Welcome to Lexidy LegalTech Boutique Company’s guide to Portugal’s Retirement Visa Program!
Retiring abroad is a dream for many people, and Portugal has become one of the most popular destinations for those who are seeking for a high quality of life, beautiful scenery, and a welcoming community. Portugal’s Retirement Visa Program offers an attractive option for those looking to retire in style.
This guide will provide you with an overview of the program, including its benefits, eligibility requirements, and application process. We will also discuss some of the practical considerations that come with retiring in Portugal, such as healthcare and housing.
At Lexidy LegalTech Boutique, we understand that retirement is a major life transition, and we are committed to providing our clients with the guidance and support they need to make informed decisions. Our team of experienced lawyers specialized in immigration law can help you navigate the complexities of the Portuguese retirement visa process from the beginning of the process to obtaining the desired residence permit in Portugal.
So, whether you’re already planning your retirement or just exploring your options, we hope this guide will provide you with valuable information and insights into Portugal’s Retirement Visa Program.
To be eligible for Portugal’s retirement visa program, you must meet the following requirements:
Portugal’s retirement visa program has no age requirement, as long as the applicant is over 18 years old.
Portugal’s retirement visa targets retirees and pensioners relocating to the country. As such, the program is most commonly utilized by individuals who are from 55 years of age or older and who have retired and are no longer working.
While there is no age limit for the program, applicants who are closer to retirement age may find it easier to meet the program’s income requirements and may also be more likely to have the necessary health insurance coverage in place. Retirees over 65 may qualify for extra social security benefits in Portugal.
To be eligible for Portugal’s retirement visa program, applicants must demonstrate that they have sufficient financial means to support themselves and any dependents who will be accompanying them during their stay in the country. Currently, the minimum income requirement per month is €760,00, which corresponds to the minimum national wage.
The first step to apply for this type of program after obtaining the Portuguese Tax Number (NIF) is to open a Portuguese bank account and transfer the minimum amount of €9. 120 for the main applicant, corresponding to the minimum of subsistence for one year in Portugal.
Also Portugal allows the amazing possibility of gathering the family together, being able to bring spouses, children who are still studying and depend on their parents financially, and even the parents.
In that case, the applicant needs to demonstrate the monthly income besides the 760€, 50% more for each adult family member and 30% for each minor of the above mentioned income.
Applicants can meet this requirement in a number of ways. They may have a pension or annuity income that meets or exceeds the minimum income requirement. Other income sources may meet the minimum income requirement for the retirement visa, such as investments or private pensions.
In addition to meeting the minimum income requirement, applicants must also demonstrate that they have sufficient funds to cover their living expenses for the duration of their stay in Portugal. This typically includes funds to cover housing, food, transportation, and other basic needs.
It’s important to note that the specific financial requirements for Portugal’s retirement visa program can change over time. As such, it’s important to consult with a qualified immigration lawyer or the Portuguese embassy or consulate in your home country to ensure that you meet the current requirements.
Health insurance requirements
To be eligible for Portugal’s retirement visa program, applicants must have valid health insurance coverage that is recognized in Portugal. The health insurance policy must provide coverage for all medical expenses, including emergency medical treatment, hospitalization, and repatriation in case of illness or death.
The policy should cover the entire stay in Portugal and include dependents accompanying the applicant.
Portugal’s National Health Service is accessible to foreign retirees with a residency permit. However, the SNS is not a substitute for private health insurance, and many foreign retirees choose to supplement their SNS coverage with private insurance to ensure that they have access to the highest quality medical care.
Applicants must provide proof of health insurance coverage at the time of application, and the policy must be maintained throughout the duration of the residency permit.
Criminal record check
Retirement visa applicants need to provide a criminal record check.
The criminal record check must be issued by the competent authorities in the applicant’s home country or the legal residence and must be duly legalized, i.e by an apostille for countries who sign the Hague Convention or authenticated by the Portuguese Consulate in that country and by the competent Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Criminal record checks may be required from other countries if the applicant lived there for over 12 months.
It’s important to note that to be eligible for the Retirement visa it is necessary to not have any conviction for a crime that in Portugal is sanctioned with a sentence of detention for one year or more. If an applicant has a criminal record, they should consult with a qualified immigration lawyer to determine if they are eligible for the program and to ensure that they provide all necessary documentation as part of their application.
