The Great Document Round Up: Starting the Portugal Residency Process

Google “Best places to retire abroad” and Portugal consistently shows up in the top ranked countries. Ditto in highly regarded magazines such as Forbes and AARP, as well as those magazines selling sugar-coated dreams to those with rose-colored glasses.  And we’d done our homework as travelers who’d spent the last three years roaming Mexico, Central and South America as well as several Caribbean islands before we jumped to Europe. We knew what we wanted and what we wanted was to live in Portugal.  Ask anyone who’s been there and they’ll know why.  For the uninitiated, we could list the low cost of living relative to other European venues, fresh and delicious food, a moderate climate with 300 plus days of sun, miles of coastline, fascinating history and warm people with wide smiles.  For us, Portugal pushed all the right buttons including an important one.  We didn’t want to give up traveling, not with Europe spread before us and beckoning.  We just wanted a place to call home, to launch from and return with only a small carry-on suitcase accompanying us.

Carvoeiro, Portugal

Carvoeiro, Portugal

It  requires little effort for much of the world, including US citizens, to visit Portugal and the other twenty-six European countries that comprise the Schengen Zone.  You simply present your passport at your original point of entry for a stamp and, presto, you’re granted permission as a tourist to enter, exit and cross borders with no further ado, similar to us driving from state to state in the US.  “Great” you say but, and for us as slow travelers with no time constraints, this presented a conundrum. The visa is only good for 90 days.  And then you have to leave the Schengen nations for a period of at least 90 days.

Lagos, Portugal

Lagos, Portugal

So, what to do if you want to stay?  We whiled away our time in Portugal this summer investigating places we’d like to live more-or-less permanently we also started doing our research and hired a lawyer to help walk us through both sides of the process: the documents we would gather in the US and the forms, renewals, translations that we would be completing upon our return to Portugal. There’s a wealth of material online (and probably much of it is even accurate!) from many countries about how to apply for a their residency visas as well as lists of the necessary documents but, when it came to Portugal, there seemed to be a dearth of information. We found articles online with guidelines for citizens belonging to the EU but for US citizens there was a confusing jumble of incomplete, contradictory and inaccurate data.  We finally concluded that there wasn’t an easy way – we had to begin at the beginning and put together our own list of requirements necessary to apply for a Portuguese residency visa (here’s where being stubborn not to mention methodical and, somewhat, patient comes in handy!)

The Application 

Our online inquiries led us to the official website regarding visas for Portugal at embassyportugal-us.org and a little bit of squinty-eyed reading resulted in a Eureka! moment when we found a link for residency visas.  As retirees we were indeed on the list of people eligible to receive this type of visa and the table at the end of the page seemed to be short and straightforward.  We contacted the Consular’s Section of the Portuguese Embassy in Washington DC requesting the application form and we received a prompt email response with four attachments.  An initial point of confusion was the actual name of the form itself, Application for Schengen Visa.  This form, however also covers the initial steps for the residency visa process.

Tip 1  Processing fee $128/person.

Tip 2  The signature needs to be notarized if mailing the application but a notary is not necessary if applying in person.

Tip 3  If you plan to present the application personally be sure to call and schedule your appointment a few weeks in advance as the office hours are limited.

Rounding up the Documents

Passport sized photo

Personal statement  We each wrote a brief paragraph about why we wanted to retire in Portugal (the people, the countryside, the culture and history, etc.)  as well as where we would be residing and our type of accommodations.

Proof of Financial Means  We submitted a printout of a letter from the Social Security Administration that showed that Richard received monthly Social Security payments and the amount 2) three months of bank statements to show the money was direct deposited into our account and 3) that the monies were available to us in Portugal

Tip 1  We haven’t come across a source we can quote on the income necessary to prove financial independence but the figure we kept in mind is that 1000 Euros is considered sufficient to support a family of four in Portugal. 

Tip 2  Our lawyer advised us to keep our answers regarding financial resources as simple as possible and not to complicate this step by submitting other sources of income such as 401(k) or 403(B) pensions, savings and investments holdings, etc. as they may needlessly complicate the process.

Tip 3  We included our Marriage Certificate to show that this income was available to both of us since Anita is not eligible to receive Social Security payments yet.

