Frequently Asked Questions

Before you move…

Important topics to research in the early days of planning:

  • Visa requirements
  • NIF number
  • Bank account
  • Taxes
  • Buying versus renting
  • House versus apartment
Do I need a visa to move to Portugal?

When moving to Portugal, your visa requirements depend on where you are moving from, if you are an EU citizen, and how long you are planning to stay for. The main categories are:

  • EU/EFTA nationals
  • Non EU/EFTA nationals

When looking to live and work in Portugal, you will hear many different terms used such as:

  • Short stay visas
  • Temporary stay national visas
  • Long stay national visas
  • Golden visas
  • D7 visas
  • D2 visas
  • Residency visas

Rather than us have content that could be out of date at some point, you can find Visa information here.

What else do I need before I move?

In addition to needing a visa to move to Portugal, you will also need a NIF number and a bank account. You won’t be able to rent a house or an apartment unless you have these set up. Depending on your command of the Portuguese language, you might be able to apply online yourself, but for those who can neither read nor write in Portuguese, you may feel more comfortable using a service like to get these set up for you.

What about taxes?

Taxes in Portugal can be a complicated topic, and not one you want find out you made any mistakes with once you have to do your first tax return. We did a lot of research before we decided we would be best working with tax expert Zeev Fisher.

Zeev will help you make sure you don’t become a victim of double taxation and other less than wonderful situations.

On their website, they have a messaging bot (Joana) that will answer questions prior to booking a consultation. When you are finally ready for your consultation, all your questions and answers from Joana will be available to your team before the meeting to ensure efficient service.

Deposits and lease agreements for renting

There has been a shift recently in what landlords are looking for in relation to deposits and months of rent in advance. It has changed from one month of rent in advance and a month’s rent as a security deposit to 2 or more months for each. In some cases, we have heard of some listings asking for a total of 7 months rent to secure a property, but the average is 4-6.

In most cases you may be required to sign a one-year lease. Rents can be a lot cheaper from October to March, once tourist season is over.

Tips for renting a house or apartment

In the main cities of Portugal like Lisbon, Porto, and the cities along the Algarve, you will typically find far more apartments to rent compared to houses. Here are some helpful pointers to for your search:

  • Apartments are typically 20% or more cheaper than a house of the same size.
  • The number of bedrooms is indicated by T followed by a number: T1 = 1 bedroom, T2 – 2 bedroom, etc.
  • It is not uncommon to negotiate the price by about EU50-100, but because so many people are renting in Portugal, good luck negotiating anything.
  • If you have a pet and don’t see anything in the listing that forbids pets, then wait until you are well through the process before mentioning you will be bringing your pet.
  • In older parts of some cities, it might not be possible to park close to your new home, which can really feck up backing up a moving truck or shipping container.
  • Many real estate websites will have a button to translate the site into English, but if not, you can right-click on the page in many browsers and select Translate.

Many of the big names in real estate that US residents are used to have a presence in Portugal, like Century 21, Remax, and Keller Williams, but a lot of landlords don’t like renting to anyone using a realtor because they have to pay them, and there are so many people looking for a great apartment that they have no need to pay. You’ll have more success using a relocation service.

Good luck finding a place with everything you want. Most rentals will not have AC or heating throughout the house, and the rentals close to transit stations go quickly. Be ready to shorten your wish list.

Some common local sites are: