expats, each catering to specific needs and circumstances. It's essential to carefully assess your situation and requirements to determine the most appropriate visa type for your intended purpose in Portugal. Additionally, visa regulations and requirements may vary, so it's advisable to consult official sources or seek guidance from immigration authorities for the most up-to-date information.

You can reach out to Fresh via the following link for a free orientation meeting to better understand your requirements-https://www.fresh-legal.com/book_service

Legal Considerations

For those seeking to make Portugal their permanent home, obtaining a residence permit, such as the Certificado de Registo de Cidadão da União Europeia, is essential for establishing legal residency status. Upon arrival, expats will need to register with their local town hall (Câmara Municipal) and obtain a fiscal number (Número de Identificação Fiscal, NIF) for tax purposes.

Tax Benefits

As British expatriates explore the possibility of relocating to Portugal, one of the key factors influencing their decision-making process is the attractive tax landscape of their prospective new home. Portugal offers a range of tax benefits and incentives that can significantly impact the financial well-being of expats, making it an enticing destination for those seeking to optimize their tax situation while enjoying all that the country has to offer.

  1. Tax-Free Pensions:
    • Pension income may be taxed at a flat rate of 10% in Portugal, or may even be exempt from taxation, depending on specific conditions and eligibility criteria.
  2. Wealth and Inheritance Tax:
    • Portugal does not levy wealth tax or inheritance tax on assets transferred between spouses or direct descendants.
    • British expatriates may enjoy favourable tax treatment on inheritance and wealth accumulated both domestically and internationally.
  3. Double Taxation Agreements (DTAs):
    • Portugal has established Double Taxation Agreements with numerous countries, including the UK, to prevent double taxation of income and wealth.
    • These agreements ensure that British expatriates moving to Portugal are not subject to taxation on the same income or assets in both countries, providing additional tax relief and certainty.


It's important for British expatriates considering a move to Portugal to seek professional advice from tax advisors or legal experts specializing in international tax matters. Individual tax situations can vary, and proper planning is essential to maximize tax benefits and comply with relevant regulations and requirements.

Luckily, Fresh is here to help!


Portugal's vibrant culture is a captivating blend of tradition and modernity, offering expats a rich tapestry of experiences to explore. From the enchanting cobblestone streets of Lisbon's historic neighbourhoods to the lively festivals that intersperse the calendar throughout the year, there's never a lull in this culturally opulent nation. Portuguese cuisine, renowned for its fresh seafood, hearty stews, and delectable pastries, is a culinary journey, inviting newcomers to indulge in the flavours of the Mediterranean. Furthermore, Portugal's vigorous community ties fosters warm and welcoming interactions, making it easy for expats to integrate and forge meaningful associations with locals. Whether you're savouring a glass of vinho verde in a quaint café or immersing yourself in the melancholic strains of fado music, Portugal's culture is sure to make you realise your decision to move was the right one.

Portugal's official language is Portuguese, which is spoken by the vast majority of the population. However, due to tourism and immigration, it's not uncommon to encounter people who speak English, especially in urban areas and tourist destinations.


Picking the right location to move to in Portugal is a decision that depends on various factors, including your lifestyle preferences, career goals, and personal interests. Below are four popular destinations for British expats:

  1. Lisbon (estimated circa 10,000 Brits):
    • Cultural Hub: Lisbon is a vibrant city with an abundant cultural tapestry, offering museums, galleries, theatres, and historical sites to explore.
    • Career Opportunities: As the capital city, Lisbon provides diverse job opportunities, particularly in sectors like technology, finance, and tourism.
    • Lifestyle: Residents enjoy a laid-back Mediterranean lifestyle with a thriving food scene, lively nightlife, and easy access to beaches along the coast.
  2. Porto (estimated circa 1200 Brits):
    • Historic Charm: Porto is renowned for its picturesque old town, historic landmarks, and traditional architecture, making it a charming place to live.
    • Affordability: Compared to Lisbon, Porto generally offers a more affordable cost of living, including housing, dining, and entertainment options.
    • Community: Porto has a strong sense of community, with friendly locals and expats alike, making it easy to integrate and establish connections.
  3. Algarve Region (e.g., Faro, Lagos)(estimated circa 23,000 Brits):
    • Sunshine and Beaches: The Algarve boasts stunning coastlines, golden beaches, and year-round sunshine, making it a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and beach lovers.
    • Retirement Destination: Many UK expats choose the Algarve for retirement due to its relaxed lifestyle, excellent healthcare, and favourable tax environment for retirees.
    • Golfing: The region offers world-class golf courses, attracting golf enthusiasts from around the world to enjoy the sport in a beautiful setting.
  4. Madeira (estimated circa 1350 Brits):
    • Natural Beauty: Madeira is an idyllic island known for its lush landscapes, botanical gardens, and dramatic coastlines, offering a tranquil escape from city life.
    • Mild Climate: Madeira enjoys a mild subtropical climate year-round, with warm temperatures and little variation between seasons, making it an appealing destination for those seeking a comfortable climate.
    • Quality of Life: The island offers a high quality of life, with modern amenities, excellent healthcare facilities, and a relaxed pace of life conducive to well-being and relaxation.