Criminal Record Certificate Issued by the FBI  We had our fingerprints taken at our local police department (cost $10/person) and then worked with a company to expedite their submittal and review through the Bureau (cost $63/person).

Tip 1  A list of pre-approved FBI channelers is available online but the company we used was My FBI Report (myfbireport.com). The company notified us 4 days after they received our print cards that Richard would need to get his fingerprints retaken and resubmit them as the FBI said they were “too worn.”  The police department waived the fee for the reprinting process when we presented the receipt showing proof of our initial payment.  However the expediters charged an additional $20. Anita received her background check within 10 days and Richard’s arrived a week later.

Tip 2  A search online resulted in the suggestion that applying Corn Husker’s lotion the night before could make the fingerprint ridges more distinct. We’re not saying it does but we didn’t have to go back for a third attempt!

A Copy of Our Lease as proof that we had a place to stay in Portugal.

Tip – You can also have a resident of Portugal write you a letter of invitation that includes the address where you will be staying.

Notarized Copy of our Passport’s Information Page

Tip – We copied the pages with our photo, address and the dates the passport was valid and had a notary stamp and sign underneath.

Proof of Health Insurance  This is by far the most expensive part of the whole application process.

Tip – We’ve carried policies with high deductibles from IMG (imglobal.com) since we began traveling.  Richard’s covers every country but the US and did not require a doctor’s exam ($1,836/year) and Anita’s policy includes an allotted time in the US and required a physical exam ($3,895)

And … The Approval!

Never ones to pass up a chance to visit one of our favorite cities, Washington DC, we decided to submit our applications and the supporting documents in person.  We also wanted to ensure that everything was complete as well as address any problems immediately versus a slow back and forth through the mail. We met with our contact, Ms. Dina Silva, at the end of August for a 30 minute appointment.  She examined our applications and told us that they would be sent to the Service de Estrangeiros e Frontiers in Lisbon, Portugal.  And then we waited… On October 6th we received a note from Ms. Silva and a form requiring our signature to authorize a criminal background check in Portugal. And finally, in mid-October, three months after we had returned to the US to initiate the process, we received an email saying that our residency visas had been approved. We mailed our passports to Ms. Silva to receive our official visa stamps and registry numbers. Our departure is imminent!

“What’s next?” is another post altogether as we move forward with the visa application in Portugal.  Our initial visa is valid for 120 days and we’ll be working through the next steps with our attorney for a Permanent Residency Visa.

For those of you who made it to the end of this long post … thanks and we’re done for now!  So many people have expressed interest in how a Portuguese Residence Visa can be obtained that we wanted to write about our experience as well provide some tips. We’ve tried to be as complete and accurate as possible but, despite receiving approval on our application, we’re no experts.  It only looks simple in hindsight!

photo available at www.gratisography.com

photo available at http://www.gratisography.com

By Anita and Richard

71 comments

  • Hi Anita and Richard,

    Let me first compliment you on your fantastic blog! I really appreciate you sharing your wealth of information on your move to Portugal. My wife and I are planning to move to Porto by the end of 2017 and your blog will save us hours of frustration I’m sure. Your photos and posts detailing your travels are fantastic as well.

    I had some questions for you. How did you find the lawyer who assisted you with securing your residency visa in Portugal? With your blog and my other research, I don’t think I’ll need a lot of help, but am thinking it would be helpful for the SEF meeting and quickly setting up a bank account with NIB / NIF etc. Can you provide any sense of how much your lawyer’s services cost?

    Thanks so much and perhaps our paths will cross in Portugal.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your very kind words and we’re so glad that you’re finding our information helpful. To tell you the truth, we would have given a lot for an American expat viewpoint (kind of a reassuring hand holder that said yes, this CAN be done 😁) as the visa process is so different from the European visa process. To answer your question, we received a couple of references for different lawyers located in Lisbon, one from an online friend and one from the gentleman who helped us locate our first apartment. A lawyer is not necessary for the first phase of the visa process: the actual document roundup and application can be done in the US on your own. Once you’re here, and as you prepare for your first SEF interview to extend your 4-month visa into a year’s visa, you’ll definitely need a lawyer or a fiscal representative to help you obtain a fiscal number. You can open up a bank account on your own, obtain private health insurance, get a lease,etc. Our lawyer was helpful in providing a list of what we needed for our SEF interview and actually sat in on the interview in case any translating was necessary (English was spoken the whole time.)
      The question of cost is rather tricky as we feel we paid for the handholder (which was reassuring at the time but not necessary) as well as the legal advice. In other words and to be blunt, we overpaid. What we’d recommend is contacting an attorney (our lawyer is Duarte Monteiro at dom@lugna.pt ) but cost out each service rather than pay a “package” cost which is what we did. It looks like you’ve done a lot of research already, have a city picked out and feel comfortable with figuring out things on your own which is the best way to approach expat life. Just as in the States, a lawyer is necessary for some things and great if you need questions answered but there’s a lot of things you can do on your own. 🙂
      Hope this helps!

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  • Does one even need a visa at all? If one visited under a tourist passport, rented a place and applied on the spot could they do so?

    and is it absolutely necessary to show proof financial sustainability at while applying for residency permit?

    Your blog is the best ever!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Greg and thanks for your kind words! To answer your questions which really cut to the heart of the matter:
      1) As far as we know, you need to apply for the long-term Visa (4 months) from your home country which includes the background check and then enter Portugal under that particular visa. Rather confusingly, the application is also entitled “Schengen Visa” but the documentation supplied along with it is the groundwork for the residency process. Once you’re in the country, the extra time will allow you to get settled in and acquire some of the Portuguese documents necessary for the next visa, a 1-year authorization.
      2) And proving that you have income is very important as far as Portugal in concerned. The economy is still recovering from the economic downturn and Portugal does not want to foreigners competing with its citizens for jobs, Probably one of the main reasons the residency visas are relatively easy to get for Portugal is that foreign expats pump a lot of money into the economy and provide jobs.
      Thanks for stopping by our blog Greg and hope we answered your questions!

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  • I just signed up for your blog as I really enjoyed your stories; It’s very informative. We recently returned from traveling to France for 8 weeks but we did take a 11 day side trip to Portugal. We went north to Nazare and Porto besides some time in Lisbon. One of my concerns is the money conversion from USD to euros. It seems everybody is in your pockets. We used credit cards with no transactions fees, etc but how have you minimized currency conversions? Payment of 800 euros a month requires something else.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi David! We’re so glad you’ve enjoyed our blog and thanks for stopping by our blog and commenting. We check the rate between the dollar and the euro and the conversion is almost equal now which, for US citizens anyway, means that we get a lot more bang for the buck.
      As for “Keeping everyone out of our pockets… :)” we’ve come up with a way that works well for us with no foreign transaction fees for either our ATM debit cards or our credit cards. Although we’ve signed the paperwork with our bank in the US in case we want to transfer a large amount of money, we haven’t needed to do this yet. However, our savings and checking accounts are still in the US. Richard receives his montly Social Security check which is deposited directly to our Charles Schwab account and we transfer additional money to Charles Schwab to cover our monthly expenses. Schwab REIMBURSES/refunds our foreign ATM fees at the end every month. We use our Schwab debit card to withdraw the money from the ATM for rent, groceries, etc. and deposit cash in our Portuguese account each month to cover direct debits like our phone as well as wiring our rent to our Irish landlord. And like you, we’ve avoided foreign transaction fees by using the traveler’s credit cards from Capital One and Bank of America. If you are a US citizen it’s relatively straightforward to set up a Charles Schwab investment account and then you can set up a checking account. This has saved us hundreds of dollars over the years and kept the “sticky fingers” out of our pockets! Hope this answers your question!

