Thinking About Working Remotely in Portugal?

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As remote work becomes more and more of a possibility of people, more and more people are looking at Portugal as a destination to work remotely from. 

And, why wouldn’t you? Portugal, particularly areas like Lisbon and the Algarve, has great year-round weather with 300+ days of sunshine, a low cost of living, and is easy to fly to from most of Europe. 

It also has a strong remote worker scene already, particularly in Lisbon where you’ll find 100s of digital nomads, freelancers, and startup owners.

There are smaller scenes in places like the Algarve and Porto, which is fine if you’re not looking to be surrounded by other people, and, if you’re comfortable with a little more isolation, there’s the whole of Portugal to explore. 

Accommodation

Most people who plan to work while in Portugal book an Airbnb (or multiple Airbnbs) for their stay. There’s more space, it allows you to cook if you want to, and usually there’s a dining table to work from. Some places even have desks and office chairs. 

Another option is to stay in a co-living space, a kind of hostel for other freelancers and digital nomads where you live together and work together. This often works out more expensive than booking your own accommodation, but can be a good way to meet other people. 

And, of course, you also have the option of booking a hotel, hostel, guesthouse…whatever you feel like. Just make sure it has a good desk or work surface to work from. 

Co-working Spaces

You may want to work from a co-working space, which are offices that you pay to use. These can normally be booked on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis and naturally it works out more cost-effective if you book it for the month. 

Alternatively, apps like Croissant allow you to buy credit that you can use at multiple different co-working spaces. 

Lisbon and Porto, in particular, also have lots of cafés, particularly the more moden hipster cafés, that you could work from as well. 

See co-working spaces in Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve.

Legal Implications

If you spend more than 183 days in Portugal, you become a tax resident here and, legally, you should now file a tax return here and pay your taxes here. But what if you just come for a few days, weeks, or even months? 

What happens if you’re visiting on a tourist visa where you’re not allowed to work, but you get an email from work that you have to reply to?

Remote working is still a grey area legally, both in Portugal and elsewhere. While some countries like Barbados have introduced specific remote work visas, Portugal doesn’t have such a visa. 

It’s more black and white when you’ve been here six months – after that you should become a tax resident here, and technically you should register as living here after 3 months – but, up until that point, most people opt for a “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach. Unless, of course, your plan is to live in Portugal long-term. 

Staying longer than six months

If you fall in love with Portugal – and many people do – you might decide that you want to base yourself here for the majority of the year and continue working for a company in another country. 

This is absolutely possible to do, and it’s something that many people do. It can also be a path to citizenship after 5 years and, in the meantime, would give you a lot of freedom to move within the Schengen Area. 

Having a remote job could make you eligible for some visas like the D7 Visa & Residence Permit, a visa which is aimed at non-EU citizens who already have some form of passive income or a remote job that they can do from Portugal. 

It does mean paying your taxes in Portugal, and there will be a little paperwork involved in switching your residency from your current country to Portugal. Some people could benefit from Portugal’s NHR tax regime which, in most cases, allows you to pay a flat rate of 20% (+ social security) on your income over 10 years. For some people, particularly high earners, this can mean that moving to Portugal would allow them to pay less tax than they do currently. 

The NHR tax regime isn’t the right scheme for everyone, though, and for many people the Simplified Regime, which taxes you on a percentage of your income rather than all of your income, may be a better option. 

Deciding which one is right for you will take some research, and it’s recommended that you speak to a professional accountant as well. 

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58 thoughts on “Thinking About Working Remotely in Portugal?”

  1. Hi James, thanks for writing this great article.

    I’m from Brazil, a family member(married) of a European and we are currently living in Ireland, I hold the Irish Residency Card and I work here normally but my wife is a stay-at-home mum, so she doesn’t work at the moment. We are planning to move to Portugal and apply for residency permission but I will continue working remotely for the same Irish company, is this currently possible since I’m the one working, not my wife? Is there anything that we should provide during the visa application process?

    Thank you very much for your attention.

    Reply
    • Olá Jose

      This is a good question for an immigration lawyer as I’m not sure of the answer. Please let me know if you want me to put you in touch with someone.

