American expatriation in Portugal

As an American citizen, it is possible to live in Portugal, but there are a few important things to keep in mind before making the move.

Visa Requirements

First and foremost, you will need to obtain a visa in order to live in Portugal legally. The type of visa you will need depends on your situation. If you are planning to work in Portugal, you will need a work visa. If you are retired and have sufficient income or savings, you can apply for a retirement visa. If you are a student, you can apply for a student visa.

The application process for a visa can be lengthy, so it is recommended to start the process as soon as possible. You will need to provide proof of your reason for living in Portugal, as well as proof of sufficient funds to support yourself while living there.


Portugal has a universal healthcare system, which means that all residents have access to free or low-cost healthcare. However, as a foreigner, you may need to obtain private health insurance in order to access certain services.(Get a quick quote for a personalized private health plan)


Portuguese is the official language of Portugal, so it is recommended to have at least a basic understanding of the language in order to navigate daily life. However, many Portuguese people speak English, especially in larger cities and tourist areas.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Portugal is relatively low compared to other Western European countries, but it can still vary depending on the region. Lisbon and other popular tourist destinations tend to be more expensive, while smaller towns and cities are more affordable.


Housing in Portugal can be expensive, especially in urban areas. It is recommended to research the housing market before making the move and to have a plan in place for finding affordable housing.


Portugal has a rich and vibrant culture, with a strong emphasis on family and community. It is important to be respectful of Portuguese culture and customs while living there.

In conclusion, as an American citizen, it is possible to live in Portugal with the proper visa and preparation. It is recommended to research the visa process, healthcare, language, cost of living, housing, and culture before making the move. Portugal can be a wonderful place to live, but it is important to be prepared for the challenges and differences of living in a new country.