Second Citizenship
February 20, 2024
Reading Time: 12 min

Retiring in Portugal: low cost of living but a high quality of life and other benefits

Portugal attracts senior foreigners from around the globe with a low cost of living, safety, developed infrastructure, sunny weather, and high healthcare quality.

The Portugal Retirement Visa offers two routes to move to Portugal, while the D7 Visa requires proof of a passive income outside of Portugal. Also, retirees can invest at least €250,000 to participate in the Portugal Golden Visa Program to get residence permits.

Learn why Portugal is considered retirement heaven and how to get residency there.

Alina Mishurenko
Alina Mishurenko

Explained why senior people have been pouring into Portugal for retirement

Retire in Portugal

Retiring in Portugal: low cost of living but a high quality of life and other benefits

9 benefits of retiring in Portugal

Portugal is considered a peaceful country with a high quality of life. It is among the safest countries in Europe, with rich history and culture, fancy cuisine and gorgeous beaches.

1. Residential programs for retirees. Portugal is a welcoming and friendly country with several immigration ways for foreigners.

EU citizens don’t have to apply for a visa or residence permit to enter Portugal. The same as EEA and Switzerland passport holders. They need to get a Registration certificate to live in Portugal.

This certificate must be applied for at their local Council within the 30 days following their first three months in Portugal. The Registration certificate is valid for five years from the date of issue.

Retirees from non-EU countries need a visa to move to Portugal. After moving to Portugal, they must apply for a residence permit.

Amina and Talip,

A couple from Nur-Sultan

How a couple from Kazakhstan has relocated to Portugal for a peaceful retirement

Amina and Talip were looking for a perfect escape route to retire in the European Union. They wanted to live closer to water, travel through the Schengen Area visa-free and obtain second citizenship in future if they liked the country.

The couple chose between Portugal, Greece and Spain. Eventually, they participated in the Portugal Golden Visa Program and felt absolutely satisfied with the result.

Learn a case

2. Free travelling through Europe. Portuguese residents visit the 26 Schengen states without a visa and spend up to 90 days out of 180.

3. Law crime rate. Portugal is in the top 10 of the Global Peace Index 2023, ranking 7th of the safest countries in the world. The locals are amiable and welcoming to expats. Families with kids feel safe and sound in Portugal.

4. Pleasant weather. It’s almost always sunny in Portugal. The warmest month is August. In Lisbon, the average daytime temperature is +27.8℃. The water is the warmest in August and September. Its average temperature throughout the year ranges from +13℃ to +19℃.

Winters are warm. The average daily temperature in January in Lisbon is +14.7℃. Snow rarely falls and melts quickly. Most often, it can be seen in mountainous areas.

5. Big expat community in Portugal. You’ll meet a lot of foreign retirees from all over the world while you live in Portugal, and the expat population is still growing.

The most well-liked retirement destination is the Algarve region in southern Portugal, where retirees from the US and Britain have already made their home.

6. Language. There are many English-speaking people in Portugal. It is the seventh most proficient country in the world when it comes to speaking English as a second language. Porto is the Portuguese city where English is best spoken, followed by Coimbra and Braga.

7. Beneficial tax system. New Portuguese tax residents can obtain a 10-year special status of a Non-Habitual Resident. Portugal introduced a flat 10% tax on the foreign pension income for non-habitual residents.

8. High healthcare quality. The Portuguese healthcare system is ranked amongst the highest in the world. Senior people generally have good access to healthcare in Portugal.

9. Opportunity to get Portugal citizenship. A retiree can apply for Portugal citizenship after five years of residency.

The Portuguese passport allows you to travel to 172 countries without visas and choose any EU country to live in. The applicant will not have to give up the passport of the country of origin if its legislation allows citizens to acquire citizenship in other states.

What are the Portugal retirement visa requirements to relocate to Portugal?

The Portugal Retirement Visa offers two routes to move to Portugal. Both of them allow relatives to participate in the visa-obtaining process.

The Portugal D7 Visa, also known as the Retirement Visa, does not require fulfilling investment options.

