Portugal has become something of a paradise for digital nomads over the past few years. With an emerging tech and startup scene, exemplified by Web Summit, the largest tech festival in the world, moving to Lisbon, Portugal has become an innovative business hub for entrepreneurs and freelance workers. With more and more people now able to work remotely, this trend seems destined to continue over the next few years as it grows in popularity. As a digital nomad in Portugal, you can explore the enchanting beaches of the Algarve, the historic charm of Porto, or the exciting buzz in Lisbon, while working on your time schedule.
The low cost of living, high quality of life, relaxed vibe, and extremely friendly locals (the Portuguese were identified as being the friendliest in the world in an Expat Insider survey conducted by Internations) are added bonuses to being a digital nomad in Portugal.
The Portuguese government has been attracting foreigners for some time —with enticing programs like the Portugal Golden Visa and non-habitual resident (NHR) scheme — and has invested in high-speed internet infrastructure to encourage digital nomads to set up shop in the country.
In this ultimate guide on being a digital nomad in Portugal, we’ll cover the following topics:
- What is a digital nomad?
- What is the difference between a Portugal Digital Nomad Visa and a Tourist Visa?
- Different types of Digital Nomad Visas for Portugal
- The cost of living in Portugal
- How to find a place to stay in Portugal
- Digital Nomad Visas and documentation
- Best destinations for digital nomads in Portugal
- Coworking places in Portugal
- Internet connection and wifi speed in Portugal
- Digital banking in Portugal
- Transportation in Portugal
- Leisure and lifestyle in Portugal
- Quick tips for digital nomads in Portugal and how to save money
- Who we are and how we can help you
What is a digital nomad?
A digital nomad is an individual whose work does not depend on having to be in one location (i.e. they are able to work from anywhere remotely, and are free to move around from place to place). Using various technological and telecommunication solutions, digital nomads can earn a living while they are constantly on the move, can travel to different countries, and basically work from wherever they want to, provided they have a good internet connection and a place to work.
Working as a digital nomad is appealing as you can spend however much time you wish in a particular country. However, if you choose to spend a substantial amount of time in a single location, then you will need to apply for a digital nomad work visa.
What is the difference between a Digital Nomad Portugal Visa and a Tourist Visa?
A Digital Nomad Visa and Tourist Visa are different visas that you can apply for. A Digital Nomad Visa is given to remote workers, freelance workers, and business owners who are looking to work and travel in a foreign country.
The key difference between a Digital Nomad Visa and a Tourist Visa is the length of time that you are permitted to stay in the country, which will vary from country to country. Depending on the country, with a Tourist Visa, you will be able to stay in one country for up to 90 days, while a Digital Nomad Visa allows you to stay in one country for up to a year.
If you are a digital nomad who frequently travels from country to country, you can opt for a Tourist Visa. On the other hand, if you are looking to stay in a country for longer, then a Digital Nomad Visa is probably more up your street. This allows the holder to remain in one country for a longer period of time, before jetting off to another country,
It is important to be aware that for the Digital Nomad Visa, you cannot work for a local company. You can only work remotely and independently, which makes all online generated revenue acceptable.
Digital Nomad Portugal Visas and Documentation
Depending on your nationality, you may be required to have a visa when entering Portugal and if you are staying for a longer-term period, you will likely need to have a residence permit.
The different types of Digital Nomad Visas will be shown in the next section — the temporary or residence visas.
For EU citizens to visit and stay in Portugal is very easy, as you are able to visit, live, work and study in Portugal.
USA citizens can visit Portugal for up to 90 days without the need for a visa. If you are staying longer then you will need to apply for a visa.
For non-EU and non-US citizens, you will need to apply for a Schengen visa at your local Portuguese consular office and will need to provide the following documents: valid passport, proof of health insurance that provides coverage in Portugal, a clean criminal record, and proof of income.
Note that wherever you come from, you should have a clean criminal record. The Portuguese government will run a background check.
Different Types Of Digital Nomad Portugal Visas
Many countries now offer some form of Digital Nomad visa, including Portugal, where you are granted a visa for independent or freelance work. While it is not actually called a Digital Nomad Visa according to the official immigration papers and procedures, the Portugal national visa can be divided into two categories.
1. Digital Nomad Portugal Visas: Temporary stay visa
The Temporary Stay Visa (basically Portugal’s Digital Nomad Visa) is for individuals who are looking to stay in Portugal for up to one year. You are eligible for a temporary visa if you can prove that you will earn a minimum of €635 per month (the minimum required income or “means of sustenance” needed when applying for long-stay visas in Portugal, as of 2020).
This is basically to demonstrate that you are able to finance your cost of living, accommodation, and other costs of living in Portugal during your time in the country. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Portugal, you are able to show your proof of minimum monthly income by completing this Statement of Responsibility.
The temporary stay visa is valid for one year and can be renewed for two-year periods. The visa is perfect for digital nomads in the country, as they are able to live and work in Portugal, without needing to commit to being a resident. Alongside this, the visa allows for multiple entries for the duration of its validity (i.e. you can travel in and out of the country without facing any immigration issues on arrival). The required documents can be found on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Portugal website here.
Temporary stay visa: application documents
You will need to supply the following documents for the Temporary Visa:
- Official form, which can be found on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Portugal website.
- Passport or another travel document (that is valid for an additional three months after the stay duration).
- Two identical passport photographs
- Transport document
- Document certifying the third-country national is in a regular situation when the applicant is from a different nationality than the country in which the visa is being requested.
- Valid travel insurance.
- Form authorizing access to Portuguese criminal record by SEF (Immigration and Border Services).
- Criminal record from the country of origin or country of residency.
- Proof of means of sustenance.
2. Digital Nomad Portugal Visas: Residency Visa
If you think that you will spend more than one year in Portugal, then consider the Portugal Residency Visa.
There are two main types of visas that are applicable to digital nomads that allow you to obtain a residency permit in Portugal. These are the Portugal D2 Visa and the Portugal D7 Visa.
(A third type, the Portugal Golden Visa, is also an option if you are looking to invest a substantial amount of money into Portugal in return for residency).
The Portugal D2 Visa
The Portugal D2 Visa is perfect for you if you are looking to establish a business presence in Portugal or carry out business activities in the country. Some form of investment is needed and business activities qualify. This visa type is good for entrepreneurs who intend to use Portugal as their base country.
You can also apply for the Portugal D2 Visa as an independent worker. To be eligible, you will need to show proof of your services.
Full documents for the Portugal D2 Visa can be found here.
The Portugal D7 Visa
The Portugal D7 Visa allows you to live in Portugal without the need to have any investment activities or business presence in the country.
This visa is very good for retirees, but as a digital nomad, you can still benefit from this visa type. You will simply need to show that you have passive income amounting to €7200 per year and show your bank statements for the past six months to testify this.
Passive income can include investment funds, rental income from properties that you own, share dividends, and royalties. In essence, you need to demonstrate that you are able to live in Portugal through your passive income.
Cost of Living in Portugal
As an expat in Portugal, the cost of living is relatively affordable —and is considered one of the key draws for many retirees, families, freelancers, and independent workers. Both eating out and cooking from home are very affordable. You should be able to have lunch, coffee, and dessert for as little as €5 – €7 in local eateries.
Public transport is also relatively cheap, making it easy to get around in the cities and across the country.
Note that Lisbon has its own price range. While still considered very affordable by many expats, the prices are notably different from other areas of the country.
How to Find a Place To Stay in Portugal?
There are different options to consider when it comes to finding a place to stay in Portugal. Are you looking to live alone, with fellow digital nomads, or in shared accommodation? Also, note that prices will vary considerably based on what you are looking for and the location you wish to live in.
The Portuguese real estate market has received considerable investment in recent years, particularly focused in Lisbon and Porto. Here, you will find brand new Airbnb units that are ideal for digital nomads. As for coastal areas, you will find comfortable hotels or hostels a short walk from the beach.
As you move further inland, you may find it more difficult to find a suitable place to stay. Here you will find a couple of websites that may come in handy with your search. You may also find some apartments from a quick google search, through Booking.com, and through Facebook. Digital nomad Facebook groups could also be an option, of which there are a few in Lisbon and Porto.
Expats and digital nomads have more choices than they once did when it comes to accommodation options. Portugal has invested heavily in real estate and infrastructure. Lisbon has ample chic apartments in the heart of the city, as does Porto. Increasingly other cities are picking up speed, such as in Braga, where you can also find exceptional Airbnb apartments.
Some important tips when using Airbnb in Portugal are the following:
- You may find better deals if you book for a longer time period.
- Negotiate with the host for a better deal.
- Try to book early to avoid busy seasons (e.g. visiting tourists in summer).
Digitalnomads.pt is a portal that was built by nomads for other nomads and has listings that you will not be able to find on other websites. The range of apartments is very good in all manner of locations — city or beach. They are also tailored towards digital nomads so will likely have fast internet, nice amenities, and comfortable beds.
Best Destinations for Digital Nomads in Portugal
Portugal is rich in beautiful destinations. From the exciting buzz of Lisbon, the historic beauty of Porto, to the sublime coastal towns on the Silver Coast, there is much to offer expats. Here, we’ll run through a few of our favorite places.
There is no place in the world like Lisbon. With excellent food and popular nightlife, there is a vibrant buzz around Lisbon that makes it very difficult not to enjoy yourself in the city. Whether you are looking for a historic, quiet neighborhood or a more happening neighborhood, the capital of Portugal will have you covered.
You can see our guide to the best neighborhoods in Lisbon here.
The second-largest city in Portugal, Porto is nothing short of a gem. Porto is more affordable than Lisbon, and it is said that the people in the North of Portugal are the friendliest in the country. One thing is for sure, the Douro River and the lit-up wine houses make the city very special and the abundance of coworking spaces make it a favorite with expats.
Ericeira and Peniche
Ericeira probably tops the list when it comes to being a digital nomad on Portugal’s Silver Coast. Ericeira is popular with surfers and is gradually becoming a digital nomad hub with excellent accommodation and coworking spaces to enjoy. An added bonus is that Ericeira is less than an hour away from Lisbon so you will also be able to enjoy the perks of the city. Peniche is also an excellent location, a quiet place to live that feels very local, but that also has very good surf spots.
There are many locations in the Algarve that are geared up for digital expats. From Faro in the center of the Algarve to Lagos, in the west, the Algarve provides you with the sun, beaches, vibrant nightlife, watersports, and a very good nightlife scene.
Coimbra is probably the best for digital nomads who really need to focus, as the city has a quiet town vibe. Nonetheless, as a student city (with the oldest university city in Portugal) there are also many restaurants, bars, and the social scene can be excellent. To top it off, Coimbra has some of the best architecture in the country, excellent for inspiration and to get ideas flowing.
Places to Work: Coworking in Portugal
Across the country, there are many coworking places in Portugal. However, they do tend to be focused in Lisbon, Porto, Ericeira, Peniche, and other locations that are popular with expats. Here we’ll provide you with some of our favorites.
Porto i/o is a good option in Porto, where you can get to know and socialize with other digital nomads. The offices have four locations: Douro Riverside, downtown, Santa Catarina, and by the seaside. Get your creative juices flowing by attending their regular schedule of lectures, workshops, and informative talks.
Liberdade229 is located in central Lisbon and has spacious offices with plenty of natural life. With a communal kitchen, it is easy to meet fellow digital nomads here.
Largo is a friendly and affordable coworking hub in a quiet area of Peniche.
Alongside these, there is Avila Spaces Lisbon, Typographia in Porto, Base Cowork in Leiria, and Factory Braga. Make sure you dig a little deeper into ones that are of interest to you, to find the best possible coworking space for your needs.
Internet Connection: Wifi Speed
Portugal ranks as having the 17th fastest internet connection in the world, with an access speed of 34.5. Megabits per second. There is an extensive network of wifi hotspots, excellent internet cafés and brunch places, and hostels.
Digital Banking in Portugal
If you are a digital nomad planning to move to Portugal, be advised to register with one of the international banks in the country. They will have an advanced banking system that includes one of the most advanced collaborative bank networks in the world through Multibanco. You are able to open a bank account online, and the important digital banks to consider are N26, Bunq, and Revolut. You can have constant access to your funds and instant updates on your accounts.
Portugal has a well-developed and affordable transportation system, and it is very easy to get around the country.
The three main airports are Lisbon, Porto, and Faro. The bus and train services are also very good, enabling you to get across the country easily. Lisbon and Porto each have a very fast metro system in place, making it quick to get around the cities. Uber and taxis are also widely available in larger cities.
You will also be able to rent a car at an affordable rate, particularly if it is off-season. This is particularly good to get to some of the stunning beaches of Portugal.
Leisure & Lifestyle
When it comes to the lifestyle in Portugal, you can expect to find a relaxed pace of life, where the small things are greatly appreciated. Taking time to enjoy a coffee in the morning with a sweet treat, such as a pastel de nata, or going for drinks in the early evening to enjoy a glorious sunset, is something the Portuguese are very good at doing.
The country has an excellent cuisine, typical of the Mediterranean with fresh fruits, vegetables, and fish at the center of their dishes. Music and art are also greatly appreciated in the country and expect to find many exciting exhibitions in Lisbon, Porto, and other larger cities.
The climate is perhaps one of the key draws for expats in Portugal. Indeed, it is largely possible to spend time outside every month of the year because of the mild climate and abundance of sunny days. This is excellent for the adventurous types of watersport lovers as there is always something to get involved with — cycling, surfing, hiking, and the list goes on. You also have many places to enjoy yoga, cooking classes, and many types of musical events, from concerts with international stars to quiet nights of Fado music.
The beautiful beaches and landscapes are outstanding and, as Portugal is a relatively small country, you should find it easy to explore the country.
Quick Tips For Digital Nomads In Portugal & How to Save Money
Working out the ins and outs of any country can be difficult at first, and Portugal is no different. Here are some tips and tricks for making the most from being a digital nomad in the country.
- Portugal has a very good healthcare system, and the faculty also extends to digital nomads. If you have jumped through all the residency formalities, then you will be able to access the healthcare system in Portugal.
- If you are thinking about a longer-term plan, it is relatively straightforward to buy property in Portugal. Given the popularity of Portugal, you can even get some very attractive returns on investments.
- Try to shop locally and avoid buying imported products to save money.
- Country markets and stalls offer excellent produce, where you are helping the local businesses and will often find cheaper products and establish relationships with the seller.
Who are We & How Can We Help you?
Goldcrest is a buyer’s agent that is based in Lisbon. We provide expert impartial advice on real estate investments and how to buy property in Portugal. From scouting out the perfect property through to property acquisition, we have you covered.
If you are looking to purchase property in Portugal, don’t hesitate to get in touch. From sublime beach houses in the Algarve to modern renovated houses in the historic city of Porto, we are more than happy to discuss your options.
You can book a call with us here.
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