Portugal is an amazing country that offers many opportunities. And the stories of our today’s heroes are direct proof of that. Today we want to tell three stories, of three very different people who, without fear of change, gave up everything in their home country and changed lives – their own and their families’ – for the better. Perhaps these stories will serve as examples and inspiration for someone else. Whatever the case, these stories are sure to motivate and prove that nothing in life is impossible or unfeasible.
The dream that came true
Our first heroine is Angelica. She’s been living in Portugal for two years now, has opened a small restaurant here and is soon to get married. Angelica tells us:
The first time she’s been in Portugal, she’s been in Portugal for two years.
“The first time I went to Portugal was when I was 10 years old. It was the only time my parents and I went on a big trip, and before that we usually vacationed at the sea and never travelled outside our home country. And now such a grand event! I remember how excited I was about the upcoming trip. Probably a whole week without sleep before it. And then the day came. We went to the airport, got on the plane, and left.
I fell in love with the country as soon as I stepped off the plane. It was just in the middle of autumn in Slovenia, constant rain and overcast. But here – real summer, warm and beautiful. The week of parental leave flew by like one day. I left with tears in my eyes. But already then, as a child, made myself a promise that I would come back here again. And I’ve been going to it all my conscious life.
The second time I saw Portugal was when I was studying at university. My parents decided to give me a birthday present and offered to take me on a trip to any country. Naturally, I chose my beloved Portugal. This time it opened for me in a completely new way. Firstly, for my second trip I already knew the language, because I started studying it when I was a schoolgirl. Secondly, at university I was a student of the Faculty of Arts and studied Portuguese in depth. And thirdly I had studied a lot of information about the country over the years, and I knew exactly where I wanted to go.
I consciously chose Lisbon and that is where I went. This time I stayed in Portugal for two weeks. But even that was not enough time for me to enjoy the country. When I returned home I knew for sure that one day I would move here for good.
After graduation I took a job as a translator for an international company. I frequently went on business trips to different countries and traveled almost the entire world. And every time I was convinced that there is no better and friendlier country than Portugal. At least for me.
And so three years ago, I finally “matured” and began to look for all sorts of options. At that time one thing I knew – when you go to the country, you need to have a certain amount of money in your account. There was no problem with this, because all the time I worked as a translator, I put money aside, and I managed to save a good amount. But I didn’t know what to do next.
I accidentally came across an advertisement on the internet for MoveToCascais. They offered help with the paperwork for my move to Portugal. The very next day I contacted them and made an appointment.
I didn’t sleep at all that night. I thought a lot about what I wanted and how it all could be done. And suddenly, like a thunderbolt from a clear sky, I thought that I wanted to open my own little restaurant on the coast of Portugal. Why? There are no problems with fruits and seafood there. Besides, I remembered what I was told at MoveToCascais when we discussed all the possibilities. Business immigration is a great way to move to the country. Why the restaurant? Perhaps I wanted to continue the business of my parents, there, in Russia, they also have a restaurant business and I, as they say, knew about this activity from the inside.
So the first thing I had to do was to register my business. There are currently two ways to do this – Empresa Na Hora and Empresa Online. Both methods are simple enough, but each has its own peculiarities. By the way, according to my personal observations, it is much easier to open a business in Portugal than in Russia. Yes, there are some bureaucratic points here too, but they are much less. Portugal is open to new investment from abroad, so no one will throw a spanner in the works, especially if you have a sensible business plan.
But I’ve strayed from the subject. Empresa Na Hora literally translates as “firm in an hour”. To register a company, you have to go to the Centro de Formalidades das Empresas or Conservatória de Registo Comercial, go through some simple procedures and pay a fee of 360 euros. Of course, I could not go there in person, because I was in Russia. Therefore, for me it was more acceptable option – Empresa Online. The same registration, but through the site. It requires an ID and a digital certificate, which confirms an electronic signature. I did all of this in my home country.
Before you register your business, there are a few important steps you need to take.
- Open a bank account in which the share capital will be deposited.
- Apply for the National Registry of Companies.
- Register with the commercial registry, tax and social security authorities.
