Updated: May 22, 2024

Work remotely in PortugalDreaming of a career change and a new environment surrounded by sun-drenched beaches and vibrant culture? In addition to this Western European gem’s delectable cuisine and leisurely Mediterranean lifestyle, you will discover a great selection of jobs in Portugal for Americans.

Over the past few years, the growing tech scene and tourism industry has attracted expats and remote workers from across the globe to its shores. Digital nomads can enjoy the prospect of living in this affordable country while working top remote or self-employed jobs, and American expats seeking employment with international companies can look forward to a harmonious blend of career prospects and quality living.

To streamline your search for jobs in Portugal, we have created this comprehensive guide for Americans relocating to or already living in the country. This guide will share insights into the local job market, salary considerations, and work culture insights, helping you land your dream job in Portugal.

Understanding the Job Market in Portugal

documents signingThe Portuguese labor market offers exciting prospects for international professionals, with opportunities ranging from established industries like tourism to the thriving tech and digital marketing sector in Lisbon. The evolving dynamics of Portugal’s job market are particularly evident in the vibrant ecosystem of Lisbon, which has emerged as a focal point for tech innovation and entrepreneurship, epitomized by the relocation of the tech-revolutionizing Web Summit to Lisbon in 2016.

In the sections below, we will explore a few factors that you need to understand about the job market in Portugal. This section will offer you insights that will empower you to navigate the Portuguese job market, whether you’re a recent graduate embarking on your professional journey, a seasoned remote worker seeking a change in location, or an American resident with hard and soft skills poised for career advancement overseas.

Do I need to speak Portuguese to get a job in Portugal?

Although it will give you an extra edge, you don’t need to speak Portuguese to work in Portugal. You can find English-speaking jobs, especially in the tourism and hospitality sector. There are also a number of job opportunities for English-speaking professionals and those who speak other European languages.

You could work as a customer service agent or a technical support advisor for Portuguese or multinational companies. If you are interested in speaking Portuguese, you can enroll in private language schools where you can work on your Portuguese language skills.

Do I need a work visa?

If you’re not a citizen of any of the other Western European Countries (EU), European Economic Area (EEA), or European Free Trade Association (EFTA) states, you’ll need a work visa and temporary stay visa to work in Portugal. The type of visa you need depends on the length of your stay (temporary or long-term) and your specific job. Unlike EU/EEA/Swiss citizens who only require a Portuguese residence permit after securing employment, securing a work contract often involves navigating visa requirements beforehand.

The Portuguese government offers several visa programs, including the Portugal D3 Visa, the Portugal Digital Nomad Visa, and the Portugal Golden Visa, which you can apply for through your local Portuguese embassy. The application process can be complex, so ensure you understand all the steps involved to make the process smoother. Once you arrive in Portugal with your visa, remember to apply for a residence permit within three months. For this application, remember to bring your passport, employment contract, and proof of health insurance.

Work culture in Portugal

Portugal’s work culture leans towards a relaxed atmosphere, with many Portuguese companies prioritizing a healthy work-life balance. This is especially true for lunch breaks, which can be lengthy, and the start and end of the workday, which can be flexible depending on the company. The country’s evolving job market attracts a diverse array of job seekers, from students to remote workers and expatriates. Understanding Portuguese work culture is pivotal for seamless integration. Adaptation to these cultural nuances enhances one’s experience when working in Portugal.

Labor Laws and Rights in Portugal

document signatureIn Portugal, the framework for labor regulations outlines a typical workweek spanning from Monday to Friday, totaling 40 hours. Full-time employees benefit from an annual leave entitlement of 22 days, in addition to the obligatory nine public holidays. Although individual companies have the flexibility to establish their schedules, the standard workday typically commences at 9:00 and concludes at 18:30, punctuated by a one-and-a-half-hour lunch break.

According to the Portuguese public services portal, the Portuguese labor authorities entitle workers who pay social security contributions to maternity and paternity benefits.

For maternity leave new mothers may take up to 30 days’ voluntary leave before the birth and 42 days (6 weeks) of compulsory leave after birth. For paternity leave, new fathers are entitled to 28 days’ leave, taken consecutively or non-consecutively. The first 7 days must be taken consecutively and immediately after birth. The remaining 21 days must be taken within 6 weeks (42 days) of the birth. You can find out more through the Portuguese social security office (SEG).

