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Over 11% of all expats in Portugal are US Citizens! But what are the main Portugal Residency Requirements for US Citizens?

Last Updated on May 27, 2024 by Laila Oliveira

With Portugal’s welcoming locals, affordable cost of living, and high quality of life, it’s no wonder so many Americans are making the move. The prospect of moving abroad can be both exciting and daunting, especially when understanding the legalities involved. That’s where knowing the main Portugal residency requirements for US citizens becomes essential.


Portugal offers a myriad of opportunities, whether you’re looking to retire, start a business, or simply embrace a new lifestyle. The path to making the country your home begins with understanding the residency process. 

Don’t let the complexities of legal paperwork hold you back. Start your journey by learning about the specific requirements and begin your exciting new chapter in Portugal today. Happy reading!

Living In Portugal As An American

Living in Portugal as an American offers a blend of beautiful landscapes, rich culture, and a relaxed lifestyle. Whether you’re retiring, working, or exploring, understanding the Portugal residency requirements for US citizens is essential. 

Americans need a temporary or long-term residency visa, depending on the duration and purpose of their stay. This process involves providing necessary documentation, proof of income, and sometimes a background check. 

Embrace the opportunity to enjoy Portugal’s affordable living, excellent healthcare, and welcoming community by meeting these residency requirements and starting your new adventure.

American Expat Community In Portugal

The American expat community in Portugal is multiplying, drawn by the country’s welcoming atmosphere, stunning landscapes, and favorable living conditions. Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve are among the top choices for American expats, each offering distinct lifestyles and amenities.

In Lisbon, you’ll find a dynamic urban environment with modern and historic charm. Porto is known for its wine and picturesque riverfront, offering a more relaxed but equally vibrant atmosphere. Lastly, the Algarve, with its beautiful beaches and mild climate, is particularly popular among retirees and those seeking a leisurely pace of life.

The American expat community is diverse, including retirees, digital nomads, working professionals, and young families. This diversity fosters a rich cultural exchange and a supportive network. 

Regular social events, meetups, and online forums like Facebook Groups help newcomers integrate and connect. Also, different organizations often host events, from casual get-togethers to cultural celebrations, providing a sense of familiarity and community. 

And many people do speak English, which may help ease your transition and make daily interactions smoother. However, if you’re planning on living long-term, we recommend you try learning the language to become a part of the community in a better way.

How To Move To Portugal From The USA?

Start by researching Portugal’s different regions to decide where you want to live. Then, ensure you have a solid financial plan. Consider the cost of living, which can vary significantly depending on the region. Also, research housing costs, healthcare, and other living expenses to create a realistic budget.

Once the budget is set, start by selecting the appropriate visa. Common options include the D7 Passive Income Visa, the D2 Business Visa, and the Digital Nomad Visa. The processing time for each varies. For example, D7 and D2 take around 60 days, and Golden Visa up to 90 days. 

Remember that you must apply through a Portuguese consulate in the United States. For information on legalities and required paperwork, familiarize yourself with the Portugal Residency Requirements For US Citizens. 

Portugal Residency Requirement For US Citizens

Like elsewhere, to gain residency in Portugal, you must provide proof of sufficient financial means, valid health insurance, and a clean criminal record. You’ll also need a valid US Passport, proof of accommodation in Portugal, and a completed application form. 

Once you receive your visa, you will be required to schedule another appointment with AIMA (formerly SEF) to apply for a Resident Permit for longer stays. This is in the case you apply for a visa other than the Golden Visa. Meeting these requirements ensures compliance with Portuguese immigration laws and secures residency status.

Portugal Residency Visa Options

Check out the list of residency options open to US citizens and see which best works for you:

Visa Requirements

You’ll need some basic documents regardless of which visa you’re applying for:

  • Valid Passport: Ensure it remains valid for at least six months beyond the intended stay.
  • Visa Application Form: Complete and sign the appropriate form.
  • Passport Photos: Provide recent passport-sized photos.
  • Proof of Accommodation: Present evidence of where you’ll stay, such as a rental agreement.
  • Health Insurance: Show proof of adequate coverage for medical expenses.

