How to Move to Portugal as a Remote Worker

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Last updated on June 4, 2024 | Est. Reading Time: 4 minutes

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 the end of 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:

  1. People that want to spend a few months working somewhere sunny, but don’t want to move there
  2. 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.”Those from another EU country like France or Ireland can already move to Portugal without requiring a special residency visa.

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.

There are workarounds. One option is that you become a contractor rather than an employee. The downside of this is that you lose certain protections and you may lose certain benefits, such as sick day cover or pension contributions. Another option is that your company works with an international payroll company, such as remote.com. This allows you to stay employed, however using the services of a payroll company such as remote means there are additional costs for your employer.

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 the Algarve in general), 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.

Portugal’s new digital nomad visa is also expected to have an offering for visiting digital nomads who want to stay in Portugal for a little longer.

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James Cave is the founder of Portugalist and the author of the bestselling book, Moving to Portugal Made Simple. He has visited just about every part of Portugal, including Madeira and all nine islands of the Azores, and lived in several parts of Portugal including Lisbon, the Algarve, and Northern Portugal.

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Comments

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  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
  12. 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
  13. 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
    • 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 will pass your details onto the experts 🙂

        Reply
  14. 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
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. 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
    • 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
      • Would also love any recommendations of lawyers/tax accountants familiar with NHR in Portugal and Canadian tax residency. I’m a dual Portuguese-Canadian citizen, looking for remote jobs that would hopefully allow me to stay tax resident in Canada, while living in Portugal permanently (if that is possible!).

        Reply
  21. 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
  22. hello,

    I am a full-time, W2 remote employee for a US company based in NYC, with the current freedom to work in any US state.

    Would a permanent move be possible under these circumstances, so long as I clear it with my employer and have the D7 visa? Could my employer actually save on costs by no longer having to provide health insurance coverage while I’m abroad?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Em,

      It sounds like it would be possible, but it would be important to clear it with your employer. Many don’t like the idea of their employees working in other countries (for legal, payroll, and security reasons) while others require you become a freelancer rather than an employee to make it work.

      So start by trying to clear it with your employer.

      Let me know how you get on.

      Reply
    • Hello, Em,

      Have you figure it out with your employer?
      I am living in Wisconsin and working remotely for a NY company and thinking about moving to Portugal for a year. I have not spoken to them yet about it. Curious to know what your employer said.

      Thank you.

      Reply
      • Dina, I’m in the same exact situation as you. In my head I can just move to Portugal while keeping my residency(I own property) and bank accounts in US and file everything here as usual but it might be more complicated. If you find more info I would really appreciate it. I will do the same.
        Cheers and thanks for all the info.

        Reply
  23. Hi team

    Thanks for the great article

    I am looking to work from Portugal and have been told i can work remotely from any region (just has to be in Portugal due to the pay entity)

    I am a type 2 diabetic so wanted information about how i can manage my diabetes in Portugal and the health care as i will relocate from te UK, currently here i get free medication for my diabetes

    Reply
  24. Hello James, please let me know if you can assist. I am currently working for an IT company in Germany. I have EU (Italian) passport. My wife doesn’t have EU passport.
    With the pandemic, my office closed permanently so I am officially working from home.
    We would like to move to Portugal. I need to keep an address registered in Germany as far as I know and will continue paying 31,5% +- taxes. So I am ok with German laws, right?
    What about in Portugal? Do I need to pay taxes? Paying taxes in both countries don’t worth it. What about my wife? In Germany she has permission for 5 years for being married with an EU member. How should we register her in Portugal?
    What else should I pay attention?

    Reply
  25. Hey James!

    I love it that you reply to all of these questions 🙂

    I’m moving to Portugal and I’m an EU citizen. Since I work remotely and have an online business I would rather keep my personal income + business taxes in another EU country while I stay in Portugal for at least 6 months. Where can I find more info on this and if that’s possible, to live in Portugal but not pay taxes to Portugal?

    Reply
  26. Hello,
    I have a question about the D7 visa. I have a remote job, but I also have to be in the United States for about 4 months of the year to work for my other job physically. So my question is will I be able to travel back to the states and work for the 4 months of the year? And should I address this in my application as income on behalf of me being able to sustain myself for the full year requirements?

    Reply
  27. Hi James,

    Thank you in advance for any insight you might be able to provide on this.

    I will be a returning Portuguese citizen (also possess British nationality), potentially continuing to work remotely for a UK company, this will be a permanent move on my part.

    My question is in regard to UK capital gains tax on gains realised whilst living in Portugal.

    Ordinarily, this type of capital gain (cryptocurrency), would be exempt from capital gains tax in Portugal and would only incur HMRC tax liability should you return to the UK to live within a 5 year period of realising said gains.

    However, I’m not sure if this tax exemption would change if you continue to work for a UK company, albeit remotely, in Portugal. Would HMRC then be in a position to demand the tax liability on said gains whilst you’re still living in Portugal?

    Would signing up to the NHR scheme be beneficial for this purpose, or would it be counterproductive?

    Many thanks.

    Reply
  28. Hi James,

    I am a Portuguese national with a British passport, been living in the UK for the past 11 years and I’m planning to move back to Portugal this year.
    I’m a freelancer with a UK limited company and my wife is also a Portuguese / British citizen that works as a sole trader in the UK.
    We would like to work from Portugal permanently but we wanted to pay taxes in the UK for a few more years, do you think thats possible as a registered sole trader and limited company director?
    Many Thanks,

    FIlipe

    Reply
  29. Hi James,

    Thanks for the article. I currently live and work in the US as a non-american, but my wife is from Italy and we are planning to relocate to Portugal while keeping my job in the US. Wanted to talk to someone who might have good insights as to the different models and costs (for me and the company) that could make this work (3rd party payroll company vs me as a contractor/consultant). If you have a good relocation lawyer/accountant that you’d recommend speaking with, I’d appreciate it.

    Valeu!
    Diego

    Reply
  30. Hi there,

    Thanks for the informative post. I was wondering if you had any more clarity on the issue of reporting foreign-earned income as a RNH. If you have the status and have been employed in the US still, you can report total taxes paid in the US, into the Portuguese IRS and it gets approved. So from the employee side, that is all set.

    But in this scenario, if you’re employed in the US–and reporting on that foreign earned income–your employer is still technically paying employer taxes to the US gov, rather than PT…but the Portuguese IRS clearly knows that is happening if you are reporting the foreign earned income.

    Any knowledge on how a US company could pay PT employer payroll taxes but still have someone on a US payroll? Seems like the only way the whole system would be above water.

    Thanks,
    C

    Reply
  31. I am a US citizen and EU citizen living in the US and a full-time permanent W2 employee working for a US-based company. I am already working fully remotely in the US. I want to start working half the year in Portugal, 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 first want to check everything out). Thoughts? My wife is a US citizen and owns her own LLC and would like to do the same with me 🙂

    Reply
  32. Hi, James.

    Great article, very useful indeed! I have read elsewhere that while the D7 is a popular option for remote workers, there are quite a few cases in which people are turned down for having remote work be their only source of income (as in, they don’t also have a passive source of income, which the visa is technically for).

    No doubt many folks have been successful taking this route though. I just wondered what your thoughts were on that? It is often alluded to that it largely matters which consulate you apply to (so, which country you’re from, in other words). Do you think it’s likely an unwritten rule that people applying with a remote salary only have a better chance to be accepted if they are from a wealthy country (US, UK, Australia etc), as their remote job is based in a more stable economy? I’m looking to move to Portugal long-term next year and also have a good amount of savings behind me, so just speculating on the chances of being rejected. I’m from the UK for what it’s worth. I’ll be moving with somebody else as well, who also has a good amount of savings and is from the US.

    Cheers!

    Reply
  33. Thanks for that, James, incredibly useful as always. Just read that recent article you linked. Very reassuring that a consulate mentioned to Yanira that she requires a passive income *or* a remote income. I’ll definitely pursue some professional help nearer the time as well.

    Thanks again!

    Reply
  34. Hi !

    Thank you so much for all the info!

    Sorry if I am repeating a question…I was wondering if with the D7 application we had to be paid into a Portuguese bank account or can I keep my current UK account with salary into that as proof of my passive income? And how many months I would need to show on this? Its a new position and I am already in Portugal waiting for my NIF number!

