Sign in to your account
Close window
Remember me?
Sign in to your account

Expat guide to living in Portugal, where to live, apply for a visa

Expat guide to living in Portugal, where to live, apply for a visa

Living in Portugal

Located at the tip of the Iberian Penninsula, Portugal has a diverse geographical landscape that’s dynamic and varied. Forests and mountains to the north to desert like terrain; beaches by the coast and urban metropolis at the center. The country’s role in history is important; it established routes that gave light to the ‘new world’ – which explains why the Portuguese language made it all the way to remote in the islands in Asia and Africa, and to one of the largest countries in South America. Take a look at some bits of info about Portugal that should help you sort your move out.

Portugal Madeira

Expat Clubs

American Club of Lisbon
An American Club in Portugal's capital, Lisbon.
Address: Rua Latino Coelho, 1, 1069-025 LISBOA
Tel: +351 21 352 93 08
Fax: +351 21 352 93 09
E-mail: office@americancluboflisbon.com
Website (Portuguese): www.americancluboflisbon.com
British Community Council Lisbon
The British Community Council of Lisbon brings together English speaking people from many walks of life to enjoy a wide variety of social, sporting and cultural events and helps support many charitable organizations.
Email: info@bcclisbon.org
Website (Portuguese): www.bcclisbon.org
International Women in Portugal (IWP)
While English is the language used by our club for its day-to-day communications and business, over 30 different nationalities are represented within the membership which now numbers around 300!
Address: Apartado 6,  2751-901 Cascais
Tel: 915 552 847 
Email: info@iwpportugal.org
Website (Portuguese): www.iwpportugal.org
Lisbonne Accueil
French-speaking expat club. Portuguese citizens welcome as well.
Tel: 967 464 136
Email: lisbonne.accueil@gmail.com
Website (Portuguese): www.lisbonneaccueil.org
The Royal British Club Lisbon
An international business and social club serving the business and social needs of its members in Portugal.
Address: Apartado 126,2766- 902 Estoril. PORTUGAL
Tel: +351 91 383 1083
Email: secretary@royalbritishclub.pt
Website (Portuguese): www.royalbritishclub.pt

International Schools 

International School of Algarve
International School of the Algarve was established in 1972 by a group of local residents led by Paul and Eva Schelfhout to provide an education for the growing Portuguese and International community in the Algarve. There are two sections: the International Section (ages 3 to 18) and the National Section (ages 6 to 18). In the International Section the early years are organised to deliver the curriculum in a fully bi-lingual way (English/Portuguese). Thereafter a modified English National Curriculum is taught. The National Section follows the Portuguese National Curriculum.
Curriculum: British
Address: Barros Brancos - Cx. Postal 80, 8401-901 Lagoa, Algarve, Portugal
Tel: + 351 282 342 547
Fax: + 351 282 353 787
Email: geral@eialgarve.com
Website (Portuguese): www.internationalschoolofthealgarve.com
Vale Verde International School
Vale Verde International School has its primary focus on academic achievement.  Whereas academic excellence stems not only from the gifts of nature, but also the experiences that nurture that individual to the best of their capabilities, VVIS firmly believes that the boundaries of knowledge are ever shifting.  Being in the wake of a technological and new media revolution, leading schools have had to embrace the fast flow of information that has helped shape a new outlook on education and broadened teaching methods.
Address: Estrada de Burgau, Senhora da Luz, Algarve Portugal, 8600-120 Luz
Tel: +351 282697205
Fax: +351 282697260
Email: Admissions@vvis.org
Website (Portuguese): vvis.org
International Christian School of Cascais
ICSC exists to make Christ-like disciples who are developing their intellectual potential, spiritual maturity, emotional well-being and physical strength, through high academic, spiritual and character standards, in order to positively impact their world for Christ. ICSC is a ministry of the International Christian Church (ICC) of Cascais , a non-denominational evangelical church which serves the extensive international community in the Cascais area which is 25 minutes from Portugal's capital.
Curriculum: Christian
Address: Avenida de Sintra, 1154, 2750-494 Cascais Portugal
Tel: +351 214 842 279
Fax: +351 214 842 279
Email: admin@icsc.pt
Website (Portuguese): www.icsc.pt
Carlucci American International School of Lisbon
CAISL is a student-centered educational community in which we challenge ourselves and each other to do our best and to make positive contributions to our diverse and ever-changing world.
Curriculum: American
Address: Rua António dos Reis 95, Linho 2710-301, Sintra, Portugal
Tel: 351-219-239-800
Fax: 351-219-239-809
Email: info@caislisbon.org
Website (Portuguese): www.caislisbon.org

