One of the best places to live
Living in Portugal:
Imagine living in a country where you can find a huge diversity of landscapes and environments in a small area: sandy beaches as far as the eye can see, golden plains and mountains, vibrant and cosmopolitan cities and a millennial heritage.
Here you can practice water sports, play golf on the best courses in the world, contemplate nature, experience the most novel well-being treatments, or just get out into the country and discover unbeatable heritage, wines, and cuisine.
In terms of climate, our winters are mild and summers are hot and dry. Did you know that the number of hours of sunshine per year reaches values as high as 3300 in the south of the country and 1600 in the north, some of the highest in Europe?
The Portuguese are gracious and friendly, welcoming all visitors regardless of where they come from. And, in fact, visitors do come here from all over the world, as the country is located on the western coast of Europe and, as such, is a point of entry into the Schengen zone. A large part of the population speaks foreign languages, specifically English.
Portugal has an excellent geographical location. At the meeting point between three continents – Europe, Africa and America -, it has always been central to the most important international routes. Here you can find international airports all over the country – Lisbon, Faro and Porto have regular connections to major cities in the world.
Did you know that Lisbon is just two and a half hours away from Paris and London by plane? If you want to discover the beauties of Portugal, the country has a modern road network waiting to be explored: it only takes two hours to get from Lisbon to Porto or Faro, the major cities in the north and south of the country. Madrid is just six hours away.
With almost nine centuries of well defined geographical borders, a democratic parliamentary regime with political stability prevails in Portugal.
Portugal is a member of the European Union and forms part of the European Monetary System, using the European single currency. It is also the 46th most competitive economy, out of a total of 138 countries according to the 2016-2017 Global Competitiveness Index, produced by the World Economic Forum.
Portugal is the 3rd most peaceful country in the world among 163 countries (Global Peace Index 2017) and ranks 29th of 176 countries in Transparency International (Corruption Perception Index 2016).
Best Quality of Life
In 2016, Lisbon was voted one of the 42 cities in the world with the best quality of life, by the Worldwide Quality of Living Survey 2016.
Cost of Living
Most foreigners consider the cost of living to be low.
According to NUMBER (Cost of Living in Portugal 2018 2015), the price indices are attractive:
Portugal is also one of the best countries for buying a house because it has clear and transparent tax rules and offers facilities for obtaining residence permits, as part of new legal provisions that are more attractive to foreign investors.
It also has a special regime for non-habitual residents, aimed at attracting foreign investors through very favourable income tax rates.
Portugal is recognised internationally for the high quality of the work done by its architects. Proof of this are the two Pritzker Prizes that have already been awarded to the architects Eduardo Souto Mouta and Álvaro Siza Vieira. Likewise, very attractive prices have made real estate in Portugal into a competitive and trustworthy sector.
Over the course of the last 20 years, Portuguese real estate has experienced major development, both due to the fact that construction quality is becoming increasingly more sustainable, and due to the evolution of spending power.
However, even so, the Portuguese real estate market did not suffer the exaggerated growth seen in other European countries. In Portugal, until late 2013, the number of new constructions was aligned with respective sales. In the last two years, demand has returned which, while ensuring the sale of existing stock, has also made the price index rise to values close to those registered in 2010.
Therefore, Portuguese real estate is a safe haven for domestic and foreign investment, and none of the data available suggest the existence of a property bubble in Portugal. This fact in itself is proof that there are competitive conditions for investment in the sector.
In a comparison of median property prices in major European cities (properties with an area of around 120m2) Portugal comes 26th out of a total of 38 places, showing that the prices charged in Portugal are much lower than those charged in the rest of Western Europe.
In its “Doing Business” Report, the World Bank ranked Portugal 25th, out of a total of 190 economies, when it came to the ease of doing business and to the existence of a user-friendly regulatory environment for the creation and operation of companies.
Portugal is also among the best countries in the world to do business in: in 2015, Forbes Magazine ranked Portugal in 16th place, from a list which is put together with a total of 144 countries. Items such as property rights, innovation and technology, freedom (individual, commercial and monetary) and investor protection were taken into consideration in this assessment.