    Many thanks

    Reply
  35. James Cave,

    If one works for a US company in the US, and can work work that job remotely in Portugal, is it allowed? I was told by some that the US company must have an office in Portugal. Is that true? Also, what does it mean to pay social security to Portugal? So you dont pay social security in the US. And does that affect the US social security take-home when you retire?

    thanks, Gorgoegos

    Reply
  36. Hi James,

    Great article. Very helpful, however I have a question for you. I am looking to head over to the Algarve to help my parents move and settle in (they are in the process of relocating from South Africa to Portugal on a golden visa). I intend on working from Portugal (I am employed in the UK by a UK business) for the 7 days over the festive period. What’s the quickest way to get a visa for this short term period?

    cheers,

    G

    Reply
  37. Hi! I’m not sure if you’re still monitoring this post but worth a try! If I want to work remotely from Portugal on a UK contract, do you know what my employer actually has to do regarding payroll and taxes (from what I understand there should be a way of telling HMRC that I’m a tax resident abroad but I cannot figure out how without them having a Portuguese branch of the company)? Any insight you have would be very appreciated thank you!

    Reply
  38. Hi,

    My question does not seem to be completely related to this post but since you seem to have knowledge about Portugal and its legal aspect of it I thought its worth a try.

    I already have a job offer from Portugal. This offer will help me relocate and live in Portugal which would lead me getting a permanent residency in Portugal. However, the salary seems to be a little on the lower side. For that reason, I am thinking that while working for this company I would also work for another company remotely from Portugal.

    My question is can I work for 2 companies one for Portuguese and one for company from abroad(maybe another EU country or even US) at the same time and do I have to pay taxes for both of these employments in Portugal?

    I am a non-EU citizen and belong to Asia.

    Thanks

    Reply
  39. Hello,

    Where can I find a good English speaking accountant in Portugal? I’m looking for an accountant idealy in the region Coimbra, Porto, Braga. What is a reasonable tarif?

    Reply
  40. Hi Nick,
    I am actually in the same situation, I work for a US company and have dual citizenship. I am fully remote here in the US but want to move to Portugal and continue to work from there. If you find out more info please let me know, and I will do the same.
    Cheers!

    Reply
  41. Hello,

    I am working remotely in a 1 bed apartment near Palmela. I have to return to the office for the summer months so my place is available if anyone needs it. Broadband is fibre to the building and coax to the router. Give me a shout at fmanford@gmail.com

    Cheers,
    Tony

    Reply
  42. Hello,

    I am employed and work for a UK company but can do remote working. We are staying in Portugal for 14 days in September and I may need to work for 2 days but my employer HR team is asking me to provide the proof for my right to work for those two days. Does anyone know the rules on this please and point me to the rules?

    Thanks

    Reply
  43. This is super helpful! I currently work from home in Canada for a Canadian company but am making a move with my EU husband to Portugal. If I understand correctly it sounds like I could just move locations and keep my job as long as my currently employer ok’s it and there will be limited tax implications due to this nomad visa/NHR exemption. Or are there hidden limitations and should I still reach out to a professional

    Reply
    • Hi Paige,

      Having an EU husband and a company that’s okay with remote working definitely makes life easier, and qualifying for NHR would make the tax situation straight forward. Here’s an article about moving to Portugal as a spouse of an EU citizen. I would also make sure that the Canadian company are not only okay with it, but they have researched the implications from their end (e.g. whether they need to setup payroll in Portugal).

      I definitely think it’s worth speaking to a professional at least once. There isn’t really anything hidden, but it’s very easy to overlook things or not understand everything. Everybody’s situation is slightly different and the best way to get a definitive answer is to speak to a professional. I’ll send you an email with a suggestion 🙂

      Reply
  44. Tax-wise, how would it work for a person with dual citizenship? I have American and German passports, and live and work in the US and would like to move to Portugal. How would I do that, and how would I file my taxes?

    Reply
    • Hi James,

      These types of questions should always be answered by an accountant as there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. Please get in touch if you’d like me to suggest one.

      It sounds like you would be able to move to Portugal easily with your German passport. I would speak to your work to make sure remote working from Portugal would actually be a possibility. As mentioned in the article, it can get complicated for companies if they don’t have an office already in Portugal. You would need to know this is actually possible before pursuing this idea.

      Then I would speak to an accountant to discuss which taxes Portugal is going to want due to you being resident here, which ones the US is going to want due to you being a citizen from there, and how the tax treaty will ensure you don’t get taxed twice. I think it would also be a good idea to discuss the new NHR tax regime to see if you can benefit from that and whether or not that would be a better tax regime than the other standard regimes that exist in Portugal.

      Reply

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