Do you want to live in Portugal? Discover all you need to know!

There are many people who want to live in Portugal and many reasons why they want to move to this beautiful country like the weather, the language and the culture.

If you want to spend your retirement in Portugal or work in Portugal, read my article and learn more about everything you’ll need for you to succeed in moving to this amazing country.


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  • Who is entitled to the NRR: Non-regular tax regime for Non-Regular Residents
  • Administrative procedures: Obtain the NIF (Número de Identificação Fiscal), obtain the NISS (Número de Identificação de Segurança Social), open a bank account, register in the Portuguese National Health Service (SNS) + private insurances
  • Housing: What do you need to rent or purchase real estate and electricity, gas, water and internet services
  • Driving a foreign vehicle in Portugal
  • Useful information

To live in Portugal: who is entitled to the tax regime for Non-Regular Residents?

The non-regular resident status was created in 2009 and refers to the personal income tax (IRS). This regime has the purpose of attracting to Portugal non resident professionals qualified for activities with high added value intellectual or industrial propriety or know-how, as well as beneficiaries of pension schemes granted abroad.

If you are eligible for this status, you won’t have to pay income taxes for ten years, non-renewable.

Who may apply to a non-regular resident status?

All those citizens who have not been deemed as residents on Portuguese territory during the five years prior to the year intended to be taxed as a non-regular resident and are retired or work in one of these activities:

  • Architects, engineers and similar
  • Visual artists, actors and musicians
  • Auditors
  • Doctors and dentists
  • Teachers
  • Psychologists
  • Liberal professionals, technicians and alike
  • Investors, managers and directors

To live in Portugal: administrative procedures

© www.portaldocidadao.pt

Obtain your Portuguese Tax Identification Number: “Número de Contribuinte

One of the first things you must do when you decide to live in Portugal is to obtain your Portuguese tax identification number (Número de Contribuinte). You will need this identification number for several things, including to open a bank account.

To obtain this number, you must go to Autoridade Tributária e Aduaneira located at your area of residence or work. There, you just need to present your national identity card or passport and a proof of residence; you will be given a card and the Portuguese tax identification number, issued by these services.

Obtain your Portuguese Social Security Identification Number (NISS)

If you already have an employment contract when you arrive to Portugal, your employer can register you in the Portuguese Social Security; you can also do it yourself if your employer doesn’t do it or if you’re self-employed.

To get your NISS you can go, for example, to one of the several Lojas do Cidadão that exist in Portugal. There, you’ll have to present the following information:

  • A passport copy
  • A proof of residence in Portuguese territory
  • A NIF copy
  • An employment contract copy
  • An identity card copy from your company representative

To open a bank account

To open a bank account, you’ll need:

  • Your Portuguese Tax Identification Number (Número de Contribuinte)
  • An identity card
  • A proof of residence in Portugal

To register in the Portuguese National Health Service (SNS: Serviço Nacional de Saúde)

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If you want to live in Portugal and benefit from the healthcare services provided by SNS, you must go to the health centre of your area of residence and present a valid identity card or passport, a social security number and a proof of residence. The centre will issue an SNS card and a general practitioner will be assigned to you.

While you wait to benefit from the Portuguese healthcare service (Serviço Nacional de Saúde), my suggestion is that you apply for an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) that entitles you to medically necessary care. This card also entitles you to apply for reimbursement for all your medical expenses, according to the law of the country you’re in.

Mutual/Private Insurance

Apart from applying for the SNS, I suggest that you also apply for a mutual or private insurance that will give you the opportunity to go to private hospitals and pay less than usual (only 15 € for a consultation), go to a doctor’s appointment in 24 hours instead of waiting weeks in the public healthcare.

To live in Portugal: housing

live in Portugal
© www.diarioimobiliario.pt

What papers do you need to rent real estate?

If you wish to rent a house or an apartment once you arrive to Portugal, you must prove you have the necessary income to pay the rent. You’ll have to pay two months rent in advance and one month as a deposit, in other words, in the majority of the cases one will ask you to pay three months in advance, a way to avoid debts from the tenants.

Once you arrive to Portugal, it will be difficult for you to present a payslip and present a guarantee. The easiest way for you to rent a house or apartment is to propose to the landlord to pay more months in advance, between six and twelve months.