      Reply
  2. Hi

    I’m a canadian that just moved to Portugal on a D7 visa. I’m in discussion with a Canadian company for a job (IT) where I would work from home. They want to hire me « in Canada » so I was wondering what is the tax implication? Would I pay tax in both country? Am I allowed? Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Mireille,

      There’s a double tax treaty with Canada that should protect you from paying tax twice. It’s potentially possible to pay your taxes in Canada under the NHR scheme but I will pass your details onto a tax account who can help you work out 1) whether that’s an option and 2) which country it would make more sense for you to pay taxes in.

      Reply
      • I would love this information as well please! I am a Canadian working remotely for a Canadian company, and living in Lisbon since last July. I’m planning on staying for the foreseeable future but any talk of double tax is out of the question and therefore would not be worth it.

        Reply
  3. Hi I am wondering what would be the best thing to do in this case:
    Let’s say a dual citizen of both Portugal and Canada is employed full time by a Canadian company and would like to move to portugal forever. Would they have to change residency to portugal even though they are working full time for a Canadian Company?

    This person does not want their TFSA contribution room to be limited in the following years so they are just wondering. Any help would be great!

    Reply
    • Hi DeDe,

      Basically, yes, you would be resident in Portugal so that’s where you’d normally pay taxes etc. There is a scheme called the NHR program which in some cases allows you to continue paying taxes elsewhere, but it may not affect the TFSA program. The UK has a savings scheme called ISAs, but these are only open to residents.

      Here’s some info about NHR: https://www.portugalist.com/non-habitual-tax-regime/

      Reply
  4. Hi James,

    I think you missed my query. Can you please connect me with relocation lawyer as I would like to relocate to Portugal. I am working for American company in IT industry. Your inputs will be valuable as I can better realign with responsibilities better from Portugal in Portugal incredible environment.

    Reply
  5. I’m an Indian citizen working for a company remotely and living in the USA. I’m a blockchain developer and I would like to move to Portugal and work remotely for the same company. Do I need a visa? If so, what visa would I need to apply for ?

    Reply
    • Hi Sid,

      Yes, you would need a visa. The D7 is a good option, but I’ll pass your details onto a relocation lawyer who can confirm.

      Reply
  6. I’m a Canadian citizen working for a company in Canada and we’re working remotely from home. I’m a software developer and I would like to spend a year in Portugal and work remotely for the same company. Do I need a visa? If so, what visa would I need to apply for?

    Reply
    • Hi Garcia,

      Yes, you would need a visa to stay.

      I’ll put you in touch with a lawyer, who can better answer this question. A lot of remote workers have applied for the D7 visa, but a lawyer can advise you on what’s best for you.

      Reply
  7. Hi, if I have an online business do you know if I can apply for a D7 visa or does it have to be just income from a passive income that I need?

    Reply
    • Hi Georgina,

      Apologies for the delay in replying.

      I’ll pass your details onto a lawyer who can better answer this question.

      There are a lot of people being approved for the D7 with income from online businesses, but they do take a lot of different factors into account. There’s also the D2 visa, which is more aimed at entrepreneurs, should you not get accepted for the D7 (or should a lawyer advise you not to apply for it).

      Reply
  8. Hi,

    I’m considering working from Portugal (I’ve been working remotely in US for the past 4-5 years), however my situation is a little bit more “delicate” (I would like to enroll my kid at school in Portugal as well).
    Why do I say “delicate”? Because I currently have dual-citizenship (US citizen and European Union citizen), so I don’t know exactly under what type of visa (if needed) we could fall under! I still consider working for the same US employer and filling my annual taxes in US!
    Thank you

    Reply
    • Hi Dan,

      Thanks for your message.

      It sounds like you will be doing a full move to Portugal rather than a digital nomad approach where you only spend a few months here. You should also have an easy time moving to Portugal with your European passport and won’t need to worry about visas like so many other Americans.

      I will put you in touch with the experts who can discuss the best tax options such as the NHR program, which could be very applicable for your situation.