Applicants must prove a passive income outside of Portugal. The income requirement is based on the minimum salary in Portugal. In 2024, the minimum salary is €820, so the D7 visa applicant must demonstrate a yearly income of at least €9,840.

An applicant can receive passive income like a pension or rental payments. If relatives get visas with the main applicant, they must add 50% of the income for a spouse and 30% for a child.

To show the minimum income, retirees need to open an account in a Portuguese bank. An applicant must provide a bank statement. Keeping a minimum amount equal to 12 months' income is required. You can use this money after receiving a residence permit card.

Portugal retirement visa document requirements:

  1. An international passport.

  2. A medical insurance policy.

  3. Two colour photos.

  4. A police clearance certificate from the country of origin.

  5. A lease or purchase agreement for real estate.

  6. Marriage or birth certificates.

  7. A Portuguese bank statement.

  8. A NIF registration certificate.

Applying for a Portugal Retirement Visa takes place in your home country. The visa allows two entries in Portugal and has a 4-month validity period. After arriving in Portugal, the D7 visa holder must apply for a residency permit with the Agency for Integration, Migrations and Asylum of Portugal, AIMA.

Applicants must have accommodation and a registered address to get a residence permit. They can rent a property or buy it. There are no limits on a property’s type, age and value.

Individual cost calculation of the visa D7 in Portugal

Individual cost calculation of the visa D7 in Portugal

The Portugal Golden Visa Program. An investor makes a sufficient donation to the Portuguese economy using one of several options: fund contribution, business, opening company, science or culture investments. The minimum investment sum is €250,000.

Portugal Golden Visa document requirements:

  1. An official Application Form.

  2. A valid passport.

  3. Marriage, divorce and birth certificates.

  4. Two passport-size photos.

  5. A medical insurance policy.

  6. A certificate of having no previous criminal records.

  7. Documents related to the investment.

Applying for a Golden Visa is possible through a licensed agent. Immigrant Invest lawyers provide the investor with an individual list of documents required to apply for a residence permit. They also fill out government forms, translate and notarise documents, and collect documents related to property ownership.

Individual cost calculation of the residence permit in Portugal

Individual cost calculation of the residence permit in Portugal

Portugal Golden Visa and D7 visa comparison

If senior people want to move to Portugal without significant capital investment, it might be better to consider obtaining a D7 visa. It leads to a residence permit in the country and gives a chance to become a European citizen in the future.

The Portugal Golden Visa Program is designed for investors with intentions to get not only residency but also a profit.


D7 visa 

Golden Visa

Visa-free Schengen Area



Right to apply for permanent residency or passport in 5 years



Minimum investment

Not required


Proof of sufficient income

€820+ per month

Not required

Processing time

4+ months

8—10 months

Mandatory residing in Portugal

1.5 consecutive years in the first 2 years or 16 months in total over 2 years

7 days a year

Relatives participation

Spouse, children under 21, parents

Spouse, children and siblings under 26, parents

How to get a D7 Visa and the residence permit: a step-by-step procedure

Getting a Retirement Visa in Portugal usually takes at least 4 months. About two more months are required to obtain residency and receive a residence permit card.


Up to 5 business days

Getting an NIF number

For example, the NIF is a unique taxpayer number required to open a bank account in Portugal. Therefore, getting it means registering with the Portuguese Tax Office.


Up to 2 months

Opening a bank account, purchasing or renting housing

To open a bank account, an investor needs a taxpayer number, a passport, and proof of the funds' legal origin. The process, handled remotely by Immigrant Invest lawyers through a power of attorney, requires depositing enough money to support the family for one year.

Immigrant Invest offers properties to rent or buy, with options to select remotely or visit Portugal. Purchasing a property may take up to two months while renting, involving quicker property selection and paperwork, takes just a few days.


Up to 2 months

Applying for the D7 Visa

The documents required to apply for the D7 visa are the following:

  • a visa application form;

  • an international passport;

  • two colour photos;

  • a health insurance policy;

  • confirmation of no criminal convictions from the applicant’s country of residence;

  • a confirmation of an owned or rented housing in Portugal — title documents for real estate or a long-term lease agreement are accepted;

  • confirmation of sufficient means for living;

  • a proof of kinship for family members: a marriage certificate, a birth certificate;

  • a document on the registration of NIF, a Portuguese taxpayer number.