St. Dominic’s International School
St. Dominic’s International School (SDIS) is a highly respected and well known international school, and is the only school in Portugal authorised to offer all three programmes of the International Baccalaureate Organisation: the Primary Years Programme (PYP), Middle Years Progamme (MYP), and the Diploma Programme (DP).
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate
Address: 2785 Cascais, Lisbon, Portugal
Tel: +351 21 444 0434, +351 21 448 0550
Fax: +351 21 444 3072
Email: school@dominics-int.org
Website (Portuguese): www.dominics-int.org
St. Julian’s School
Students from ages 3 to 15 have the opportunity of following the English National Curriculum (adapted to the school’s Portuguese location and international community) culminating in GCSE examinations, or the Portuguese National Curriculum (Ensino Básico). All older students (ages 16 to 18) follow the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme with the objective of preparing for Higher Education.
Curriculum: British, Portugese
Address: Quinta Nova, 2775-588 Carcavelos, Portugal
Tel: +351 21 458 5300
Fax: +351 21 458 5313
Website (Portuguese): www.stjulians.com
International School of Madeira
The Escola Internacional da Madeira is the only fully bilingual school on the island where the same length of time is allocated daily to teaching all subjects in both English and Portuguese.
Address: Calçada do Pico Nº 5, 9000-206 Funchal, Madeira, Portugal
Tel: 291 225 870
Email: eim@netmadeira.com
Website (Portuguese): www.madeira-international-school.com

Local News in English

The Portugal News
This is an English-language Website (Portuguese) that covers news across Portugal.
Website (Portuguese): theportugalnews.com

Country Information 

Location: Europe
Capital City: Lisbon
Other Important Cities: Faro, Porto
Currency: Euro €
Language: Portuguese
Calling Code: +351
Internet TLD: .pt
Electricity: The country runs on 220V 50Hz. Electricity is provided by several companies:
EDP Universal
Tel: 210 016 383
Fax: 210 021 403
Website (Portuguese): www.edp.pt
EDP Comercial - Mercado Livre
Tel: 808 535 353
Fax: 210 015 491
Website (Portuguese): www.edp.pt
Address: Apartado 1202 - 1007-001 Lisbon
Tel: : 800 101 030
Fax: 707 201 256
Website (Portuguese): www.endesa.pt/PT/iframe.asp
Galp Power S.A.
Address: Rua Tomás da Fonseca, Torre C, 8º piso, 1600-209 Lisbon
Tel: 808 507 500 
Fax: 210 039 182
Website (Portuguese): www.galpon.pt
Iberdrola Generación
Address: Av. da Liberdade, n.º 180 A, 7 1250-146 Lisbon
Tel: 808 50 20 50
Website (Portuguese): www.iberdrola.pt/02sicb/corporativa/iberdrola?IDPAG=PTWCOHOME
Union Fenosa Comercial, S.L.
Address: Apartado 1010 4101-001 Porto
Tel: 808 303 132
Tel: +351 220 130 120 
Fax: +351 220 130 121
Website (Portuguese): www.gasnaturalfenosa.pt/pt/1297092609765/inicio.html
Emergency Numbers:
Medical: 112
Fire: 112
Police: 112
Country Information

Embassy Information


Residents Visa and Work Permit information

Portugal is part of the Schengen agreement meaning visa free access for 90 days to EU nationals, the US and other territories awarded exemption. Other countries will have to apply for a Schengen visa in a Portuguese embassy or consulate. Here is a list of countries with respective visa regulations: www.sef.pt/portal/V10/EN/aspx/apoioCliente/detalheApoio.aspx?fromIndex=1&id_Linha=4371
Expats intending to stay in Portugal for an extended period will have to obtain a Residency permit from the Portuguese Immigration Service. There are two types of residency permits:
  • Temporary permits: valid for one year and renewable twice.
  • Permanent residence: eligibility is limited to EU nationals and other nationals whose language is primarily Portuguese. Those who are eligible also should’ve lived in Portugal for five years.

