Portugal: A Perfect Country for Retirees

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Legal residence in Portugal is an opportunity for retirees to spend their golden years in a carefree environment. Portugal is a developed European country with a mild Mediterranean climate, low crime rates and excellent food. The local immigration policies allow foreigners with a confirmed stable passive income of 820 EUR per month or more to relocate to Portugal and live there as long as they wish. After a few years, you can turn your legal residence permit into a passport of Portugal.

A financially independent person from a foreign country is eligible to apply for a D7 visa to Portugal. The visa legalizes his or her presence in the country for two years and then it can be extended. After permanently living in Portugal for 5 years, you can apply for citizenship of the country by naturalization. Below we discuss the key aspects that you should be aware about if you are considering relocating to Portugal when you retire.

 

Housing in Portugal

If you compare the cost of property in Portugal with that in some other Western European countries, you will find that buying or renting an apartment in Portugal is quite affordable. For example, you could buy a one-bedroom apartment about 70 square meters in size for 60,000 EUR if it is located in a small town. Speaking about rent, an unfurnished one-bedroom apartment can cost you as little as 450 EUR per month. Naturally, you would have to go to small towns in the north and the center of Portugal to find such attractive prices. Living in Lisbon, Porto, or seaside towns is considerably more expensive.

Very often, a garage or a parking lot comes together with the rental house or apartment. This factor is important for elderly individuals. There is no central heating in Portugal and people use air conditioners and fireplaces to heat their apartments and houses in winter. Some apartment buildings do have heating systems, however, with electric boilers with water circuits and radiators in each room but there are not very many of them. You have to bear the absence of central heating in the country in mind if you are thinking of moving to Portugal for your retirement.

 

Climate in Portugal

Climates are different in different parts of Portugal. In Algarve, a region in the south of the country preferred by European and British tourists, summers are hot with the temperatures between +27 ?? and +35 ?? while winters are warm and humid. Winter temperatures in Algarve are between +10 ?? and +15 ?? and it never snows there. It does snow in the central and northern mountainous regions of Portugal, however. The Serra da Estrela National Park has a large ski resort highly popular with skiers and snowboarders from different European countries. 

Local people love spending their vacations in the Azores, a group of islands in the Atlantic that belong to Portugal. A flight from Lisbon to the Azores takes 2.5 hours. Tourists also love visiting ancient castles found in many locations in Portugal.

 

Food in Portugal

You can shop at Lidl, Continente, or Mini Preco supermarket chains but locals like to attend weekly farmers’ markets where they can buy fresh food from the farms. Food prices are quite affordable in Portugal and the quality of food is superb. Food can be delicious even in small cafes and bistros where the main course and a soft drink will cost you 6 to 8 EUR. A lunch in a restaurant will cost you 10 to 15 EUR per person. A bottle of good local wine costs between 5 and 10 euros and discounts are offered on some special occasions.

 

Healthcare in Portugal

Medical services are free of charge for those who are registered with a state clinic in Portugal. However, you have to pre-book your doctor’s appointment and often wait for a few weeks before you can see the doctor. Many people in Portugal prefer to buy medical insurance policies and get healthcare services from private clinics where they don’t have to wait in lines.

If you retire to Portugal, you will find wonderful living conditions and high living standards. At the same time, prices are much more affordable in Portugal than they are in Germany, France, or the Netherlands.

 

Retiring to Portugal: steps in the relocation process

If you decide to spend your golden years in Portugal, your relocation process will consist of several steps:

1. Study the immigration policies in Portugal. You have to contact the Portuguese consulate in your home countries to find out about the current minimum monthly income requirements: they are revised every six months.

2. Obtain confirmation documents. You have to prepare the documents that confirm your stable passive income, pass through medical examination, and obtain a police clearance. The application documents have to be translated into Portuguese and notarized. Please bear in mind that the document preparation stage is going to take some time.

3. Acquire a taxpayer’s number and open a bank account in Portugal. You can apply for a Número de Identificação Fiscal (NIF) and open a bank account in Portugal via an intermediary or by paying a personal visit to the country. The bank account is required for transferring the money there and you could not buy real property without a bank account in Portugal.

4. Supply proof of address in Portugal. To qualify for a D 7 visa, you have to have residential accommodations in Portugal. Thus, you will have to supply a rent agreement or a property ownership certificate when applying for a long-term visa. You can rent and even buy a house or an apartment in Portugal online.

5. Submit the application documents. When you have collected all the papers, you have to make an appointment and pay a visit to the Portuguese consulate to submit the application document package.

6. Relocate to Portugal. You will be issued a 120-day visa that allows entering Portugal twice during the period. This period is long enough to contact the Portuguese Immigration Service (Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras, SEF) and register your legal stay in Portugal.

7. Obtain a temporary residence permit. If the SEF officials are satisfied with the documents that you have submitted, they will issue a temporary residence permit to you and send it to your residential address in Portugal. The first residence permit is valid for 2 years and it does not give the right to work or engage in business operations in the country. The second residence permit is valid for three years and its holder can work or start a business company in Portugal.

8. Obtain a permanent residence permit. If you spend the best part of each year in Portugal for 5 years in a row, you are eligible to apply for a permanent residence permit. After that, you can also become a full-fledged citizen of Portugal.

According to foreign retirees living in Portugal, 1,500 EUR to 2,000 EUR is enough to see an elderly married couple through the month. Not too much, considering the wonderful weather and delicious food!

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