Weekends are generally designated as non-working days unless specified otherwise in the employment contract, aligning with the common practice across the country. Employment contracts in Portugal encompass various forms, including permanent, fixed-term, part-time, and intermittent arrangements, mirroring the prevalent structures observed across Europe. Notice periods in Portugal are contingent upon the duration of service, with minimum periods set as follows:

  • 15 days for employees with less than one year of service
  • 30 days for employees with 1-5 years of service
  • 60 days for employees with 5-10 years of service
  • 75 days for employees with over 10 years of service

Salaries in Portugal

While Portugal’s national minimum wage of €820 per month (as of January 2024) is below the European Union average, the country’s lower cost of living means €820 stretches further than in other European countries with a higher minimum wage.

Opportunities for higher salaries exist, particularly in larger or international companies and across various professions. Full-time work typically translates to a 40-hour week, with most companies offering some flexibility in scheduling. Remember, Portugal prioritizes work-life balance, so high-paying jobs often come with the expectation of working standard hours and enjoying ample time off.

If you live and work in Portugal, you will also need to register with the Portuguese tax system and apply for a Portuguese tax number (NIF) at a local tax office. Our citizenship and residency partner, Global Citizen Solutions, has a guide on how to get a NIF Portugal Tax Identification Number.

Ready for the Next Step? View Our Ultimate Guide to Renting in Portugal

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What types of jobs can US Citizens find in Portugal?

From digital marketing opportunities and tech jobs to English-speaking jobs, there are many jobs in Portugal for Americans to choose from. Many international companies actively seek English speakers, particularly in IT and software development. However, fluency in Portuguese opens doors to specialized fields like law, medicine, and engineering. Below, we will discuss a few types of jobs in Portugal for Americans that you may have the relevant skills for.

English-speaking jobs for foreigners in Portugal

contact-usPortugal’s booming tech scene is becoming more and more attractive to Americans and expats who speak other European languages. IT and tech companies offer many job opportunities for expats with suitable job skills as well as strong communication skills and English fluency.

Portugal offers a welcoming environment for American job seekers with English as their strong suit. According to the Portuguese public services portal, the industries that currently have the most job postings available for expats include:

  • Information and communications technologies – Particularly web developers and IT engineers with relevant technical skills
  • Metalworking industries for skilled workers 
  • Health industry – Especially health care workers with specialization 
  • Hotel, restaurant, and tourism sector – Searching for chefs, waiters, and bar staff 
  • Agricultural sector – Offering seasonal employment 
  • Construction industry – Skilled workers in the plumbing, electrical, and related fields
  • Call centers, business support centers, language schools, and shared service centers – will offer job training and require professionals with very specific language proficiency in English or other European languages

Despite these options having the most employment opportunities, digital nomads looking to relocate to Portugal’s sunny shores will be happy to know that self-employment is also a valid employment status a non-EU Citizen working and living in Portugal can have.

Seasonal jobs for foreigners in Portugal

find-information-to-buy-a-house-in-portugalWhile Portugal’s tech industry is booming for English-speaking applicants, there are also exciting seasonal opportunities for Americans across various other sectors. The hospitality sector in the Algarve region, which is one of Portugal’s most popular tourist havens, offers hospitality jobs in hotels, restaurants, and leisure centers.

These roles could include waiting, bartending, animation, or even water sports instruction, which would be the perfect role for anyone in search of a summer adventure. Portugal’s agricultural sector also thrives on seasonal workers, particularly in the south for harvesting melons, citrus fruits, or strawberries.

Wine lovers can head north to the Douro Valley to assist with the grape harvest. Opportunities exist at tourist resorts maintaining holiday rentals for those with a green thumb. Remember, basic Portuguese can be helpful, but many tourist-driven businesses function well in English.

Freelance jobs for foreigners in Portugal

Many Americans are drawn to the allure of freelancing in Portugal, a country that combines stunning scenery with a welcoming atmosphere. With a Portugal Digital Nomad Visa and a valid job contract, digital nomads working remotely in Portugal can embrace a flexible work schedule with online jobs while exploring the captivating nation. Keep in mind that to apply for the Portugal Digital Nomad Visa, you must be employed by a foreign or non-Portuguese company or be self-employed.