- Register the deed of incorporation with a notary.
- All the necessary package of documents for the submission to the Ministry of Economy.
That is, in fact, everything. The most important thing is to have a great desire. The rest is done quickly, especially if you ask for help from knowledgeable people. They helped me to find a place for a restaurant, to collect and prepare all necessary documents. Of course, it was quite exciting, I was worried that nothing would work out. But I didn’t share my fears with anyone because I saw that they believed in me.
My business in Portugal is growing now. Soon I plan to open another little restaurant in another city. I also met a young man here who proposed to me recently. So next year we plan to have a wedding. I have never regretted the fact that I moved to Portugal. It’s a wonderful country, with beautiful open-minded people and plenty of opportunities.
Went to earn money, and stayed forever
“I am 45 years old and this is the third year since I moved my family to Portugal. The story is quite simple and even banal. And frankly I never thought I would ever leave my homeland.
By the time I decided to go to Portugal to work, many of my acquaintances had already left the country in search of a better life. Some had gone for seasonal work, some had moved abroad for permanent residence. Well, I, as they say, made do with what I had. I worked in a factory, my wife worked at a school as a teacher. It seemed to be enough, and the car was old, and once a year we could afford to go on vacation. But every year it became tighter and tighter. It was especially difficult when the third child was born. My wife was on maternity leave, and I struggled to meet our budget, but I realized that I was doing very poorly.
I got a second job on the night shift. But after working in that mode for a few months, I came to the realization that something needed to change. My kids are growing up, and so are their needs. But the money is not becoming more, and there are no prospects. These thoughts began to visit me more and more often, and frankly, they did not add to my confidence.
Talking with my wife, we decided that it was necessary, following the example of many acquaintances, to try to go to work. But I was not in a hurry to quit my job. At that time a good acquaintance of mine had been working in Portugal for several years. He advised me to contact the company MoveToCascais. Which I did, in fact. They gave me a very detailed consultation, laid out all the boxes. The main thing I took out of the conversation – it is necessary to issue all the rules. Under no circumstances should you go to the country illegally. You must find a place to live, find a job in advance, and be sure to register upon arrival. Otherwise there can be many problems, up to deportation.
Well, after consulting with my wife once again, we decided that it was worth a try. And we did it through this agency. I will tell you about the stages of visa processing, which I had to go through. There are many, but in principle there is nothing complicated or impossible. And, believe me, it was worth the effort.
The first thing to do is to decide on a job. I had a few jobs to choose from, and then I chose the one that best fit my needs. Then I negotiated with the employer and concluded a formal contract.
It is necessary to apply for a visa in order to have time. It is necessary for the Portuguese consulate to make a decision. It can take up to 60 days. My work visa was processed at the consular department of the Portuguese Embassy in Moscow. I filled out the form online to apply. It is publicly available on the embassy’s official website. At the same time it was worth making an appointment to submit a package of documents. Here, my presence was required in person. During the reception, a photograph is taken, documents and biometrics are submitted. If later it turns out that some papers are missing, they need to bring them urgently. But try to get all the documents at once without errors, otherwise the application processing time will be longer.
I was told right away that after I submit my application, I may be invited to the consulate for an interview. This happens if there are any questions about the application. But no one ever summoned me, this stage was passed without any problems.
We should understand that it can take up to three months to obtain a Portuguese visa, and this time should be counted on. Thankfully, my former job accommodated me and did not insist on early dismissal. I worked practically until my departure. They opened my visa for me within 40 days after I applied. But opening a visa is not enough. Once you get it, you have to apply for a residence permit within four months of staying in the country. You can do this at the Office for Foreigners in the city where you are. Oh, and once you arrive in Portugal, you must obtain a tax number. This procedure is obligatory.
Now I will say a few words about the documents that are required in order to get a work visa. The list is big enough that it took me a few days to collect them all. So, the first thing you need is an employment contract or an official invitation to work from a Portuguese company. This document specifies the position and the official salary. In addition, the invitation must be written on letterhead and contain the company’s stamps, as well as – the signatures of the manager.
The second important document is the employment contract.