The documents are submitted to a Portuguese consulate in the country of citizenship or residency.


Entering Portugal with a D7 Visa

The D7 visa is valid for 4 months only, so the holder must come to Portugal during this period.


Applying for a residence permit

The Agency for Integration, Migrations and Asylum of Portugal accepts residency applications by appointment.


2 months

Receiving a residence card

Once the application is approved, the residence permit is mailed to a registered address in Portugal within one or two months.

Best places to retire in Portugal

Portugal is considered one of the best places for expats. Let us present several cities most suitable for expats to retire.

Lisbon. If you are looking to retire in a city full of Old World charm, check out Lisbon. The city comes alive with colourful tiles, museums, palaces, nightlife, and a tram system that navigates the steep, cobbled roads.

Porto. Head north to visit Portugal’s second-largest city, Porto. Famous for its production of port wine, stately bridges, colourful riverfront area, university vibe, and tours along the Douro River, there is much to explore. Porto also has an international airport, one of three in the country, making it easy to come and go.



Retiree from Toronto, Canada

I moved to Portugal from Canada. The country has access to the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean with a rich underwater world. Fishing has always been my passion! I made several Portuguese friends. Spending time on the water is like second nature for them, just like for me.

One of my favourite locations is the Azores. Besides, I often go to the mountains and vineyards in Porto. I have an excellent sports complex with a swimming pool and park area near the house. 

Alentejo. South of Lisbon is the Alentejo region, which includes the cities of Beja and Évora. The country’s largest and most rural area is famous for the fields of wildflowers, stately cork oaks, historic towns, and a sparse population. Life here is slow, winters are fantastic, and summers are hot and dry.

Algarve. The southernmost region of Portugal is the Algarve. It is known for its Atlantic beaches, fishing villages, golf resorts, waterparks, hot, dry summers, and tourists. Due to its long history of British tourists coming here on holiday, English is widely spoken.

Retire in Portugal — Lisbon

It’s not the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco; it’s the 25 de Abril Bridge in Lisbon, which is coloured like the famous Golden Gate Bridge, and the design is similar as well. Both the Bay Bridge and the Abril Bridge were built by the same company

Cost of living in Portugal

Property. Lisbon, Porto, the Algarve, and Madeira are the most expensive real estate.

The average cost of buying an apartment in Lisbon is €3,414 per m². The lowest price is on the Azore islands — €1,149 per m².

The cost of living in Portugal is one of the lowest in Europe: 34% lower than in Paris and 32% cheaper than in Berlin.

The basic expenses for a month of living in Portugal:

  1. Renting housing: a three-room apartment in the city centre — €1,400 per month. Rental prices vary between regions. Lisbon’s rental price is €14.2 per m². Leasing an apartment in Albufeira will cost you €10.5 per m² and in Vila Real, €4.4 per m².

  2. Utility bills for a three-room apartment of 85 m² — €110.

  3. Groceries: 1 litre of milk — €0.90, a baguette — €1.30, 12 eggs — €2.50, 1 kg of local cheese — €8.50, 1 kg of rice — €1, 1 kg of chicken breast — €6.2, lettuce — €1.20, 1 kg of apples — €1.80.

  4. Entertainment: a three-course dinner for two in a restaurant is about €40.

Medical insurance. Private insurance can be as low as €4 per month. These rates only apply to people who are younger than 55 years. These companies do not cater to people above the age of 55 years.

Three companies sell insurance plans to retirees up to the age of 75. These are Fidelidade/Multicare, Tranquilidade and Millennium Bank/Médis.

Transport. Portugal has an excellent road infrastructure. The total length of motor roads is 82.9 thousand km, of which 2,992 km are motorways — Autostrada. Travelling by car on the 17-kilometre Vasco da Gama bridge over the Tagus River north of Lisbon costs €3.

The Portuguese use trams, buses, subways, funiculars, and trains. You can even use an elevator in Lisbon to move between two parts of the city.

A single ticket for travel on public transport costs an average of €1.6; a monthly travel card is €40. Calling a taxi will cost €3.25; then you will have to pay €0.7 for each kilometre.

Depending on the brand, the cost of a litre of gasoline is usually €1.75.

D7 visa Portugal

To feel free when paying bills in Portugal, it’s better to open an account in a Portuguese bank

Retirement healthcare in Portugal

The National Health Service in Portugal provides free health services to Portuguese citizens. Non-EU citizens do not share the same privileges. They are required to live in Portugal for 5 years and obtain permanent residency before they are eligible for free health care services.

You must provide proof of health insurance before relocating to Portugal. Once you arrive in Portugal and have settled in, you can change to Portuguese private health insurance. The cost of private health insurance in Portugal is relatively cheaper than health insurance in the US.

A permanent resident can take advantage of Portugal’s health services and find them to be of high quality. The hospitals are modern and well-equipped, and the health system covers basic health needs, accidents, and illnesses. Many public and private health care doctors speak and understand English.



Retiree from the UK

I visited Portugal for treatment several times. There are excellent private clinics with modern equipment and great doctors. Then I thought about moving there, especially since there is a special D7 Passive Income Visa.

My son moved to Portugal with his girlfriend several years ago using that route and later helped me do the same. Now, I can get health insurance and treatment at a much lower cost than in London. Besides, I admire sunny weather.

Activities for retirees in Portugal

Golf. Golf is hugely popular in Portugal, and golfing trips often lead people to discover the country’s charms in the first place. The Algarve is usually the first place that springs to mind. The area is renowned for golf and is home to famous courses like the Quinta do Lago South Course.

Hiking. There are many walking trails in Portugal, including one that spreads for the entire width of the Algarve. You will also find a vast community of enthusiastic walkers. If you enjoy walking, you could see it as a great way to meet other overseas residents.

Boating and kayaking. For many, a dream is to retire in Portugal and buy a boat. You could acquire a small pleasure craft to explore the local coastline or something far more impressive to head further afield. Just beware that strict laws around licences and training exist, so ensure you do your research.

One thing you won’t need a licence for is a kayak. Kayaking is incredibly popular in Portugal because it lets you explore the most stunning and often deserted islands and landscapes. It’s an extremely healthy activity. Many small companies run by expats run kayak trips around the Portuguese coast. These start at as little as around €25.

Also, locals are fond of surfing, fishing and diving.

D7 visa Portugal

In 2021, Portugal picked up several awards at the 28th World Travel Awards despite the Covid‑19 pandemic. The Azores region won the “Best Adventure Tourism Destination” while the Algarve won the “Best Beach Destination”. Madeira won the “Best Island Destination”

Taxes for retirees in Portugal

All residents of Portugal are taxed on their global income, meaning your pension transferred from abroad could be liable to a Portuguese tax.

Retirees can apply for a Non-Habitual Resident, a status that offers expats a reduced tax rate and avoids double taxation.

The flat tax rate for pensions from other countries is 10%. The rule applies if the recipient changed his tax residence to Portuguese and received the Non-Habitual Resident status after April 1st, 2020.

Tax residents of Portugal without Non-Habitual Resident status pay a pension tax as an income tax: on a progressive scale of up to 48%.

Non-EU citizens who wish to transfer their state pension to a Portuguese bank should check the terms and conditions of their country regarding pension transfers abroad. Portugal has tax and social security agreements with several non-EU nations to make things easier for people migrating abroad.

Portugal’s inheritance law and wills

Portuguese inheritance laws are consistent throughout the whole country. Legitimate heirs in Portugal are entitled to at least 50% of the deceased’s wealth according to compelled heirship laws. However, this share typically rises to 60% in cases with multiple genuine heirs.

Legitimate heirs include:

  • spouses,

  • biological and adopted children,

  • grandchildren,

  • parents,

  • grandparents.

These family members can only be left out of the inheritance if the dead explicitly requested it due to unworthy behaviour. The request and justification might be contested in court, even in this instance.

Payments from the deceased’s pension may be available to close relatives. This can be claimed by spouses or children under 18 or under 27 enrolled in school or with a handicap. If there is no spouse or children and the recipient is financially dependent, the pension may be awarded to parents or grandparents. The survivor’s pension pays up to 60% of the initial pension.