The visa is applied for at the consulate or an authorized agency in the applicant’s country of origin/legal residence.
The application process for Portugal’s retirement visa program typically involves the following steps:
The specific documents required for Portugal’s retirement visa program can vary depending on the applicant’s country of origin/legal residence and other factors. However, in general, applicants can expect to be required to provide the following documents:
- Valid passport: Applicants must have a valid passport that is recognized by the Portuguese government.
- Proof of income: Proof of sufficient income is required for the retirement visa in Portugal. This may include pension or annuity income, investment income, or other sources of income.
- Travel insurance: Applicants must provide proof of valid travel insurance coverage that is recognized in Portugal.
- Criminal record check: Applicants must provide a criminal record check that shows they have no criminal record in their home country/legal residence or in Portugal.
- Proof of accommodation: Applicants must provide a long term proof of accommodation in Portugal, such as a rental agreement or property ownership documents.
- Application form: Applicants must complete and submit the appropriate application form for the retirement visa program.
It’s important to note that the specific documents required for Portugal’s retirement visa program can change over time. As such, it’s important to consult with a qualified immigration lawyer or the Portuguese embassy or consulate in your home country/legal residence to ensure that you provide all necessary documentation.
Portugal’s visa fees vary based on visa length and the applicant’s country of origin. As of March 2023, the fees for the retirement visa program are as follows:
- Visa fee for the first year: €90 approximately
- The external companies who can receive the applications may charge extra fee related to their services
It’s important to note that these fees are subject to change, and applicants should consult with the Portuguese embassy or consulate in their home country/legal residence to confirm the current fees and payment methods. Additionally, applicants may be required to pay other fees related to the application process, such as fees for document authentication or translation.
The processing time for Portugal’s retirement visa program can vary depending on the volume of applications being processed and other factors. In general, applicants should expect a processing time of several weeks to several months.
The exact processing time can depend on a variety of factors, including the completeness and accuracy of the application, the country of origin of the applicant, and the workload of the Portuguese embassy or consulate processing the application.
The competent Consulate has up to 60 days from the approval date of the visa to make a final decision. The visa has a validity of 120 days and is really important that the applicant arrive in Portugal within the validity of it, otherwise the applicant incur the risk of having to apply for a new visa.
Applicants can by contacting the Portuguese embassy or consulate in their home country/legal residence.
Plan ahead and apply for the retirement visa well in advance of travel to Portugal. Applicants must meet requirements and have necessary documents to avoid delays in processing.
Applying for a residence permit
After receiving their retirement visa, the second step is to apply for a residence permit once they arrive in Portugal. Foreigners staying in Portugal for over 90 days must obtain a residence permit.
Usually with the issuance of the visa, the consulate usually provides a date for the appointment at SEF, in case this does not happen it is possible to make an appointment directly with SEF. During the appointment, they will need to provide the following documents:
- Valid passport or other travel document
- Valid visa
- Proof of accommodation in Portugal, such as a rental agreement or property ownership documents
- Proof of sufficient income to support themselves and any dependents who will be accompanying them during their stay in Portugal
- Criminal record check, if not already provided during the visa application process
- Health insurance coverage that is recognized in Portugal
Applicants will also collect the biometrics during the appointment and may also need to provide additional documentation as requested by SEF.
Upon submitting the residence permit application, retirees will receive a receipt that can serve as proof of their legal status in Portugal while their application is being processed. Is important to highlight that this document is valid only inside Portugal, which means that it is not recommendable to travel without having received the title of residence. Processing times for residence permits can vary, but typically take several weeks to several months.
Retirees can renew the first residency card for three years, provided they continue to meet the eligibility requirements, after its initial validity of two years. In order to renew the residency permit, the retiree cannot leave the country for 6 months consecutives or 8 months interpolated during the validity of the residency permit.
Immigration Office (SEF) analyzes fees.
- For receiving and reviewing the application for granting a residence permit: €85,05
- For Issuing the residence permit: €73,10
Benefits of the retirement visa
The retirement visa program in Portugal offers several benefits to retirees who choose to relocate to Portugal. Some of the benefits include:
Portugal offers tax benefits to retirees who become a tax resident to Portugal through the Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) program. Portugal designed the NHR program to attract foreign investment and high net worth individuals, including retirees.