The second important document is a letter from the employer explaining why the company needs this particular specialist. They also include an application form which states the purpose of the visit and the estimated length of stay.
Other paperwork includes:
- customer passport;
- internal passport;
- three passport photos;
- check that the consular fee has been paid;
- bank statement showing that there is enough money in the account for the stay;
- curriculum vitae;
- original work record;
- book of airline tickets;
- agreement on the rental of an apartment or other accommodation;
- certificate of criminal record.
All documents must be translated into Portuguese, official certificates, diplomas are marked with an apostille.
A very important point is that the Portuguese work visa is issued for a period of 120 days. After this time it can be extended. For this purpose it is not necessary to return to Russia, everything can be done in Portugal. To do this, obtain a residence visa and apply for a residence permit (for a period of 1 year). At the same time the duration of the work contract must not be less than the period for which the visa and residence permit is requested.
In general, it worked out for me. I went to Portugal several times this way. And I want to say that I enjoyed it very much. The job suited me in every way, the living conditions too. The money I earned was enough to support my family in Russia, to live in Portugal, and I even managed to save some money.
And soon I had the idea: why not stay here forever? Naturally, I would move my family here, find a permanent rather than seasonal employment, and there were plenty of opportunities here. In general, on my next visit home I shared my thoughts with my wife. Of course, she was confused. But after weighing the pros and cons, we decided that moving here was a great idea.
I started researching the issue. We settled on the option of buying our own home. We figured that by selling an apartment in Russia and adding some money (from what I had managed to save), we could buy a small apartment in Portugal. So we did. Of course it took some time, but we managed to move. Yes, at first it was not easy. We had to solve a lot of issues. First I left, my wife stayed with the children at my parents’ place for a while, because we sold our apartment. Soon I managed to take my family. The older children were sent to school. The youngest one is very young and will only start kindergarten in a few years.
My wife is already looking for a job that suits her needs. She’ll probably work in a school because they always need good people there.
In my free time we love to travel, especially to the ocean, the kids just love it. Our middle son has started surfing. In a few years we can apply for Portuguese citizenship (by law you have to live in the country for five years, then you can apply for a passport). I think we will succeed. We are very happy that we decided to move here. Here we really live and enjoy life. Different level, different salaries, totally different life.”
House in Portugal – what could be more beautiful?The last of our heroes is Alexander. He admits that he is still living in two countries, but in the near future he is planning to move to Portugal permanently.
“I have a fairly good and profitable business in Russia. I have always thought that investments in real estate are the most reliable and promising. That is why, when I collected a certain amount of money, I began to think about buying a decent house. At first I thought it would be somewhere in the suburbs, I love nature. In my dreams, when I become a pensioner, I will definitely move to the countryside, away from this bustle, start a small farm and grow vegetables in the vegetable garden.
The decision came by itself. One day my family and I were on holiday in Portugal. It was my first time in that country. And, to be honest, my wife and I just fell in love with this country. It is beautiful here, at home cozy and comfortable in every way. In addition, Portugal is considered one of the safest countries to live in, there is a very low level of crime. And people are very friendly and helpful.
In general, when we returned from vacation, about a week later, we started talking to my wife about that in the near future – to buy a house. And then my wife dreamily said that it would be nice to live in Portugal. She said it in jest. But the thought did not give me any more rest. His thoughts, I have not yet with anyone to share. I myself have started to study the real estate market in Portugal. It turned out that the country even has a special program for investing in real estate. Moreover, this is the fastest and easiest option for obtaining a residence permit.
I searched a lot of information. From what I have learned, real estate in Portugal enjoys a steady increase in demand. By buying property in the country, you can easily get a golden visa. However, there are conditions for this. The investment threshold is 500 thousand euros. This means that there is no point in looking for cheaper real estate. True, there is another option – the purchase of real estate from 280 thousand euros, but in this case the object must be under renovation. This option I immediately discarded. I wanted a good home that I can bring my family to.