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  • Hi Anita and Richard – I’m eagerly reading your blog after discovering it today. My husband and I are nearing retirement and we’d love to spend some extended time in Portugal or elsewhere in Europe. We’ve been discouraged at the cost of international medical insurance. Can you tell me which IMG policy that Richard has/had? When I key in the information for my husband at IMG Global for an annual policy good outside of the US, Canada and some Asian countries – the lowest level policy, with the highest deductible is more than twice the amount you indicated. I’ve configured the quotes every which way with similar results. And secondly, once you got your residency permit and purchased your Médis policies, do you drop the International policy? Thanks for your help!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by our blog Pam and we’re so glad you’re enjoying some of our posts. We agree that travel insurance is outrageously expensive and the costs only increase as potential clients age. I’m not sure why your price quote was so different from what we actually paid for Richard’s annual policy and, in fact, I recently renewed my policy which includes coverage in the US for $4,200/year. The only reason I can think of for the price discrepancy is that we first purchased the policies 4 years ago so possibly the price increase is for a new policy? We do know that every year the prices increase and this year Richard, who is covered by Medicare in the US, dropped his IMG policy once he qualified for private insurance in Portugal. I’ll continue to carry mine since we visit the US every year but the prices are getting high enough for me to think about dropping it altogether, too and taking the risk… Anita

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  • Excellent post, enjoyed reading. I really related to your first few paragraphs – we’re full-time, slow travellers as you are and the Schengen arrangement a bit troublesome for us as Canadians. Although we love full-time travel we’re slowly starting to feel that we’d like to have a base somewhere, at least for part of the year. A place that we can bring some of our storage stuff to (still back in Canada) and that we can call home for at least part of the year. And cheap enough that we can still travel without it being a noose around our necks.

    We’ve had our eye set on Croatia and did much like you over the last month – hired a lawyer to look into our situation. Although a temporary extension not so hard to get (insurance, sufficient savings/income, a lease) we ALSO wanted to see if we could at a certain point get permanent residency. Rules stipulate that after 5 years of temporary extensions you can get permanent residency. What they don’t tell you, and we found out through the lawyer, is that there are different categories of temporary visa extensions and that in our case we would not be able to get permanent residency after 5 years UNLESS we started a company or bought property. We’re trying to simplify out lives, not complicate it, so that’s out. So it’s put a bit of a damper on our plans here. We could get all the temporary extensions we want, stay as long as we want, but we’re still young enough (almost 50) that we also want to work towards living in Europe and becoming, at one point, permanent residents.

    So now you’re getting temporary extensions in Portugal. Are you looking to at some point being permanent residents? Are the rules strict in Portugal?

    Incidentally, we’ll be in Portugal at the end of the month using Lisbon as our base for the month of August. We haven’t decided what we want to do for Sept/Oct but it’ll be Portugal and/or Spain. With Croatia on the side for now, we’ll be exploring the area with a new purpose.

    Frank (bbqboy)

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    • Hi Frank!
      You’re playing our song and singing the refrain in harmony! As I was reading your comment I was nodding my head because I can so understand a lot of the important points you’ve covered. We also sold all of our stuff, including our house finally a couple of years ago to simplify so the appeal of buying property or investing in a company (in effect buying your visa) had absolutely NO appeal for us. We do plan on applying for a permanent visa at the end of the 5 year period under the qualification of retirees. All we have to do is show bank statements that we have an income (I believe the magic number for a couple is about 1000 Euros/month) and ongoing health insurance coverage. We can apply to become citizens, very appealing since holding dual passports would be advantageous (once we pass a language test which MIGHT be difficult if we don’t get our butts in gear!) after 6 years.
      I know that there are various residency visas available and Portugal is eager for new residents who are self supporting and add to the economy. I get the impression that there is a workable solution for almost everyone interested! My suggestion would be to contact a lawyer in Portugal to discuss your options. Since you’ll be in Lisbon in August that might be the perfect time to explore your options. If you’d like I can send you the name of our lawyer (conveniently based in Lisbon) if you’d like to call him.
      We’d love to meet you while you’re in Portugal and the Algarve is close (by North American standards anyway!) about 4 hours by bus. We’ll be around until mid-August and then will be heading back to the US for several weeks to see fam and friends, returning the beginning of October. We always love an excuse to visit Lisbon or, you’re welcome to visit us and see a bit of the Algarve region that we’re so smitten with!
      I’m going to send my email so that we can continue this conversation if you’d like. Thanks for stopping by and commenting! (I’ve actually read your comments on several blogs I follow and noticed them because of your distinctive logo.) Always fun to meet a fellow traveler! 🙂 Anita

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  • This has been a brilliantly informative post, so thank you SO much for sharing all this info! 🙂 I had 3 quick questions for you, if that is ok?
    1. Did you have to have any documents translated, and if so, which ones and did it have to be by their designated translator/agent?
    2. Did you have to have any documents Apostilled, and if so, at which stage (before translation for instance, or after)?
    3. Would you recommend having a lawyer in Portugal to help with all the paperwork, as you guys have done, as it is ‘affordable’ (I do understand that is relative however)?
    We are in process of getting documents ready now for our family of four, and were wondering because, as you said, it’s hard to nail down any solid information online. Thank you so very very much for your time in replying, and we are very excited to follow along your new chapter!! Cheers!