Schooling and Education

For British expatriates moving to Portugal with children, the country offers a diverse range of schooling and education options. Portugal's education system encompasses public, private, and international schools, providing opportunities for children to receive quality education in a multicultural environment. Public schools in Portugal follow the national curriculum and offer education in Portuguese, while private schools may offer alternative curricula and bilingual programs.

Additionally, there are several international schools across the country, including British, American, and international baccalaureate (IB) schools, which cater to expatriate families and provide instruction in English or other languages. Expats can choose the educational pathway that best suits their children's needs, whether it's integrating into the Portuguese education system, enrolling in a private Portuguese school, or attending an international school that follows a familiar curriculum. With a variety of schooling options available, British expatriates can ensure their children receive a high-quality education while adapting to life in Portugal.

Below is a list of some of the top international schools in the country:

  1. St. Julian's School (Lisbon): St. Julian's School is a renowned international school located in Carcavelos, just outside of Lisbon. It offers the British curriculum from Early Years to Sixth Form, providing a high-quality education in a supportive and multicultural environment.
  2. International Preparatory School (IPS) (Porto): IPS is an international school located in Porto, offering the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum from Primary Years to Diploma Programme. It provides a rigorous academic program with a focus on critical thinking, creativity, and global citizenship.
  3. Oeiras International School (Oeiras): Oeiras International School is located in Oeiras, near Lisbon, and offers the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum from Primary Years to Diploma Programme. It provides a holistic education that emphasizes academic excellence, personal development, and international understanding.
  4. International School of the Algarve (ISA) (Almancil): ISA is located in Almancil, in the Algarve region, and offers the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum from Early Years to Diploma Programme. It provides a supportive learning environment with small class sizes, experienced teachers, and modern facilities.
  5. Carlucci American International School of Lisbon (CAISL): CAISL is an American international school located in Sintra, near Lisbon, offering the American curriculum from Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 12. It provides a rigorous academic program with a focus on critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration.



Healthcare in Portugal for British expats looking to permanently move to the country is provided through the National Health Service (SNS), which offers comprehensive coverage. Expats can access a range of services, including primary care, specialist consultations, diagnostic tests, and hospital treatment. As legal residents, British expats can register for SNS healthcare services, typically requiring a residence permit and registration with a local health center.

In terms of healthcare costs, Portugal's SNS operates on a co-payment system, where patients may be required to pay a portion of the cost for certain services, such as doctor visits or prescription medications. The amount paid depends on factors such as income level and healthcare needs. Additionally, private health insurance is available for those who wish to supplement their coverage or access private medical facilities. Overall, healthcare costs in Portugal are generally lower compared to many other European countries, making it an attractive option for British expats looking to permanently relocate.

Potential costs may be as follows:

