Find out how to move from Pakistan to Portugal in our full article. Visas, investment types, and moving tips. Check it out!

Last Updated on March 22, 2023 by Maryam Siddiqui

Welcome to the diverse expat club! People from all over the world are discovering that Portugal is a wonderful place to live, and more importantly, it’s welcoming to different cultures and nationalities. But how can a Pakistani move to Portugal?

In this article, we’ll tell you all you need to know to move to Portugal from Pakistan. Dive into the expat life in Portugal, the different Visas and Residence Permits, invest in real estate or businesses, and get some tips to plan your relocation. Good reading!

How to move from Pakistan to Portugal

How to move from Pakistan to Portugal?

In order to move from Pakistan to Portugal, you need to, like any other non-EU citizen, get a Portugal Residence Permit. This can be done by either obtaining a Portugal Residence Visa or directly through an Immigration Services program. Interested? Then keep reading; we’ll explain all about them.

Obtaining a residence permit to live in Portugal from Pakistan

There are different ways to get a residence permit to live in Portugal. You can get a National long-term visa, also known as Residence Visa, suitable for your activity in Portugal. But you can also get a residence permit through the Golden Visa program. Tag along to learn about each of them.

What are the types of Portugal Residence Visa that Pakistani may apply to?

Portugal has many different types of Residence Visas, which non-EU citizens need in order to get into the country to establish residency and be in the country for more than 1 year. The most famous ones are:

  • D1 Visa: also known as the Work Visa, for people with a work contract in Portugal;
  • D2 Visa: for those who want to start a business in Portugal;
  • D4 Visa: known as the Study Visa, for university students;
  • D7 Visa: for pensioners or passive income earners.

Each Visa type has its own rules, but they usually follow the same process.

With all of these visas, you also get permission to bring your family with you (such as the spouse and children) through a family reunification process.

Once you have the visa, you can enter Portugal and start the process of obtaining your residence permit. After only 5 years of living in Portugal as a regular resident, you have the right to apply for Portuguese nationality.

How can I apply for a Portugal Residence Visa from Pakistan?

Pakistani nationals must lodge the long-term Visa application directly at the Embassy of Portugal in Islamabad.

Each Residence Visa Application is subject to a fee of €90. After submitting all the necessary documents for the visa, your application goes through an evaluation process, which can be accepted or denied by the embassy.

It’s also worth remembering that Pakistani nationals who wish to travel to Portugal for a short period (up to 90 days) do not need a National Residence Visa, but a Schengen visa.

Can a Pakistani apply for a Golden Visa? 

Popularly known as the Golden Visa, this program is highly sought after by high-profile investors around the world, and Pakistanis have benefitted from this Visa too.

Starting in 2023, this Visa has gone through much criticism and debate. Thus, policies may change by the time you decide which Visa you’ll apply for. It’s best if you contact a lawyer for important updates regarding the Golden Visa before you start your process. 

What do Pakistani need to do to apply for the Portugal Golden Visa?

Officially the Residence Permit for Investment Activity (ARI), the Golden Visa program, benefits foreigners who decide to invest in Portugal. The main benefits of the program are:

  • Right to live, work, study, and invest in Portugal as a local;
  • Free movement through the Schengen area countries, without the need for a visa;
  • After 5 years with the residence permit, you can apply for Portuguese nationality;
  • Your family members (spouse, children, and dependents) gain the same rights.

But there are rules and a lot of bureaucracy that require a lot of attention and knowledge of Portuguese law. After the changes in 2022, a Pakistani investor must choose one of the following investments to get the Golden Visa:

  • Acquisition of properties worth more than €500,000 in certain regions of Portugal;
  • Capital transfer of at least €1.5 million to a Portuguese bank account in your name;
  • Investment of at least €500,000 in a Portuguese fund;
  • Creation of at least 10 jobs in a business in Portugal;
  • Investment in small and medium-sized enterprises of at least €500,000.

Unlike visas, the ARI procedure is not handled by the Portuguese Embassy in Pakistan, but by the Portuguese Immigration Service (SEF).

In addition to showing proof of your investment, you must have opened an account in Portugal, created your Tax Identification Number (NIF), health insurance, and several other essential bureaucratic details.

Due to all these steps to get the Golden Visa and also the high value of the investment, it’s recommended that you have professional support to guide you. 

Viv Europe provides assistance services for the Golden Visa and has already helped several Pakistanis move to Portugal. If you have any questions, book a consultation and get the best advice suited for you.

Moving to Portugal from

What are the best cities to live in Portugal for Pakistanis?