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    • Hi Leah and thanks for stopping by our blog. Congratulations to you and your family on the big step you’re taking – a great adventure awaits! For our first visa, the long term one that we applied for in the US, nothing had to be translated or apostilled. We’ll be visiting one of the SEF (immigration) offices in January to renew our visa and provide a few more documents (a rental agreement, and recent bank statements) and this time, the visa will be good for one year. There is no mention of translations needed for this step either and we’ll post about our preparation and experience once we go through the next step. There seems to be many opinions about whether or not a lawyer is needed but we feel that having an expert to help us through the legal process has smoothed out some of the bumps – our short answer about the lawyer is yes. Should you want to research a bit further there is a Facebook page “Americans in Portugal” that we discovered recently that may prove to be helpful and one of the members, Susan Korthause, has written information (similar to what we wrote) about the process. She may prove to be a very good contact. We’ll be looking forward to hearing how your visa application goes!

      Liked by 1 person

  • Well, on my first ever visit to Portugal next month, I’ll be keeping your post on my mind. The hubby and I have often talked about moving to Europe in no small part because it opens up tremendous European travel opportunities. Portugal sounds like an amazing choice. Enjoy your new home!

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    • I think you’ve cited one of the main reasons we are pursuing a residency visa – the opportunity to travel throughout Europe and the other nearby countries easily and without the time constraints of a tourist visa. And, like we said in this post, there are many reasons why Portugal is a good fit for us. We’re looking forward to settling in, learning about the people, history and customs as well as finding a community that will give us the feeling of “home.” If Lagos appears on your itinerary while you’re in Portugal give us a shout and we’ll meet for a meal or some Portuguese coffee!

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  • Congratulations and welcome to Europe!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Rachel. Our choice to travel full-time 3 years ago has been the best decision we’ve ever made but I think this decision to set up a base in Portugal is going to be a close second. There are so many places easily accessible from Portugal and we’re looking forward to learning about our new adopted country as well as many others.

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  • Woohoo!!! Anita and Richard, that’s fantastic. Congrats. Having lived overseas before we can appreciate the red tape and paperwork involved to make it happen. So here are my questions. 1) Does the residency visa also serve as a Schengen visa allowing you to travel about with no time restrictions? 2) Have you decided where you might live? 3) When do you leave?
    I’m so thrilled for you! All the best, Terri

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  • Excellent post and I read it raptly through to the end—even though I won’t be applying for a residency visa in Portugal for the foreseeable future. It must be the lawyer thing. I’ve read fine print for a living for many years. Do you know where you’ll be living in Portugal?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Suzanne and we’re glad that you found the post interesting even though you’re not pursuing a residency visa. As a recovering lawyer you must have much more patience with moving piles of paper than we do! Although there are more hoops to jump through once we get to Portugal the most complicated part is done and we’re looking forward to settling into life as expats. We’ve rented an apartment in Lagos in the Algarve Region and plan to stay there for the first year although there are several other areas we’ll have to check out too.

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  • Congratulations, it seems that you knew that this is/was the place for you. It is good to have a base and this will be an invaluable article for all those also considering Portugal as a new home.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We’d read a lot about Portugal before our visit and were so pleased that it lived up to its positive reviews. It’s going to be a terrific fit for us and promises to be a fascinating place to explore its culture and history. We’re hoping that anyone looking into obtaining a residency visa will find some useful info here, especially those from the US.