There are abundant freelance opportunities in sought-after fields like marketing, graphic design, social media management, and copywriting. Translation services can also be highly lucrative for freelance workers. However, it’s important to manage expectations, as freelance rates in Portugal might be lower than anticipated. If maximizing income is a priority, consider offering your services to companies based in other countries.

How to Find a Job in Portugal as an American

With a compelling and unique CV, excellent communication skills, and work experience, you can access a wealth of job opportunities in Portugal. There are many ways to find the latest job openings on the Portuguese job market, and we explore a few below.

Job websites in Portugal

American expats can use a variety of public job sites like LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Indeed, which offer job listings to jumpstart their Portuguese job hunt. These platforms feature extensive job boards brimming with advertised vacancies across the country. The Portuguese Public Employment Service, known as Instituto do Emprego, is another valuable resource offering job adverts. They actively assist job seekers by providing information and job listings for open positions in Portugal. For those seeking opportunities within the broader European Union, EURES, the European Job Mobility Portal is a key resource. This network, formed by public employment services, facilitates job mobility for EU members.

Embassies and foreign organizations

While embassies and foreign organizations might not be the primary source for job hunting in Portugal, they shouldn’t be overlooked entirely. It’s always wise to check the job boards on your local embassy’s website. These postings, though occasional, can be valuable opportunities. The British Embassy in Lisbon, for instance, is known to advertise jobs on its website. Landing a position there wouldn’t just provide valuable work experience but also enhance your CV due to the embassy’s prestigious reputation.

Recruitment agencies

Recruitment agencies can be a powerful asset for Americans seeking jobs in Portugal. These agencies act as a bridge between job seekers and potential employers, specializing in talent acquisition across diverse industries. Many well-established agencies operate in Portugal, including Michael Page, Hays, Randstad, and Adecco.

To maximize your chances of success, research and target agencies that align with your field or desired position. Remember, while recruitment agencies are a valuable tool, a comprehensive job search should also encompass online job boards and direct applications to companies you’re interested in.

Take a Look at Our Ultimate Guide to Buying Property in Portugal

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The Best Places to Live and Work in Portugal

Whether you work in Portugal’s tourism sector or work remotely with international companies that employ skilled workers across the globe, we have put together a list of the best places for American expats to live and work in Portugal.


lisbonLisbon’s charm lies in its captivating blend of old and new. Steeped in history yet buzzing with innovation, it offers a lifestyle that’s both culturally rich and undeniably modern. The city’s allure attracts international business and startups, which makes Lisbon a hub for opportunity. With a lower cost of living than other European capitals, finding a suitable job and the perfect neighborhood to settle down in can be easy.

Whether you’re a family seeking a vibrant community, a budding entrepreneur chasing dreams, or a digital nomad yearning for a picturesque workspace, Lisbon’s diverse neighborhoods cater to every desire.


If you are interested in living in a coastal town surrounded by authentic Portuguese charm, look no further than Cascais. Located just a short 30-minute drive from the Lisbon city center, this former fishing village has been transformed into a haven for expats, offering a unique blend of historic architecture and modern amenities.

On your days off, you can enjoy the fresh seafood that graces the plates of excellent restaurants while nine nearby golf courses cater to outdoor enthusiasts. Families will find Cascais particularly appealing, with a range of real estate options, from waterfront villas to spacious homes. Plus, top-rated international schools within a short drive ensure a well-rounded education for your children.


As Portugal’s second biggest city and one that offers a more affordable cost of living compared to the capital of Lisbon, Porto is thriving. Once known for its charming but slightly old-world feel, Porto has transformed into a vibrant hub. Matching Lisbon’s beauty, Porto boasts a historic center, stunning beaches, and delicious food scene.

The city’s booming economy offers excellent work opportunities, while its affordability compared to Lisbon lets you live a high-quality more affordable lifestyle.

Whether you’re strolling past local markets or sipping Port wine by the Douro River, Porto’s energy is contagious.

The Algarve

The Algarve is more than just a vacation paradise that attracts visitors from the UK, America, and other European countries – it is a thriving region to live and work in Portugal. The region’s year-round sunshine and stunning scenery create a postcard-perfect backdrop for your life. The municipal capital of Faro offers a vibrant expat community, lower housing costs than other Algarve cities, and excellent connections to Lisbon and beyond. Whether you prefer the luxurious marina life of Vilamoura or the charming cobblestone streets of Albufeira, the Algarve caters to diverse tastes, all with easy access to Faro airport. Soaking up the sun while building a new life, the Algarve beckons.

Other locations

nazare portugalBeyond the major locations mentioned above, Portugal offers a wealth of amazing places to live and work. Although this is not an exhaustive list of potentially great Portuguese towns to settle in, we will discuss a few below.

The charming, historic city of Évora, in the Alentejo region, boasts stunning UNESCO-listed architecture and a relaxed pace of life.

Those interested in European history will love exploring the Roman Temple and the Chapel of Bones, while everyone will appreciate the friendly locals and delicious regional cuisine.

If a vibrant university town is more your speed, you can also consider the city of Coimbra. This city, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is famous for its prestigious university and the Joanine Library, a treasure trove of ancient books. For those seeking a blend of culture and nature, Caldas da Rainha offers thermal springs, a renowned art scene, and the top-ranked public secondary school in Portugal.

Finally, the coastal town of Nazaré on the Silver Coast provides a stunning seaside escape. With affordable real estate, fresh seafood, and world-famous waves, Nazaré caters to surfers and sunbathers alike. Whether you crave history, culture, natural beauty, or a relaxed beach lifestyle, Portugal has a city to match your dreams.

Goldcrest: Who We Are

Goldcrest is a buyer’s agent based in Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve. Equipped with local knowledge, exclusive networks, and international experience, we provide expert, impartial advice on real estate investments and how to buy property in Portugal. From scouting out the perfect property to property acquisition and beyond, we have you covered throughout the process.

Why choose Goldcrest?

  • Local knowledge: With offices located throughout Portugal, our presence nationwide allows us to assist you personally.
  • Independent service: As an independent buying agent, we do not represent any development or project. Our service is entirely tailored toward each client, providing you with everything you need to secure the perfect property at the best possible price. As an impartial advisor on the market, we work solely on behalf of our client and provide a service tailored to your needs and requirements.
  • Streamlined process: Our real estate agents speak English and Portuguese, and our service is entirely focused on providing you with a hassle-free buying experience, saving you time.
  • Experienced team: Our expert real estate team has a vast local knowledge of the Portuguese property market. We have cutting-edge technology and metasearch tools at your disposal to provide complete market coverage, ensuring the best investment choices and negotiated prices.
  • Network of partners: Lawyers, property management services, builders, architects, designers, and landscape gardeners, again saving you time and hassle by providing you with trusted experts in their field of work.

Frequently Asked Questions About Jobs in Portugal for Americans

Americans can work and live in Portugal. To work in Portugal, you will need a work visa and a temporary stay visa. The type of visa you need depends on the length of your stay (temporary or long-term) and your specific job. American citizens with self-employment can also live and work in Portugal with the Portal Digital Nomad Visa.

There are many ways to find the latest job openings in Portugal. You can check job boards on job listing websites, visit the websites of your local embassy or foreign organizations such as EURES, the European Job Mobility Portal, or work with recruitment agencies in Portugal that can find jobs for Americans.

The jobs in Portugal that are currently in demand for Americans include jobs in the IT sector, such as web developers, call center sales representatives, and business support agents. Hospitality sector opportunities, including waitstaff and bartenders, as well as digital marketing specialists and project managers, are also in demand.

According to Portugal Business News, the highest-paying jobs in Portugal are currently in the IT, finance, logistics, and industry and services sectors.

Yes, you don’t need to speak Portuguese to get a job in Portugal. You can also find jobs that welcome applicants who speak other European languages

With a compelling CV, excellent communication skills, and work experience, it can be fairly easy to find a job in Portugal. You can visit job listing websites, your local embassy website listing page, or work with recruitment agencies in Portugal that can find jobs for Americans.