Considering a move from New Zealand to Portugal? Here’s what you need to know about Portugal and how it compares to New Zealand.

Last Updated on July 8, 2022 by Laila Oliveira

Moving from New Zealand to Portugal is a journey across the world that’s completely worth it. Portugal is a popular destination for expats and has so many reasons to be so! But how can you move from New Zealand to Portugal?

From beautiful beaches to a promise of better weather all year round, it doesn’t come as a surprise why expats choose Portugal as a retirement destination. This article will help you understand everything you need to know before making this major move. 

By the end, you’ll know the legal technicalities, types of visas, the difference in living costs, and other details. Stick around to find out more!

How to move from New Zealand to Portugal

The process of moving from New Zealand to Portugal begins by getting the proper documentation to guarantee your stay in Portugal. You’ll need to get a residency permit through the residency visa process. 

Let’s look at how you would apply for the Residence Permit from New Zealand.

How to apply for a Portugal residence Visa from New Zealand

There are several types of visas that guarantee every Non-EU citizen entry into Portugal. Getting a residency visa is the first step that allows entry into the country. Later, you can apply for a residency permit, especially if you want to stay in Portugal for more than 90 days.

Start the visa application process by contacting a Portuguese consulate in New Zealand. However, an alternative route is obtaining a residency permit before getting a Visa. Investors can take advantage of the Golden Visa in this case. We’ll talk more about that later in the article so keep reading till the end!


What are the types of Portugal Residence Visa that New Zealanders may apply for?

Essentially there are three types of Visas that guarantee you entry into Portugal:

  • The Schengen Visa guarantees you a short stay in Portugal for up to 90 days.
  • The Temporary Stay Visa gives you a legal stay in Portugal for up to 1 year.
  • The Residence Visa is for anyone looking to stay in Portugal longer than 1 year.

When it comes to the Residence Visa, there are several types of this visa that you can apply for in New Zealand, depending on your reasons for relocating to Portugal. The good news is that each one of these types of residency visas gives you the chance to apply for a residency permit once you arrive in Portugal.

  • The D1 Visa: Also referred to as a work permit, is issued to anyone who has secured a work contract in Portugal.
  • The D2 Visa: This is for independent entrepreneurs looking to start a business in Portugal.
  • The D3 Visa: Almost similar to the work permit, this visa is exclusive to highly qualified professionals as defined by Portuguese law
  • The D4 Visa: This is a study visa for university students.
  • The D5 Visa: Family reunification visa
  • The D6 Visa: Is for pensioners and those with passive income. It’s ideal for those looking to retire in Portugal.

Read also: All About Visas To Portugal: Full Guide To Relocate To Portugal In 2022.

Documentation needed to move from New Zealand to Portugal

There are many documents that you’ll need to present depending on the type of residence visa you apply for. For instance, if you’re applying for the D1 and D3 visas, you’ll need to provide proof of a work contract from your prospective employer in Portugal.

On the other hand, for you to get a study visa or the D4, you’ll need to secure admission to a university in Portugal and be able to show proof of the admission. 


Generally, for every type of residence visa you apply for, you’ll need to present a different set of documentation because the reasons for relocation are also diverse. 

The following are some standard documents that you’d need to submit with your Visa application:

  • Valid Passport;
  • Signed Visa application;
  • International travel insurance;
  • Proof of job/business and accommodation in Portugal;
  • Criminal Records Certificate issued by your country of origin (and other recently visited countries);
  • Permission to consult the Portuguese criminal registry by SEF.

Obtaining a Residence Permit to live in Portugal from New Zealand

While New Zealand nationals don’t need to have a visa for a short-term visit to Portugal, you’ll need a residence permit to live and stay in Portugal. New Zealanders must meet the following requirements to get a residence permit:

  • Must have an employment contract or be self-employed in Portugal;
  • Must possess a valid student visa and show proof of enrollment to a university;
  • Must have a business visa, a company, or a startup;
  • Must make the minimum prerequisite investment according to the Golden Visa requirements; 
  • Must have a retirement pension or a regulated passive income investment scheme.

However, in the event that you’re already in Portugal and want to live permanently, you need to present a statement of interest. Additionally, you need to be on the social security program and have a job or a promise of one. 

What do New Zealanders need to do to apply for the Portugal Golden Visa?

The Golden Visa program is an incentive for investors to consider investing in Portugal with a promise of other benefits that come with Portuguese citizenship. Essentially this program is open to non-EU, EAA, or Swiss nationals; therefore, as a New Zealander, you’re also eligible for this program.

The very first thing to do is determine what qualifying investment you wish to start in Portugal, for instance, real estate, capital transfer, or subscription to a fund.

The Golden Visa route is quite intense as compared to the other types of visas. Nonetheless, here are some requirements for the Golden Visa qualifying investments:

  • Create job opportunities through a company or a startup;
  • Donate €250,000 to a Portuguese national heritage of your choice or €500,000 to an R&D project based in Portugal; 
  • Make a capital transfer of €1.5 million;
  • Purchase €500,000 worth of property in certain regions in Portugal.

What is the Cost of Living in Portugal compared to New Zealand?

Chances are, your reasons to move from New Zealand to Portugal are the prospects of quality life and the relatively lower cost of living. But how does the cost of living in Portugal compare to New Zealand though?

According to Numbeo, consumer prices inclusive of rent are 56.27% higher in New Zealand compared to Portugal. Of course, the real cost of living differs from household to household. Your spending habits and the choice of city will heavily influence how much you spend on a month-to-month basis.

