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How to move to Portugal for permanent residency

With a portugal permanent residence card, you can live, work and do business in the country. It is not necessary to live in Portugal to maintain the status.

You can apply for permanent residence after five years of holding a residence permit, subject to several requirements. Learn how to get permanent residence in Portugal and what this status provides.

How to move to Portugal for permanent residence

What is permanent residency?

The status of permanent residence differs from a temporary residence permit in that it is issued indefinitely. It does not need to be renewed every one or two years. However, you need to update the permanent residence card, e.g. in Portugal it is renewed every five years.

Permanent residence in Portugal almost gives the same rights in the country as citizenship, with the exception of political ones. With a permanent residence card, you can not participate in elections and hold public office. 

Permanent residents of Portugal can not enjoy all the opportunities for travel and relocation to other countries available to citizens of the country. For example, a Portuguese passport opens visa-free entry to 188 countries, and a permanent residence card to 26 countries of the Schengen zone. 

How an investor can obtain permanent residence in European countries and what this status provides is explained in the article "5 questions about residence permit and permanent residency".

Portuguese permanent residency requirements

To become the owner of a permanent residence card in Portugal, you first need to obtain a temporary residence permit. After five years of maintaining the status, you can apply for permanent residence.

Residence permits in Portugal are obtained by study, employment or marriage with a citizen of Portugal, for family reunification. Moreover, this status can be obtained if there is passive income and housing in the country or under the state investment program.

Obtaining a residence permit in Portugal by investment takes 8 to 10 months. Conditions for investors are simpler than for applicants for a residence permit on other grounds.

Conditions for obtaining a residence permit in Portugal

Other types of residence permits A residence permit by investment
How long to live in the country183 days a year7 days a year
Participation of family membersNoYes
Knowledge of the Portuguese languageYesNo
Permanent residing in the country for citizenshipYesNo

Applicants invest from €250,000 in the economy of Portugal to get a residence permit card of the country. The residence permit program in Portugal offers investors seven options. 

Purchasing real estate in the country worth €280,000 or more is the most popular option among investors. Real estate prices in Portugal are growing on average by 3-5% per year. The object can be rented out, sold after five years and the investment returned with a profit.

The second most popular option among investors is purchasing units of investment funds in the amount of €500,000. Other options are investments in culture and art, scientific projects and business in the country, transfer of capital or opening a business in Portugal.

Options and conditions of the residence permit by investment program in Portugal

Purchase of real estateFrom €280,000. Investors buy real estate, new or under restoration. The object can be sold after 5 years and the investment returned.
Purchase of investment fund unitsFrom €500,000. Suitable funds that invest most of the capital in companies headquartered in Portugal. The money can be returned after 5 years
Investments in culture and art
From €250,000. The money should be used to support art and the reconstruction of national heritage sites through authorities, state institutions, public or private funds
Investments in scienceFrom €500,000. Research projects must be approved by the government
Investment in businessFrom €500,000. You can either invest in an existing business or open your own. At the same time, it is necessary to create 5 new jobs
Capital transferFrom €1,500,000. The option involves the purchase of securities or the transfer of money to a Portuguese bank account
Opening a company The option does not require a certain amount of investment, but the investor must create at least 10 jobs

The alternative to the Portugal Golden Visa is the Startup visa program. It doesn’t require any investment with a fixed amount, but an applicant must open a startup in collaboration with a leading Portuguese business incubator.

To maintain a residence permit in Portugal, the investor needs to keep the investment and spend at least seven days in the country year. The residence permit card is renewed every two years.

To maintain permanent residence in Portugal, it is enough to spend more than six months in the country within three years from the date of obtaining the status. 

Opportunities provided with a residence permit and permanent residence in Portugal

Accommodation in Portugal. A residence permit in Portugal allows you to enter the country legally, even when the borders are closed. Investors can permanently reside in the country or spend holidays there.

Travel without visas. The Schengen countries allow Portuguese residents to enter without a visa. You can spend up to 90 days there in half a year.