      Reply
  9. James, I am looking at language studies at the university level in Portugal, beginning in October if the covid virus allows, maybe the spring semester. I work at home online now as an engineering contractor, not as 1099, tho. My company is OK with me doing the same from Portugal. Does this fall under the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell ‘ situation? …………………………………………………..
    thanks, David

    Reply
    • Hi David,

      I don’t think so. The digital nomads who come to Portugal to work remotely often only do so for a few weeks, so it’s a grey-er area as to what’s legal and what isn’t.

      You’ll be coming to Portugal to study, and presumably staying for more than 90 days, in which case you’ll probably need a student visa (or some kind of visa) to stay. That visa will dictate what is and isn’t allowed.

      It may be worth getting expert advice on what visa would be best for both study and remote work. I can put you in touch with some companies that can help, if you like?

      Reply
    • Great post! (I am wondering by the way if your profile photo was taken in Sintra? I have an almost identical photo of myself with the same background is why I ask.) I am wondering if you can share contacts who might be able to help me with a situation. I am a US citizen and a full-time permanent W2 employee working for a US-based multinational company (has a small office in Lisbon by the way). I am already working fully remotely in the US. I want to start working half the year in Lisbon, half the year in the US and would like to know how to legally do this. D7 doesn’t make sense because I don’t have “passive income”. I don’t want to ‘change’ my residence to Portugal, at least not at first (I may want to reside there permanently in the future but not without ‘testing the waters’). Thoughts?

      Reply
      • Hi Monique,

        I think my photo was taken in Lisbon somewhere but I’m not sure where.

        I believe you can maintain your tax residency in the US by spending less than 183 days in Portugal, however, the normal Schengen via isn’t suitable. Firstly, it’s only for 90 days in 180 days and, secondly, it’s meant to be a tourist visa (although a lot of people work remotely on it).

        I will pass your details onto the experts 🙂

        Reply
  10. Hi James,

    Thanks for all your helpful information, could you recommend a lawyer that could help with the D7 visa, we are ready to get started. Thanks!

    Reply
  11. Hi James, great article, thank you.

    Do you have any further info on the D2 Visa? I’m trying to figure out which option would be suitable for somebody who is employed remotely with a company outside of Portugal (i.e. working full time, but remote).

    Thanks for any tips,
    Samantha

    Reply
    • Hi Samantha,

      It’s a good question! Hopefully I’ll get to writing an article on the D2 soon.

      I think the D7 is still valid here and probably the slightly easier of the two visas.

      Reply
  12. Hi James,

    When establishing residency and working remotely for a US company, one would be subject to paying taxes in Portugal. As the US requires it’s citizens to pay tax while living abroad, does that mean paying tax in the US as well?
    Thank You,
    Jeff

    Reply
    • Hi Jeff,

      This is a question for an accountant or tax professional (which I am not), however a very basic understanding of what often happens in these situations is that you will pay taxes in one country and then whatever you’ve paid is used as a “credit” against your other tax responsibilities. So you wouldn’t pay tax twice, but you would have to file two tax returns (or pay someone to file them for you).

      Please confirm this with someone who knows what they’re talking about though 🙂

      Reply
    • You are not taxed “twice”.

      If you are a remote worker with a W2, demonstrating that your income is taxed in the US, you are eligible for NHR and pay no taxes to PT. You do have to file an annual tax report in PT. You will only pay US taxes.

      If you are a remote worker as a 1099 contractor, you will pay tax in PT. When you file US tax return, you will show taxes were paid in PT and not have that income taxed again in the US. On your US tax return you will claim FEIE (Foreign Earned Income Exclusion). Take a look at the FEIE and foreign housing exclusions. However, in the end you pay taxes to PT – which are much higher than US tax rates, so 1099 worker beware.

      If you own a business in the US and do not work, but take owner draws or dividends, you will be considered “passive income” and eligible for PT NHR. Again, you file an annual tax return in PT and pay no tax, then file and pay taxes in the US.

      *One caveat to note is that at some point, PT may scrutinize owner draws to determine that you are not actually working in PT. If you have employees on payroll in the US, this will support your claim you don’t work. Or if you make a trip back to the US annually, to do “all the owner work/management” during that time, but that seems a little iffy.

