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



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: [email protected]

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: [email protected]

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: [email protected]

Website (Portuguese): www.iwpportugal.org


Lisbonne Accueil

French-speaking expat club. Portuguese citizens welcome as well.

Tel: 967 464 136

Email: [email protected]

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: [email protected]

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: [email protected]

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: [email protected]

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: [email protected]

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: [email protected]

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: [email protected]

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: [email protected]

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