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How to Move to Portugal from USA

How to Move to Portugal from USA

🇵🇹 Portugal is calling for you...

How can a lawyer help me move to Portugal from the US?

Moving to Portugal from the US can be an exciting the complex process. That’s why having a knowledgeable lawyer by your side can be immensely helpful. 

Here are some ways in which our experienced team of immigration lawyers can assist you with your move:

Our lawyers can provide you with valuable legal advice regarding Portugal’s immigration laws and requirements. We’ll guide you through the different visa options available, explain the eligibility criteria, and help you understand the application process.

Let us take the stress out of your visa application. Our lawyers will ensure that all the necessary documents are properly organized and submitted accurately and on time, making your move to Portugal smoother.

If you’re considering buying property in Portugal, we’ll be there to support you throughout the process. Our team will ensure that all legal requirements are met and that your rights as a buyer are protected.

 If your plans involve starting a business in Portugal, our lawyers can assist you with all the legal and administrative aspects of setting up your venture. We’ll make sure you’re well-informed and compliant with the relevant regulations.

Navigating a new country’s taxation system can be daunting. However, our lawyers will provide you with expert advice on Portugal’s tax laws and help you stay on top of your tax obligations.

If you’re excited about the prospect of living in Portugal and want to explore your options further, we encourage you to get in touch with our team of friendly and professional immigration lawyers. We are here to provide you with the guidance and support you need to make your dream of living in Portugal a reality. Don’t hesitate to contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards your exciting journey ahead.

¨We will be with you each step of the journey.¨


Moving to Portugal from US offers Americans a vibrant European lifestyle with rich history, captivating landscapes, and a relaxed way of living. 

Portugal offers an excellent quality of life with its warm and welcoming atmosphere, friendly locals, and lower cost of living than many other European nations. It’s no surprise that Portugal ranks high on the list of top destinations for Americans looking to immigrate to Europe.

Here’s what US ex-pats can enjoy when living in Portugal:

  • Strong quality of life 
  • High level of safety
  • Attractive tax advantages 
  • Many investment opportunities
  • Great food and stunning scenery

How US citizens can move to Portugal

Embark on a joyous life in Portugal with this step-by-step guide!


Choose the visa or Portuguese residence permit that suits you best.


Working with a lawyer is critical to learn about visa requirements and whether your situation qualifies.


You can either apply for a visa in Portugal or file your application from your home country if you are visiting.


Be sure to gather all the necessary paperwork and send them to the appropriate Portuguese embassy or consulate.


Then, travel to Portugal once you have your visa.

You must obtain an employment visa before beginning work in Portugal unless you are an EU citizen. Remember that working in Portugal is different from working in the US, so you must obtain a work visa before starting work.


Individuals seeking to live in Portugal permanently may wish to consider the Entrepreneur and Investor Visa. This option is more costly but could lead to greater rewards.


You may apply for a non-lucrative visa to move to Portugal if you have enough passive income to support yourself while you live here.


Studying in Portugal is possible for US citizens with a student visa, who may remain in the country after their studies are complete to seek employment.


One of the best things about moving to Portugal from US is that you can still keep your American nationality as Portugal recognises dual citizenship.