- 10.3 million
- GDP (PPP):
- $313.4 billion
- 2.7% growth
- 1.2% 5-year compound annual growth
- $30,417 per capita
- Inflation (CPI):
- FDI Inflow:
- $6.9 billion
About country entry requirements
Which nationalities do not require a visa to enter Portugal?
Citizens of the European Union, Andorra, Cyprus, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland only require an identification document to enter Portugal. If these citizens are minors, in addition to their identification document, they must submit a written parental consent to travel.
Regarding stays with a duration not exceeding 90 days, third-country nationals only need to present a valid passport for a period exceeding three months after the end of their stay.
Which nationalities require a visa to enter Portugal?
To be able to view the list of third countries that require visas (valid and suitable for the purpose of the stay) to enter Portugal,
In addition to an entry visa (when applicable), what other requirements must third-country nationals meet to enter Portugal?
- They should carry a travel document, valid, at least, for a period exceeding three months after the end of their intended stay;
- They should have sufficient means of subsistence for the period of the stay;
- Not being subject of alerts in SEF’s (Foreign Nationals and Borders Service) Integrated Information System, nor in the Schengen Information System.
What types of visas can be granted?
Visas are granted on the basis of the purpose and duration of the stay, according to distinct requirements:
- Schengen or short-term visas
- Airport transit visa
- Transit and short-stay visas – may have a maximum validity of 90 days for each semester, and may have 1, 2 or multiple entries.
- Long-term Visas (or national visas)
For Temporary Stays > Temporary Stay Visas
These visas allow stays for periods of 4 months with multiple entries. Depending on the reasons for the stay, there are 7 subtypes of visas:
- Medical treatment at official or officially recognized health care institutions;
- Transfer of workers between countries which are members of the World Trade Organization for the purpose of providing services or receiving professional training;
- Carrying out a professional activity as an employee or as a self-employed person, on a temporary basis;
- Conducting scientific research, teaching at a higher education institution and carrying out highly-skilled work;
- The practice of an amateur sports activity;
- Stays in Portuguese territory for a period exceeding 3 months in duly justified cases, namely, the fulfillment of international commitments;
- Accompanying a family member subject to medical treatment;
For Prolonged Stays > Residence Visas
These visas allow stays for periods of 4 months with two entries, in order to request permanent residence (granting of a residence permit). Depending on the reasons for the stay, there are 7 subtypes of visas:
- Carrying out a professional activity as an employee;
- Carrying out a professional activity as a self-employed person or entrepreneur immigrants;
- Conducting research, teaching at a higher education institution or carrying out highly-skilled work;
- To study, student exchanges, professional internship or voluntary service;
- In the context of the mobility of students in higher education;
- For a family reunion;
- Pensioners, religious persons, people with income;
About residency requirements
If you are a national of a European Union country, how much time can you stay in Portugal without having to do any paperwork?
European Union citizens have the right to reside in Portuguese territory for a period of up to three months without any conditions or paperwork other than holding a valid identity card or passport, along with any family members in possession of a valid passport, accompanying or joining the Union citizen.
How can I obtain a permanent residency certificate (certificado de residência permanente)?
This document must be requested from an office of the Foreigners and Borders Service prior to the expiry of a residency certificate. You must make an appointment before going to the office.
What is a Residence Permit?
A residence permit (Authorization of Residence) shall be issued for the foreign national authorized to reside in Portuguese territory, which comprises 2 types:
a) Temporary residence permit – valid for 1 year from the date of its issue, renewable for successive periods of 2 years.
b) Permanent residence permit – with no expiration date, should be renewed every 5 years, or whenever changes occur with the identification elements therein registered.
For more information about the granting of Residence Permits, see the information provided by the Foreign Nationals and Borders Service.
How to acquire Portuguese nationality?
The current legislation establishes various forms to acquire Portuguese nationality which you may consult here.
For detailed information on this matter, contact the Institute of Registration and Notary Affairs (IRN)
About residence permit for investment activities (golden visa)
What are the advantages of the ARI programme?