In addition, you’ll have to meet specific requirements based on the visa you apply for. For example, for the Temporary Stay Visa, you must demonstrate sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay. For the Long-Term Residency Visa, you must show proof of stable income to sustain yourself.

See the list for other specific requirements:

  • Golden Visa: Show proof of investment (investment funds, business and job creation, or donation). Also, submit a clean criminal record certificate.
  • D7 Visa: Demonstrate steady passive income, such as pensions or rental income. Also, provide proof of health insurance coverage in Portugal.
  • D2 Visa: Present a detailed business plan if starting a business. Also, provide evidence of qualifications if working in a regulated profession.
  • Student Visa: Submit the acceptance letter from a recognized educational institution in Portugal. Also, show proof of sufficient funds to cover tuition and living expenses.

Embassy of Portugal In The US

If you have any concerns regarding visas or residency, you can always visit the Portuguese embassy in the USA. It is located in Washington, DC, and is a valuable expat resource. The embassy offers consular services related to visa applications and residency permits, aiding expats in navigating the bureaucratic process.

Also, the embassy provides valuable information on Portuguese culture, community events, and resources for integrating into Portuguese society. You can contact the embassy directly for essential guidance and support or visit their website for more information: Embassy of Portugal in the United States.

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Resident Permit

Once you’ve navigated the visa application process, obtaining a resident permit is next. The Portugal Residency Requirements For US Citizens necessitate securing this permit for long-term stays. This permit allows you to reside in the country legally and access services like healthcare and education.

You must apply at the Agência para a Integração Migrações e Asilo (AIMA) in Portugal within 90 days of your arrival. Make sure to have the following with you:

  • Valid visa;
  • Proof of income;
  • Health insurance;
  • Accommodation details. 

Apart from these, a criminal background check and biometrics may be asked for. 

Portugal PR – Permanent Residency

After five years of continuous temporary residency, you can apply for Permanent Residency.

To apply, you’ll primarily need:

  • Proof of stable income;
  • Health insurance;
  • Clean criminal record.

Be it access to healthcare, education, and social services, permanent residents enjoy many of the same rights as Portuguese citizens. This status also paves the way for applying for Portuguese citizenship.

How long can an American stay in Portugal?

An American can stay in Portugal for up to 90 days within 180 days without a visa, perfect for short visits or vacations. As mentioned earlier, if you wish to stay longer, you’ll need to explore appropriate visa and residency permit options.

To brief you, a temporary stay visa only allows you to extend your stay to one year. For longer commitments, a long-term residency visa is necessary.

Citizenship By Investment In Portugal

Portugal attracts many US citizens with its Golden Visa Program. The visa offers a pathway to citizenship through investments. 

Under the Portugal Residency Requirements For US Citizens for the Golden Visa, you must maintain the investment for at least five years. After this, you can apply for permanent residency and Portuguese citizenship.

The Golden Visa program allows investors to enjoy the benefits of EU citizenship, such as freedom of movement within the Schengen Area, access to healthcare, and the right to live and work in Portugal.


How much money do you need to immigrate to Portugal?

The amount of money for immigration purposes varies based on the type of residency visa. To illustrate, a D7 Visa requires proof of sufficient passive income, typically around €8,460 annually for the main applicant, and a separate bank balance. 

For the Golden Visa, you need a minimum investment of €500,000 in a qualifying Portuguese fund, job creation, or research and development activity in Portugal.

Besides visa fees, costs include flights, health insurance, and living expenses. If the entire process seems tedious, don’t worry. By carefully navigating the Portugal Residency Requirements for US Citizens, you can ensure a well-prepared and smooth transition to your new life in Portugal.

Do you need help with Portugal Residency Requirements For US Citizens?

It can be a long process, but it doesn’t have to be as confusing as you might think! With the help of experienced professionals, residency in Portugal is well within your reach. Book a consultation with Viv Europe to better understand the requirements for US citizens. 

Our team of professionals has helped hundreds of families and individuals relocate to Portugal, and you can be the next one! To learn more about living in Portugal, join our Facebook Group, All About Portugal For Expats. See you soon!



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