Are you tired of working at your office job from the same old place? Or are limited days of leave from work keeping you from channeling the explorer in you?
If you’re looking for a much-needed change in your daily grind, Portugal is one of the best countries for the nomadic lifestyle.
Portugal recently announced its digital nomad visa to entice skilled remote-working professionals to relocate to the beautiful country for up to a year! So, you can now explore one of the world’s oldest wine-growing regions while enjoying the beautiful scenery and outdoor opportunities that will satisfy the adventure lover in you.
Digital nomad visa in Portugal was designed to stimulate the country’s economy by enticing professionals into its cities and towns for short-term stays.
Portugal is ranked 17th in the world in terms of fast-speed internet, making it easy for digital nomads to do their job on the road.
Ranking 17th in the world for internet connectivity, Portugal is an excellent place for digital nomads to do their jobs on the road.
Citizens from the EU/EEA can travel and work in Portugal with just a passport.
Portugal offers an NHR (non-habitual residents) tax regime where you can enjoy preferential tax rates for the first ten years in this digital nomad-friendly paradise.
What Is A Digital Nomad Visa?
A digital nomad visa is a short-term document that allows remote workers to work in Portugal legally. It lasts for a year and can be extended for another 2.
With this location-independent digital nomad visa in your arsenal, you can live the nomad lifestyle and continue working for an employer outside your host country while exploring Portugal.
Who Needs a Digital Nomad Visa To Enter Portugal?
Visas are required for all digital nomads who will be staying in Portugal longer than the time allotted for a tourist visa, which is 90 days.
Exceptions to the rule include individuals from the European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA) and national ID card holders from Iceland, Liechtenstein, Malta, Norway, and Switzerland. They can travel AND work from Portugal without any legal barriers but will have to register with the SEF just like everybody else.
Third-country nationals, on the other hand, will have to show proof of monthly income (which is four times the minimum income in Portugal), an employment contract — or proof of self-employment, and a Temporary Residence Visa) to be eligible.
If you’re from a visa-exempt country, you can travel to Portugal just with your passport. However, you will have to show proof of financial resources, a return flight ticket, and a letter of invitation at the Portuguese port of entry to enter the country.
Types of Portuguese Digital Nomad Visas
There are two types of digital visas, depending on the duration of your workation. Here’s a brief insight into the two visas:
Temporary Stay Visa
A temporary stay visa allows you to be a digital nomad in Portugal for up to a year. You can travel freely in and out of the country, and it can be extended for a total of 5 years if you qualify.
You can work independently or remotely, and all types of online-generated income (totaling $3,008.52 a month) are accepted. Plus, you’ll only be taxed at a 15% rate for the first four years of your stay in Portugal (compared to the standard rate of 25%).
Residence Visa (also known as the D7 Visa)
A residence visa is best for remote workers with passive income. It’s for stays in Portugal that are longer than a year and if you are interested in applying for permanent residency in the peace-loving country.
It is initially granted for 120 days. Once the application is approved, it’s valid for 2 years and can be extended for an additional three years. After five years of stay, you can work on getting resident status and citizenship in Portugal.
You can even bring your family as an extension of the visa. The only requirement is you should have an income that can sustain them.
How to Apply for Portugal’s Digital Nomad Visa
You’ll need to meet certain requirements to be eligible for a Portugal digital nomad visa.
Get a Portuguese NIF (Numero de Identification Fiscal), also known as an individual tax number. It is a unique nine-digit number issued by the tax authorities of Portugal. You can use it to open a Portuguese bank account, sign a mobile phone contract, and purchase or rent property, among other fiscal activities.
Have no criminal record. The certificate verifying this should be issued within the last three months.
An employment contract. If you are a freelancer, you need to show proof of self-employment and that you have a job that can be done remotely.
Proof of full EU-wide health insurance. The medical cover — which should be a minimum of $32,226.30 — must be paid a year in advance.