  1. Step 1 – Understand Your Situation.
    1. There are various residence permits in Portugal, each with its own procedure. For example, you must follow a different system to get a non-lucrative visa than one to get a work permit. So, first, you need to determine which visa is best for you.
    2. Even though Americans are not EU citizens, we can still help you and ensure the process is simple. 
    3. Our lawyers can assist you in deciding whether a Portuguese resident visa is exactly what you require. In addition, we can assist you with Immigration officials, because we speak Portuguese.
  2. Step 2 – The immigration procedure
    1. You typically begin the process in your home country unless you are applying for an entrepreneur visa or a highly skilled professional visa.
    2. You must apply to the Portuguese Embassy or Consulate in your home country or the location where you are a legal resident before travelling to Portugal to obtain a Portuguese visa.
    3. After your application has been processed, the Embassy or Consulate will give you a visa so that you may enter Portugal and stay there.
    4. Make sure to travel within 90 days after the visa was issued.
    5. Once you have received your NIF number, you must apply for a residence permit. A residency card is essentially what you receive. 
    6. You may live in the country for two years with this residence permit, which can be renewed for a period of three years, as long as you still meet the exact requirements.
    7. You may apply for permanent residency after living in Portugal for at least 5 years.
  3. Step 3 – Working in Portugal
  4. If you are an ex-pat, you must have a work visa to work in Portugal.
    1. Those seeking to reside in Portugal who are unable to meet the stringent requirements for other types of visas may find the work visa a suitable replacement.
      1. Most applications must be made from outside of Portugal.
      2. You must have a Portuguese job offer and a work contract to get a work permit.
      3. You can only work in positions where the government has identified a need.
    2. We’ve helped hundreds of clients secure their EU blue card, so don’t delay and speak with Lexidy today. 
  5. Step 4 – Moving to Portugal but not working.
    1. You can live in Portugal as a US citizen without working on a non-lucrative visa. Having enough money to sustain yourself there, however, would be ideal. 
    2. With this visa, you can use your private or public pension to support yourself while living in Portugal.
  6. Step 5 – Getting a NIF
    1. Anyone who lives in Portugal has to obtain a tax identification number NIF especially if they run official/legal fiscal activities 
    2. In Portugal, a NIF number is required to open a bank account, purchase a property, pay taxes and most other fiscal activities.
  7. Step 6 – The paperwork
    1. You must have the following documents for each residence permit in Portugal.
      1. A clean criminal record in Portugal and your home country
      2. Proof that you can financially support yourself if you are applying for a student visa or non-lucrative visa
      3. Full public healthcare coverage
      4. A passport and two photo IDs
    2. More complex visa applications require more paperwork. For instance, the Golden Visa in Portugal requires proof that the applicant has purchased a Portuguese asset. In addition, the entrepreneurship visa requires the applicant to develop a business plan.
  8. Step 7 – Translate the documents
    1. All documents must be translated into Portuguese and certified with a Hague Apostille. These documents are rejected if presented in the client’s native language, so everything must be translated into Portuguese.
  9. Step 8 – Move with your family.
    1. An extended family may apply for a residence and work permit if the principal applicant has resided in the country for more than one year.
    2. Portugal counts the below as family:
      1. Your parents
      2. Spouse or unmarried partner
      3. Your spouse’s parents
      4. Your children
    3. Your family reunification residence permit application cannot be processed until your relative is out of the country.

If you’re interested in acquiring a long-stay visa in Portugal for purposes of employment, self-employment, studies, or retirement, you will have to submit a specific visa application to do this. The main visa options available to you as a US citizen are:


Retirement Visa (D7 Visa)

The Retirement Visa, also known as the D7 visa, allows US citizens to live in Portugal if their wealth can support their lifestyle. It is possible to both work in Portugal while also relying on their passive income (dividends, pension, interest or rental income). It is important to demonstrate that you have sufficient economic means to support yourself and any family you plan to bring. The best way to do this is by having a pension. 


Once you arrive in Portugal, you can then apply for a Residence Permit. This permit has a two-year validity period and can be renewed continuously for three-year periods.  After living in Portugal for five years, you can apply for permanent residency. This is the first step toward obtaining Portuguese citizenship and you can do this with your family.

Digital Nomad Visa

The Digital Nomad Visa, allows US citizens to live in Portugal if their income from remote work can support their lifestyle. Unlike the D7 Visa where you must rely on passive income, with the Digital Nomad Visa you must rely on your salary from freelance work or remote employment. 


Once you arrive in Portugal, you can then apply for a Residence Permit. This permit has a two-year validity period and can be renewed continuously for three-year periods.  After living in Portugal for five years, you can apply for permanent residency. This is the first step toward obtaining Portuguese citizenship and you can do this with your family.


Unlike other visa applications in Portuguese, you don’t need to buy a property or make an investment.


The Investor Visa (Portuguese Golden Visa)

US citizens may participate in the Golden Visa Program to become permanent residents of Portugal. This visa comes with the most benefits and flexibility of all the visas, while also having the most simple application process. With this visa, you and your loved ones can begin work immediately in Portugal.


However, this visa requires a significant investment in Portuguese real estate. This involves a €500,000 investment for most applicants but can be reduced if you purchase a property in a low-density area or a designated rehabilitation zone. 

Our lawyers can help you if you want to immigrate to Portugal. Americans can also start and operate their businesses using this program.


We are a department formed by qualified legal experts who have been trained in the field of immigration law. We work on these residency permit requests every day. It’s our passion. Our work goes beyond having a general interest.


For us, Lexidy is a way of life and what excites us the most is to be able to deliver the happiness and satisfaction of a successful immigration process. We want to help you achieve your goals and dreams, whether it’s residence in Portugal or simply an investment.

