FAQ: How to move to Portugal from the USA

Americans are looking to move to Portugal from USA for a quite and safe way of live in a country that offers low cost of living and 300 days of sunshine, but how can you move to Portugal from the US, and what do you need to think of before deciding?

Our list of frequently asked questions about moving from the US to Portugal will give you many of the answers.

For more detailed information about Portugal and how to move there from America, read our: Guide for moving to Portugal from the US. All you need to know...


Can I move to Portugal from the US without a visa?

No. If you are an American Citizen wanting to move to Portugal, you must apply for a visa. You can apply for a D7 visa, Golden Visa, student visa, D2 Visa or for a Digital Nomad Visa. The process takes about 4 to to months for D7 and Golden Visa, whilst a student visa takes anywhere from a few weeks to 4 months. Without a visa someone from the US can spend up to 90 days in Portugal.

Can Americans move to Portugal as a digital nomad?

Yes. Americans can move from the US to Portugal as a digital nomad. You must however apply for a visa and prove that you have a minimum income of €2.820 a month for the past 3 months.

Can I move to Portugal with my pets?

Yes. If you are moving to Portugal from the US, you can bring up to five pets, but there are several rules you must comply with before bringing pets to Portugal.

The rules are fairly simple, but be aware that several breeds of dogs are considered dangerous and may not be allowed entry to Portugal.

Can I keep my US driving licence in Portugal?

Yes. After a new law came into effect in 2022, US citizens may keep their US driving licence, as long as the holder is between 18 and 60 years old and the licence is no more than 15 years old.

Guide to moving to Portugal from America - All you need to know about moving from the US and FAQ

How long does it take to get a D7 visa to Portugal?

If you apply for a D7 visa to Portugal you must expect the process to take between 4 and 8 months from start to finish.

What is a Golden visa for Americans moving to Portugal?

Golden visa is a way for Americans to gain permanent residency in Portugal via investing in the country. There are several ways you can invest in Portugal to gain a Golden Visa, but the most popular among Americans moving to Portugal is buying property or transferring capital.

Is it hard for Americans to live in Portugal?

Over the last few years the number of Americans living in Portugal has more than doubled. Americans can easily get residency in Portugal and as large parts of Portugal speak English, most Americans find settling into everyday life in Portugal very easy.

Can Americans move to Portugal without a job?

Yes. Americans can move from the US to Portugal without having a job. You must however apply for a visa and prove that you have passive income that meets the minimum wage standards in Portugal. As of 2022 the minimum wage in Portugal is 822 Euro a month.

How much income do I need to live comfortably in Portugal?

How much an American needs to live comfortably in Portugal depends on where in the country you want to live and your personnel expenses. As a single person you will be able to live comfortably in Portugal with a monthly budget of €1.200. You might find you need a higher budget if you are to live in Lisbon and parts of the Algarve. 

Is healthcare in Portugal free for Americans?

Americans that move to Portugal under the Golden Visa program will receive free public healthcare. If you move to Portugal with a D7 visa you must pay social insurance of around €100 a month to have access to free healthcare, unless it is an emergency.

Even though healthcare for the most part is free in Portugal, it is quite common, even for the Portuguese to have a private health insurance as well, as waiting times to see a specialist in a public hospital can be very long.

Is Portugal a safe country for Americans?

Portugal has consistently been voted in the top 5 safest countries in the world over the last decade. Portugal generally has little crime and the access to private guns and firearms are strictly regulated.

Do they speak English in Portugal?

Yes. Portugal is considered a dual speaking country, with Portuguese and English being the leading languages spoken. You will generally find the most English speaking Portuguese in Lisbon, Porto and the region of the Algarve.

Can Americans get residency in Portugal if I don't buy a house

Yes. Americans moving to Portugal can apply for residency in Portugal with a D7 visa, that does not require buying a property. You must however prove income and rental agreement for housing in Portugal when you apply.

Where do most Americans live in Portugal?

The number of Americans in Portugal has more than doubled in the last few years. Most Americans relocating to Portugal, move to Lisbon, Porto and the Algarve region.

Can Americans visit Portugal without a visa?

Yes. Americans may visit Portugal and stay for as much as 90 days without applying for a visa.

What documents do I need to move from the USA to Portugal?

Moving to Portugal from the US requires a lot of paperwork, but the basics are proof of income, proof of housing (rented og owned) in Portugal. You will also need to apply for a visa if you intend to stay longer than 90 days.

The most common visas to apply for are the Golden Visa that you get through investment in Portugal, or the D7 visa.

Financial services in the Algarve - Get help with taxes, moving, loans, mortgage and wealth planning

Are Americans welcome in Portugal?

The Portuguese people are considered some of the friendliest in Europe. A survey among locals in Lisbon found that 80% were positive to tourism and expats, Americans included making Portugal their new home.

How hard is it to move to Portugal from the US?

Moving to Portugal from the US is not hard at all, but it does take some planning, starting with applying for a visa, which could take anywhere from 4 to 8 months.

As soon as the visa is granted you are ready to go. If you want to ship personal belongings and household goods the process is fairly straightforward, but it can be somewhat time consuming, so you will be wise to get help from a professional relocating company to ensure your paperwork is in order for the customs.

Can I work remotely in Portugal for a US company?

Yes. Americans can apply for either a D7 Visa, Golden Visa or work visa to live and work in Portugal. The US and Portugal also have a treaty securing that you don't pay double social security.

Do they have fast food restaurants in Portugal?

Yes. Portugal is well known all over the world for their cuisine, but they also offer great local fast food options. You will also find American fast food chains such as Burger King, McDonalds, Domino's Pizza, Subway, Pizza Hut, KFC and Starbucks all over Portugal.

Can you find American food in Portugal?

Several of the biggest American fast food chains can be found widely all over Portugal. They include Burger King, McDonalds, Domino's Pizza, Subway, Pizza Hut, KFC and Starbucks. Dunkin Donuts can also be bought in several bigger supermarkets.

How do I prepare to move from the US to Portugal?

We recommend you start by visiting Portugal and decide on what region you want to move to. The most popular regions for Americans moving to Portugal are Lisboa, Porto and the Algarve.

Then you should get to know the requirements for the different visas available for Americans moving to Portugal. As soon as you have decided on where to move to and your visa application,the rest is as easy as moving from California to Washington.