Under the NHR program, retirees who become tax residents of Portugal are eligible for a flat tax rate of 10% if it is related to their pensions or 20% on certain types of income. This can be a significant tax benefit for retirees, especially those who are coming from countries with higher tax rates.
In addition to the flat tax rate on pension income, NHR program participants can also benefit from exemptions or reduced rates on certain types of income, such as dividends, interest, and capital gains. Consulting a tax professional is recommended to understand tax implications when relocating to Portugal and using the NHR program.
Portugal offers a high-quality healthcare system that is available to all residents, including retirees who obtain a retirement visa and reside in the country. International health organizations rank the Portuguese healthcare system highly for its excellent medical care and modern facilities.
Retirees with a retirement visa are eligible to receive healthcare services through Portugal’s National Health Service (SNS), which provides comprehensive medical care including consultations, hospitalization, surgeries, and prescription medications. Retirees may also choose to purchase private health insurance, which can provide additional coverage and benefits.
To access healthcare services in Portugal, retirees will need to register with a local health center and obtain a user card, which allows them to access SNS services. Retirees must provide proof of their retirement visa and proof of health insurance coverage recognized in Portugal. Some healthcare services may require a co-payment or deductible, but these are generally low in cost.
Overall, the healthcare system in Portugal is accessible, affordable, and high quality, making it an attractive option for retirees who are seeking high-quality medical care in their retirement years.
Retirees who obtain a retirement visa in Portugal can benefit from several travel advantages. One benefit is visa-free travel in Schengen Area for 90 days within 180-day period. This means that retirees can travel freely to other Schengen countries without the need for a separate visa.
Portugal itself is also a popular travel destination, with a rich history and culture, beautiful landscapes, and vibrant cities. Retirees can explore the country’s charming villages, historic cities, and stunning coastline, and enjoy its mild climate and relaxed pace of life.
Portugal has international airports and a transportation network connecting it to Europe and the world. Portugal is an ideal base for exploring Europe and beyond with easy travel options for retirees.
Overall, the retirement visa program in Portugal offers retirees the opportunity to travel freely within Europe, as well as to explore Portugal’s own attractions and travel opportunities, making it an attractive option for those seeking adventure and exploration in their retirement years.
Cost of living in Portugal
The cost of living in Portugal is generally lower than in many other Western European countries, making it an attractive destination for retirees who are looking to stretch their retirement savings further. Here are some average costs in Portugal to give an idea of the varying living expenses.
Housing costs in Portugal can vary depending on the location and type of accommodation. Generally, he cost of housing in Portugal is generally lower than in many other Western European countries, making it an attractive option for retirees who are looking to enjoy a comfortable retirement without breaking the bank.
Here are some average costs of housing in Portugal:
- Renting: The cost of renting an apartment or house can vary depending on the location, size, and condition of the property. In Lisbon, for example, a one-bedroom apartment in the city center can cost between €800-€1,500 per month, while a three-bedroom apartment can cost between €1,500-€3,000 per month. In smaller cities and towns, rental costs can be significantly lower, with a one-bedroom apartment costing between €400-€800 per month.
- Buying: Buying property in Portugal depends on factors like location, size, and condition. In Lisbon, for example, the average cost per square meter for an apartment in the city center is around €5,500, while in smaller cities and towns, the average cost per square meter is around €1,500-€2,500. Additional expenses such as taxes and legal fees may be incurred when buying property in Portugal.
Food and transportation costs
Compared to other Western European countries, Portugal generally offers affordable food and transportation costs. Here are some average costs to give an idea:
- Food: The cost of food in Portugal can vary depending on the location and type of establishment. A mid-range restaurant in Portugal can cost €10-15 for a main course or €40-60 for a three-course meal. Groceries in Portugal are affordable, like a liter of milk for €0.60 and a loaf of bread for €1 at supermarkets.
- Transportation: Public transportation in Portugal is generally affordable, with a monthly pass for buses and trains costing around €40-60. Taxis and ride-hailing services are available at reasonable prices, with short rides costing €5-10.
Overall, food and transportation costs in Portugal are generally affordable, making it an attractive destination for retirees who are looking to stretch their retirement savings.