In return for the investment made in Portugal, the beneficiary of ARI is entitled to:
- Resident visa exemption to enter Portugal;
- Living and working in Portugal, while maintaining residence in another country;
- Visa exemption for travelling within the Schengen Area;
- Family reunification;
- Obtain permanent residence (after 5 years and in the terms and conditions set out by the legislation in force);
- Acquiring Portuguese citizenship (after 6 years and in the terms and conditions set out by the legislation in force);
Who is entitled to be a beneficiary of ARI?
All third country citizens who conduct an investment activity, as an individual businessperson or through a company set up in Portugal or in another EU Member State and who, in addition, is stably settled in Portugal, provided that these citizens fulfil the quantitative requirements and the time requirements set out by the relevant legislation.
The ARI legal mechanism does not apply to individuals with Portuguese citizenship and to EU and EEE citizens.
Where the investment is made through a company, only the proportion of the capital actually invested by the applicant of ARI shall be ascribable to him / her.
Applicants may apply to swap from one requirement to another, subject to the condition of reinvesting the capital within a maximum period of three months, from the moment where they formally abandon the first investment.
Are there any official intermediaries accredited by the Portuguese State?
No. The Portuguese State has no bona fide intermediaries; either Portuguese or foreigner to act on its behalf with regards the administration of ARI applications.
As ARI holder, what family members may benefit from this same scheme, where and when may I apply for family reunification?
The following are considered conventional relatives:
- Minor children and incapacitated children under the custody of the couple or of one spouse;
- Children who have been adopted by an unmarried applicant, or by a married applicant or by his / her spouse, provided such adoption was authorized by the relevant authority of the country of origin and has the same legal effects to those of natural children, and that such decision is recognised in Portugal;
- Children of age, who are dependent on both or one parent, provided they are single and studying in a teaching establishment in Portugal;
- First degree ascendants (parents) of the applicant or of the spouse, provided they are dependant;
- Minor siblings, under the custody of the applicant by order of a legal decision by the relevant authorities of the country of origin, if such order is recognised in Portugal.
The following are considered relatives resulting from non-marital partnership:
- Life partner, with registered partnership under the law, either in national territory or abroad;
- Minor, single or incapacitated children, including children who have been adopted by the life-partner who has been given legal custody over those children.
Family reunification can be applied for at a Regional Directorate or Delegation of the Immigration and Borders Service (SEF) from your area of residence.
Family reunification can be applied for at the same time as the ARI title, or at a later stage, according to the preference of the investor. In any case, it is always dependent on the decision on the application of ARI.
What fiscal rules apply in Portugal?
The fiscal regime of investors who are in Portugal under the ARI scheme depends on the individual conditions of each investor and must be properly assessed by specialized tax advisors dully accredited to that effect by the Portugal Tax Office.
Capital city: Lisbon
Official language: Portuguese
Total area: 92 389 sq km (including Madeira and Azores)
Land: 91959 sq km
Water: 430 sq km
Land use: 26 percent arable land; 9 percent permanent crops; 9 percent permanent pastures; 36 percent forests and woodland; 20 percent other
Terrain: Mountainous north of the Tagus River, rolling plains in the south.
Portugal, one of the oldest countries in Europe, is located in the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula lying between Spain in the north and east, and the Atlantic Ocean in the south and west. The signs of the Portuguese presence around the world are still visible and this is the reason why Portuguese is one of the most spoken languages worldwide and the Portuguese are one of the peoples more open to other civilizations. Portugal has been a Republic since 1911 and its government is a Parliamentary Democracy. A member of the European Union (EU) since 1986, Portugal is a nation in full development that has always kept its best treasure – its ability to welcome people. This makes this country an attractive and safe place.
Despite being a relatively small country (516Km long and 218Km wide), the Portuguese natural heritage is extremely rich and diverse. The average altitude is low (240m), with the highest mountain range being the Serra da Estrela, in central Portugal. In the northwest, there are green fertile valleys and tree-covered mountains while vast areas of high plateaus predominate in the northeast. Along the western coast as far as Lisbon the topography is a mixture of lowlands and bays. Moving south the landscape starts to change to a uniform low relief. In the south lies the popular tourist destination of the Algarve.
The population in mainland Portugal is around 10,000,000 people. Lisbon is the capital with nearly one million inhabitants. Other important cities are Oporto, Braga, Coimbra, and Faro.