Portugal is a small but diverse country. From north to south, expats from all over the world find their ideal homes in different locations.

It’s a great idea to visit Portugal before relocating so that you can be sure of where you belong. Going on a scouting trip to Portugal will definitely let you know what the best city in Portugal is for you.

Even though there are several amazing options for places to live in Portugal, expats usually choose the following cities:

  • Lisbon: the capital and most important city of the Portuguese economy. You can equate the hustle and bustle to that of Karachi in Pakistan;
  • Porto: Portugal’s 2nd biggest city, the capital of the northern region;
  • Coimbra: centrally located near the Silver Coast; 
  • Braga: one of the most important cities in the north of Portugal;
  • Faro: the capital of the southern region of the Algarve;
  • Lagos: one of the best cities to live in the Algarve region;
  • Évora: capital of the rural Alentejo region.

As you can see, there are plenty of options to choose from. Some are luxurious and attract the rich and famous, while others are budget-friendly and very typical.

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What is the cost of living in Portugal compared to Pakistan?

There is no single answer; after all, the cost of living in Portugal may vary according to your needs, spending habits, and location. However, we can estimate how much an individual would need per month to be able to live well in the country. 

Of course, the difference between the cost of living is massive, but so is the quality of life. Take a look at the cost of living estimates:

ExpensesCosts
A single person’s estimated monthly costs (without rent)€591
(Rs. 181,546)
Family of four estimated monthly costs (without rent)€2,058
(Rs. 632,187)
Average 1-bedroom residence rent€589
(Rs. 180,932)
Average 3-bedroom residence rent€943
(Rs. 289,675)

Estimates are from Numbeo (as of March 2023).

As you can see, Portugal is far more expensive than Pakistan. So you should consider that when considering moving from Pakistan to Portugal. Although, most expats relocating from Pakistan are not in search of a cheaper country but one that can provide a better standard of living.

Numbeo estimates that the cost of living in Pakistan is, on average, 67.6% lower than in Portugal. At the same time, rent in Pakistan is, on average, 87.9% lower than in Portugal.

The good news is that Portugal is known for having one of the lowest living costs in Europe! And, especially considering the fantastic quality of life offered here, the decision to move from Pakistan to Portugal definitely pays off.

What’s the weather like in Portugal?

Portugal, like most countries in Southern Europe, has mild and pleasant temperatures throughout the year. Of course, depending on the region of the country, climates vary, and you may experience extreme weather.

The climates in Portugal are mostly warm and hot-summer Mediterranean, but the Portuguese islands of the Azores have oceanic and humid subtropical climates.

Get to know more about the weather in Portugal in the table below:

LisbonPortoAlgarveMadeiraAzores
Maximum temperature27 °C
(80.6 °F)
26 °C
(78.8 °F)
28 °C
(82.4 °F)
24 °C
(75.2 °F)
23 °C
(73.4 °F)
Minimum temperature9 °C
(48.2 °F)
6 °C
(42.8 °F)
11 °C
(51.8 °F)
12 °C
(53.6 °F)
13 °C
(55.4 °F)
Average Rainfall49 mm
(1.9 in)
107 mm
(4.2 in)
41 mm
(1.6 in)
48 mm
(1.8 in)
84 mm
(3.3 in)
Average Humidity74%76%69%74%78%

The table data was taken from the Climate Data website.

Summers can get really hot, especially in the south of Portugal, while the northern area has much colder and wetter winters.

That said, Pakistan faces extremely high temperatures every year, so Portugal feels like a vacation all year round! 

How does the Portuguese economy compare to Pakistan?

After years of the financial crisis after 2008, Portugal has experienced a real economic miracle in the last decade, as covered by the New York Times.

Thanks to tourism and the end of austerity, the country, which was heading toward depression, turned around and rose again. Watch the video below for more details:

Policies such as the Golden Visa and the warm welcome of immigrants have helped the country to revive the economy. Gradually, the country expects to return to a good and stable position for the entire population, and it’s definitely on the right track.

Political and economic instability is not as high as it is in Pakistan. For example, as of February 2023, the inflation rate in Portugal stood at 8.2%, while it was at 31.5% in Pakistan. 

What are public facilities like for Pakistani expats?

Portugal is known for its bureaucracy but also for the quality of its public services. Once immigrants, Pakistani or any other nationality, obtain their residence permit, they can enjoy these services like locals.

Healthcare in Portugal

Portugal has a reputable public health system and very low prices, so much so that most Portuguese people choose to use it rather than private healthcare.