Visa-free countries with permanent residence in Portugal

Czech RepublicItalySlovakia

Free education for children. A residence permit and permanent residence in Portugal allow you to enroll a child in a kindergarten or school for free. 

Residents can enroll in Portuguese universities and their diplomas will be recognized in other EU countries. Residents can get a higher education free of charge on a competitive basis. 

Quality medicine. Portugal has a high level of medicine. This confirms the life expectancy: the citizens of the country live an average of 82 years. This is longer than in Belgium, Denmark, the Czech Republic or Croatia. The average life expectancy in Europe is 78 years.

To receive full health care in Portugal, you must register with the National Health Service (NHS). To do this, you need to get a user card — Cartão de Utente. The document must be presented each time at the hospital and pharmacy.

You can get an NHS user card at the polyclinic in Portugal where you live. You need to take a residence permit or permanent residence card with you.

Medicine is free for citizens of Portugal and foreign citizens in the status of a residence permit or permanent residence, if they make contributions to the Social Security Fund. Additional diagnostic studies are paid for everyone.

Tax incentives. Residents of Portugal can receive a special tax status of a Non-habitual Resident (NHR). It allows not to pay tax on income received outside of Portugal, if it was paid in another country. Also, the status allows to reduce the tax rate on income from professional activities in Portugal to 20%. Without NHR status, the income tax rate reaches 48%.

To become a tax resident of Portugal and obtain a preferential NHR status, you need to stay in the country for more than 183 days a year. 

A European bank account. A residence permit or permanent residence in Portugal allows you to open an account in a European bank and keep your savings in hard currency and not lose money on commissions for foreign transfers.

An opportunity to obtain EU citizenship. Holders of residence permit and permanent residence cards in Portugal can apply for citizenship of the country. 

Portugal is a member of the European Union, so with its passport you can live and work in any country of this association. In addition, Portuguese citizens travel visa-free to 188 countries, including the US, Canada, UK, Japan and Australia.

Permanent residence status is an optional step on the way to Portuguese citizenship. You can apply for citizenship after 5 years of being in the status of a residence permit. The status of permanent residence in Portugal is convenient for citizens of countries where it is forbidden to have a second citizenship, e.g. Kazakhstan.

What makes Portugal attractive for moving

Portugal has a developed system of education and medicine, a good climate and ecology, safety, low cost of accommodation, quality food and wine.

The climate in Portugal depends on the area: in the north the climate is cool and rainy, in the south it is warm and sunny. On the border with Spain, the climate is continental: hot summers and cool winters with low rainfall.

In the north of Portugal, the summer is sunny and warm, without the sweltering heat. Winters are rainy, especially in the Porto city region and further north. Snowfall in Portugal is rare. Snow is mostly found in the Serra da Estrela mountains.

In the central part of Portugal including Lisbon and the Silver Coast, mild winters and hot, dry summers exist. In the coastal, central and southern regions, hot summers are easier to endure as the sea breeze keeps the temperature at a pleasant level.

The southern part of Portugal and the Algarve are some of the sunniest places in Europe. The sun stays even in winter. Therefore, the south of Portugal is a popular holiday destination.

The average annual temperature in Lisbon

The average annual temperature in Lisbon
The coldest winter in Lisbon was on February 11th, 1956. The minimum temperature that year was -1.2°C

The cost of living in Portugal is one of the lowest in Europe. According to, the cost of living in Lisbon is 37% lower than in Paris and 20% cheaper than in Berlin. Compared to Madrid, prices are 6% lower. Basic expenses for a month of living in Portugal:

  1. Rental housing: renting a three-room apartment in the city center — €1,125; utility bills for a three-room apartment of 85 m² — €121.
  2. Products: milk, 1l — €0.65; baguette — €1.15; eggs, 12 pcs — €1.80; local cheese, 1kg — €6.75; rice, 1kg — €1; chicken breast, 1kg — €5; lettuce — €0.95; apples, 1kg — €1.56.
  3. Entertainment: three-course dinner for two in a restaurant — €40.

