As remote work becomes more and more of a possibility of people, more and more people are looking at Portugal as a remote working destination. And, why wouldn’t you? Portugal, particularly areas like Lisbon and the Algarve, has great year-round weather with 300+ days of sunshine, a lower cost of living, and is easy to fly to from most of Europe. It also has several areas that are nomad hubs, particularly Lisbon but also places like Lagos in the Algarve, Madeira, Porto, Ericeira, and Costa da Caparica.
More importantly, Portugal is looking to attract remote workers. It is actively running tourist campaigns to attract remote workers and digital nomads and, as of September 2022, it has introduced a new visa for digital nomads and remote workers.
This is aimed at the two types of remote workers and freelancers Portugal attracts:
- People that want to spend a few months working somewhere sunny, but don’t want to move there
- People that want to move to Portugal and have it as their base
Both have slightly different implications.
Moving to Portugal as a remote worker
Over the past few years, Portugal has started to attract thousands of remote workers, freelancers, and digital nomads who want to move to Portugal, but continue earning from their remote jobs abroad. If you have a salary from somewhere like the UK, USA, or Germany, for example, Portugal can be a very appealing place to live.
In the past, many remote workers and freelancers did this by applying for the D7 visa (and sometimes the D2) but, as of 2022, Portugal has introduced a digital nomad visa aimed at remote workers and freelancers.
This is aimed at those from outside the EU, and will be of particular interest to those interested in having a base in Europe and also obtaining an “EU passport.”Many remote workers will also be able to take advantage of Portugal’s NHR tax regime, which offers discounted tax rates for the first ten years of residency, or Portugal’s other tax regimes which are sometimes even more appealing. Those from another EU country like France or Ireland can already move to Portugal without requiring a special residency visa.
If you’re thinking about moving to Portugal as a remote worker, the first step is to check whether you actually can. Speak to a lawyer and see if you meet the requirements.
The next step is to find out how your company will feel about it. While many companies are fine with their employees working remotely in their own country, they aren’t okay with them working remotely in another country – especially moving to another country and working remotely. It can have tax and legal complications and, unless the company has an office in Portugal, they may not be willing to facilitate it.
Visiting Portugal as a Remote Worker
As well as people who make a permanent or semi-permanent move to Portugal, there are also plenty of people that come for a few months and then return home or move on to another destination. Post-covid many companies are allowing their employees to do this, although it does vary from company to company. Many remote workers avoid getting a “no” from their employers by simply not telling them and not staying long enough in Portugal to create any problems.
Aside from getting employer approval, the biggest challenge is typically finding affordable accommodation. That’s especially the case if you want to go to a digital nomad hotspot like Lisbon, Lagos, or Madeira. Airbnbs are becoming more expensive, although with a little forward-planning and research, it is possible to get a reasonable deal. It’s also worth noting that there are other accommodation sites as well, for example Flatio, Spotahome, HousingAnywhere and Booking.com. There are also co-living spaces which are essentially posh hostels with great wifi and co-working areas.
You don’t need a co-working space, but they are useful for being productive and meeting other people. Lisbon and Porto, in particular, also have lots of cafés, particularly the more moden hipster cafés, that you could work from as well. Apps like Croissant allow you to buy credit that you can use at multiple different co-working spaces. It also allows you to try multiple co-working spaces before deciding to settle on one.