When you, as a foreign citizen with a residence permit in Portugal, decide to use the public health system, you must first register. The process is simple, just go to the Health Center closest to your address and make a Número de Utente. Afterward, you can use the National Health System at will.

Simple consultations and exams are fully co-funded by the state, and other exams and emergencies are low-cost.

Tourists also have access to public healthcare in Portugal, but not with the same benefits and low prices that Portuguese nationals and legal residents have.

However, as the public health system can fail or take a long time, especially in Alentejo and Algarve, it may be worth taking out health insurance in Portugal and using the private health system. There are numerous excellent options of private clinics and hospitals throughout the country, and also insurance for every type of need.

How does the educational system work

If you have children and are thinking about moving from Pakistan to Portugal, you will be happy to know that public education in the country is not only free but also of good quality.

Of course, some institutions show better results than others, and there are some downsides to adjusting to the Portuguese national curricula, like having to learn Portuguese to understand lessons.

That’s why it’s also a good idea to consider enrolling your children in international schools in Portugal, where classes may be taught in English, French, or German. 

Most expatriate families choose this option because it’s usually easier for their children to fit in with other international children. 

If you’re looking for a school, then you should definitely check out our article International Schools In Portugal: Where To Enroll Your Expat Children. We also have articles for specific regions, such as Lisbon and the Algarve

Where is the Pakistani community in Portugal?

The Pakistani community in Portugal has grown a lot in recent years. According to data from the Office of Strategy and Studies, the Pakistani community is the 20th largest of immigrants in Portugal, increasing since 2012.

The vast majority of Pakistanis in Portugal with a residence permit live in the district of Lisbon, followed by Setúbal and Faro.

In 2021, the large increase in Pakistani and other Asian residents in Odemira, in the south of the country, working in agriculture became mediatic. 

pakistani-man-in-portugal

Despite having a work contract and a legal work visa in Portugal, the public wondered about the working conditions of these immigrants who, as shown in a DW Documentary, earn only the minimum by law and live in strange conditions. 

For immigrants, there remains the benefit of, after 5 years, enjoying their rights and obtaining Portuguese nationality.

What has drawn the most attention, however, is the huge increase in the interest of Pakistani investors and business people in Portugal. As well as business owners of different nationalities, Portugal proves to be a propitious environment to prosper financially with security. 

In addition, as you have already seen, the Portuguese government offers several benefits to those who decide to invest in the country.

Adaptation tips for Pakistani immigrants

Portugal is a fantastic country, but it is not Pakistan. I’m sure that even though you are considering moving here, you still love your country deeply. So, as you can imagine, there are quite a few challenges of being an expat in Portugal.

Especially when entire families move abroad, you are going to have to deal with many new experiences and adapt.

To have a good adaptation process, Pakistani families in Portugal should consider:

  • Learning about the Portuguese culture and respecting the differences;
  • Being patient with yourselves and with the Portuguese – they don’t know much about Pakistan;
  • Avoiding comparing Pakistan to Portugal at all times;
  • Being open-minded to the way Portuguese society works.

Portuguese food is rich and delicious in different ways than Pakistani food. And, although not as warm and loud as the Pakistani, the Portuguese people can also make you feel welcome and part of their family.

Soon, you find out that Portugal and Pakistan have more in common than you would have imagined.

What are the benefits of moving from Pakistan to Portugal?

Moving from Pakistan to Portugal is not a strange thought. Expats from many different nationalities and backgrounds have learned about Portugal’s excellent standard of living and its benefits for new residents.

The Non-Habitual Resident tax regime, for citizens who have not had a tax residence in Portugal for the 5 previous years, it grants you:

  • 10 years of tax benefits;
  • 20% IRS tax rate for internal income;
  • 10% rate on foreign income.

If you have passive income or are a highly qualified professional, you can benefit greatly from this Portugal tax regime. As always, it is recommended to consult a legal professional about your case specifically before applying for the non-habitual resident tax regime.

When are you moving to Portugal from Pakistan?

If you’ve got this far, we have a question! Have you decided to move out of Pakistan for good? Portugal will welcome you with open arms. As you already know, more and more Pakistani expats are here to enjoy the Portuguese golden sun. You might need some time to feel at home, but it’s a decision you won’t regret. 

Consider joining our Facebook Group – All About Portugal For Expats to hear about other people’s experiences in the relocation process. It’s always great to hear similar stories and get guidance. 

And remember, if you need any support during your move from Pakistan to Portugal, you can count on the Viv Europe team. Book a consultation to understand the exact process and turn your dream project into a reality!

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