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Americans Moving to Portugal: What you Should Know

Moving to Portugal from the USA: A Step-by-Step Guide

Americans are moving to Portugal, be sure to read this article on the benefits of living in Portugal and how you can get your golden visa.

According to the US State Department, about 10 million Americans left the country temporarily or permanently in 2020. That’s more than twice the number of people who moved overseas two years ago. 

Americans moving to Portugal overview:

Life in Portugal

The idea of moving to Portugal may seem daunting to you. And you probably are thinking, what’s life like in Portugal anyways?

The minute you set foot in Portugal, you can see why it’s so popular among expats.

Who doesn’t love the mild climate, wide beaches, golf courses, and natural beauty throughout the country? Its cities and towns look like fairytale-like villages, timeless cities with rich history and culture.

And, of course, the genuinely friendly spirit of the Portuguese makes it such a natural choice for anyone moving to Portugal.

Americans moving to Portugal have many advantages: a warm climate, stunning landscapes, the ocean on your doorstep, and a relatively low cost of living.

The country has a low crime rate, good education and healthcare, and there are significant tax advantages for residents.

Although the Portuguese generally speak good English, it is worth knowing some basics if you are committed to spending more time in the country.

How to move to Portugal From the USA

You should know certain things about living in Portugal as an American. To stay and live in the country, you’ll need to have a Portuguese resident permit.

This can be obtained if you work in the country, enroll in a long-term course of studies, marry a Portuguese citizen or invest in Portugal’s economy via the Portugal Golden Visa Program.

We’ll give you all the information about this program, the visa process, and the
best investment option.

Alentejo Portugal Real estate

The Portugal Visa Process

You’ll need a visa to establish your residence as an American citizen. Some of the best common visa options include:


  • Golden Visa

  • D7 Visa

  • Schengen Visa (these are short-term, tourist visas required from some countries)


At Golden Port Visa, we specialize in the Portugal Golden Visa, a residency-by-investment scheme via Golden Visa open to non-EU nationals.


Introduced in 2012, the program offers different investment routes to investors including


  • Purchase residential real estate in designated interior areas of Portugal worth at least  €500,000 or €350,000. If you invest in a rehabilitation project and the project is based in a low-density area, then a 20% discount will apply to your investment.

  • Buy commercial real estate anywhere in the country worth at least €500,000 or €350,000. If you invest in a rehabilitation project is located in a low-density area, you’ll get a 20% discount.

  • Make a capital transfer of at least €1.5 million.

  • Make a contribution to scientific or technological research worth at least €500,000.

  • Support the arts or reconstruction of national heritage with a donation of at least €250,000.

  • Company incorporation and creating ten jobs, amounting to a minimum value of €500,000.

Benefits of the Portugal Golden Visa

The Portugal Golden Visa is granted based on an investment in Portugal. The residency by real estate investment has been popular with investors who wish to Buy Property in Portugal in 2022 – the program’s benefits include: 


  • The right to family reunification

  • Visa-free travel through the Schengen Area

  • Permission to live, work and study in Portugal, as long as you spend at least one week in-country during the first year and two weeks in the following years.

  • After five years, you have the right to apply for permanent residence and citizenship.

Timeline Application Process

The time it takes to process and issue new GV applications will depend on how busy the immigration offices are.


Though you could expect a backlog of between 4 to 12 months, if you plan to apply for the Portugal Golden Visa – we advise starting now.


This is the application process in an overview:

Portugal golden visa timeline

Americans moving to Portugal

How to find the right property in Portugal

Going alone can be hard, especially if you don’t speak the language and you don’t have a trusted partner in Portugal.


Relocating is not an easy DIY project to go through. At Golden Port Visa, we assist you with all the legal paperwork, looking for your ideal property, and most importantly, we help you beat the local bureaucracy. 


Learn more about the entire property-buying process in Portugal in our article, buying properties in Portugal.

Education in Portugal

Portugal’s population is well educated, and one in three Portuguese people speaks English. The number is higher among younger generations, especially those under 25, because English is widely taught in both public and private schools in Portugal.


As mentioned earlier, the GV applications might get delayed due to the high demand. We recommend planning your application since you might want to arrive in Portugal before September, when classes start in the middle of this month.

How can Golden Port Visa help you?

You’re about to embark on the most exciting journey – moving to Portugal! Golden Port Visa is here to assist you through the entire process. We are more than an immigration consultancy – we are your trusted Portuguese partner that will help you achieve your relocation goal.

We specialize in assistance with residency and property investment in Portugal. Contact us to schedule a free call or send us an email to know more about the program.

FAQ about Americans moving to Portugal

What is the Portugal Golden Visa?

 The Golden Visa Program (GV) is a residency by investment program  created by the Portuguese government in October 2012 that grants you a residence permit to live and work in Portugal and circulate freely in 26 European Countries (Schengen Area countries) and the Portuguese Passport (if after the initial 5 years of the investment, you choose to apply for citizenship) allows you to travel to 188 countries without the need for a visa.


Is healthcare in Portugal free?

Public healthcare is free for those under the age of 18 and over the age of 65. For other ages, it’s not entirely free, but it’s relatively cheap.

Is an American driver’s license valid in Portugal?

Yes, you can use a car in Portugal with your American driver’s license.

Is Portugal a safe country?

Yes, it is. Portugal is one of the safest countries in the world. It is always in the Top 10 list of the Annual Global Peace Index released by the Institute for Economics and Peace. 

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