Moving to Portugal: Things you should know before relocate

Thinking to move to a warmer country like Portugal?

You have a job opportunity to relocate to capital Lisbon or Oporto, Portuguese 2nd largest city?

Spread across steep hillsides that overlook the Rio Tejo, Lisbon offers all the delights you would expect of Portugal ’s star attraction, yet with half the fuss of other European capitals. Gothic cathedrals, majestic monasteries and quaint museums are all part of the colorful cityscape, but the real delights of discovery lie in wandering the narrow lanes of Lisbon’s lovely backstreets.

As bright yellow trams wind their way through curvy tree-lined streets, Lisboetas stroll through the old quarters, much as they’ve done for centuries. Village-life gossip in old Alfama is exchanged at the public baths or over fresh bread and wine at tiny patio restaurants as fadistas (proponents of fado, Portugal’s traditional melancholic singing) perform in the background.

Moving to Portugal

Moving to Portugal

Meanwhile, in other parts of town, visitors and locals chase the ghosts of Pessoa in warmly lit 1930s-era cafés or walk along the seaside that once saw the celebrated return of Vasco da Gama. Yet, while history is very much alive in centuries-old Lisbon, its spirit is undeniably youthful.

In the hilltop district of Bairro Alto, dozens of restaurants and bars line the narrow streets, with jazz, reggae, electronic and fado filling the air and revelers partying until dawn. Nightclubs scattered all over
town make fine use of old spaces, whether on riverside docks or tucked away in 18th-century mansions.

The Lisbon experience encompasses so many things, from enjoying a fresh pastry and bica (espresso coffee) on a petite leafy plaza to window-shopping in elegant Chiado. It’s mingling with Lisboetas at a neighborhood festival or watching the sunset from the old Moorish castle.

Just outside Lisbon, there’s more to explore: the magical setting of Sintra, glorious beaches and
traditional fishing villages.

Find out why you should choose Lisbon to live.

  1. Culture: It’s one of the world’s great historical cities, with characteristic and surprising sights, cultural treasures and beautiful settings, that make it a paradise for walkers and photographers.
  2. Value: It’s one of Europe’s best values – officially Western Europe’s least expensive capital.
  3. Location: It’s the most western European capital and just around a 2 hour flight from all the other
    major European cities.
  4. Climate: Its mild climate makes it an ideal year-round destination. Even in winter, when most
    other European cities are freezing, in Lisbon high temperatures rarely go below 10º C (50F).
  5. Resort: It is the only European capital located so close to sandy beaches, enabling visitors to combine culture with fun by the sea.
  6. Size: It’s a compact and intimate city, ideal for a longer work experience, with a lively café culture and a nightlife that is one of the most vibrant in Europe.
  7. Variety: Its surroundings offer an incredible variety of tourist attractions, from fairytale palaces in one of Europe’s most romantic towns (Sintra), to surfing in Cascais or escaping to a natural park in Arrábida, to dolphin-watching in Setúbal.
  8. Gateway: It makes a perfect base to explore many of Portugal’s most outstanding towns and villages, from Évora to Óbidos.
  9. Safety: It’s one of the safest European capitals, where serious random violent crime is practically unheard of in this city.
  10. Welcoming: It’s a friendly city with a cosmopolitan population, welcoming to all visitors and families with children, and open to minorities and alternative lifestyles.


Bring from your country

Signing a labor contract usually requires to present the following original documents:

  • Valid Identification Card (Passport, Personal ID, …)
  • Certificate / Diploma of the highest educational level you have achieved (school, university
    degree, ….)
  • References letter (3 minimum)
  • Original and valid Criminal Record
  • European Health Card
  • Valid work permit / authorization of residence allowing you to work in Portugal (Non-EU nationality)

Once in Portugal, you’ll need:

  • Fiscal number (VAT nº – Taxes): to find the Portuguese VAT Number you must go to a place called LOJA DO CIDADÃO (Citizen shop).
  • Proof of Address: Present a Rental contract or go to the Junta de Freguesia from your residence area (Parish council) and ask for a proof of residence (Comprovativo de morada). If you do not have a contract you may be requested to fill a document and have it signed by two Portuguese witnesses that live in the same Freguesia (Parish). List of all Parish councils in Lisbon (Juntas de
  • Bank account: The procedure to open a bank account is quite simple. You’ll need:
    • ID card or Passport
    • Proof of address in Portugal
    • Portuguese VAT (fiscal) number Work
    • Work contract or a LOI (letter of Intention)
  • Social security number: With your Portuguese VAT number, your employer will be able to provide your Portuguese Social Security number.