      Reply
      • Hi Jill,

        Just curious to know whether your comments on how a W2 remote worker gets taxed in Portugal has been confirmed in practice? I’ve seen other comments stating that even if you are working remotely for a foreign company, the fact that this work was done while living in Portugal makes it NOT foreign-sourced income but rather Portugal sourced, and therefore taxed at the progressive rates. Am hoping to hear from someone in this situation that can confirm how this is actually interpreted by the Portuguese tax authorities. Thanks!

        P.S. to James, thanks for the informative article. Would you be able to recommend any contacts (tax specialists) that would be able to assist with some questions I may have regarding Portugal tax implications for remote employees. Thanks!

        Reply
        • I contacted a tax professional in Portugal that stated a W2 is best to qualify for NHR and income would be exempt from Portugal taxes as it shows you already were taxed in the US.
          I live in a state that has no income tax, so I just pay Federal taxes.

          Reply
  13. Hi!
    I am a permanent resident in USA and me and my husband are planning to request citizenship in short term We are both from Portugal (home country). Long term, we have the plan to get remote US jobs and comeback to Portugal for living with US incoming jobs.
    Is this dream possible having dual citizenship? what is the implication on taxes?

    Reply
    • Hi Juliana,

      Portugal doesn’t ask people to give up their citizenship, so dual citizenship is okay here.

      Yes, you could come back to Portugal with a remote job. Normally, when you live in Portugal, you pay taxes here. It’s a little more complicated for those with a US passport as the US tries to make a tax claim for anyone who has American citizenship so you’ll have to submit tax returns in both countries (and may need an accountant for both). It’s definitely doable, although sometimes a little complicated, and there are plenty of American citizens living in Portugal who have income coming from the US.

      Reply
  14. Hi James, thanks for taking the time to write this up

    Any advice for a Brit who’s considering whether he can still move in 2021 even though Brexit is on the horizon? I’m a software developer working via an umbrella company for another company here in the UK

    Reply
    • Hey Adam,

      Well, nobody knows what’ll happen with Brexit. It could be that the UK will get some kind of deal that allows people to move to Portugal easily or, if the UK is going to be treated like the US and all other 3rd countries, it could be that you’ll need to apply for a visa such as the D7 (or possibly D2, depending on your business). Maybe it’ll all become clearer next week.

      Anyone who’s living here before the 31st of December will have a much easier time applying. Ideally you would get all the paperwork done this year, but there’s an extension if you can prove you were living here before the end of 2020. If you go this route, you get a 5-year residency certificate and you can apply for citizenship or permanent residency after. That’s definitely the easiest (and probably cheapest) route although I appreciate it’s hard to get all this done now.

      Otherwise, I’d have a read up on the D-series visas such as the D7 ( https://www.portugalist.com/d7-visa-residency/ ). Or, just hope and pray that something sensible gets sorted out!

      Reply
      • Any update on this? As someone stuck in the not-so-UK and wanting out, but wanting to work remotely, but travel for a year at least before deciding where to live, with PT being a possibility here, at which point becoming tax resident will happen.

        Reply
        • Hi Luke,

          If you’re planning on travelling for a year, you could keep your tax residency in the UK as it is now and not spend enough time in somewhere like Portugal to make you tax resident (normally 183 days). A bit of a grey area, but it’s something a lot of people (digital nomads) do.

          The new restrictions on visiting the Schengen Area for UK citizens will mean you can only spend 90 days in the Schengen Area in a 180-day period. A 3-month stint should give you a good feel for the country.

          Reply
  15. I’m curious, I am actually a Dual Citizenship Between the UN and Canada. I am currently self employed with a company online. They pay in USD. But funds gets released into my Portugese Pay Pal account and transferred into my Portugese Bank Account.

    Would you have any idea what I need to do to make things legal for me here regarding taxes?

    I use to have a hair salon, in the Azores so I know I need to switch my business status from Salon, but I pay my Social Assistant every month. But now with the switch of how I make my income is a tad confusing and I am not getting straight answers.

    Because I don’t need a Visa to work here. But I’m not with a European company. Best part is I need to figure this out for Canada lol

    Reply
    • Hi Marinda,

      I think you really need to speak to a really good accountant/tax advisor (and maybe even more than one). It will probably cost you a few hundred Euros, but it’ll be worth it.