Proof of accommodation. You’ll need to secure rental accommodation and have a rental lease or a hotel booking document that shows occupancy for at least a year before traveling to Portugal.
Proof of tax residency in Portugal.
If you plan on getting the residency visa, you have to meet the minimum stay requirement, which is 183 days a year.
Additionally, you will need to show financial self-sufficiency or an “average monthly income over the last 3 months of at least the equivalent of 4 minimum wages.” You’ll also have to complete a statement of responsibility or show bank statements and payslips/invoices to prove your financial well-being. Most websites peg this figure at $3,029.13.
Once you’ve got all the required documents:
Fill Out Your Application
Apply for a temporary visa on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Portugal.
Submit Your Documents
Get an appointment with the Portugal embassy or consulate in your home country. Then, you can submit all the documents required for visa application by mail or in person, depending on where you’re applying.
You’ll have to pay $80.57 per applicant and appear for the interview.
Collect Your Visa
If successful, the consulate/embassy will grant you a double-entry visa which is valid for 4 months. However, keep in mind that you’ll have to get a residency permit during those 4 months, or the visa won’t stand.
Schedule and Attend Your Appointment at SEF
Once you have your digital nomad visa, book an appointment and apply for a residency permit at SEF – Portugal’s Immigration and Border Service. For this step, you’ll have to fly to Portugal and attend the scheduled appointment, where your biometric information and documents will be collected and processed.
Accommodation in Portugal
Portugal is digital nomad-friendly, with a plethora of accommodation options for foreigners. Once you’ve decided on the type of accommodation, check out these options in the location you want.
If it’s you’re still new to Portugal, we suggest booking a nice room in a hotel like Selina. This hotel chain is available in almost every city and offers monthly packages. They also accept shared accommodations, offer access to co-working spaces, and have free wellness facilities that will allow you to unwind without leaving the hotel.
Plus, they have a flexible cancellation policy, so it’s a win-win all around.
In Portugal, you can find hotels in almost every city. They can be pricey depending on the types of amenities and facilities you’re looking for, but they’re a great way to settle down in a new country.
The country is home to an impressive number of Airbnbs, so you’re sure to find something that fits your budget.
Friendly tip: Prices for accommodation are high in tourist hubs like Lisbon or Algarve.
Portugal has many co-living communities where you can share living spaces. You’ll have your own bedroom but will have to share facilities such as the kitchen, living room, dining room, and bathroom. However, since you’ll be splitting the cost, it’s a great option for those with limited budgets.
Flatio is a unique worldwide service for digital nomads looking for medium-term stays. It offers fully-furnished, fully-equipped, no-deposit apartments at affordable prices with accommodations in most major cities in Portugal.
Hostels are a pocket-friendly option for digital nomads looking for short stays in Portugal. They’re found in all major cities. Some hostels also organize events and have sightseeing and outdoor activities.
If you want to enjoy the same lifestyle as your home country while living like a local in your host country, you can rent a serviced apartment. They typically come fully furnished with a kitchen and amenities like cleaning and laundry services.
Bear in mind that you’ll likely have to pay a security deposit to reserve the home and sign a rental agreement for at least a year. Take note that Portugal does not have a deposit protection scheme — meaning no law dictates that your landlord has to return your deposit. So, it’s better to avoid giving more than a month’s rent as a deposit and arrange for an escrow account for the deposit.
Co-working Spaces in Portugal
Portugal is a business hub with plenty of co-working spaces in the country that will make your work feel rewarding.
Largo: It is located in Peniche and is the only co-working hub in the district. It has friendly offices, an excellent vibe, a supportive atmosphere, and all the necessities for working.
Ocupa Cowork: Located near the Aveiro river channels, it has gorgeous natural views, natural sunlight and free coffee.
Porto i/o. It is a co-working hub located throughout the north of the country in multiple eccentric spots. It is located 1 minute from the beach in Matosinhos and offers a calm, relaxing vibe. You can enjoy free coffee, WiFi, and even fruits.