Monthly deductions in payslip are relatively low, compared with other European countries (2013):

  • 11% Social Security (access to national health scheme, pension and unemployment benefits)
  • 8% – 15% income tax (IRS) in most cases, depending on wage and fiscal situation (most of lunch
    allowance is not taxed)



Portuguese Public System

In order to benefit from these services, the citizens falling in the category mentioned above need to present the EHIC (European Health Insurance Card).

Third Country citizens, who have been residing in Portugal for more than 3 months (90 days), may wish to apply for the National Health Service Card (Cartão do Utente do SNS – The card is free of charge and gives you access to Portuguese Public Health Service. The card can be obtained in local Health Centres (Centros de Saúde or in any Loja do Cidadão).

Following documents/data needed to be registered at a Medical Center (Centro de Saúde):

  • Identity card – (ID or Passport)
  • Proof of “residence” (in Portuguese: “Comprovativo de morada”)
  • Social security number (in Portuguese : “Número de Segurança Social”)


Cost of living

Food/Drink in the supermarket

  • Milk (1 litre): EUR 0.44 to EUR 1.19
  • Bread (1 kg): EUR 1.39 to EUR 4.02
  • Eggs (6): EUR 0.64 to EUR 2.79
  • Meat (pork, 1 kg): EUR 1.83 to EUR 8.15
  • Meat (beef, 1 kg): EUR 3.99 to EUR 25.95
  • Fish (cod, 1 kg): EUR 4.99 to EUR 17.25
  • Oranges (1 kg): EUR 0.55 to EUR 2.69
  • Apples (1 kg): EUR 0.44 to EUR 2.99
  • Potatoes (1 kg): EUR 0.33 to EUR 3.56
  • Beer (1 litre): EUR 0.33 to EUR 1.99
  • Bottle of wine (0.75 litre) EUR 0.69 to EUR 25.50
  • Coca-Cola (0.5 litre): EUR 0.89 to EUR 0.94

Leisure / Free time

  • Cup of coffee (‘bica’ [expresso]): EUR 0.60 to EUR 1.00
  • Cinema ticket: EUR 5.70 to EUR 6.60
  • Theatre ticket: EUR 10.00 to EUR 30.00
  • Big Mac (McMenu): EUR 4.75
  • Snack bar meal: EUR 6.00 to EUR 8.00
  • Restaurant (2nd category) meal: EUR 12.00 to EUR 25.00


  • Daily, local or regional newspaper: EUR 0.90 to EUR 1.50
  • Toothpaste (75 ml): EUR 1.61 to EUR 4.55

Minimum Guaranteed Monthly Wage (Jan/2017) – EUR 530.00




  • BUS –
  • Metro –
  • Train Fertagus –
  • Public river transport service –


  • Metro – http://
  • BUS –


  • Train –
  • Bus Express Netorwk – Rede Nacional de Expressos ( – Ensures passenger transport and package delivery between major cities and regions of Portugal



General information on Portuguese cultural attractions can be found on VISIT PORTUGAL –, the official portal for Portuguese tourism.

Random Popular Places

  • Castelo de São Jorge
  • Jardim da Estrela
  • Aqueduto das Águas Livres
  • Palácio Nacional de Sintra
  • Igreja de Santa Engrácia
  • Rua Augusta
  • Praça do Comércio
  • Torre de Belém
  • Rossio
  • Museu do Fado – Alfama
  • Red Tour GPS Electric Move
  • Gocar Tours Lisbon
  • Major events in Portugal –
  • Major events in Lisbon: :
  • Places to visit in Lisbon:

Arts, Culture & Heritage

  • Museums (IPM):
  • Portuguese Heritage classified by UNESCO:
  • World Heritage of Portuguese origin: