Introduction to Portugal’s Retirement Visa Program
Retiring abroad is a dream for many people. Portugal has become a popular destination for those seeking 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. 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. We are here to guide you from the beginning of the process to obtaining the desired residence permit in Portugal.
(Updated August 2023 by Lexidy Admin)
Table of contents
- Introduction to Portugal’s Retirement Visa Program
- Portugal’s Retirement Visa Program: Eligibility requirements
- Application process for Portugal’s Retirement Visa Program
- Benefits of Portugal’s Retirement Visa Program
- Cost of living in Portugal
- Tips for living in Portugal
- Can Lexidy help me apply for Portugal’s Retirement Visa Program?
Portugal’s Retirement Visa Program: Eligibility requirements
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, if you’re applicants closer to retirement age, you may find it easier to meet the program’s income requirements. You 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.
Financial requirements for Portugal’s Retirement Visa Program
To be eligible for Portugal’s retirement visa program, you must demonstrate that you have sufficient financial means to support yourself and any dependents who will be accompanying you during your stay in the country. Currently, the minimum income requirement per month is €760,00, which is essentially the minimum national wage in Portugal.
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. This amount covers the minimum subsistence for the main applicant for a year in Portugal. It’s like setting up your financial groundwork for the adventure ahead.
Also, Portugal allows the amazing possibility of gathering the family together, so you can bring your spouse, your children who are still studying and depend on you financially, and even your parents.
In that case, you will need to demonstrate you earn a monthly income of 760€, and an additional 50% more for each adult family member and 30% for each minor.
Applicants can meet this requirement in a number of ways. You may have a pension or annual income that meets or exceeds the minimum income requirement. Other income sources may meet the minimum income requirement for the retirement visa, like investments or private pensions.
In addition to meeting the minimum income requirement, you must also demonstrate that you have sufficient funds to cover your living expenses for the duration of your 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. So, 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 for Portugal’s Retirement Visa Program
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.
To qualify, the criminal record check must be issued by the competent authorities in the applicant’s home country or the legal residence and must be legalized by the right authorities. If your country is in on the Hague convention, they need an apostille. If not, then it should be 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 you have a criminal record, you should consult with a qualified immigration lawyer to determine if you are eligible for the program and to ensure that you provide all necessary documentation as part of your application.
Application process for Portugal’s Retirement Visa Program
You can apply for the visa at the consulate or an authorized agency in your 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 your country of origin/legal residence and other factors. In general, you can expect to be required to provide the following documents:
- Valid passport: You 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: You must provide proof of valid travel insurance coverage that is recognized in Portugal.
- Criminal record check: You must provide a criminal record check that shows they have no criminal record in your home country/legal residence or in Portugal.
- Proof of accommodation: You must provide long-term proof of accommodation in Portugal, such as a rental agreement or property ownership documents.
- Application form: You 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. So, 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 your 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 fees related to their services
It’s important to note that these fees are subject to change, and you should consult with the Portuguese embassy or consulate in your home country/legal residence to confirm the current fees and payment methods. Additionally, you 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, you should expect a processing time of several weeks to several months.
The exact processing time can depend on a variety of factors. These include 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 is valid for 120 days. It is really important that you arrive in Portugal within these days, otherwise, you may have to apply for a new visa.
It’s essential that you plan ahead and apply for the retirement visa well in advance of travel to Portugal. You must meet requirements and have the necessary documents ready so you can avoid delays in processing.
Applying for Portugal’s Retirement Visa Program
After receiving your retirement visa, the second step is to apply for a residence permit once you arrive in Portugal. Foreigners staying in Portugal for over 90 days must obtain a residence permit.
Usually, once the visa is issued, the consulate 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, you 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 yourself and any dependents who will be accompanying you during your stay in Portugal
- Criminal record check, if not already provided during the visa application process
- Health insurance coverage that is recognized in Portugal
Also, during your appointment, they will collect your biometrics (fingerprints, photos etc.). You may also need to provide additional documentation as requested by SEF.
Upon submitting the residence permit application, you will receive a receipt that can serve as proof of your legal status in Portugal while your application is being processed. Remember, this document is valid only inside Portugal. It’s recommended to refrain from travelling without having received the title of residence. Processing times for residence permits can vary, but typically take several weeks to several months.
After two years, you can renew your residency card for another three years, provided you continue to meet the eligibility requirements. In order to renew the residency permit, you cannot leave the country for 6 months in a row or 8 months spread out while your residency permit is still valid.
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 Portugal’s Retirement Visa Program
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 tax residents of 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 you, especially if you are coming from a country with a higher tax rate.
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. If this is something you’re interested in, why not consult with a tax professional 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.
If you have a retirement visa, you can receive healthcare services through Portugal’s National Health Service (SNS). They provide comprehensive medical care including consultations, hospitalization, surgeries, and prescription medications. You may also choose to purchase private health insurance, which can provide additional coverage and benefits.
To access healthcare services in Portugal, you will need to register with a local health centre and obtain a user card. This will allow you to access SNS services. You must provide proof of your 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 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 a 180-day period. This means that you can travel freely to other Schengen countries without the need for a separate visa.
Portugal is also a popular travel destination, with a rich history and culture, beautiful landscapes, and vibrant cities. You 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. This magnificent country is an ideal base for exploring Europe and beyond with easy travel options.
Overall, the retirement visa program in Portugal offers you 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.
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Cost of living in Portugal
The cost of living in Portugal is generally lower than in many other Western European countries. an attractive destination for retirees 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, the cost of housing in Portugal is lower than in many other Western European countries. It is 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 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:
You should try to learn some basic Portuguese to communicate with locals. Many Portuguese people speak English, especially in tourist areas. However, 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 you can also practice your language skills by attending local events and conversing with neighbours and shopkeepers. You can learn Portuguese at your 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. You 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. You 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. You 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, or 9 pm. Sunny days are longer, which is an excellent option for 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.
Can Lexidy help me apply for Portugal’s Retirement Visa Program?
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.
If you qualify for the program you gain access to 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.
As a retiree in Portugal, you 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.Interested in applying for Portugal’s Retirement Visa Program? Our team of friendly immigration lawyers can guide you through the application process. We’re here at each step of the way to ensure your move to Portugal is seamless. Reach out and book a call through the form below.