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  • So many hoops to go through but it sounds like you are headed for a wonderful experience! Can I visit you? 🙂
    This post should be so helpful to anyone following a similar path~

    Liked by 1 person

    • Irene, you’d be welcome any time! It’s amazing how many of our friends have expressed an interest in visiting us next year – definitely a great choice and we’re looking forward to houseguests. The Algarve Region has been a popular retirement area for Europeans for years and I think that increasing numbers of US citizens as well as Canadians will be checking it out as well as other areas in Portugal as a full time retirement area once they realize that a residency visa can be obtained with a little patience and perseverence!

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  • I also read every word. We talk at length about living abroad. Your post answers so many questions which we truly appreciate. So many things to consider…and such a huge decision. I’ll let you know what we decide.

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    • We’ve met many expats from both the US and Canada who have gone through the residency process in several Central and South American Countries and, like you, had talked about living abroad. It was just a matter of finding the right place to make the time and effort worth it and we think Portugal will be a great choice. We’ll be interested in hearing if you decide to make the jump to expat too!

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  • Congratulations! I read every word of this, and there is a very good chance that one of these day I will be giving this a try. My upcoming 2 months in Portugal will my first visit, but from what I am reading and hearing I think I am already in love 🙂 One of my reasons for visiting is to explore retirement options. Thanks for the great info. and I’ll be watching for more.

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    • We’re so glad you found our information to be useful and we plan to write more as things unfold. One of the reasons that we wrote about the application experience in such great detail is that we’ve received a lot of questions about the process as well as navigating the bureaucracy. Once you have a chance to experience Portugal next year we’ll have to get together and compare notes. Looking forward to meeting you!

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  • Wow! Congratulations! We spent 5 days in Porto earlier this year and I loved, loved, loved, the city. I would welcome the opportunity to return to Portugal and explore other parts of the country, especially since I am 1/2 Portuguese!

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  • Wow, thanks for this article! We flirted with the idea of living in Europe for a longer time, too. What are you guys doing about healthcare? That is what has been preventing us. BTW, on my application for citizenship in the US, I was asked to apply cornhuskers’ oil for a month so the second attempt at fingerprinting would succeed. I did, but that one was still a failure. The good thing was that after 2 tries, the requirement was waived for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So the “secret” of Corn Huskers” lotion is out! And it’s great that they took your prints after faithfully applying it for a month. It’s a long ways from the movies when they can identify their suspect from a partial print and us law abiding citizens can’t even get a background check completed! As for healthcare, we’ll start figuring that out once we’re in the country and look at some of the policies that are available for Portugal. Until we get that question answered we’ll end up paying out of pocket as we’ve done throughout our travels. So far we know that getting our teeth cleaned by the dentist is $60 each and we’re hoping that the other costs fall in line. Not a great solution but we do have the high deductible policies to cover us in case of a serious problem or emergency. We’ll definitely write about healthcare in a later post as we know a lot of people who are interested in what we find out!

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  • Loved your post. Just hope i won’t have lots of problems with Canada’s bureaucracy if I ever want ot live in France full time!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by Jan. We have Canadian friends who will be checking out both Portugal and Spain in the next few months with the idea of picking out one or the other and applying for a residency. At this time they plan to split their time between Canada (in the warmer months) and Europe while still fulfilling their in-country time to keep their Canadian health care benefits. You’re way ahead of the US with this benefit!

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  • Great article guys, such good tips and details. Looking forward to our follow up interview on The Expat Chat once you get settled in. Safe flight!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Thank you so much for putting this post together and sharing useful and reliable information. I will keep it in my “international” folder…

    Liked by 1 person

    • So glad you enjoyed this post and hope the information is helpful. We’ve had several friends apply for and receive residency visas in many Latin American countries (Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua & Ecuador) but Portugal seems to have a few more hoops to jump through. We’ll be following this post with more info in a couple of months about the next steps that are required when we return.

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  • Keep us posted on the Visa process for Portugal. We enjoy your blog and share your adventures.

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  • Congratulations!! So glad to hear this news and thank you for such detailed information, I have a feeling this post is going to be a frequently read one 😉 and very much looking forward to seeing you there next year.

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    • You’re right in saying that there’s a lot of interest in Portugal right now and many are considering relocating to it as well. For residents of the Schengen countries it’s relatively simple to relocate to another country in the zone and even for EU residents outside the zone its fairly straightforward. However, for those of us on the outside the information is a bit sketchy so we’re hoping that this post will be a helpful resource. And we’re looking forward to seeing you and Denny in a few months!