Entertainment and leisure costs
Portugal offers a wide range of entertainment and leisure options at reasonable prices. Here are some average costs to give an idea:
- Cultural events: Portugal has a rich cultural heritage and hosts events like concerts, theater performances, and exhibitions. Tickets to cultural events can cost around €10-20.
- Outdoor activities: Portugal’s climate and beauty make it ideal for outdoor activities like hiking, cycling, and water sports. Rental prices for equipment such as bikes and surfboards can vary depending on the location, but are generally affordable.
- Dining and nightlife: Portugal has a vibrant dining and nightlife scene, particularly in major cities such as Lisbon and Porto. A meal at an inexpensive restaurant can cost around €8-12, while a drink at a bar can cost around €3-5.
- Sightseeing: Portugal is home to many historic sites, museums, and landmarks. Admission to museums and monuments can cost around €5-10, while guided tours can cost around €20-30.
Overall, Portugal offers a variety of affordable entertainment and leisure options, making it an attractive destination for retirees who are looking to enjoy their retirement without breaking the bank.
Tips for living in Portugal
If you are planning to retire in Portugal, here are some tips to keep in mind:
Retirees should learn basic Portuguese to communicate with locals, as recommended by officials. Besides the fact that many Portuguese people speak English, especially in tourist areas, being able to speak Portuguese will make it easier to integrate into the local community, make new friends, and navigate everyday situations such as shopping, dining out, and using public transportation.
There are many language schools and courses available throughout Portugal, and retirees can also practice their language skills by attending local events and conversing with neighbors and shopkeepers. Retirees can learn Portuguese at their pace with language learning apps and online resources.
The history, geography, and traditions have shaped a rich and diverse culture in Portugal. Here are some aspects of Portuguese culture that retirees may want to explore:
- Fado music: Fado is Portugal’s unique music genre, featuring melancholic vocals and guitar. Retirees can attend fado performances at restaurants, bars, and music venues throughout the country.
- Festivals and celebrations: Portugal has a rich calendar of festivals and celebrations, ranging from religious processions to music festivals. Some of the most famous events include Carnival in Lisbon and the Festa de São João in Porto.
- Food and wine: Portuguese cuisine is known for its fresh seafood, grilled meats, and hearty stews. Retirees can try traditional food and wines while exploring local restaurants and markets in Portugal.
- Art and architecture: Portugal has a rich artistic and architectural heritage, with notable examples including the Manueline style of architecture, the azulejo ceramic tiles that decorate many buildings, and the works of artists such as José de Guimarães and Paula Rego.
- Sports and recreation: Portugal offers a range of sports and recreational activities, including golf, tennis, surfing, and hiking. Retirees can take advantage of the country’s warm climate and natural beauty to stay active and healthy.
Overall, Portugal’s culture offers retirees a rich and diverse range of experiences to explore and enjoy.
Portugal has a Mediterranean climate with mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers. The country with its sunny weather offers some regions over 300 days of sunshine per year.. The climate varies somewhat across the country, with the coastal regions generally experiencing milder temperatures than inland areas.
June to September are the warmest and driest months, with temperatures ranging from 25°C to 35°C in most areas. December to February are wetter, cooler months with temperatures around 10°C to 15°C in most areas.
Mild temperatures during spring and fall make them ideal for outdoor activities like hiking, cycling, and sightseeing. Plus the benedict that during the summer people can watch the sunset at 8, 9 pm, making sunny days longer, which is an excellent option of taking care of your duties during the day and at the end of it being able to relax on the beautiful beaches of Portugal.
Portugal’s sunny weather attracts retirees seeking relaxation and outdoor activities. However, it’s important to be mindful of the sun and take precautions such as wearing sunscreen and staying hydrated during the hot summer months.
Portugal’s retirement visa program offers benefits for retirees seeking a sunny and welcoming country. With its mild climate, rich culture, and high standard of healthcare, Portugal is an increasingly popular destination for retirees from around the world.
Retirees who qualify for the program get residency, tax and healthcare benefits. Additionally, the cost of living in Portugal is generally lower than in many other European countries, making it an attractive option for those looking to stretch their retirement savings.
Retirees in Portugal can enjoy a range of leisure and recreational activities, including exploring the country’s rich culture and history, sampling its cuisine and wine, and enjoying its natural beauty. With its friendly locals and welcoming communities, Portugal offers retirees a vibrant and fulfilling lifestyle in a beautiful setting.