Factory Braga: It is a modern and functional working space with clean structures. You can work in work pods, opt for communal workplaces for an authentic work experience, or enjoy a laid-back vibe in their lounge. You also get access to amenities like meeting rooms, Nintendo Wii, ping pong, etc., free of charge!
If you’re new to this kind of lifestyle, here are some tips for working remotely that can help. They’ll help you stay productive and inspired while working on the go.
Internet Connection in Portugal
Portugal has a good telecommunication infrastructure, which explains why it ranks 17th in the world for having the fastest internet.
Here, many internet providers like NOS and Meo offer 350 Mbit/s through fiber optic broadband, and you can get up to 1 Gbit/s speed in Lisbon or Porto. It can cost around $32.22 to 42.97 monthly.
However, keep in mind that you’ll likely be required to submit some documents, such as your NIF number, address, and proof of address, to access them. If you don’t have it, you can get it in 3 days with a scanned copy of your international passport, proof of address from your home country, and power of attorney.
If you want a way around it, you can purchase portable dongles. The Pocket WiFi Portugal service can cost around $75.37 for a week. These are suitable for light work, such as browsing or streaming videos on your mobile phone.
You’ll need to be a resident of the country to subscribe to internet packages with minimum-term contracts. However, if you’ll be here for a while, you can do light work such as browsing or streaming videos with 4GB on your mobile phone.
In addition, Portugal has reliable free WiFi connections spread across the country, making it a top destination for digital nomads. You can find these hotspots in hotels, airports, football stadiums, and other public areas.
Making Friends and Networking in Portugal
You can network by attending meet-ups and events organized for remote workers or browsing through MeetUp groups like Lisbon Friends – Ola. Social, Lisbon Startup Founder 101, and Digital Nomads Caparica to meet different people.
Networking here sounds like a walk in the park, and it is — to some extent.
Or you can join us at Remote Year by going on one of our 1 month work and travel programs! Our packages are built with a strong focus on the community, so you’re sure to have friendly faces and like-minded individuals to socialize with.
Cost of Living in Portugal
The cost of living in Portugal is 36.6% lower than in the United States.
How much you spend will depend on multiple factors, such as where you want to stay and what type of lifestyle you want. Typically, you can expect to spend $1,181.63 to 1,611.31 per month in places like Algarve. In contrast, you’ll spend $1,879.87 to 2,148.32 monthly in popular hotspots like Lisbon.
Here’s a comprehensive guide to the cost of living in Portugal. We also listed a rough breakdown of the usual expenses below (courtesy of Numbeo):
Food: Groceries are affordable in Portugal compared to the United States, where you pay 2.2 times more. Eating out is also cheaper since a simple meal in an inexpensive restaurant comes to only $9.14.
Rent: A 1-bedroom apartment in the city center can cost $795.62 per month. Prices will fluctuate based on the amenities and facilities.
Transportation: A one-way ticket (local transportation) costs $1.80, while private taxis start at $1.21 a mile.
Utilities: Basic utilities like electricity, heating, cooling, garbage disposal, etc., can cost $118.94 per month for a 915 sq. ft. apartment, while internet packages with 60 Mbps and higher have fees of around $36.98 monthly.
In Portugal, bills are paid once every 2 months.
Taxes for Digital Nomads in Portugal
Digital nomads who stay in Portugal for longer durations might have to pay local taxes. It all depends on whether or not your country has a double tax treaty with Portugal.
Digital nomads can qualify for the NHR regime if they stay more than 183 days. With it, you can avail of preferential tax rates for the first 10 years. If eligible, you’re only charged a flat rate of 20% on qualifying income instead of 48% without the NHR status.
There’s a catch, though.
Individuals who qualify for the NHR tax scheme will also have to pay a whopping 21% of their remaining income for social security tax.
Luckily, that’s not the only option available.
If you make less than $214,832 annually, you can qualify under the Simplified Regime, which uses progressive tax rates. If you can provide expense receipts for 25% of your income, only 75% of your total income will be taxed, plus you can claim tax credits!