  1. General Practitioner (GP) Consultation: A visit to a general practitioner (GP) at a public healthcare center (Centro de Saúde) typically costs between €5 to €15 for Portuguese residents. Private GP consultations may range from €30 to €60 or more, depending on the provider and location.
  2. Specialist Consultation: Consultations with specialists, such as dermatologists, gynaecologists, or cardiologists, may cost between €30 to €80 or more in the private sector. Prices can vary based on the specialist's expertise and the complexity of the consultation.
  3. Hospital Services: Public hospital services are generally provided at low cost or covered by Portugal's National Health Service (SNS) for residents. However, private hospital services, such as surgeries, diagnostic tests, and inpatient care, can be more expensive and may require out-of-pocket payments or health insurance coverage. Prices for private hospital services can vary widely depending on the procedure and hospital.
  4. Prescription Medications: Prescription medications in Portugal are available at pharmacies (farmácias) and are typically affordable, especially for those covered by Portugal's National Health Service (SNS). Co-payments for prescription medications may range from a few euros to a maximum of €20 per prescription for SNS beneficiaries. However, some medications may not be fully covered by the SNS, and patients may need to pay the full cost or seek reimbursement through health insurance.
  5. Dental Care: Dental consultations and treatments in Portugal can vary in cost depending on the type of service and provider. Routine dental check-ups may cost between €20 to €50, while more complex treatments such as fillings, root canals, or crowns can range from €50 to several hundred euros or more.
  6. Health Insurance: Private health insurance plans in Portugal offer varying levels of coverage for medical services, including consultations, treatments, hospitalization, and medications. Premiums for health insurance plans can range from €30 to €100 or more per month, depending on factors such as coverage levels, age, and pre-existing conditions.

These are approximate costs and can vary depending on individual circumstances, healthcare providers, and location within Portugal. It's advisable to inquire about specific costs with healthcare providers or insurers directly when seeking medical services in Portugal.


Housing and accommodation options in Portugal offer a diverse array of choices to suit varying preferences and budgets. The housing market in Portugal encompasses a range of rental and purchasing opportunities, with options including apartments, villas, townhouses, and rural properties. Rental properties are widely available across major cities like Lisbon, Porto, and Faro, as well as in smaller towns and coastal regions and could be a good option if you are unfamiliar with a location or would like to try out several locations without obligation.

Expats can explore online resources such as property listing websites:

  1. Idealista: Idealista is one of the largest real estate portals in Portugal, offering a comprehensive selection of properties across the country. Website:www.idealista.pt
  2. RE/MAX Portugal: RE/MAX Portugal is a well-known real estate agency with a strong online presence, featuring a wide range of properties for sale or rent. Website:www.remax.pt
  3. Century 21 Portugal: Century 21 Portugal is another prominent real estate agency with a variety of listings, including residential, commercial, and luxury properties. Website:www.century21.pt

Furthermore, expats can use online forums to expand their knowledge, liaise with landlords, and gain an on the ground perspective from those likeminded to them.

Additionally, local real estate agencies can provide personalized assistance and expertise in navigating the housing market. When considering renting or buying property in Portugal, factors to consider include location preferences, budget constraints, and lease agreement terms. Expats should carefully assess their housing needs, research neighbourhood amenities, and negotiate lease agreements to ensure a smooth and satisfactory housing arrangement in Portugal.

Recreational Activities

Portugal offers a wealth of recreational activities for residents and visitors alike, catering to diverse interests and preferences. With its stunning coastline stretching along the Atlantic Ocean, water sports enthusiasts can indulge in surfing, windsurfing, kiteboarding, and sailing. The country's rugged landscapes and extensive network of hiking trails provide ample opportunities for outdoor adventures, including trekking, mountain biking, and rock climbing. For those seeking cultural experiences, Portugal's historic cities boast UNESCO World Heritage sites, charming old towns, and vibrant cultural festivals throughout the year. Food and wine aficionados can explore Portugal's culinary delights, from fresh seafood dishes to regional specialties like pastéis de nata and port wine. Additionally, golf enthusiasts can tee off at world-class golf courses scattered across the Algarve region and other scenic locations. With its rich blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and recreational offerings, Portugal promises endless opportunities for memorable experiences and leisure pursuits.


For Brits seeking to make Portugal their new home, it is not just about a change in scenery; it's about embracing a lifestyle of opportunity and freedom. With its enticing tax benefits, welcoming communities, and diverse expat-friendly amenities, Portugal beckons as a haven for those yearning for a fresh start. So, whether you're drawn to the allure of tax benefits Portugal, the promise of a vibrant expat community, or simply the allure of life in this sun-kissed paradise, the decision to move to Portugal is more than just a geographical change - it's a transformative step towards a brighter future. Embrace the adventure, seize the opportunity, and make Portugal your home, where every day is an opportunity to live life to the fullest as an expat in Portugal.







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