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City in Portugal

Moving to Portugal will offer you a friendly population, mild climate and varied cuisine. The country is the westernmost point of Europe and is rich in history, tradition and career opportunities. Your life will be colourful and definitely influenced by the relaxed lifestyle typical for places with a Mediterranean climate.

Before making a move to Portugal, it is advisable to familiarise yourself with the language and the specifics of the country. We have prepared a short guide to guide you in your upcoming home moving adventure.

A little bit more about the language of Portugal

The official language spoken in the country is Portuguese, which is used in municipal and educational institutions, as well as by the official media. It belongs to the Romance language group and has four main dialect groups: central (Beira), southern (Estremenho), insular and Brazilian. Note that all dialects are mutually intelligible. The Portuguese language has clearly established rules and if you make the effort, you will learn it relatively easily.

If you are fluent in Spanish, you will also be able to adapt quickly in the country. Spanish and Portuguese have very similar vocabulary and grammar rules. Despite the many similarities in languages and the common border with Spain, the most common foreign language in Portugal is English. It is taught as a second language in schools. It is also spoken by a significant proportion of the population in traditionally touristic locations.

Choosing and moving to a new home

Your move to Portugal is related to finding a suitable home. Start early with your housing search because the property market in larger cities is dynamic. Fixed-term (contrato com prazo certo) and open-ended (contrato por duração indeterminada) contracts are available, with a minimum rental period of one year. If you are looking for a home for a short period, you can go for holiday lets.

In most cases, utilities are not included in rental contracts. You'll need to sign individual contracts to pay your electricity, internet, water and gas bills. If you want these included, you should look for a listing with a despesas incluídas clause listed in the description.

You'll find different types of property, from studios in the more developed cities, to typical Portuguese farmhouses that are located in the quieter areas of the country. In case you're leading towards renting an apartment, you'll need to familiarize yourself with the specific terminology. You will come across housing with the designations T0, T1, T2, T3. The numbers correspond to the number of bedrooms in the home: T1 is a one-bedroom apartment, T2 is a two-bedroom. Apartments also have a kitchen or kitchenette, living room and bathroom. The designation T0 indicates that the home is a studio, and if you see +1 (T2+1), it means there is an extra room without windows.

Properties that are rented are either furnished (mobilado) or unfurnished (sem mobilia). Unfurnished ones almost always come with kitchen appliances and a functioning bathroom. Depending on which property you choose, you should think carefully about how you will transport your possessions to it.

Find your new job

All EU and EEA nationals are exempt from a work visa if they want to work in the country. If they wish to work for more than 90 days in Portugal, they must obtain a residence permit and register their address with City Hall in order to obtain a tax number from Finanças. It is advisable for all UK and other third country nationals to familiarise themselves with the visa requirements and check with the Portuguese Embassy in their country beforehand.

The average salary in Portugal is €2,750 per month. It varies greatly according to the chosen sector, experience and location. There are three legal minimum wages in the country. These are the national wage, the Azores wage and the Madeira archipelago wage. All three are relatively low compared to other European countries, but the living standard in Portugal is more affordable.

More and more international companies are expanding their operations and open offices in larger cities. This provides more job opportunities for people who do not speak Portuguese. The standard working week in the country is 40 hours. The working day allows up to 2 hours of rest, depending on the company you work for. Building a corporate network and maintaining warm relationships with colleagues will help you progress faster. To maintain these, it is advisable to attend some of the many professional events that are organised in more developed cities.

A city and a beach in Portugal

Moving to Portugal with kids

Before moving with your child, you should familiarise yourself with the country's education system. Pre-school education is public and private and is not compulsory. If you choose public care, you have the option of sending your child for 25 hours per week, and any additional hours are paid.

From age 6 to 18, your child is required to attend school. There are a variety of public, private and church schools in the country. Public and Catholic schools teach in Portuguese and if your child does not speak it, they will have difficulty. More and more of them are including extra classes in the local language so that migrant children can adjust more quickly to the learning environment and not have to repeat a school year.

If you want your child to feel comfortable and want them to study in a language, they are already familiar with, you can look into private education. Most fee-paying schools are located around the larger cities in Portugal. They provide flexibility in teaching methods and a good base for the future development of their pupils.

Most undergraduate degrees offered at universities in the country have Portuguese as the main language of teaching. In case you want to study there and you do not have a good command of the language, it is advisable to go to a private institution. Almost all universities will require you to take a basic exam in Portuguese and it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the language beforehand.

Moving to Portugal with kids

If you are moving with a dog, cat or ferret from an EU member state, your pet will need a valid passport, an ISO 11784/11785 microchip and the AVID 9 and AVID 10 extensions or a visible tattoo. To move to Portugal with your pet, it must be vaccinated against rabies. If you are coming from a third country with a high risk of rabies infection, you must provide a blood sample from the animal three months before you move. Your dog or cat must also enter the country through one of the relevant airports in the cities of Lisbon, Porto, Faro, Funchal, Ponta Delgada, Ilha Terceira or Beja.

There are no banned dog breeds in the country, but there are some that fall under the list of animals prone to aggression. You can move to Portugal with them, but you must fill in a declaration of responsibility if you are staying for less than four months, and if you are going to be in the country for a longer period, the relevant notification to the specific municipality.

Invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, birds, rodents and rabbits are allowed in Portugal. They must have a veterinary certificate identifying the animal and certifying its good health. The document must be issued up to five days before crossing the border and have a Portuguese translation.

Driving in the country

In Portugal, all driving licences of EU and EEA nationals are accepted as valid. Exchanging them for a Portuguese licence is not compulsory, but if you want to use your document you will need to inform your local office (IMT).

Portugal has agreements with some third countries that allow their licences to be exchanged for Portuguese ones. These are Brazil, Switzerland, Morocco, Andorra, Mozambique, Sao Tome and Principe, the United Arab Emirates, Angola and all countries that have joined the International Convention on Road Traffic. Their nationals can change their licence without taking an exam, within 185 days of moving to the country.

Non-EU and non-EEA licence holders who do not have special agreements are allowed to drive in Portugal using their foreign licence for a certain period of time or using an international driving licence. Familiarise yourself in advance with the requirements for the documents needed and whether you will need to take equivalence tests when you replace your document.

Before moving to Portugal, you should know that most major cities in the country are connected by motorways. To use them you will need to subscribe to the Via Verde electronic toll system. By paying a monthly fee, you can drive around the country without being stopped on the road and charged individually for each trip you make.

Public transport is well-developed, affordable and an everyday choice for many people. The most commonly used transport in the cities is the bus, and in Lisbon and Porto the metro provides fast travel for residents. If you don't own a car, you can easily visit another city by intercity bus or train.

Health insurance in the country

Portugal has a mixed health system that includes well-developed and quality public and private services. Public healthcare is managed by the Portuguese national health system, the Serviço Nacional de Saúde (SNS). To qualify for free medical services, you must register for Portuguese social and health insurance. Once you get your health number (Número de Utente) and health card (cartao do utente), you must show them at check-ups to prove that you have access to health services. Most of these are free, but you may have to pay some fees when visiting emergency departments, your GP or when calling an ambulance. These range from €5 to €20.

Depending on where you move to in Portugal, you have to follow different procedures to join the public health system. EU, EEA and Swiss nationals can access public healthcare through their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if they are temporarily residents in the country. If they want to move for a longer period, they must register with a national health system by submitting their documents.

If you are coming from a third country, it is advisable to find out if it has special agreements with Portugal to receive healthcare. The procedures for enrolment in the public health system have been simplified for nationals of Andorra, Brazil, Cape Verde and Morocco. Other third-country residents will either need to submit additional documents such as a work visa and a residence permit in order to access public insurance. They can purchase private health insurance if they do not meet the requirements. Private insurance covers all costs and most packages include dental examinations and care.

Nature and climate

Portugal combines long sunny days with opportunities for snowy adventures. Despite its geographical location and lack of contact with the Mediterranean Sea, the climate along its coast is Mediterranean. It is influenced by the Atlantic Ocean, which lowers the average summer temperatures a little. This applies both to the mainland coast and to the island regions of the Azores and the Madeira archipelago.

Although the country's climate varies from region to region, once you move to Portugal you will experience hot summers, moderately rainy winters and mild autumns and springs. There is rainier weather in the northern parts of the country, but Portugal is sunny and warm throughout most of the year.

Moving to Portugal can be intimidating at first, but with the help of a professional moving company, you'll put worries on the back burner. The team at Movega Removals will assist you throughout the entire process, from making a quote based on your needs to unpacking your belongings in your new home. Trust a company with experience in moving by contacting us through our contact form or chat bot.

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