Why Is Portugal a Great Destination for Digital Nomads?
Working in Portugal as a remote worker has a wide range of benefits, including:
Agreeable Weather: Digital nomads can enjoy a long vacation spent basking in the sunshine and indulging in Portugal’s many outdoor activities after wrapping up their work.
Inspiring Culture and History: Portugal has beautiful architecture and amazing culture.
Diverse Experiences: Portugal has great geographic and cultural diversity.
Mouthwatering Culinary Experiences: Portugal has the best fish and seafood dishes in the world. From pastel de nata (custard tart) to arroz de marisco (seafood rice), there are plenty of dishes to tantalize your taste buds.
Welcoming Locals: In Portugal, it’s impossible to stick out like a sore thumb, thanks to its welcoming international community.
Low Cost of Living: Portugal is relatively affordable compared to other remote-friendly destinations. Here, you can enjoy the best indoor and outdoor experiences at affordable rates. Additionally, if you don’t want to rent a co-working spot, the country has many parks and beaches where you can do your nine-to-five.
To top it off, the country also has a digital nomad-friendly infrastructure. With reliable WiFi connectivity and plenty of co-working spaces, remote workers are sure to find all they need. Be sure to refer to this guide to learn how to work remotely while traveling so you can maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Best Cities for Digital Nomads in Portugal
Portugal is an excellent destination for digital nomads. That said, some cities offer a better living experience than others, so we’ve listed them below for your perusal.
Coimbra is a quiet town, making it an excellent destination for digital nomads who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. It is less busy than other cities but has plenty of co-working spaces where you network and an excellent social scene that helps you meet like-minded folks.
It is steeped in history and culture with architecture that reflects its rich heritage. Safe to say, you’ll have plenty of inspiration to get your creative juices flowing here.
Ericeira, also known as the surfing capital of Europe, is a small town — but don’t let that keep you from making a trip here. The town has excellent accommodation options, many co-working spaces, digital nomad-friendly coffee shops, and a well-established digital community.
Plus, Ericeira is only around 50 minutes from Lisbon. By staying here, you’ll be able to relax near its many beaches, feast on fresh seafood, and enjoy city life on weekends.
In the picturesque city of Lisbon, you can find plenty of co-working spaces with ultra-high-speed internet. It also has welcoming nomad communities, digital-friendly cafés, easy access to just about everything, and a vibrant nightlife.
Porto, the second largest city in the country, is more affordable than Lisbon. It has an impressive number of co-working spaces plus a growing nomad community.
The best thing? The town has very agreeable weather. It also has top-notch gastronomical experiences, loads of places where you can spend your nights partying, famous fortified port wine, and many historical spots.
The island of Madeira has a digital nomad village (Ponta do Sol) created by the Regional Government of Madeira and Startup Madeira. It is designed for remote workers who want to make Portugal their temporary home.
Madeira has fast internet speeds, so digital work is a breeze. You also get access to outdoor activities, socializing opportunities, and awe-inspiring natural beauty with the added benefit of year-round warm weather!
Can’t pick a favorite city to settle in? We’re right there with you!
If you want to explore the best of Portugal, join one of our remote work and travel programs. At Remote Year, you can join our friendly and thoughtful community members on a 1-month trip to Lisbon. Our community managers will do the heavy lifting to ensure you have the best accommodations, co-working spaces, and exciting weekend itineraries. Just bring your job, and we’ll take care of the rest.
What Is It Actually Like for Digital Nomads in Portugal?
Portugal has a warm climate with plenty of sunlight — making you want to linger outdoors for longer. Plus, the cost of living is 40% to 50% lower than in the United States (according to Numbeo).
This expat-friendly country has a digital nomad-friendly infrastructure, so you can expect to enjoy good internet connectivity, co-working spaces, laptop-friendly cafés, and networking opportunities with professionals.