Laura Fuste

Laura Fusté

Head of Immigration Europe
David Planes

David Planes

Cristina Negro Vizoso

Cristina Negro Vizoso

Mónica Isern López

Mónica Isern López

Lawyer, Head of Immigration Spain
Gabriela Baly

Gabriela Baly

Francesca Coluccio

Francesca Coluccio

Legal Advisor

Sandra Faura

Carolina Gimeno

Carolina Gimeno



Trainee Lawyer
Eugenia Yanes

Eugenia Yanes

Legal Trainee
María Laura Arreaza

Maria Laura Arreaza

Immigration Administrative
Manuel Lorenzo

Manuel Lorenzo


See what our customers have to say about our services

We get to know about Spanish Golden Visa by property investment through web searches but as a foreigners we have limited knowledge about Golden Visa application compliance and property sales and purchase governing rules and regulations.There are many websites out there listing out how Golden Visa legal system or property ownership in Spain works but we know it is even beyond language bearer that we need an experience, responsive and dedicated specialist to do the job.We come across Lexidy Law, which specialized in assisting foreigners in Golden Visa application and in our case through the property purchases (there are few types of ways for qualifying on Spanish Golden Visa application).Because of the straightforward services price structure of Lexidy and easy to understand explanations of the home-purchasing process, we felt confident after meeting with Mr.Alejandro who is the first person we met of the application process.During our property purchase, the sale of the house has come to a halt and become a complex and problematic deal as a result of sellers’ family dispute on the sales proceed distribution. The argument lasted for two months, pushing back the completion deadline.The Lexidy real estate team has done an excellent job, in particular with the lead by Señor Juan Diego.Juan is highly knowledgeable, competent and down to earth practical lawyer in this field; his previously work experience in real property gives us good spectrum of views and advices with alternative or solutions and he shows his capability in ranking them logically so we do the decision to choose the best fit for ourselves.He promptly provides updates on every development and highlights complication or consequences from both the seller and buyer perspective (nearly every day). His effective and fluent communication skills in written and spoken English saved thousand words for non Spanish language speakers like us; He maintain his client's best interests in mind yet remain independent in giving his advices.Lexidy's real estate team has spent a considerable amount of time and resources helping us have a successful closure to this property purchase.Yes, we are now proud house owners, and Lexidy didn't charge us extra for the additional work and efforts on the process hiccup. We are impressed and thankful with the professionalism.Thankful Lexidy, it would be impossible for us to have a flawless closure and a successful property transaction which now lead us to the final path of Spanish Golden Visa process which handle by Ms.Laura and her team.It is truly a blessing and we sincerely hope that our review might also benefit you in finding a correct choice of Spanish Golden Visa application service provider.
Yaw Kevin
Yaw Kevin
02:00 27 Sep 23
A great law firm that covers anything an expat might need. I needed help with real estate initially, and they also helped me with immigration, taxes, and corporate legal matters. Fantastic people to work with. Alejandro from their real estate and immigration department is my main contact and he is an absolute pleasure to work with. Highly recommended!
Jonathan Elron
Jonathan Elron
07:37 13 Aug 23
Alejandro was helping me navigate the process of nueva obra construction to gain Spanish golden visa. He proved to be very knowledgeable and we had a great phone call where I learned more in 20 minutes than I would have from months of internet research. Unfortunately the property I was looking at ended up not being suitable, which was discovered thanks to his due-diligence, so I was not able to go through the entire process, so I can't provide a review of the full legal process. But I'll be engaging with Lexidy again if I find a suitable property for me in the future!
10:47 24 Mar 23
Comment from Radostin and Kaloyan Bulgaria:We could recommend working with Lexidy and especially with Juan Diego Muñoz to everyone. Our assessment is defenitely 10 out of 10!Strict professional who cover full end-to-end journey in buying real estate and successful relocation to Spain in our case. We highly appreciate efficient and effective approach and providing us and supporting us in each step of the journey in buying property in Spain. Without support of Juan Diego we would be lost, he provides us with daily support in most critical days before finalization of the deal and also there was not even a single question to which he could not provide us details in most structured way.Thank you Juan Diego Muñoz, thank you Lexidy we will be happy working together in the future.We wish you lots of success in your innovative and trustful approach in supporting your customers in a holistic way.Radostin and Kaloyan
Radostin Denev
Radostin Denev
09:47 27 Oct 22
I worked with Juan Diego de Muñoz for my real estate lawyer. His help was invaluable to me! He worked with the sellers and real estate agents who were reluctant to engage in the due diligence process for the property I bought. He smoothed that over and helped me obtain a thorough check of my flat and the building it’s in, which yielded important information. Juan Diego made sure my every question and concern were addressed the same day that I raised them. Metaphorically, he held my hand through the whole process, but also made sure I was the one making informed decisions. I highly recommend him and Lexidy Law Boutique!
Linda Sparling
Linda Sparling
15:32 04 Oct 22
We are working with Lexidy for our immigration and real estate needs. Our real estate lawyer, Juan Diego Muñoz, has been amazing to work with throughout the entire process. His diligent communication during the real estate purchase has not only kept us informed every step of the way, but helped us to understand the differences and intricacies of purchasing property in Spain. We can't say enough great things about Juan Diego and the team at Lexidy.
Rick Estrada-Stone
Rick Estrada-Stone
15:05 16 Jul 22
I am looking to to buy my first property in Spain and had my intro call with Alejandro today- very pleased with the valuable insights gained and your guidance on the legal aspects of the Spanish property market, sales cycle, mortgage application process and risk mitigation. Alejandro, thank you so much for your advice and invested time, I'm genuinely looking forward to working together on this exciting project:)
12:34 04 Jul 22
Yet another amazing experience with Lexidy. My boyfriend and I are going to start the pareja de hecho process together in Madrid. Cristina has been so knowledgable and helpful in answering my questions about the process, and has even taken the time to investigate more complex questions that I had about different approaches to this process. She has also been extremely responsive via email, which has been much appreciated. Feeling very reassured that I am in great hands with her, and with Lexidy.
Casey Maher
Casey Maher
17:44 18 Aug 21
Lexidy have been a godsend. As a British freelancer in Spain, I felt uncertain about the wealth of complicated paperwork, especially as my Spanish still needs improvement. Lexidy have been helpful with setting up my status as a freelance, organising my tax information, as well as guiding me on immigration issues due to Brexit. The team has been brilliant, if I ever have an issue or need know something, they will be patient and responsive (very quick) with accurate and useful information. For the services and professionalism they offer, it is very well valued. I plan on using Lexidy for all my legal needs. Highly recommended.
Sam Dale
Sam Dale
11:16 29 Jan 21
I couldn’t be happier with my experience with Lexidy and their excellent attorneys. After months of trying unsuccessfully to navigate the maze of Spanish bureaucracy, I finally got the help I needed. Max Agazzi Paulet and his team were extremely professional and knowledgeable and were able to quickly give me the information I needed to successfully move forward with my application. Without hesitation, I would recommend Lexidy to anyone dealing with Spanish immigration law and/or real estate issues.
Daniel Zuckerman
Daniel Zuckerman
15:04 10 Nov 20
I have had the pleasure to work with a lot of Lexidy's departments. Working with Max Aggazi Paulet to achieve everything needed for my residency was incredible. he help endlessly until everything was accomplished. Soon after i began working with their Real estate department. It has been a journey and they have stuck with me every step of the way. They have gone beyond the scope of their duties to help my dreams of purchasing a property in Spain come to fruition. I would like to thank Alejandro Cano and Jordi Aranda for for everything. Last but not least through the entire Process I have had the absolute pleasure to work with Camila Broderson. She is a Gem. She has guided me in every step to work on opening my LLC in Spain and has also gone beyond the scope of her duties to assist and be available at any time. I plan to continue to work with team at Lexidy and would highly recommend them to everyone. Thank you Lexidy team for everything that you have done so far! I look forward to continuing our partnerships and friendships!
Michael Sandoval
Michael Sandoval
16:44 19 Oct 20

Frequently Asked Questions

Many Americans moving from Portugal from US opt for living in bigger cities like Porto and Lisbon. However, some prefer the slower pace of life in the Algarve. Smaller cities like Coimbra and Braga are also popular destinations for American ex-pats.

People wishing to retire in Portugal may do so with the appropriate visa. The Portugal retirement visa, also known as the D7 Visa, is the one they may apply for.

The cost of living in Portugal, including expenses for housing, food, transportation, healthcare, and other essentials, tends to be more affordable compared to many parts of the US.

Living outside of major cities has a much lower cost of living, but there is limited public transportation.

Furthermore, utilities like energy bills are much more affordable.

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