Living in Portugal has become a real social phenomenon for the French in recent years. But not only. In fact, many foreigners come to settle there.
The latest figures from the SEF, the Foreigners and Borders Office, indicate that in 2019, there were thus 589,000 foreigners in Portugal, a population that has increased by more than 110,000 people compared to 2018!
This is the fourth consecutive year that the foreign population has increased in Portugal. The movement does not seem to be losing steam, on the contrary, the increase in the number of foreigners is accelerating.
Why move to Portugal?
There are of course the tax breaks offered by Portugal to encourage French retirees to move to Portugal, but more than that, it is the quality of life and the purchasing power that motivate many French people to take the plunge.
The climate offers more than 300 days of sunshine per year, even in winter. We are very far from the gloomy winters of France.
The geographical proximity with France and the ease of linking the two countries, whether by plane (1h30 from Paris to Porto) or by road or ferry, is an undeniable plus.
The gain in purchasing power is estimated at +20% in Lisbon and up to 35% in the interior of Portugal, which means a pleasant life with less stress in a warm environment.
And it is a safe environment, without violence. It is a calm country. Because yes, the Portuguese are really welcoming and kind, always ready to help and with a smile. The same cannot be said for other countries.
What steps to take to move to Portugal?
Living in Portugal for a French person is not so complex, we can say thank you to the European Union.
However, it is necessary to follow an administrative procedure without making mistakes or else you will have to start the process all over again.
The classic procedure is to apply for a NIF, then open a bank account that will be used to pay for a rental or to buy a house.
To do this, you must go to the City Hall with your property register or rental contract to request a “Certificado de Registo” of your new residence and then go to the Finance Department to get your address and NIF updated as a resident status.
Finally, you can then apply for the famous RNH status, the inevitable sesame to the right to stay.
What budget do you need to live well and enjoy Portugal?
To settle in the country, you will need to prove a sufficient source of income.
Retirees – whether in the public or private sector – are welcome, as are entrepreneurs, investors or employees as long as they have a work contract or a promise of employment.
It is possible to live comfortably in Portugal on a budget of 1,000 euros per month for a single person, as long as you live in the country and are content with little and with a great deal of autonomy. Living in the city and enjoying its charms requires a minimum income of 1500 euros for a single person.
Who has already left to live in Portugal?
The French Embassy counts about 20,000 registered in the registers of the consular section and estimates 35,000, with the non-registered. More than half of the active registrants are executives, professionals and entrepreneurs. The majority of them work in the sector with an overall male-female parity of 50-50.
Many entrepreneurs have also come to make their fortune in Portugal, some of them successfully. A sign that does not deceive, the very prestigious Web Summit, the European event of reference in digital and digital has settled in Lisbon.
To create a company in Portugal, 400 euros and half a day are enough. As far as labor is concerned, and with the same academic quality, the costs of a Portuguese engineer or computer developer are twice as low as in France.
In addition to these entrepreneurs and retirees by the thousands, there are many artists or sportsmen such as Eric Cantona, Philippe Starck, Madonna etc… who take advantage of a central geographical position, an advantageous tax system and an absolute tranquility to raise their children.
Where is the best place to live in Portugal?
Three main spots stand out, but the country as a whole has its own particularities depending on your interests: beach, city, countryside, golf…
The Algarve in the south of the country and its capital Faro attracts a large number of retirees for its climate, its breathtaking beaches and cheaper real estate than in the Lisbon area.
Porto The northern metropolis is characterized by a strong architectural authenticity, good rents and sublime landscapes.
Lisbon, finally, is the rapidly evolving capital city, which offers a wide range of modern leisure activities at the price of more expensive real estate and more difficult to realize.
Read more about where to live in Portugal?
The disadvantages of living in Portugal
In a professional context, it is true that punctuality is not the strong point of the Portuguese.
The administrative procedures can be worthy of the 12 labors of Asterix with meanders sometimes frankly absurd.
The success of the big cities, especially Lisbon and Porto, leads to a generalized increase in prices. Restaurants, flights, trains, streetcars… are constantly rising in response to the influx of tourists and residents with deeper pockets.
There is also the language barrier, though not insurmountable. Portuguese is a Romance language, like French, which makes it easier to understand, but it is important to master a minimum of the basics to carry out certain procedures. It is easy to read but much more difficult to understand orally. Brazilians speak by singing a little and are therefore easier to understand.
Where to find help to settle in Portugal?
There are many websites and forums for everything related to real estate, tourism or administrative procedures.
There is less information available on the specific steps to be taken.
Many consultants prefer to provide a turnkey service for a few thousand euros rather than giving all the information.
The Portuguese Real Estate and Tourism Fair held in Paris is also a great place to get quality and up-to-date information.
Finding help to settle in Portugal can also be done through the services of Casa Vergao which accompanies you from A to Z in your administrative procedures when you buy a property.
Who are the foreigners who come to settle in Portugal?
Of course, foreigners come mainly from Portuguese-speaking countries and Brazil first.
The first foreign community is thus Brazilian. It has gained nearly 50,000 people in a single year, half as many as before. One in four foreigners is thus from Brazil, compared to one in five in 2018. Portugal has always been the gateway to Europe for Brazil.
The French arrive after the English and Italians. 23,125 French settled in Portugal according to the SEF. This is not that many! But in great increase since 2014.
The tax advantages, the climate and the gentle way of life that characterize this country are no strangers to it. Still, it is necessary to carry out its expatriation in a methodical way to avoid the most common pitfalls.
Brazil = 150 919
Cape Verde = 37 110
United Kingdom = 34 358
Romania = 31 065
Ukraine = 29,706
China = 27,780
Italy = 25,408
France = 23,125
Angola = 22 592
Guinea Bissau = 18,780 Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)