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A great choice

Living in Portugal

As a country in the European Union, Portugal has all the advantages of a European country with one of the best quality of life in the world.

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Portugal

A paradise by the sea

Portugal is a sovereign country, located in the southwest of the European continent, whose territory is located in the western part of the Iberian Peninsula and in archipelagos in the North Atlantic, the autonomous regions of Madeira and the Azores. Portugal is the westernmost nation on the European continent.

The Portuguese territory has a total area of approximately 92,000 km², being delimited to the north and east by Spain and to the south and west by the Atlantic Ocean.

Portugal has a Mediterranean climate, it is one of the mildest European countries, with the average annual temperature in mainland Portugal varying between 13°C in the mountainous northern interior and 18°C in the south.

Portugal in 2021 officially had a population of 10,343,066 inhabitants, of which 9,644,530 were Portuguese nationals and 698,536 were foreigners.

The Portuguese Constitution guarantees religious freedom and equality between religions, the majority of Portuguese people (80.2% of the total population) subscribe to a Catholic tradition, although religious freedom is pacified.

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Why invest in Portugal?

Why would it make sense to invest in Portugal?

The cities

The city of Lisbon, with more than half a million inhabitants and close to 3 million inhabitants in its metropolitan area, is the capital and the largest city and largest urban area in the country, the main economic hub, holding the main sea port and airport and is the richest city in Portugal with a GDP per capita higher than the European Union average.

Other important cities are Porto, (around 240,000 inhabitants – 1.7 million in the metropolitan area) the second largest city and economic center, Aveiro (sometimes called the “Portuguese Venice”), Braga (“City of Archbishops” ), Chaves (historical and ancient city), Coimbra (with the oldest university in the country), Guimarães (“Birth City”), Évora (“Museum City”), Setúbal (third largest port), Portimão (3. º cruise port).

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Foreign Policy

In Portugal, the fundamental law is the Constitution, dated 1976, all other laws must respect it. A semi-presidential system is in force in the country, according to the constitutional framework established in 1976, the President of the Republic is the head of State and is elected by universal suffrage, for a five-year term.

Portugal’s foreign policy is linked to its historical role as a prominent figure in the Age of Discovery and holder of the extinct Portuguese Empire. Portugal is a founding member of NATO (1949), OECD (1961) and EFTA (1960); leaving the latter in 1986 to join the European Union (EU), Founder of the first International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), on June 25, 1992, it became a Member State of the Schengen Area, and, in 1996, co-founded the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP).

Quality of living

Tourism continues to be an extremely important economic sector for Portugal. In 2019, Portugal reached 12th place for the first time in the global competitiveness ranking, which attracted more tourists, with seven million overnight stays in the city’s hotels, ranking 1st worldwide in the tourist infrastructure component (which assesses the quality of the tourist offer), increasing its position in relation to countries such as Austria, Spain and the United States of America.

In 2022 it will be back close to this pre-pandemic record, ranking 13th in the ranking, with the number of visitors expected to increase significantly in the coming years.

In May 2014, the travel portal of the North American newspaper USA Today chose the country as the best in Europe to spend holidays.

The main tourist attractions in Portugal are Lisbon, Algarve and Madeira, but the Portuguese government continues to promote and develop new tourist destinations, such as the Douro valley, the island of Porto Santo and Alentejo. In 2005, Lisbon was the second European city, just behind Barcelona.

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In a list of 59 countries from around the world, Portugal was considered one of the destinations with the best quality for living and working, occupying fifth place in the table. And it is even considered “home to some of the happiest expatriates in the world”, reveals the Expat Insider 2021 survey developed by InterNations, which involved the participation of 12,420 expatriates. Furthermore, looking at the classification of the other countries in the table, it becomes clear that Portugal is the only European destination to be in the ‘top 10’ of the general classification. You need to go down to fifteenth place to get to know the second highest ranked country in Europe by those who decided to live outside their country – Czechia. Next comes Spain, in sixteenth place.

Safety

Portugal ranks seventh among the safest countries in the world and is also the fourth safest country in the European Union, reveals the Global Peace Index 2023 report, released this Wednesday. Iceland is followed by Denmark, Ireland and New Zealand, on a list of 163 countries.

In the report by the Institute for Economics & Peace, in which Portugal comes in 4th place among 163 states and independent territories, Portugal recorded, in 2020, the lowest crime indicators since the current registration model existed, more than 30 years ago. years.

The food!

The cuisine is very rich in variety and popular with nationals and foreigners in general. Each area of the country has its typical dishes, including the most diverse foods, including beef, lamb, pork and poultry, various sausages, different species of fresh fish (sardines and horse mackerel) and seafood. Cod is one of the most consumed fish, and there are many dishes based on this fish. Among the cheeses, those from Serra da Estrela, Azeitão and São Jorge, among many others, stand out. Portugal is a heavily wine-producing country, with famous wines from Douro, Alentejo and Dão, green wines from Minho, and liqueur wines from Porto and Madeira.

Healthcare

In Portugal, the life expectancy of its inhabitants is 81.9 years, one of the longest in the world. It also has one of the best healthcare systems in the world, with Portugal being one of the few countries whose healthcare system did not collapse during the COVID-19 pandemic.

From June 2022, Portuguese people and residents only need to pay a certain amount when they are treated in emergency rooms in Portugal, between €14 and €18 (and in some cases, it is possible to get exemption from these fees as well). Exams and procedures ordered by the family doctor also have no cost and the cost of medicines prescribed by the SNS (National Health System) doctor is well below the market. This is because the government has a reimbursement system, in which it bears part of the cost of the medicine and the rest is paid by the user, which is why it is common for the price of the medicine to cost less than €5 with a doctor’s prescription.

Portuguese food
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Healthcare in Portugal is of high quality and free for most consultations and procedures.

Cost of living

The minimum wage in Portugal is €760 in 2023, and will rise to €820,00 in 2024. The amount is below what is necessary to live in the country, so for a couple where each earns the minimum it may be difficult to cover all the expenses. But if everyone earns the equivalent of the average salary in Portugal, which was €1,353 in 2022 (there is no data for 2023 yet), it is possible to have a very peaceful life in the country.

Compared to other European countries, the cost of living in Portugal is not high, on the contrary, it is the lowest among Western European countries.

However, the cost of living in Portugal will depend especially on the city in which you live. This is because one of the aspects that most affects the expenses of those who live in the country is the value of the houses. In the largest cities, this value is well above the country’s average, making life much more expensive.

Convinced yet?

Portugal is great!

Living in Portugal means having:

A very pleasant climate

Security

Affordable cost of living

Friendly people

Paradisiac places

Delicious food

Sympacom can help

How to live in Portugal?

For all these reasons, Forbes classified Portugal as one of the best countries to live in after the COVID-19 crisis and Citizens from all over the world are increasingly interested in living in Portugal and enjoying the Portuguese lifestyle. But to live in this country for a longer period, you will need a residence permit. And to get one of these you will have to obtain one of the many visas for Portugal.

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Visa

There are many types of visas in Portugal, such as:

• the Schengen Visa (for short stays of up to 90 days in Portugal and can be granted for the purposes of tourism, family visits, business, seasonal work, transit, etc.);

• the Temporary Stay Visa (intended for those who plan to stay in Portugal for a period of up to one year);

• the Residence Visa (intended for those who plan to stay in Portugal for more than one year).

There are, therefore, many reasons to encourage the decision to live in Portugal. And citizens from all over the world are increasingly interested in living in Portugal and enjoying the Portuguese lifestyle.

To enter Portugal for the purpose of residence, it is necessary to have a passport valid for at least three months longer than the duration of the stay, to have a valid visa suitable for the purpose of the stay, to have sufficient means of subsistence for the period of stay and not have any legal impediment to entering Portugal. There are different types of visas to enter and stay in Portugal. Visas can be: Temporary entry visa, Visa to obtain a residence permit and Schengen Visa.

The visa to obtain a residence permit is valid for two entries and for four months, during which time the holder must apply to the Foreigners and Borders Service for a permit to establish residence.

The temporary stay visa is intended to allow entry for stays in Portugal for a period of less than one year. This is valid for the duration of the stay and for multiple entries into national territory.

There is also the work search visa entitles its holder to enter and remain in national territory for the purpose of looking for work, authorizing him to carry out dependent work activities, until the visa expires or until the residence permit is granted.

The deadline for a decision on the residence visa application is 60 days.
One of the most requested Visas in the last year for those who choose Portugal to live are the D7, that is a residence for people that have there one income (as a retired person, pensioner, or anyone with a recognized stable income, such as property rent or interest on investments).

Then we have, in the last year many requests for the Nomada Digital Visa, that is a residence visa to carry out professional activities provided remotely outside the national territory / Digital Nomad.

For either one of the residence visas there 2 steps: first you need to star the request at the Portuguese Consul or Ambassy on the country where you actually live. Then after the visa form the consul is given on your passport you will have 4 months to enter in Portugal and concluded the residence visa here. Depending on the visa there is a several number of documents you need to get and present, either in the consul and at the SEF – AIMA in Portugal. Take not that since 29 October the entity that we call SEF – AIMA no longer exists, but other came to replace the functions of SEF – AIMA (but for now we will keep on written SEF – AIMA.

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To begin the Residence process, foreigner need to start with:

1º – getting NIF number (we can do it on-line), for this you will need a fiscal representative, until you have the residence visa, and we also be the representative.

2º – opening a Portuguese bank account, we can assist with Millenium BCP, the prefer bank for foreigner because of the assistance at a distance and facilities, and we can do it at a distance.