Documents required, but not limited to:
  • Application form
  • Valid passport and copy
  • Two color passport photos
  • Proof of income/finances
  • Proof of accommodation
  • Processing fee
For detailed information, please visit the immigration authority site: www.sef.pt/portal/v10/PT/aspx/page.aspx


Portugal has a broad range of choices in accommodations, from short term to long term rentals, which would suit any particular expat requirements. It is wiser to seek out real estate agencies in securing accommodations, especially for expats who do not know the Portuguese language. Lisbon has a number of residential areas. The places to go to are Alfama, Saldanha, Campolide and Benfica.

Short-term rentals are furnished units. These are mainly found in the coastal areas. Rental prices are steep, especially in the summer months. A month’s rent in advance and two months’ rent as deposit is required.

Long-term rentals are readily available in major cities. Studios, apartments, and luxury villas are plentiful. Rent is paid monthly. Contracts usually run for a year and renewable. However rates can be steep in major cities, averaging about $570 for single bedroom apartments and $1,030 per month for 3 bedroom units.

Driving License

EU Nationals may use their EU licenses so long as they’re valid to drive legally in Portugal. Some countries may use their domestic licenses for a strict period under 90 days. This has to be accompanied by an international license.
Exchanging licenses in Portugal is not straightforward. Conditions apply for example the bilateral agreements between Portugal and the issuing country. The Instituto da Mobilidade e dos Transportes Terrestres IMTT has created a web portal for expats to check if their licenses can be exchanged: www.imtt.pt/cartasconducao/cartasconducao.asp

If a license cannot be exchange,expats will have to enroll at a driving school to obtain a Portuguese license. The IMTT has a list of recognized schools across the country (Portuguese site): www.imtt.pt/sites/IMTT/Portugues/EnsinoConducao/LocalizacaoEscolasConducao/Paginas/LocalizacaoEscolasConducao.aspx


The healthcare facilities and services in Portugal are good and up to Western standards, although varying across regions. There is a public healthcare system that provides low cost to free medical care to all citizens including legal residents of the country. This is funded by the regular contributions made under the social security system called segura social. Private insurance is also advisable if expats do not qualify for the public social security. However caution should be exercised with insurance companies offering limited policies that can be terminated once the client has reached a certain age. Private health insurance can be expensive for older expats, however younger expats can expect competitive rates.

Insurance Companies
Seguranca Sociales
This is the public social security system in Portugal
Website: www4.seg-social.pt
Allianz Portugal
Allianz Portugal offers a wide range of financial and traditional insurance products throughout its agent, broker network and Bank (BPI).
Address: Rua Andrade Corvo 32, 1069-014 Lisboa, Portugal
Tel: +351.213.165541
Fax +351.213.165570
Website: www.allianz.com/en/about_us/where_we_are/regions_countries/portugal.html
Hospital da Luz
Address: Avenida Lusiada, 100, Lisboa, 1500-650, Portugal
Tel: +351 217 104 400, +351 217 104 409
Website (Portuguese): www.hospitaldaluz.pt/
HospitalCUF Descobertas
Address: Rua Mario Botas, Parque das Nacoes, Lisboa, 1998-018, Portugal
Tel: +351 2 1002 5200
Fax: +351 2 1002 5220
Website (Portuguese): www.cufdescobertas.pt
Clipovoa - Clinica do Porto
Address: Rua Beato Inacio Azevedo, 61/85, Porto, 4100-284, Portugal
Tel: +351 226 150 680
Fax: +351 226 150 690
Website (Portuguese): www.clipovoa.pt/porto/pt


Global Highlights