Moving to Portugal for permanent residence: the pros and cons of living in Portugal

Residence permit


Moving to Portugal for permanent residence: the pros and cons of living in Portugal

Sunny and joyful Portugal is often called the “gateway to Europe” due to the peculiarities of its location: it borders with Spain and the Atlantic Ocean only. And for many immigrants, Portugal can also become the gate despite a loyal immigration policy and the ability to obtain both permanent residence and citizenship quite promptly.

Find out more about the Portuguese healthcare system, insurance for foreigners and medical tourism here.

Pros and cons of living in Portugal

According to statistics, Portugal ranks highly among the safest countries to live in, is 27th in the ranking of the Center for Ecology at Yale University, and is one of the seven European countries with high English proficiency among the local population.

As of 2022, the country is not one of the most developed in Europe, ranking 18th in terms of living standards. However, it has several obvious advantages for potential immigrants:

Mild, moderately humid climate and 300 sunny days a year with an average air temperature of +20C;

High level of medical care development (36th place in the Global Health Expenditure world ranking);

Low crime and safe living: due to these aspects Portugal is second to Iceland, Austria, and New Zealand only;

Relatively low living costs compared to more developed EU countries;

A variety of leisure activities: travel, water sports, cooking, cultural festivals and exhibitions, football, ski resorts, and much more. According to the European Best Destinations, Portugal ranked first in the list of the most attractive tourist destinations;

Opportunity to obtain citizenship (bypassing obtaining permanent residence) after 5 years of legal residence in the country;

The possibility of concluding an official marriage for same-sex couples;

In addition to the above-mentioned advantages, many tourists and immigrants highlight the incredible nature, empathy, and friendly attitude of the local people, and also — the calm and steady rhythm of life.

Thus there are not so many significant cons, but still, these aspects may be quite challenging:

Lack of central heating: despite the temperate climate, due to humidity (especially on the coast) and  houses that are designed to keep cool can be damp and cold in winter;

Low level of salaries (at least by the standards of Europe): the average salary of a specialist is 1200-1500 euros per month;

The need to learn Portuguese to obtain permanent residence or find a job in a local company;

High taxes;

Moving to Portugal

As well in most other countries, permanent residence in Portugal can only be obtained after obtaining a temporary residence permit (TRP), which can be requested on the following basis:

official employment in the local firm or the Portuguese office of an international company;

opening your own business in the country or a start-up visa;

studying at local universities, colleges, or technical schools;

family reunion or marriage;

presence of the so-called. “golden visa”, which is issued for investments in real estate or business, or investments in the country's economy from 250,000 euros;

certificate of belonging to Sephardic Jews;

refugee (actually not granted);

A temporary residence permit in Portugal (TRP) is issued for one year and requires renewal. After 5 years of continuous legal residence in the country, an immigrant can apply for permanent residence or citizenship. In this case, the foreigner will need to:

confirm their financial independence, the availability of a place of residence, and knowledge of Portuguese at the A2 level at least.

pass an exam on knowledge of the history and legislation of Portugal.

There is no need to give up your “native” passport: dual citizenship is allowed.