In addition, the cost can decrease by 20% (up to 400 thousand euros) if you buy a home in an area with low population density. In simple terms – in a small town. And this option really caught me. I said in the beginning that I wanted to buy a house in the suburbs, away from the bustle of the city. A small town in Portugal would be a great alternative. True, I did not have enough money, but that was not a problem.
It is very important that the cost of housing must be paid without resorting to mortgages. The loan in the country is only for an amount that is higher than the set amount in the program. For example, if a house costs 600,000 euros, I can only get a loan of 100,000 euros.
You should also consider the fact that you still need money to formalize the property after purchase. And that is – plus 10-12% of the total purchase price. In general, when it was collected enough information, I shared my thoughts with my wife and family. They supported me. And we started looking for a suitable home. At first we tried to do it by our own efforts. But somehow things did not go forward. Then we went to the company MoveToCascais, who helped us a lot with the selection of objects, and with the collection of documents and with the processing of transactions.
Now I’m ready to tell you step by step what it takes to buy a house in Portugal, from the point of view of personal experience. So the first thing to do is to look for the house of your dreams. At the same time you can open an account in a Portuguese bank where later the money will be transferred, as well as obtaining a tax number of a foreigner.
After this proceed to the collection of documents, and when they are all in hand, conclude the transaction with the property. It absolutely must meet all the requirements of the program.
A mandatory action is to apply on the Portuguese portal of the Office for Foreigners and make an appointment. It is a good idea to book your biometrics appointment well in advance (note that appointments are 2-4 months in advance).
In person or through a representative you apply for a residence permit. When the turn comes it will be necessary to fly to Portugal to take biometrics. After that, to get a residence permit.
An important step is to collect all the necessary documents. If there is a mistake, the process can be delayed, so my advice to you – a hundred times double-check everything on the list, and re-read the papers themselves, so that not a single mistake was made. In addition, all documents must be translated into Portuguese. You should trust this to professionals. So, actually, a list of what you need to provide in order to obtain a golden visa:
- declaration of title and bill of sale;
- the applicant’s passport;
- documents that prove entry and legal residence in the country;
- health insurance policy;
- certificate of criminal record;
- report that there are no debts to the tax authorities and social security;
- marriage and birth certificates;
- report of employment;
I also want to say a few words about the benefits of a golden visa for foreigners like me. First of all, it is a quick obtainment of residence permit (period – from 2 to 6 months, depending on the number of applicants). Secondly, at the same time the whole family can get a residence permit, and this is very convenient and practical. Thirdly, it is not necessary to pass language and history exams. We didn’t have to learn Portuguese in a hurry, we do it as a family gradually.
One of the biggest pluses for me personally is the loyalty of living in Portugal. In order to extend the residence permit, an investor only needs to spend a week in the first year and 14 days every two years thereafter. Of course, we are planning to move to Portugal soon, but it’s not possible yet. I need to settle everything at home, solve something with the business and only then finally move. In the meantime we go to our new home for holidays.
When 5 years have passed since we bought the house, we will take citizenship as a family. This is a nice bonus and the fastest naturalization in the European Union. For example, in Italy or Spain, you can claim citizenship after 10 years, and in Greece after 7 years. And we do not have to renounce Russian citizenship – it is quite realistic to have dual.
In general, we are very happy with our purchase. We are looking forward to our new life and in the near future we plan to move to Portugal for good.
Help in choosing the perfect immigration option
As you can see, all three stories are quite different, but all have a perfect outcome – people were able to change their lives and move to their dream country. Our characters don’t know each other personally, but they all have one thing in common: they were helped to move to Portugal by our MoveToCascais team.
When you contact us, you can count on our full support and assistance. We will explain all options for immigration and work with you to select the most appropriate one based on your needs and capabilities. We also help you gather the necessary documents, arrange their competent translation. There are many advantages of coming to this wonderful country, including:
- preferential immigration.
- great climate,
- many entertainment and entertainment options,
- secure housing,
- low cost of living
- high quality education,
- quality health care,
- tax incentives for residents.
These are not all the advantages of living in Portugal. You will be able to appreciate them all when you find yourself in this wonderful and beautiful country. Well we will help you make your dream come true and turn it into reality. Please do not hesitate to contact us for advice at any time.