According to Portuguese inheritance law, an expat’s native country’s rules should be followed. Thus, it must be included in your will if you wish Portuguese inheritance laws to apply to your estate. The laws of the spouse’s home country may be applied if they are of a different nationality from the deceased.

Therefore, Portuguese inheritance law can be applied if you have relocated to or retired in Portugal.

Wills in Portugal. Whether your estate is governed by Portuguese law or the laws of your native country, you are not legally required to draft a will in Portugal. Therefore, a Portuguese will is not necessary if you wish the laws of your home country to apply to your estate.

It may be less expensive to have a foreign will translated into Portuguese if you have a Portuguese will. It might also save you time since several nations need you to wait for the issuance of a Grant of Probate.

You do not need to select between a Portuguese will and one from your own nation if you want. One will is permitted in Portugal and another in your nation of origin. One must draft them to prevent one from unintentionally negating or rescinding the other. Because of this, if you wish to have many wills, it is advisable to speak with an attorney.

Two varieties of Portuguese wills exist:

  1. Portuguese wills are mostly of the public will kind. A notary public is more involved since they draft the will and verify your identity. They are also in charge of ensuring that you comprehend the procedure. Typically, a will must be signed by two witnesses.

  2. The testator drafts and signs closed wills in solitude. Therefore, a notary needs to verify and check it to legitimise it.

Whichever form of Portuguese you decide on, you must have it reviewed by a notary public.

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Will you obtain a residence permit in Portugal?

Practical Guide

Will you obtain a residence permit in Portugal?

Frequently asked questions

  • How much money do you need to retire in Portugal?

    It depends on the Portuguese region. Lisbon, Porto, the Algarve, and Madeira have the highest prices.

    For example, the average cost of buying an apartment in Lisbon is €3,414 per m². The lowest price is on the Azore islands — €1,149 per m². The cost of renting a residential property varies between €14.2 per m² in Lisbon and €4.4 per m² in Vila Real.

  • How can I get a Portugal Retirement Visa?

    You can apply for a Portugal D7 visa and get a residence permit eventually. It’s a non-investment route. Applicants must provide monthly passive income.

    The Portugal Golden Visa is one more way to retire in Portugal. Senior people can get residence permits immediately and apply for a Portuguese passport in 5 years.

  • How long does it take to get a retirement visa for Portugal?

    Up to 6 months if you apply for a Portugal D7 visa. The visa is valid for 4 months. You must submit documents to the Agency for Integration, Migrations and Asylum of Portugal to get a residence permit card.

    The Portugal Golden Visa processing time is 8- to 10 months.

  • Does Portugal levy taxes for expat retirement income?

    Yes, but retirees can apply for an NHR — a Non-Habitual Resident, a status that offers expats a reduced tax rate and completely or significantly avoids double taxation.

  • What are the benefits of retiring in Portugal?

    Portugal is one of the top five countries to live in. So, in 2022, it took 4th place in the Global Peace Index. This indicates a high standard of living and security in the state.

    Foreigners who receive the status of a residence permit can also receive a tax holiday for 10 years.

    The mild, warm climate allows for gardening and water sports all year round. Ecological cleanliness, natural diversity and developed infrastructure make it possible to relax interestingly and with health benefits.

    Portugal is a great place to live and a reliable backup plan in the resort part of the European Union.

  • Is it easy to retire in Portugal?

    Yes, the locals are friendly and welcoming to foreigners. Portugal ranked among the top 5 countries for expats: 84% of those who moved to the country were satisfied with their lives. For comparison, the global average satisfaction rate is 75%.

  • Is Portugal a good place to retire?

    Portugal is ranked among the top retirement destinations worldwide. Retirees from all over the world choose Portugal as their destination because of its low cost of living and tax breaks. The NHR regime, a first-rate healthcare system, and an overall excellent level of living are available to retirees.

  • Can an American citizen retire in Portugal?

    Yes. The most well-liked retirement destination is the Algarve region in southern Portugal, where many retirees from the US have already made their home.