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Guide for Living in Portugal as an Expat

Vivre au Portugal


Portugal is a particularly welcoming country for expatriates, thanks to its climate and relaxed lifestyle.

If you are thinking about living in Portugal as an expat, certain steps must be followed to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

Find all the details here and read important information about tax and healthcare in Portugal for expats.

How to Regularize your Residency Status when Living in Portugal as an Expat?

First of all, you must learn about the essential steps to take to legally reside in the country.

Certificate of Residence for your Expatriation to Portugal

This is one of the most important documents to request. It authorizes you to reside in Portugal for more than 3 months.

It is mandatory even for Europeans. And must be requested within 4 months of arrival in the country.

The attestation of residence proves that you are residing in Portugal. 

The Register of Nationals Abroad, Highly Recommended

Registration in the Register of Nationals Abroad of your country is not compulsory.

Anyways, it is highly recommended to exercise your rights during expatriation and can be very useful for certain procedures.

Driver’s License and Vehicle Registration

Portugal applies a significant tax on the importation of foreign vehicles.

If you hold a foreign driving license from a country with which there are no bilateral treaties, you must exchange it for a Portuguese one after two years of residence.

Are you Bringing your Pets with you?

All animals must be properly identified and vaccinated. If you take a dog on your expatriation to Portugal, it must be declared at the town hall.

Tax in Portugal for Expats

Living in Portugal as an expat will require you to pay taxes there. If you are coming as a retiree, you will be able to benefit from many advantages.

Report your Change of Address to your Tax Authorities Before your Expatriation to Portugal

This will allow you to regularize your situation, define where you have to pay your taxes, and determine the type of taxation.

Notifying your change of address will avoid unpleasant surprises. Like being asked to pay twice.

Also, take in mind that paying tax in Portugal for expats will not free you from the obligations you might have in your home country. For example, taxes on real estate owned there.

Obtaining a Tax Number for Living in Portugal as an Expat

The tax identification number can be obtained from the tax office of your new area of residence.

It is mandatory for many procedures, including:

  • Receive health care services
  • Open a bank account to receive income and pensions
  • Take out a loan to purchase a property in Portugal.

Healthcare in Portugal for expats

Expats often wonder how to get health coverage abroad. In many cases, Social Security does not cover them out of their countries.

There is a public health insurance system in Portugal that residents must join: the SNS (Serviço Nacional de Saúde).

It provides access to a wide range of benefits. From consultations to hospitalization or maternity. But it is important to know that:

  • You must pay a financial contribution for each medical consultation (from 5 to 8 euros each, most of the time)
  • It only covers your expenses in public medical facilities.

However, most expatriates seek treatment in the private sector. This way, they can benefit from faster treatment times and extended coverage.

To get an optimal service when you are living in Portugal as an expat it’s advisable to take out a private policy. They also cover any care received during your stay in your home country.

There are many offers available. So how can you choose your insurance for expatriation to Portugal without making a mistake or wasting too much time? By using an online comparator, which will allow you to easily choose between:

  • SNS + a complementary policy
  • Healthcare in Portugal for expats from the 1st euro/dollar.

The online comparator will allow you to check the guarantees and rates offered by each company.

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We know, you are very busy, and so are we! If you prefer to choose the date and time for us to call each other, just do so using the calendar !

This is also interesting:

What countries should I move to? The best countries to move to are not the same for everyone! Finding the ideal destination depends first of all on what is expected on a personal level.


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