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How to legally move to Portugal?



Joanna Horanin

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Last updated at 16/06/2024, 11:00

Hi, I'm Joanna, the author of The Blond Travels. In the worlds of Thailand and Portugal, I feel like a fish in water - and it's no coincidence! I've been exploring Thailand for over a decade, and I've settled in Portugal for 6 years now. My mission is to support Dreamers - just like you - in discovering these fascinating countries and helping those in love with them find their own place on Earth, preferably for good! Let's uncover these unique corners of the world together.

Do you want to move to Portugal and live here legally, without any problems? Find out what requirements you need to fulfill.

Portugal has its own rules and in order to live here legally and use public services such as healthcare, you need to meet certain demands. Read on to find out what you need to do to move to Portugal.

Formalities – What to expect when moving to Portugal?

First of all, you can expect beaurcracy and incompetent goverment employees, who rarely speak English.
Sometimes, how things are done here, reminds me Poland in the comunism times, when a clerk was the person in charge and it was up to their good mood whether you managed to get things sorted or not.

No one is punctual in Portugal. So, if you have an appointment in one of the government offices, you might expect a delay.

Be patient. That’s my advice. It’s also good to have some help from friends or family, who speak Portuguese.

Below advice is mostly for people living in the EU. I don’t really feel competent enough to give advice to people from other countries.

Finding a job in Portugal and legal matters

You can find a job in Portugal before you move. In this case, your employers should help you out with paperwork. Quite often, companies who employ foreginers use their HR department to deal with visas, taxes and other complicated matters.

Some people first choose to come to Portugal and then look for work. This is a bit more difficult because in order to rent a room, or a flat, you will need a Portuguese NIF. It’s best to rent something on Airbnb and wait until you find a job.

Moving to Portugal? takes care of all the paperwork, so you can focus on enjoying your new life. Get your NIF, open a bank account, file your tax return and more, all in one place.

Learn more and get started today

What you need to legally work and live in Portugal?

For the start, you will need:

  • NIF – a Portuguese tax number
  • European Union certificate
  • Residency certificate

How to get a Portuguese tax number?

Numer podatkowy NIF będzie Ci potrzebny do załatwienia niemal wszystkiego w Portugalii, łącznie z wynajmem mieszkania.

Możesz go zdobyć w jednym z biur Finanças. Wystarczy, że w Google wpiszesz finance office lub finanças. Obecnie, podczas pandemii, na spotkanie musisz umówić się telefonicznie, co może zabrać Ci dobrych parę dni. Linie są przeważnie zajęte. Spotkanie zapewne również odbędzie się po paru tygodniach od telefonu.

If you are looking for an easy way out, read this post, where I described step by step how I got my NIF.

To get your NIF, you will need:

  • Your ID
  • Confirmation of your residency either in Portugal, or in your home country

How to get the EU residency certificate?

The certificate will allow you to change your address to the Portuguese one.

To get it, you will need:

  • Your ID
  • NIF
  • Money on your account. Some sources say it’s 3000 Euros, some that it’s 2500 Euros
  • 15 Euros administration fee

How to get the certificate of residency in Portugal?

This certificate is available at junta offices. You will find closest to you by putting ‘junta’ in Google.

To get the certificate, you will need:

  • The EU residency certificate
  • NIF
  • ID

From my personal experience I think that it’s best to have some help when dealing with these requirements.
Hire a lawyer or an accountant. If you have Portuguese-speaking friends, ask them for help, too. And remember to be patient. You will get there eventually!