      Let me know if you need me to suggest one.

      James

      Reply
  16. Hi James,
    I enjoy your website and all the info you provide. My wife and I are considering a move to Portugal in the next couple of years. I have a job where I can work remotely for a US company. I would also meet the requirements for passive income in the form of savings. My question would be is the D7 the best option for me? If so, do you have some lawyers you know that would be able to help us through the visa process from the US? We would most likely live somewhere between Porto and Lisbon on Silver Coast.

    Reply
    • Hi Gregg,

      Apologies for the delayed response. I will put you in touch with some lawyers who can advise on the best visa.

      Thanks for the kind words about the website.

      James

      Reply
      • HI James,
        Thanks for getting back to me. If you could forward me some names, I would appreciate it. I have a question about D7 that I am a little confused about. I know it would be for people who have passive income. I have sufficient funds in cash. Would that count for the visa? Also, I will plan to work remote for a US company. Will I still be able to get the D7? I do not need that income to prove my ability to support myself but I have read in other places that you cannot work at all?

        Reply
  17. Hi James –

    This website is awesomely helpful! I am US citizen who works remotely as an independent contractor consultant for 15+ years. I would like to spend at least 1 year in Portugal while working. Can you recommend a legal firm to work in order to get a D7 Residence Visa. I do not currently have passive income in the US. Do you know if this would this be a barrier?

    My best,
    Sara

    Reply
    • Hi Sara,

      Thank you so much! Normally you would need savings or an income (it doesn’t necessarily have to be passive, despite the visa name).

      I’ll drop you an email.

      James

      Reply
  18. Hi James,
    I have a place in the Alentejo where I can stay and would like to pursue a D7 visa. Can you please advise the legal firm you work with?

    Reply
  19. Hi James,

    Thank you for the information! My wife and I have US based jobs and can work remotely. We are contemplating a move to Portugual for a year to use as a base for traveling more throughout Europe and North Africa. We would maintain our jobs and income from our US jobs. Will it be relatively easy to get a Residency Visa so long as we meet the income threshold? Should we want to extend our stay, is it easy to renew under the same circumstances? Thank you so much!

    – Joseph

    Reply
    • Hi Joseph,

      I imagine with a US salary you would more than meet the requirements for the D7 visa (one of several options). Once you are granted this, and then later the residency permit, which is normally initially for 1 year, and it’s normally renewable every 2 years. After 5 years, you could apply for permanent residency or Portuguese citizenship.

      Obviously you would be re-assessed at each renewal, but it should be fairly straightforward. You would apply for the visa in the US, but renewals are done in Portugal.

      More information can be found in this article: https://www.portugalist.com/d7-visa-residency/ If you decide to make the move and want assistance with the paperwork, I can suggest a few companies.

      Hope that helps,

      James

      Reply
      • Curious about the implications for the US-based company. Would allowing remote work abroad open the company itself to complex legal/tax liability?

        Reply
        • Hi Santos,

          It’s a complex question and obviously something that many companies are worried about, however, there are a lot of US companies that allow remote work and many with employees or freelancers (depending on how they structure things) in Portugal (among other countries). An accountant or tax specialist would be in a better position to advise than me.

          There are sometimes specific legal considerations, particularly for inudstries that deal in very sensitive data (e.g. finance) but, again, I would say that you need the input of an expert here.

          Reply
        • Hi Santos,

          I have the exact same question because I am considering approaching my employer about working abroad remotely (I currently work in the US remotely). There are definitely considerations from the employer’s perspective and just last night I ran across an amazing presentation by an attorney that specializes in international employment law. I am leaving the link below (hope that’s ok) because it’s a literal gold mine of employer implications/risks and I think important for any employee to understand: https://www.littler.com/events/what-do-about-global-covid-nomads

          Reply
  20. Hi!

    So glad I found you! I’m trying to do a part time US / part time Portugal life for a year while I decide whether to make the full time move to Portugal . As a US based business I am trying to figure out the tax questions for what I want to do. Do you have a suggestion for how to find a good accountant in Portugal (Porto preferred) to assist with these questions?

    Muito obrigada!
    Elaine

    Reply

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