Get your finance in order, with wealth management's must-read stories everyday!

How to Retire in Portugal: A Complete Guide

Susan Kelly

Nov 04, 2023

Retiring overseas is the talk of the town these days; inflation and high living cost are the main reasons people want to explore other options; when considering retiring overseas, living costs, health care, tax requirements, safety, and security are the major concerns.

Considering all these considerations, Europe is the best choice, where the quality of living, with all other amenities, is available at ease and peace of mind. Portugal offers more affordability than all the European countries; most of the population speaks and understands English, especially in metropolitans and coastal areas.

The weather is perfect with amazing beaches in Algarve, have a toast of incredible wine in Porto, and experience the extraordinary historical buildings with amazing culture in Lisbon. Moreover, the Government of Portugal eased the requirements for those looking to settle and attract more tourism.

Retiring in Portugal

Suppose you are planning to retire overseas or looking for options specifically in Portugal but still looking for answers on how to retire in Portugal. In that case, the good news is the Portuguese Government has amended and eased its residency requirements, which means it is easier and more affordable to move and start living in Portugal.

Similarly, the tax requirements are also made flexible to promote tourism and expatriates; newcomers are eligible to get 10 years of tax benefits, which helps them in the long run, extending their retirement savings. Furthermore, you can get assistance from a financial advisor to get maximum benefits for spending your retirement life more relaxedly.

How Much To Retire In Portugal

The most important thing to consider while moving or planning to move abroad or settling there are the finances; how much does it cost to retire in Portugal? It's the first question that raises in mind, surprisingly the cost of living in Portugal is much less than in the USA, on average apart from rent the living cost is 29% less than in the USA.

If you are solely relying on the social security benefits, even then, $1400 is sufficient to start living in a small city; for living in a big city like Lisbon, this cost could go up to $2000, but you can have a luxury living if you manage or planning to live outside or away from the city.


Housing in Portugal is another major and crucial thing apart from living expenses, but the good news is, you can get a good one-bedroom apartment for less than $1000 to live comfortably in a big city like Lisbon; living away from the city center costs less, and you can save couple of hundred dollars if moving or living in the countryside.

For long-term living, you can also consider a mortgage and other similar options, as renting a space costs approximately the same space.

Visa and Residence Permits

Moving to other countries and settling there requires a residence permit for living there long term; getting a residence permit is not easy as EU rules in other European countries are strict in this regard and have a lot of requirements, but it's quite the opposite in the case of Portugal.

Portugal's Government amended its rules for people that are willing to settle there, especially expatriate retirees; for applying for Visas and residence permits, you need to visit the nearby consulate, fill out the application form, and provide the required documents, including:

  • Passport
  • Proof of Income
  • Health Insurance Proof
  • Criminal Background Check

On successful application approval, you will get a five-year temporary residence permit, and after that, you can apply and be eligible for a permanent residence permit.

Other Pathway (Golden Visa)

Another way to get citizenship or how to retire in Portugal from USA is through investing; for wealthy and financially able individuals with non-EU backgrounds or from outside European Free Trade Association, you can avail yourself the opportunity to get a Golden Visa which fast tracks your process of getting citizenship and also open the doors of traveling across Europe Visa free.

The requirements for getting a Portugal Golden Visa and how much do I need to retire in Portugal include the following:

  • By investing a sum of 500,000 Euros in Scientific Research
  • Buying a piece of land or Real Estate in Portugal worth a minimum of 500,000 Euros
  • Transfer a sum of amount 1.5 million Euros to Portugal

Taking advantage of this opportunity, people invested and bought many real estates in coastal cities, especially in Porto and Lisbon, which got restrictions to buying new properties in those cities even if you have a Golden Visa.

Health Care

One of the benefits of retiring in Portugal includes free health care, but there is a twist to it; for the first five years of a temporary residence permit, Americans or any other non-EU or non-Portuguese citizens of them have to pay for their healthcare. Still, the good news is that health insurance in Portugal is much cheaper and more affordable than in the US.

On getting permanent residency, you can avail of the National Health Service benefits, including free health care for all Portuguese citizens. Getting private healthcare insurance depends on your age, but middle and upper-middle-class insurance plans usually cost as little as 4 Euros per month.

Most insurance companies don't offer plans for people above 55 years of age, but still, three companies can offer health insurance to people up to the age of 75 years; these companies are:

  • Fidelidade/Multicare
  • Tranquilidade
  • Millenium Bank/Medis


If you plan to retire in Portugal tax-free, you can avail of the NHR (Non-habitual Residence) Status to live tax-free for at least 10 years. The Government introduced a special program to encourage and welcome expatriates. On getting the NHR status, your income is exempted from any income tax, whether from work, investments, capital gains, rental income, and pensions.

Final Thoughts

Portugal is the best place to retire, with big historical cities, sunny sandy beaches, affordable living, low rentals, cheap healthcare, and tax benefits. You can apply and be eligible for permanent residency after five years or get fast-track citizenship by investing a substantial amount of 500k Euros. The only downside of retiring to Portugal is the cultural shock, difficulty in Learning Portuguese, and getting familiar with the government system and taxation.

Related Stories

Privacy Policy | Terms of Use

© 2023

Contact us at: [email protected]