Portugal welcomes overseas residents and has an established reputation for doing so. Thousands of individuals have decided to make Portugal their home due to the Golden Visa and the Non-Habitual Resident tax scheme.
As per The Portugal News, expats working in Portugal have increased six-fold since 2015, and foreign workers make up 10% of those contributing to the country’s social security scheme.
The government has expressed its desire to attract more digital nomads to Portugal, with Minister of Labour Ana Mendes Godinho referring to them as “fundamental” to the country.
Find homes in Portugal via our property portal.
A new visa to attract digital nomads to Portugal
Have you heard about Portugal’s new digital nomad visa? It’s called the D8 (joining the D7 passive income visa) and it’s designed to attract freelancers and self-employed business owners.
The first allows stays of up to 12 months, perfect for those who want to get a taste of the country.
The second option is for longer stays, with an initial 24-month stay and the option to renew, leading to a path to permanent residency or citizenship. This option can also provide substantial tax benefits for those who qualify for the non-habitual residency tax scheme. Keep in mind that both D8 visas require the primary applicant to earn four times the Portuguese minimum wage, and additional earnings/savings requirements apply for spouses and dependents.
“Digital nomads are fundamental in Portugal” – Portugal’s minister of labour
Tips for aspiring nomads and residents
If you’re a digital nomad, freelancer or business owner who is thinking about making Portugal your temporary (or permanent) home, here are some tips from a long-term resident:
1. Think carefully about property rentals
Renting a home in Portugal isn’t always straightforward. In cities like Lisbon and tourist hotspots like the Algarve, many owners favour short-term Airbnb style rentals over renting to long-term tenants.
It’s very much possible to find rental accommodation, but it may require a little lateral thinking. For example, if you want to live in the Algarve, it’s much easier to find long term rentals in the winter than in the summer. Going slightly off the beaten track is often a good option for availability and value.
2. Learn the language
Learning the local language always pays dividends in any overseas location. In Ponta do Sol, Madeira, a digital nomad community called Digital Nomad Village was set up back in 2021. It is now home to “several hundred inhabitants”. Similar communities exist in Portimão, Porto and the Tagus Estuary.
While communities like this provide a way to link up with other digital nomads, learning the language allows you to properly absorb yourself in authentic, local life. This is both more rewarding and more respectful to your local hosts.
3. Get tax advice
Living in Portugal as a freelancer provides the potential for substantial tax benefits. However, it’s crucial to seek expert advice about your individual situation, in terms of both income tax and social security.
Finding experts who fully understand the tax situation – both in Portugal and in your home country – can be surprisingly difficult. Seeking personal recommendations from people in a similar situation can pay dividends, as can asking for second opinions if you’re unsure of anything you’re being told.
To be introduced to one of our trusted legal partners in Portugal, fill out this short form and we’ll be in touch
4. Be patient with bureaucracy
Portugal’s central government is hugely proactive around launching new visas and initiatives. However, anybody who knows Portugal well will tell you that individual and local government departments sometimes take time to catch up, and don’t always interpret guidelines in a consistent way.
Many people choose to use local agencies and lawyers to assist with red tape. Even with professional assistance, a wise golden rule is to take your time, not expect the wheels to turn as quickly as they might “back home”, and treat every small bit of progress as a triumph!
5. Consider the climate
Many people move to Portugal for the weather, and they’re rarely disappointed. However, it’s not the tropics! Some people are caught out by the seasons, and the level of climate variation between different areas of Portugal.
While Portugal’s winter is short and mild, even residents of the Algarve complain of cold homes in the winter. Properties there are designed to keep heat out, not in – so do think about the cost and practicality of winter heating.
When the long summer does roll around, some are taken unawares by just how hot it can get – especially when trying to work. It’s worth remembering that there are parts of Portugal where it’s still glorious, but not quite as stifling in July and August. For example, the Silver Coast provides slightly lower temperatures and consistent breezes.
If you’re thinking of moving to Portugal as a digital nomad, check out this article detailing ten perfect properties for working from home.