To sweeten the deal, the country is also ranked 6th in the world in terms of safety. It is a peaceful country, so crimes against tourists are few and far between. That said, pickpocketing and bag-snatching have been known to happen, so be sure to take some precautions when you travel to tourist-frequented sites or find yourself outside late at night.
7 Tips for Digital Nomads in Portugal
Here are 7 of our best tips at a glance:
Negotiate Prices With Airbnb Hosts
Some Airbnb hosts offer discounts for longer stays. You can negotiate or politely ask the host if they can knock down the price a little. You’ll find that most hosts expect some form of bargaining and will accommodate your request readily.
Visit Local Markets for Fresh Produce
Hitting supermarkets to stock up on groceries? You can find great produce at more affordable prices at country markets and stalls. Plus, you’ll be supporting local businesses.
Find Accommodation Near WiFi Hotspots
The first rule of most workation clubs: Check your internet options before renting a place.
If your work is entirely dependent on a working internet connection, double-check the availability of free WiFi in the area. This way, if you’re having problems with connectivity, you can take your business elsewhere.
Buy a Property if You’re Looking To Stay Long-term
If you’re staying in the country for the long haul and are interested in getting citizenship, look into buying property in Portugal. It’s relatively easy to do so. You can get great returns on investment and enjoy the quality of life Portugal has to offer.
Eat Local Food
Craving for comfort food? Portugal imports many of your favorite brands, but this comes at a rather high cost. So, while you can treat yourself to imported goods occasionally, don’t make it a habit, as it will drive a deep hole in your pocket.
Open A Bank Account, Pronto
Look into opening a Portuguese bank account as soon as you fly to the country. It will help you save money on currency rates, make it easier to pay taxes, and help you establish permanent residency later on.
Avoid Fancy Bars and Restaurants
Frequenting fancy bars and restaurants is the quickest way to break the bank. So, avoid eating at posh eateries unless you’re celebrating something. You can easily find quality food and cocktails in local, inexpensive restaurants.
With the launch of the digital nomad visa, it has become infinitely easier for digital workers to live and work in Portugal legally.
Here, digital nomads can enjoy a delightful balance of work and play. The country lets you enjoy the best of city life — a vibrant nightlife, good internet connectivity, and great workplaces — while paying low rent and meeting like-minded individuals from all over.
If you’re new to workations, take your job on the road with Remote Year and get a new lease on life.
With us, you can explore the world, one city at a time, while meeting like-minded individuals. We’ll take care of all the details, from the accommodation, workplaces, and transportation to authentic local experiences and excursions, so you can focus on living the best days of your life hassle-free.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How long does it take to get a digital nomad visa in Portugal?
How long it takes to get a Portugal digital visa depends on the country you’re applying from and how long you have to wait to get an appointment. That said, you can usually expect a timeline of 3 to 4 months for your initial visa application to be processed and approved.
Is Portugal good for digital nomads?
Portugal, with its buzzing cities and relatively low cost of living, is a popular destination for digital workers. It has the 17th fastest internet connectivity in the world and an abundance of co-working spaces, making it ideal for those looking to live a high-quality life in a slow-paced environment.
Is Portugal welcoming to ex-pats?
Portugal ranked 5th in the list of countries that offers expats a high quality of life in 2021. Eighty-four percent of ex-pats who made this beautiful country their secondary home were satisfied with their life which shows just how welcoming the country is.
Do digital nomads pay tax in Portugal?
Digital nomads must pay taxes in Portugal if they stay in the country for longer than 183 days a year. Typically, they’ll have to pay tax on their worldwide income, but they might find some relief under Portugal’s NHR(Non-Habitual Residency) tax scheme, which provides preferential tax rates for digital nomads in Portugal.
How much is a digital nomad visa in Portugal?
The cost of your digital nomad visa depends on where you’re applying from.
Typically, your costs can total $537.20 to get a digital nomad visa in Portugal. This price includes your initial visa application, which costs $193.39, and your residence permit ($343.83), which you receive once you’re in Portugal.