Moving To Portugal (Ongoing Post)
I’ve decided to blog about this! I’m not sure who reads my blog anymore but here it is.
Bri and I have decided to move to Portugal. The plan has been in the works now for a while. Here I will document what steps we’ve done and where we’re at in the process.
We visited Portugal in December 2021 and decided it would be a place we would like to live. For various reasons, Portugal has been our number one retirement destination. It is cheap to live, has great healthcare, great culture, speaks mostly English (thought we will be learning Portuguese).
Time: 10 days in Portugal.
Choosing A Lawyer
We interviewed a few different lawyers and figured out (roughly) what we need to do. We met with four different immigration lawyers (all in Lisbon) and received quotes.
Time: 4 months (finding and interviewing lawyers). This process might be faster for others.
Signing Up With An Immigration Lawyer
On Tuesday, February 22, 2022 we paid and sent over our information to the immigration lawyer we chose. We sent them over pictures of our drivers licenses and passports as well as some other information they asked for. We paid around $3,000 initially. The remaining is around $1,000.
Time: 1 day.
Cost: around $4,000
Getting NIF Numbers
The migration attorney is in charge of getting us Tax ID (NIF) numbers. We need these numbers to open a bank account (which the attorney will also do). It took them around two weeks to get us these numbers. We received them on Monday, March 7, 2022. The attorney now needs our United States Social Security cards which we will send over today.
Time: 2 weeks.
Getting A Bank Account
We obviously needed to open up a Portuguese bank account there. In order to do this, we need various forms and other information. We had to send them almost everything… copies of our passports, social security cards, proof of income, our last few paychecks, our tax returns for various previous years… it is a lot.
On top of which, they needed INKED documents so we had to print out various documents (bank account information with Millennium) and send it to them… like actually send to Portugal.
We sent these documents (the first time) on Monday, April 4th, 2022. We eagerly awaited their arrival. We sent them through USPS. No tracking info. It cost around $20 to send.
By April 18, 2022, our lawyers were wondering where they were. We decided to print out these documents AGAIN and resign and send them. We did this on Tuesday, April 19, 2022 and sent them out this time through UPS.
This process is finally finished but we still need to fund the account all the way.
Time: 2 months
Putting Money Into The Account
Once we finally got access to the account, we had to put money in it. Unfortunately, this wasn’t cheap. Bri created a Wise account to transfer money from his account to the new Portuguese account. He also couldn’t initially log into the account so he had to call the bank.
We completed this in a week though we need more time to transfer funds as the Wise app takes some money and doesn’t allow large transfers.
We are also playing the market a bit and only transferring money when the Euro is at a better position so we get more Euros for our buck.
Finding A Place
Well, we have to find a place to live, right? In order to be accepted, we need a place to stay. We initially started looking on our own but we decided to go with a realtor. We hope to not have to fly over there to look at places. Right now it’s a very busy time. It also costs money and time to go over there to look.
Reading online, it can take a while to find a place. This is why we are hiring a realtor to do the finding for us. We are looking in the Algarve (which is really hot right now because of summer).
Our realtor sent us a listing and we have picked out a place. Next steps is the realtor contacting them and starting to set stuff up.
Cost: $133 (so far)
Us living in the DC area, we kind of have an advantage. It was really easy to make an appointment somewhere close to get the FBI background investigation and fingerprinting scheduled. We did that on Wednesday, May 11th.
Time: less than a week
Getting Our Pets Over
More time and research needs to go into this (and I have a checklist for them). So far I’ve bought two dog crates and am getting them used to them. Unfortunately, they will need to go in the cargo hold.
More on this to come…
Cost: $263 for two dog crates (so far)
Getting A Place To Rent
We contacted a realtor a month and a half before our VFS appointment. She sent us some things but nothing met our requirements or it turned out to be unavailable. She got another realtor involved which had a few places. However, even after making a decision, the properties were unavailable.
Days turned into weeks. The final week we needed a place, we were freaking out. I was reaching other realtors in Portugal to see if they could help. We finally told our lawyers we didn’t think we were going to make the deadline. She offered us an alternative and we took it. We have a lease for a place in Porto.
This was by far the hardest and most stressful part so far.
Time: 2 months
Getting Travelers Insurance
It only took a phone call. But we did some research before we decided on a company. We chose Mutuaide and made the call to have our insurance start on October 1, 2022. No deductible. Best part it was only 1,200 euros for two people for a year! If health insurance was that cheap in this country, we would stay.
Cost: $1250 (1,200 euros)
Time: 1 day
Getting Ready For VFS Appointment
This took a long time. We needed to print out many documents. Our list (per person) was:
- Application for National Visa
- Two passport sized photos – we only needed one but they said to bring two
- Colored copy of passports – we needed them notarized; which we didn’t know; but luckily, the person was able to copy ours and notarize them herself
- Personal statement
- Proof of financial means – we brought bank statements, a letter from our property manager, and account statements from accounts we have which generate income
- NIF documents – we got these first thing from the lawyers; this was one of the easiest things as they did the work
- FBI criminal records – see above
- Release/request for Portugal criminal record check
- Proof of travelers insurance – see above
- Proof of accommodation – see above
- Copy of marriage certificate – they did not ask for this but we provided it anyway
- Representation letter – our lawyers provided this for it; they didn’t ask for it but we provided it to them anyway
- Two money orders – one each person; made out to Embassy of Portugal; both for $95.19
Now all that’s left to do is wait.
Time: months (see above steps)
Cost: $95.19 + $95.19 + $150.38
Selling Our Home
Of course we need to sell our current house before we make the move. It might seem a little pointless to put this in here but I feel it’s important. We had to find some realtors and vet them.
We finally decided to go with a local one recommended from a friend. This same friend also will do the photography and video of our home. We will be listing our house sometime in August.
Time: 2 weeks (so far)
After our VFS appointment (mentioned above), the long wait happens… We went through DC which is usually faster than other places but that wasn’t the case for us.
We kept checking on our application online but no update. Just kept saying it had been forwarded to the embassy.
Finally on August 2nd (right as we were leaving for GenCon) we got an email requesting our 2021 tax returns. We quickly gathered the information, went over to Brian’s parents, and scanned it to a PDF. Within an hour of their email request, we had sent it back to them.
We waited another long time to get any feedback back. We emailed them and called several times in September as it was going on 90 days since our VFS appointment.
FINALLY on Monday, September 19, 2022, we got an email saying we were approved! The email came in the morning right before my standups. Finally a weight had been lifted and the long wait was over!
Brian mailed our passports a few hours after we got the good news. They stamped with our Visa and we will have the ability to get into Portugal on our six month D7 Visa.
Time: 95 days + 4 days (we sent our passports on September 19 and got them back September 22)