Updated 3 years ago

Do you dream of retiring in Portugal? This country can offer the lifestyle you are looking for provided you fill in related formalities.

Over the past few years, Portugal has become one of the key retirement destinations worldwide. In fact, the country has much to offer, from a low tax rate to an affordable cost of living and a modern and attractive lifestyle. Being a member of the European Union, Portugal can be the land you are dreaming of if you wish to retire there. However, proper planning is recommended. You have to be aware of facilities which are readily accessible to retired foreigners, as well as procedures which have to be followed to settle there.

Asking the right questions

Unless you have already visited Portugal, you are advised to inquire on living conditions in Portugal and formalities which have to be filled in by retired foreigners. You will definitely have queries on the following:

  • planning your retirement if you already know retired foreigners in the country
  • buying or renting accommodation – planning your budget
  • obtaining an authorization of stay or a retirement visa
  • non-double taxation agreements between Portugal and your home country
  • required documents and any translations
  • social security
  • traveling with your pet
  • moving with your car
  • your driver's license, etc.

In fact, your queries may vary according to your home country and your family situation. But you should definitely ponder of these before taking any decision regarding retiring in Portugal.


You can start your planning by checking out the Portugal expat guide, as well as local newspapers which will give you a better idea of what life is all about in the country. Bear in mind that you will have to adapt to a different lifestyle once you have settled there.

Health care

Portugal has a developed and efficient health care system, though it still has to be ameliorated. But retired foreigners may easily access to health care services at health care centers which are closest to their place of residence. You can as well attend clinics if you have greater financial means. However, if you have decided to settle in a remote city and you are finding it difficult to access to require health care services, you may have to move to the capital city or to neighboring countries.

Furthermore, citizens of some neighboring countries may preserve their health insurance rights even after moving to Portugal. This may be useful in case you have to pay a visit to a dentist. Then, you will not be covered by the National health insurance system.


You are advised to inquire if there is any non-double taxation agreement between Portugal and your home country before traveling. You will be considered as a non habitual Portuguese resident provided you have not stayed in the country for five years prior to your expatriation in Portugal and if you have lived for a minimum of 183 days once you have settled there. However, citizens of some countries may also be exempted of their retirement pension.

Note that this may not apply to retired public officers. They are required to seek information on related conditions beforehand.

Cost of living

The cost of living in Portugal is much more affordable than in many other European countries. But you can evaluate it yourself by calculating your expenses if terms of rent and daily expense over your monthly revenue, that is your retirement pension.

It is a popular belief that the cost of living is lower in Lisbon that in many European cities. Hence, retiring in Portugal can be an enriching experience provided you have all necessary information prior to moving there.

 Useful links:

Numbeo www.numbeo.com
The Portugal News theportugalnews.com
Embassy of Portugal – Residency visa www.embassyportugal-us.org

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