Thinking About Working Remotely in Portugal?

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. 

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

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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 Portugal first and then whatever you’ve paid is used as a “credit” against your American taxes. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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

Leave a Comment