Moving to Portugal

Last updated: Dec 2, 2019

If you’re planning on moving to Portugal from South Africa, then there are a few things that you will need to know before you pack up and move! This page has all the essential information you need so that your move goes as smoothly as possible. Whether you’re looking for an international mover or just need some moving tips, this page can help.

Moving to Portugal

Visas for Portugal

Visas for Portugal are probably one of the most important things that you will need to organise before moving to Portugal. You will need to apply for a Schengen visa as Portugal is one of the countries involved in the Schengen agreement. There are a few different types of visas for Portugal:

  • Work Visas: Allows bearer to carry on professional activities and is valid for up to three years
  • Residence Visas: Allows bearer to enter Portugal to request a residence permit and is valid for up to four months with two entries
  • Student Visas: Allows entry for the purpose of study/scientific investigation

No matter what your reason is for moving to Portugal, even if you’re just visiting, all South African citizens need to have a visa for the entirety of their stay in Portugal. You will need to have a valid passport and apply for your visa via the Portuguese embassy. You will need to book an appointment and complete an application form. For more information on what documentation you need for a Schengen visa, visit this page on requirements for South Africans.

Living in Portugal

Maybe you need to be convinced that moving to Portugal is the next best step for you. If that’s the case, then this section will be able to explain what it is like living in Portugal and what your future life could look like living there.

Culture in Portugal

The culture in Portugal is very different to what you may be used to in South Africa. For example, the business culture has a very clear hierarchical structure as there is an emphasis on status. However, the family is the foundation of the social structure in Portugal and comes first above anything else. When you talk to people, don’t be shocked to find that most communication is direct yet polite. Also, the Portuguese do not use a lot of gestures as it gives a bad impression to others.

Whether it’s the art, literature or the cuisine in Portugal, it’s much better to have an overview on culture in Portugal before you go to prevent too much of a culture shock.

Living costs in Portugal

Overall, the consumer prices in Lisbon are 27.68% higher than in Cape Town. However, the living costs in Portugal will be a lot less than most other places in the world, like the US or Australia. You can expect the average rent of a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre to be around 9,592R, but this can vary depending on which city you live in. Compared to South Africa, the living costs are much higher, but this is counteracted by the higher salaries that are on average 12,916.61R.

Work in Portugal

It’s a wise idea to have work in Portugal before you apply for your visa. The service sector in Portugal dominates the economy, but the economy is still slow since the financial crisis. Some industries that are growing in Portugal include:

  • Telecommunication
  • Agriculture
  • Automobiles
  • Financial services
  • Hospitality

The Portuguese government are trying to encourage entrepreneurs to start up business in Portugal. The best way to look for a job is online as it’s one of the most common ways to apply for work in Portugal. Here are some job websites to help you:

Moving to Portugal from Australia

Property in Portugal

Finding somewhere to live is also something that you will need to prepare before moving to Portugal. If you would like to buy property in Portugal, then we recommend finding somewhere to rent first, get to know the area where you would like to live and find something when you’re out there.

Below are some websites where you can find some real estate:

Guide to Moving to Portugal

Here is a guide on some of the things that you need to consider if you’re moving to Portugal. In this section, we talk about the cost of moving, setting up healthcare and education.

Education in Portugal

Maybe you’re planning on immigrating to Portugal with your family or perhaps your going to Study there? Either way, you might be interested in finding out what the education in Portugal is like. The education system in Portugal is divided into four sectors:

  • Pre-primary: 3-5 years (not compulsory)
  • Basic Education: 6-15 years
  • Secondary Education: 16-18 years
  • Higher Education: post 18 years

To find the best school in the area where you will be living is to contact the Direcção Regional de Educação (Regional Education Authority). You can choose to put your children through public or private education. Most English-speaking international schools are found mainly in and around Lisbon and the Algarve.

If you’re moving to Portugal to study, then looking up what the best universities are may be a good idea. With stunning scenery, vibrant cities and a pleasant climate, Portugal is a great place to go to university. The University of Aveiro, Coimbra and Lisbon are some of the best ones in the country, so they’re definitely worth having a look at.

Healthcare in Portugal

Portugal’s healthcare system is a lot more advanced than it is in South Africa. Residents in Portugal can receive free healthcare and have access to a range of services. As well as this, there are two other types of healthcare in Portugal, which are the special social health insurance schemes and voluntary private health insurance.

You will need to obtain a Cartão de Utente in order to be eligible for free healthcare in Portugal. To obtain this you will need to go to the local medical centre with your passport and residency card.

Private healthcare in Portugal is expensive but is becoming more popular. Prescriptions are, however, subsidised greatly through social security payments.

Moving-to-Portugal

Cost of Moving to Portugal

Size of HouseholdTime of MoveCost of Move
1 bed flat6-10 weeks34,500R-59,900R
2 bed house4-7 weeks47,200R-80,00R
3 bed house4-7 weeks83,300R-137,700R

Above you can find the average cost of moving to Portugal via sea. These prices are based on a move from Cape Town to Lisbon with the full contents of a household. There are many factors that influence the cost of moving, for example the distance and volume of your move.

Most removal companies will use a container to ship your belongings abroad and they usually are 20ft or 40ft in size. If you think that you will need a container and not sure on the sizes or costs, then take a look at our container shipping prices page for more information.

What Next?

We hope that we have provided you a enough information for your move and that you find immigrating to Portugal less daunting than before. Below are some other pages that you may be interested in that could be relevant for your move: