Updated: September 13, 2023More people than ever before are embracing remote working, due to the transition to working anywhere in the world and the flexibility in working hours. Working remotely is getting more popular among young expats who like to move around the world freely. If you’re considering working remotely in Portugal, in this article we will give you all the information you will need to know and why you should consider Portugal as your next destination for remote working. Working remotely is the perfect solution for people who like to travel and discover new corners of the world while working independently according to their own time schedules. But it’s not just about being flexible in time and place, it’s also about having a good quality of life. This is precisely why eyes have been fixed on Portugal recently as people have become hooked by the amazing quality of life and charming nature of the country. According to the Work from Wherever Index released by Kayak, the world’s leading travel search engine, Portugal ranked #1 as the best country in the world for remote work, ahead of countries like Spain, Romania, and Japan, thanks to its accessibility for remote workers, great weather, safety, and high English proficiency. Working remotely in Portugal is a great choice for freelancers and remote workers, considering the low cost of living, internet connectivity, and wide range of activities. It’s also worth mentioning that Portugal ranked the world’s best country for digital nomads in 2022. In the next sections of this article, we will dive into more details about everything related to working remotely in Portugal, including the legal issues, what to expect, and what the best places are in Portugal for digital nomads and expats to settle.
Portugal's Digital Nomad VisaThe Portugal Digital Nomad Visa was launched in 2022 and is designed for individuals who work remotely, freelance, or own a business and wish to combine work and travel in a foreign country. Simply put, remote workers have the option to reside and work remotely in Portugal for a duration of either up to 12 months or up to five years, depending on the pathway chosen. To be eligible, applicants must meet the following criteria:
- Originate from a country outside of the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA).
- Either be self-employed or work for a business based outside of Portugal.
- Earn a monthly income that is at least four times the current Portuguese minimum salary, which is approximately €2,800 per month (subject to an increase to €760 in January 2023).
Legal Issues for Remote WorkersIf you’re an EU citizen who is considering moving to live and work in Portugal, the good news is that you don’t need any visas for working remotely in Portugal. You can simply find the proper accommodation, book your ticket, and fly to the country. In case you’re planning to spend more than three months living and working in Portugal, you will need to fill out an application in the nearest Freguesia to fill out an application and migrate your accommodation. The situation is a little bit different for non-EU citizens, it may take a little bit longer and include some more paperwork. However, it is not impossible and is much easier than in many other European countries. Portugal offers many options for remote workers and digital nomads who are non-EU citizens, encouraging them to come to the country to work. After 183 days of your residence in Portugal, you will be considered a taxpayer and you will need to fill out a tax return application. Now, let’s start the process from the beginning and tell you the more detailed information. It all starts with landing a proper job opportunity that will enable you to earn money and start thinking about moving between countries. If you’re considering finding a job in Portugal, our partners as Global Citizen Solutions have created an ultimate guide to finding a job in Portugal. Once you have a stable remote job, the next step must be “what visa to apply for”, and Portugal offers a lot of options. There are many options for you as a digital nomad to get a valid visa and be able to enter Portugal, the most popular one among them being the D7 visa. The D7 visa allows you to work remotely while living in Portugal, as long as you can provide proof of your passive income (which is not obtained from within Portugal). You can work as a freelancer or do remote work, but you must not work for a Portuguese employer. To be able to get the Portuguese passive income visa you must:
- Provide proof of a passive income required which is at least the Portuguese minimum wage. In 2022, the Portugal minimum wage was set at €9,870/year. If you want your family to join you as a dependent, an additional 50% of the minimum wage is required.
- Obtain a Portuguese NIF Number (Numero de Identificacao Fiscal). You have to apply for a NIF Number at a Finance (Tax and Customs Authority) service point in Portugal. The NIF number enables you to do any activity regarding business or financial transactions.
- Open a Portuguese bank account. Everyone residing in Portugal must have a Portuguese bank account as well as a NIF Number in order for their funds to be valid.
- The residency requirements for the D7 Visa: When the residency card is first issued, it is valid for two years. During this time, permit holders cannot leave the country for six consecutive months or eight months in total during the two-year period. When the D7 Visa is renewed, the new residency card will come with a validity of three years. Permit holders cannot leave the country for six consecutive months or eight months in total during the three-year period.
AccommodationAfter getting the job, and choosing the visa program that best suits you, you will need to secure accommodation in the country. While considering working remotely in Portugal, you should know that the country has a lot to offer, and you will find many different available options for your accommodation. Just make sure that you start searching for accommodation early, especially if you’re searching in the summer months. Portugal welcomes thousands of tourists each summer, and finding long-term rental houses may be a little hard during the peak seasons. The most popular option for digital nomads who are planning to work remotely in Portugal and search for accommodation is Airbnb. With the accommodation options from Airbnb, you can have your own place where you can cook, live and work independently. Try to be specific in your search and add some filters for the places that have desks and work chairs. There is another alternative to Airbnb, which is NomadX. This is a start-up based in Portugal, intended mainly for digital nomads. You can arrange short and long-term accommodation through this service. It is focused more on areas like Lisbon and Porto, as well as some surf and beach towns between these cities. Also, you can find prices lower than they are on Airbnb. You can also be in more direct contact with renters. If you're considering moving to Lisbon, check out what you should know about it. You can also consider co-living spaces, which are hostels for freelancers and remote workers who can live and work together. This option is a great option for you to socialize and expand your network in the country. Check Coliving.com. In addition to the options mentioned above, you can always go old school and book hotels or hostels, if you find that they suit your budget and requirements for working. You can use Booking.com for this category of accommodation search.
A co-working space is a kind of shared office where you pay to use the facilities. Co-working places give you the option to book your spot daily, weekly, or monthly depending on the availability.
Since expats and digital nomads have been flocking to Portugal recently, the country has a lot of co-working places and qualified offices for this category of workers, and things keep growing. Major areas like Porto, Lisbon, and the Algarve offer various options for remote workers to help people focus and provide a suitable atmosphere for work. Check out our expats essential guide in Portugal.
While spending your working hours at one of those co-working places, you will enjoy having your own desk to work on, a good internet connection, and some fresh food and drinks included in the price. Some even have workshops and social events on offer, and you can find like-minded people to get to know and socialize with.
The good thing about Portugal as well is that you can easily work in cafés in many places in Portugal, particularly in the bigger cities, that will give you free Wi-Fi access and a comfy desk to work while ordering something to drink or eat.
You can always use Google maps to categorize your search while trying to find the right place to work in. Also, you can use some apps like Croissant to find a proper co-working space nearby, in which you find the real-time availability in the place you are about to book. It also allows you to buy credit that you can use at multiple co-working spaces.
Internet connectivity and mobile
Everything is getting done online now and, as a remote worker, it’s almost impossible to settle in a country that doesn’t provide good internet connectivity or mobile service.
If you have already chosen to work remotely in Portugal, rest assured that there are amazing connectivity services in this country. Recently, the internet services in Portugal gained much solid ground and they keep improving quickly.
It’s worth mentioning that Portugal ranked 28th in the world for mobile speeds and 22nd for fixed broadband speeds in July 2022.
Portugal features a high-speed internet infrastructure with various WIFI hotspots around the country. You will also find an internet connection in almost all accommodation types and hosts usually indicate their free internet connection in their listing. You may also use fast.com to test your internet connection speed in your accommodation.
4G and mobile
Not only is the internet connectivity super in Portugal, but also the mobile connectivity is in good shape. In Portugal, the download speed for smartphones averages at 35 Mbps with pings of just 31ms. You should know that mobile network coverage is the highest in big cities like Porto, Lisbon, and the Algarve area, yet other cities still offer amazing network services.
The main three Mobile companies in Portugal make the field very competitive with the great offers and benefits they grant. MEO, Vodafone, and NOS are the main providers and all three of them are amazing with the services they offer and their team of customer support. You will find their booths at the airport once you arrive, and they offer different internet packages with a minimum of 3GB.
Electricity voltage & plugs
Before traveling or moving to any country, you should carefully read and know more about which electrical plugs and local sockets you will face. You will never want to put yourself in any critical situation with your phone or laptop charger not functioning. In Portugal, the standard voltage in Portugal is 230 V. The standard frequency is 50 Hz. This is similar to the electricity standard in other European countries, including the UK.
AC plugs and sockets in Portugal include type C and type F like in almost all continental European countries. Type F is the Schuko plug with two round pins of 4.8 mm in diameter. The pins are 19 mm long and 19 mm apart. There are two contact areas at the top and bottom of the plug. Type C is similar but without the contacts.
Accessibility and security of the internet
Portugal doesn’t apply any kind of restrictions or limits on URLs or websites. So, as an online worker, don’t worry about being monitored by the authorities or something of this kind. As long as you’re legal and using legal websites, enjoy the internet activity freedom, as the country’s constitution clearly provides freedom of speech and freedom of the press.
Tech shops in Portugal are everywhere, from the moment you land at the airport. You may forget to bring all your tools or accessories, and there is no need to fret, you’ll find everything in Portugal. There are also big tech warehouse sellers and big Apple stores in the main cities and shopping malls. You can also check some online websites like Worten.pt & Fnac.pt.
Life in Portugal
Life in Portugal is a mix of over 300 days of sunshine a year, 830 km of coastline, and affordable prices. What else can anyone ask for when seeking a good quality of life?
You will enjoy living in a safe country with friendly people and high-quality services. Just make sure not to visit Portugal for the first time during the summer, because this is the hype season and the country gets overwhelmed with the number of tourists. It is not fair to get your first impression about Portugal when it’s so busy, so perhaps visit during an off-peak season. One of the good things about moving and living in Portugal is the Portuguese people are nice and friendly and you will be able to make many friends quickly with a large number of expat groups.
The official language in Portugal is Portuguese, but no need to worry, your English will do. As most Portuguese people can speak a little English, you will always find someone to help, especially in hotels and hospitals in big cities. Portugal ranked number seven in the Global Ranking of English Proficiency, even above Sweden, Germany, and South Africa. If you’re into languages, you can enjoy learning some Portuguese words, and people in Portugal will really appreciate you as a beginner and try to help you with mastering the Portuguese language.
If chasing finger-licking foods is your thing, then you will have a great time living in a coastal city like Portugal. This country offers so many seafood varieties in coastal areas. In Portugal, you should try the salt cod (Bacalhau), tomato stews packed with prawns and mussels, and grilled sardines.
Best locations to work remotely in Portugal
In the coming section, you will gain some ideas about the big cities and locations in Portugal that may be of interest to you if you’re considering working remotely in Portugal.
Let’s start with the capital. Lisbon is one of the most vibrant and cultural capitals in Europe and is a perfect destination for remote workers and digital nomads since the city offers everything that you may need.
In Lisbon, you will find a good transportation network, lovely restaurants to try different things, a good internet connection, and many English speakers. Lisbon is also the home for expat groups in Portugal which offer great ways for newcomers to meet and expand their network with people from different nationalities. Check Meetup and InterNations.
Being the capital, Lisbon provides everything you might need in your first days in Portugal, and keep in mind that there you will find all the main governmental offices where you will deal with your paperwork, visa issues, and any legal problems.
Just like Lisbon, Porto has different co-working spaces with excellent facilities for you to start working and connecting with the whole world. The city’s infrastructure is continuously growing, and this will reflect on your quality of life there and make your day-to-day life easier.
Porto is the second-largest city in Portugal, and it offers great vibes for people who are considering living there. Like much of Portugal, Porto offers a lot to lovers of history and food. It’s even home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Ribeira riverside.
The Algarve is the perfect setting for remote workers that are looking for year-round pleasant weather. The region is known for its warm winter temperatures and stunning ocean view. No matter where you go in the Algarve, you can find restaurants and cafes that match your unique needs.
Since many tourists in the Algarve hail from the UK, English is widely spoken among the local population, so you won’t need to worry about the language barrier. Try to target some of the amazing coastal towns like Tavira, Albufeira, Lagos, or Olhão. You can also check the available co-working spaces in the Algarve.
Peniche is one of the largest traditional fishing ports in Portugal and a major Atlantic hub for maritime-tourist activities. The city is very rich with its cultural traditions and has many stunning natural wonders where you can fully immerse yourself in the region. You will also find Peniche Portugal real estate to be quite affordable compared to other coastal areas, such as the Algarve.
The Baleal village in the north also offers sea-view cafés and fishing taverns. For a more lively environment, think about Supertubos beach and Peniche town. Nightlife and coastal apartments are more available there.
Considering working remotely in Portugal is a wise decision and you will definitely experience the quality of life and the major changes in your lifestyle after spending some time in Portugal. In Portugal, you will get a good amount of everything; Beautiful sightseeing opportunities, charming weather that will boost your mood, delicious food that will satisfy you, and welcoming people who will make you feel at home.
Frequently asked questions about working remotely in Portugal
Do you need a visa to work remotely in Portugal?
Yes, you do, unless you are an EU citizen. And the good thing about Portugal is that it offers different types of visa programs that may suit you. The most popular one, if you do not want to make a significant investment in the country, is the D7 visa. The D7 visa allows you to work remotely while living in Portugal, as long as you can provide proof of your passive income (which is not obtained from within Portugal).
Another popular option to get a Portuguese visa is the NHR (Non-Habitual Residence) program. This visa scheme allows some tax exemptions and great tax returns for foreign income for a duration of ten years. Many people choose this program to receive significant tax benefits on the same income.
Our partners at Global Citizen Solutions complete guide to the NHR program in Portugal can provide you with more information on the topic.
Can I work remotely for a UK company in Portugal?
Yes, you can. By having a remote job with a UK company you might be eligible for several residence permits in Portugal, such as D7 Visa, which is a good option for non-EU citizens with passive income or remote jobs.
Can I work for a US company and live in Portugal?
Yes, you can, and in this case, you can come to Portugal with a D7 visa, since your income will be from a non-Portuguese company. You will need to provide proof of your passive income. And, after 183 days of living and working in the country, you will be a taxpayer and you can apply for a tax return.