Entertainment. There is something for everyone in Portugal: relaxing on picturesque beaches, water sports, hiking, sightseeing tours or exploring medieval architecture. 

The country has centers of entertainment and educational leisure for children and adults, where you can spend time actively. For example, the Lisbon Zoo and Aquarium, the Santo Andre Safari Park, the Evora Museum City, and the Surf Reserve.

Permanent residence of Portugal: Ericeira
The best place for surfing in Portugal is Ericeira. It is located in the only surf reserve in Europe. The territory is protected by the state: building and any other interventions are prohibited here. Ericeira is open to surfers, fishermen and tourists

Safety. In 2021, Portugal was ranked fourth out of 163 in the Global Peace Index. The country has a low crime rate, no internal conflicts, and the risk of terrorism is minimal. Portugal does not participate in international political conflicts and wars.

Good ecology. 352 Portuguese beaches have been awarded the Blue Flag. This award is given to beaches whose water meets high quality standards and is suitable for safe swimming. Therefore, the beaches of Portugal attract tourists from all over the world.

The development of coastlines is prohibited in the country so as not to harm the environment. 79.5% of electricity in Portugal is generated by renewable natural energy sources such as wind, solar and water power plants.

By 2050, Portugal plans to become carbon neutral and switch all public transport to electricity.

Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between permanent residence in Portugal and a residence permit?

The status of permanent residence in Portugal gives more opportunities than the status of a residence permit. Inside the country, it gives almost the same rights as citizenship, with the exception of political ones: permanent residents can not vote in elections and hold public office. Permanent residence in Portugal is issued indefinitely. To maintain status, it is not necessary to live in the country. But it is necessary to renew the permanent residence card every 5 years. A residence permit in Portugal must be obtained anew every 1-2 years.

What does a permanent residence in Portugal provide?

With a Portugal permanent residence card, you can travel without visas in the Schengen countries and enter Portugal, even if the borders are closed. The status of permanent residence in Portugal does not oblige you to permanently reside in the country. In Portugal, you need to spend more than 6 months in the first three years from the date of obtaining the status, and then move to another country and maintain permanent residence. Holders of permanent residence status in Portugal can work and do business in the country, receive tax benefits under a special program, send their children to school for free, and receive full medical care in public hospitals.

What is the fastest way to get permanent residence in Portugal?

To obtain a permanent residence card in Portugal, you need to obtain a temporary residence permit and spend five years with the status of a residence permit. Get a residence permit in Portugal the fastest under the state program for investors – within 8 to 10 months. Investors make a contribution of €250,000 to the country’s economy in exchange for a residence permit card. Participants of the program can choose where to invest money. The most popular options are the purchase of real estate in the country or the purchase of shares in investment funds. To maintain the residence permit status, it is enough for investors to be in Portugal for 7 days a year. A regular residence permit requires you to live in the country on a permanent basis.

Can I get Portuguese citizenship with permanent residence?

Yes. An investor with permanent residence status in Portugal can immediately apply for citizenship.  Permanent residence status is an optional step on the way to obtaining Portuguese citizenship. You can apply for Portuguese citizenship 5 years after receiving a residence permit. With a Portuguese passport, you can travel without visas to 188 countries around the world. USA, Canada, UK, Australia and Japan are on the list of visa-free countries for Portuguese citizens.

Is Portugal comfortable for life?

Yes. Portugal has a good ecology and climate. Prices are lower than in some other EU countries. In Portugal, there are active leisure centers for children and adults: the Lisbon Zoo and Aquarium, the safari park in Santo Andre, the city-museum of Evora, the surfing reserve in Ericeira and others. Tax incentives are provided for new residents of Portugal. Non-habitual Resident tax status allows you to pay tax on professional income in Portugal at a flat rate of 20% instead of progressive income tax at a rate of up to 48%.

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How to move to Portugal for permanent residency