3º – rental contract or purchase of a house to live once you enter in Portugal and better getting the SEF- AIMA appointment to end the residence process, and we can also assist with this at a distance, even with the Deed of purchase that can be done by us (lawyers).

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Buying property

Buying or renting a house in Portugal is something that can be done quite safely.

The home buying process is divided into the phase of searching for the ideal home followed by the entire acquisition procedure, from the proposal, analysis of documentation, inspection of the property, signing of a promissory contract and payment of a deposit, ending with the completion of the purchase and sale deed and property registration.

At this stage, it is highly advisable to consult a lawyer who will monitor the entire procedure. There are several documents necessary to carry out the purchase and sale deed, without which the act cannot take place. The moment when the purchase and sale deed is carried out is also the moment of payment of taxes due for the acquisition of the property (IMT and IS) and also the moment of payment of the price, deducting the amount already delivered in advance as a deposit normally equivalent to 10% of the price. The price is paid by bank check, hence the need to have a bank account in Portugal.

In Portugal, purchase and sale deeds can be made by notaries, solicitors and/lawyers, all with the same value.

The cost of property registration is not large, around €250.00. The highest being the costs of the 2 taxes obligatorily paid at the time of the purchase and sale deed, they are IMT and IS, which depend directly on the acquisition price. After the purchase, a tax on the property will be paid annually again, this is the IMI, which is considerably lower.

This entire procedure is quite safe, however it must be accompanied by specialists. After acceptance of the purchase proposal by the seller, it is a very quick procedure, and can even be carried out immediately if there are no problems with the documentation, there is no use of bank financing by the buyer and the buyer has immediate financial availability.

If the purchase of a property is made using bank financing, the entire procedure is delayed, as the bank has assessed the property and subsequently approved the bank credit. In this case, it is always advisable to draw up a promissory purchase and sale contract to predict whether or not the credit will be approved, thus avoiding defaults and costs.

Likewise, the procedure for renting a house is relatively safe, although it is more permissive to problems, given the urban leasing legislation that establishes minimum duration periods, renewal deadlines, deadlines for opposition to renewal, and other rules that can greatly condition the validity of the lease contract, always recommending the use of assistance from a lawyer.

After being a resident in Portugal there are some other aspects that need to be done, such as: Driver’s License, Public Health System, Living Will, Portuguese Will, Service Contracts (water, electricity, gas, net).

Driver License

Since August 1, 2022, people with driving licenses from Member States of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) do not need to exchange them for a Portuguese license. Countries covered by this regime include Angola, Australia, Brazil, Cape Verde, Canada, Chile, United States of America, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Mozambique, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Republic of Korea, São Tomé and Príncipe, Switzerland and Turkey. Even if you have a residence permit in Portugal, you do not need to exchange your license for a Portuguese license if you meet a set of conditions. However, this authorization only applies to driving in Portuguese territory, as you are not exchanging a foreign license for a Portuguese license, which allows you to drive in European Union countries.

Regardless of the origin of your driving license, if you want to exchange it for a Portuguese license, you must meet some requirements and present some documents. After delivering the original letter, it will be returned by the Portuguese authorities to the issuing country. When returning to your country of origin, you can ask for your driving license back, handing over your Portuguese driving license.

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Health

Portugal has a good public health system. The cost of accessing the public health system is not expensive and is accessible to everyone. In general terms, the service is very good, but there are differences between the interior and big cities. It is common for hospitals and health centers in large cities to offer faster care and treatment, but it is not a rule, it depends on the city.

Private healthcare in Portugal is also excellent. We can choose between having health insurance or a health plan (there is a difference between the two). In any case, they work with co-participation, that is, the client pays a monthly amount to the insurance company and when they need a medical consultation, they only pay a percentage of the consultation fee and the insurance company pays the rest, the majority.

Living Will

In Portugal the Living Will, also known as an advance directive (ADV), is a document in which a person expresses in advance their conscious and informed wishes regarding the health care they wish to receive or not, if they are not able to express their personal and autonomously. A Living Will allow you to name one or more health care proxies and is an important way to ensure that your preferences are respected in clinical situations where you cannot express your decision. This is a procedure that residents have access.

It is important that a foreigner residing permanently in Portugal reflects on the issue of his succession in order to decide during his lifetime whether he wants his succession to be governed by Portuguese law, where all the rules of succession of Portuguese civil law will be complied with, or if you prefer that the law of your nationality be applied, in which case you must grant a will and expressly state that you designate the law of nationality as the law applicable to your succession, to this end and considering what this may actually entail, you must in time inform yourself about the legal consequences of one or another decision

Service Contracts

Hiring water, electricity, gas, and internet services in Portugal is not difficult but requires a set of information and requirements. Furthermore, it is necessary to understand supply contracts and the rules for their application, termination, or amendment. They can be done in person, remotely or through a power of attorney.

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