Know that the contract is composed of three copies, including one that the landlord must send to the Portuguese tax office to be registered and validated. The contract must clearly state:

  • The purpose of the rental
  • The identity of the landlord
  • The identity of the tenant
  • The duration of the rental, the date when you entered into contract and its termination and rent value
  • The conditions to terminate contract for both parts
  • The payment conditions
  • The taxes included and not included in the rent
  • The landlord’s rights of access
  • The state of the property at the time of the rental

Several landlords don’t describe the state of the property when a new tenant moves in. However, if there are things to point out, my suggestion is that you ask the landlord to write them down in the contract so that you don’t lose your deposit once you leave the property.

The landlord of the property should give you a rental receipt at the time of each payment.

Like in many other countries, once you enter into contract, you should also have a household insurance since the landlord’s insurance only refers to the real estate and not your personal property.

What papers do you need to purchase real estate?

To purchase real estate in Portugal, you must have a NIF (Portuguese Tax Identification Number), a bank account to pay your purchase and all the monthly expenses like water, electricity, natural gas and taxes.

To purchase real estate you must sign a pre-contract agreement (Contrato de Promessa de Compra e Venda).This is the official document that states the terms of the sale and it is recommended that the signatures are recognised at a notary.

Once you enter into contract, the notary only needs to authenticate both signatures and financial regulations between the seller and the buyer.

Even though it is not necessary, the buyer should have a legal representative, like a lawyer or a specialised company, that can gather all the property’s information at the registry office and city hall. This legal representative should also check if all the condominium taxes and expenses are settled.

What papers do you need to apply for electricity and natural gas at your new house?

Like in many other countries, Portugal has a liberalised electricity and natural gas market. To choose the best electricity and/or natural gas supplier, please check the site deco.proteste.pt (only in Portuguese) where you can compare the different suppliers.

In order for you to have electricity/natural gas at your house, you must present the following information:

  • Número de Contribuinte or NIF (Portuguese Tax Identification Number)
  • Código de Ponto de Entrega (CPE): to have this code you need to have access to one of the last invoices from the previous owners or contact the electricity/natural gas company
  • Código Universal de Instalação (CUI): you just need to know this code if you want a natural gas service
  • Número de identificação bancária: the Portuguese Bank Account Number

My suggestion is that you enter into contract via internet because it’s cheaper!

What papers do you need to apply for water supply at your new house?

live in Portugal
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Water supply is one of the major concerns when one purchase/rent a new house and, because of that, is one of the first things to deal with.

To apply for water supply, you must present the following information:

  • Identity card
  • Portuguese Tax Identification Number (NIF)
  • If you purchased:
    • Deed or Legal Description
  • If you rented:
    • Rental Contract or copy of the Legal Description

In some areas of the country, you can apply for water supply via internet (water company’s site) or by sending all the necessary information via email; in other cases, you must go to the company to apply.

How to contract an internet, telephone and television monthly subscription?

Like in many other countries, you’ll have the opportunity to choose between some providers. The three top providers are:

If you’re going to live in Portugal and before you subscribe, please check the site deco.proteste.pt (only in Portuguese) to compare the offers from the different providers.

Know that the internet, telephone and television packages and prices are similar between the different providers.

To contract a monthly subscription, you can do it via internet, call the chosen provider or go to one of the several stores in the country – you can find them in most shopping centres.

You’ll need to present the following information:

  • Número de Contribuinte or NIF (Portuguese Tax Identification Number)
  • The landline telephone number if there’s one already at the house/apartment you bought
  • A Portuguese bank account number
  • A proof of residence

To live in Portugal: driving a foreign vehicle

If you come from Britain or another country, you can still drive your car once you arrive to Portugal without any immediate administrative procedure.

You’ll have six months, after leaving your home country, to apply for a Portuguese license plate at the Conservatória do Registo Automóvel or at Lojas do Cidadão (portaldocidadao). Try to apply for the license before the end of this six-month period so that you don’t have to pay a registration tax.

To apply for the registration of your car you’ll need to present the following documents:

  • A document stating that your driver’s license is still valid, that you should get at DVLA, if you’re from the United Kingdom, or at DMV, if you’re from the USA
  • A document stating the date of your last day at your home country, given by the city hall of your last domicile or by the Portuguese Consulate if you have dual citizenship

To live in Portugal: useful information

Emergencies (police, fire department or ambulances): call 112

British Embassy in Lisbon and Vice-Consulate in Portimão

UK Government Information: living abroad

British Expats

USA Embassy and Consulate in Lisbon

USA Government Information: living abroad

Living in Portugal

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