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What are the requirements to live in Portugal as a EU citizen?

Updated: Mar 25, 2023

As an EU citizen, relocating to Portugal can be a great choice. With its mild climate, stunning beaches, affordable cost of living, and friendly people, it's no wonder why so many expats choose to call Portugal home.

However, before making the move, there are a few things that you should know. In this blog post, we'll explore what you can expect as an EU citizen when relocating to Portugal.

Residency Requirements

As an EU citizen, you can move to Portugal without needing a visa or a work permit. However, if you plan to stay for more than three months, you'll need to register as a resident with the Portuguese government. You can do this at your local town hall (Câmara Municipal) or through the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF). When registering, you'll need to provide proof of your identity, such as your passport or ID card, and your address in Portugal.


If you become a tax resident in Portugal, you'll need to pay taxes on your worldwide income. However, Portugal has a non-habitual resident (NHR) regime that provides a special tax status for new residents. The NHR regime offers a flat income tax rate of 20% for certain types of income, such as foreign pensions and dividends. This can be a significant tax saving for retirees and those who work remotely.


As an EU citizen, you're entitled to access the Portuguese public healthcare system, but you'll need to register for a health card (Cartão de Utente) at your local health center (Centro de Saúde). You'll also need to pay a small fee when you visit a doctor or hospital. Alternatively, you can choose to have private health insurance, which will give you access to private clinics and hospitals.

Cost of Living

Portugal is generally considered an affordable country to live in, especially when compared to other Western European countries. However, the cost of living can vary depending on where you choose to live. Lisbon and Porto, for example, tend to be more expensive than smaller towns and cities. In general, you can expect to pay around €700-€1000 per month for a one-bedroom apartment, depending on the location.


Portuguese is the official language of Portugal, and while many people speak English, especially in tourist areas, it's still a good idea to learn some basic Portuguese. This will make it easier for you to navigate daily life, from ordering food at a restaurant to speaking with your neighbors.


Portugal has a rich culture and history, and there are plenty of festivals and celebrations throughout the year. From the lively Carnaval to the solemn Holy Week processions, there's always something going on. The Portuguese are also known for their love of food and wine, so be sure to try some of the local specialties, such as bacalhau (salt cod) and port wine.

In conclusion, as an EU citizen, relocating to Portugal can be a relatively straightforward process. You'll need to register as a resident, pay taxes on your worldwide income, and have access to healthcare. The cost of living is generally affordable, and the Portuguese are welcoming to foreigners. By learning some basic Portuguese and immersing yourself in the culture, you'll soon feel at home in your new country.

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