One rule of thumb that you should be aware of is that major cities and neighborhoods with a huge expat community are more expensive than smaller regions. Although, rent in Portugal is also 41.56% lower than in New Zealand. 

How much is rent in Portugal?

When it comes to renting, different cities have different costs for rent. It goes without saying that bigger cities like Lisbon and Porto cost more to rent than smaller regions like the Madeira Islands. 

Having said that, here’s how rent compares in some popular cities, as detailed by Idealista (as of July 2022). 

A region in PortugalMonthly rent for 50 m² apartment

What are the best places to live in Portugal?

Anyone choosing to move from New Zealand to Portugal without a scouting tour may get overwhelmed with the many beautiful cities that Portugal offers. Here are a few popular choices just to get you started:


The capital of Portugal has a lot to be desired, and it doesn’t come as a surprise that it’s the most popular destination in the country.

This beautiful city has everything you wish for; a rich history, excellent cuisine, a huge expat community, and growth opportunities. It’s also a great option if you want to enter the corporate world since Lisbon is a tech hub. 


This is the second-largest city in Portugal. It’s famous among expats who are looking to live in a city setting that is relatively cheaper than Lisbon. The infrastructural developments are pretty similar to Lisbon’s.


If access to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world means something to you, then you ought to consider the Algarve as your possible destination. There are a lot of smaller towns within the Algarve region that have everything that the bigger cities offer, but with less chaos. 


Dreamt of living on an island deep in the heart of the Atlantic? Then Madeira is calling. This city is home to some of the most attractive landscapes you can find. What’s more, the cost of living is not as high as in other bigger towns like Lisbon and Porto.

Where do New Zealanders usually live in Portugal?

Like many other expats from all over the world, New Zealanders have found a home in the two biggest cities in Portugal; Lisbon and Porto. Besides these two cities, you’ll also find many expats from New Zealand in popular tourist destinations like Albufeira in the Algarve region. 

How is the Portuguese Economy?

Despite the global inflation crisis, the Portuguese economy is ranked 21st among 45 countries in Europe. That’s quite above the regional and world averages. The country’s economy has been on the rise since the financial crisis of 2008, which saw a downfall in unemployment. 

For many years, Portugal remained a secret, but it’s slowly attracting hundreds of foreign investors who can see the potential.

According to the 2022 Index of Economic Freedom data, the Portuguese economy has been recovering rapidly since the Covid19 recession. Travel bans are no longer a hindrance, and the economy continues to flourish.

If we talk about business and work opportunities, Lisbon and Porto are the top 2 cities where expats flock to grow professionally. The economy is heavily linked to tourism, and with Portugal becoming so popular lately, the economy is progressing. 

Is Portugal Safe?

The Global Peace Index 2021 ranked Portugal as the fourth-safest country to live in. 

The country is not only safe but peaceful as well; the Portuguese locals are friendly no matter who you are and go out of their way to offer help.


Violent crime is rare, thanks to the strict firearm regulations in Portugal, and so is any form of discrimination. However, there are incidents of petty crimes like pickpocketing and phone snatching. 

What is public healthcare like in Portugal for Immigrants?

Public healthcare in Europe is amazing, and Portugal is right up there when it comes to quality health care. The public healthcare system Sistema Nacional de Saúde (SNS) offers proper health care to locals and expats. 

You should know that public healthcare in Portugal is absolutely free (in most cases) for locals and expats with legal residence in Portugal. However, if you’re a tourist and fall ill, you’ll have to pay for medical expenses if you don’t have travel insurance.

What is the weather like in Portugal?

As far as weather is concerned, different regions have different weather patterns. Despite that, you can always rely on enough sunshine all year round in Portugal.

The Atlantic ocean greatly influences the climate of this nation; it regulates the temperatures in the summer and winters beautifully. The winters are mild while the summer is nice and hot as expected.

Let’s take a look at the average weather statistics from the table below:

Maximum temperature27 °C
(80.6 °F)
26 °C
(78.8 °F)
28 °C
(82.4 °F)
23 °C
(73.4 °F)
Minimum temperature9 °C
(48.2 °F)
6 °C
(42.8 °F)
11 °C
(51.8 °F)
13 °C
(55.4 °F)
Average Rainfall49 mm
(1.9 in)
107 mm
(4.2 in)
41 mm
(1.6 in)
84 mm
(3.3 in)
Average Humidity74%76%69%78%

The data was taken from the Climate Data website.

What are the pros and cons of moving from New Zealand to Portugal?

Moving from one country to another is a life-altering decision that you need to think through carefully. While moving from New Zealand to Portugal is good, you should know that there are a few downsides that you should expect. 

Here are a few pros and cons to consider before you move from New Zealand to Portugal:


  • Portugal is 38% cheaper than New Zealand
  • Nice weather all year round
  • The local population is welcoming
  • Numerous incentives for investors in Portugal
  • Expat community


  • Language barrier initially
  • The public system is too bureaucratic

When are you moving to Portugal from New Zealand?

So are you ready to make this major life-changing move? It’s not easy to move from New Zealand to Portugal, but it sure is worth it! Think of all the new experiences, a much safer and more affordable lifestyle, and numerous beaches to relax at. 

Consider joining our Facebook Group – All About Portugal For Expats to talk to more expats like yourself. It’s a platform where you can ask questions, clear your doubts, and learn from others’ experiences. 
If you require professional assistance at any point in time, feel free to contact Viv Europe and turn your dream into a reality. We’d love to help!

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