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  • Great news! Looking forward to hearing that you get your permanent residency. Until we retire, we are spending many of our school breaks in Europe. Spent a few days in Munich for Oktoberfest, just got back from Sevilla, Málaga, and Granada and are headed to Vienna in a few weeks. Portugal is on our “list”. Congrats!

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    • We’ll definitely be writing about the next steps in the permanent residency process. It’s interesting to note the buzz about Portugal as well as how many people from the US are interested in information regarding the residency visa. And we’re looking forward to following your footsteps and travels in Germany, Spain, Austria … All of Europe awaits!

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  • Wow! This information is impressive! Congratulations, and thank you for explaining the process in detail. We are investigating health insurance options right now for Nicaragua. So far, our best option is to buy Blue Cross/Blue Shield from Costa Rica. It is a Latin American based company and much cheaper than buying the Blue Cross/Blue Shield from the U.S. Plus, it will cover us in 180 countries including the U.S. So many decisions to make when relocating abroad, right?

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    • Health insurance is substantially cheaper any place but the US and you’re lucky to find an affordable policy that will even include the US! And you’re so right about the multitude of decisions that have to be made when you decide to live in another country. It seems that nothing can be taken for granted! That said, however, life still seems simpler when living abroad …

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  • Congratulations on not only surviving but making the process a positive experience. Your attitude is amazing-proof that it’s about the journey not the destination! No doubt you’ll fare well during the legal process in Portugal. Happy trails!

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    • Waiting is not something we do well! We’re eager to return back to Portugal to begin our new lives as expats and these visas will greatly simplify our lives as well as give us the opportunity to explore Portugal and Europe at our leisure. Fortunately, we’ll have lawyers to assist us with the Portugal side as we move on to the next step in the residency visa process.

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  • I’m glad to hear you got your visas. It certainly required some patience and persistence. I hope the Permanent Residency Visa process is a little simpler. I didn’t realize there could be issues with capturing fingerprints but this is the second case I’ve read about in just a few months. Enjoy Portugal.

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    • Who would have thought that getting suitable prints would be such a problem in this era of CSI technology?! Evidently, as we age, the prints can become worn and less distinct. In our former lives we’ve both had to submit our prints for our work but never really thought much about the process. What was funny to us though, was when we googled how to get legible fingerprints for the criminal background check there were pages and pages of information on how to make your prints unreadable. For us law abiding citizens it took some work to discover how to improve the ridges!

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  • Nice work, guys! Very straightforward and methodical it would seem! Can’t wait to hear more about the digs!

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    • Woo Hoo, Betsy! It’s been several months since we talked with you about our idea to obtain a residency visa for Portugal and, finally, its happened! The process has been tedious and required a lot of patience but we’re looking forward to the change from nomadic travelers to having some “digs” of our own. Nothing fancy but it will be nice to have familiar surroundings to return to when we travel – the comforts of “home!”

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  • Congratulations on your residence and this very thorough explanation of the process. I wish I could do the same for Turkey but the rules seem to change each year. But then again that’s why people say “TIT” here: “This Is Turkey”.

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  • Kudos for your clarity and your persistence. I bet you’re starting to get pretty excited about now!
    We’re off to San Miguel in Mexico for 5 months in Jan. Time to slow down a bit. This post has given me a little inspiration for something for the future – not Portugal necessarily, but something like it.
    Alison

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    • When we applied for our normal-length China visa, I was surprised at the industries that sprang up to expedite the process. Same for Portugal with the residency visa, I see. Congrats for the visa, and thanks for the tips. I can’t wait for the Portugal stories to come.

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    • Thanks Alison. We are both “persistent” by nature (a positive way to say stubborn!) a trait that has served us well in our former lives as well as our current paths as travelers. Very rarely is there NO answer or just one way. And we are really looking forward to getting out of the holding pattern that this visa process has resulted in and beginning our next chapter as expats in Portugal. Enjoy your temporary base in San Miguel and the comforts of your new “home.” Everything is appreciated when you live with less!

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