Everyone has problems and difficulties in life that can’t seem to be solved. I have had ups and downs in my life, so I know exactly what I am talking about. I’ve developed one rule for myself: it doesn’t matter how hopeless the situation may seem. The main thing is not to stand still and try to find a solution. It is only through persistence and determination that I now live in such a beautiful place with my family, and that I don’t have to worry about my children’s future.
Today I want to tell you the story of Andrew and Victoria who also decided not to go with the flow and took a very bold step – to move and start a business in another, unfamiliar country.
How do I decide to move from Ukraine to Portugal?
When people ask me about our life before we moved, to be honest, the first thing I remember is negativity. Yes, I grew up there, met my wife, and opened my own business, which I still do, but I always wanted something more.
To be honest, Vika and I have been thinking about moving since 2015. The country is a complete mess, the climate leaves much to be desired, and there are not many prospects, so why hold on? Only business was stopping us, but it so happened that this obstacle disappeared last year as well. Initially, I was not worried about the quarantine, but as it turned out, in vain. With most establishments closed for lockdown, we had no jobs left. Of course, we consoled ourselves that it would not last long, but it lasted for a month, then another month… Needless to say, we were not even expecting any special assistance from the state for small businesses in Ukraine.
The result was the following: we either wait for the quarantine to be over, hoping that things will soon go back to the way they were before, or try something else. Then Vika and I remembered how we once planned to go to Europe, closer to the sea and away from the stuffy, noisy city. So we have not noticed how seriously we decided to move.
Of course, initially, we had doubts that this venture would work out at all. Opening a business from scratch, in a foreign country, without knowledge of the language… It was more like willingly throwing away money. Vika, on the other hand, was most worried that she would not be able to fit into the local rhythm of life. She had never even been abroad before, and then the move! True, we calmed down in time and decided not to act in the heat of the moment and learn everything in detail.
How to open a business in Portugal?
When we first thought about moving, there were several options. First of all, we considered Germany – a very good acquaintance of mine moved there back in the early noughties. When we contacted him, he quickly dismissed our plans. To move to Germany in 2021, much less to open a business there, we certainly could not afford it.
After figuring out what was in central Europe, we decided to look for something simpler. The easiest options – Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovenia (you can list them for a long time), we abandoned at once. We did not want to change cold Ukrainian winters for the same Polish. That is how we came to Portugal by the banal method of elimination, which looked like an ideal choice for us: a warm country near the coast, favorable conditions for doing business, transparent immigration programs. Of course, at that time we were not yet sure of anything. To be quite frank, I had a lot of doubts about Portugal in general, but my wife insisted that it was worth a try.
True, we still didn’t know where to start. There is a quarantine outside, a tourist in the country just does not enter, so we put the idea of a trip to Portugal in a drawer and continued to look for information. Then, among the many forums and groups related to relocation, we stumbled upon the service MoveToCascais. Originally we had planned to deal with everything ourselves, but after learning the many different subtleties and pitfalls in the whole process of immigration, we did not want to take the risk. In addition, for the registration of the business and opening a bank account, we were in any case, we needed a representative, so we decided to try and made an appointment for a consultation.
Already from the first-minute experts from MoveToCascais reassured us – with a business visa to Portugal without problems you can enter even under the conditions of quarantine restrictions. In addition, it is necessary to prepare for the move now, because all the most necessary documents can be done remotely and do not go to Portugal empty-handed. For the first time in the past three months of preparations for the move we had some specifics and things began to get better.
First visit to Portugal, finding a room and new experiences
When I first arrived in Portugal I honestly couldn’t believe my eyes. I had a stereotype firmly in my head about a small and poor, unremarkable country on the edge of Europe. And how glad I was so wrong. The first impression was a bit ambiguous. On the one hand – a beautiful, quiet city, imbued with the greatness of Portugal in the 16th-17th century. On the other – a modern metropolis, where everything is created and, most importantly, works for people.
The first week we spent walking the streets of the old city, we learned about the local life and fell in love with this country without looking back. No Kyiv fuss, everything is clean and very neat. And of course the people. The people here are very different from the typical gray faces we saw every day in Ukraine.
However, we quickly remembered that we came here for a reason and went to Cascais to get acquainted closer with the guys from MoveToCascais. I found the town too puppet-like and quiet, but Vika was delighted. I now realize that I would have loved to move to such a place, but to keep the business afloat, for the time being, we are staying in Lisbon.
The MoveToCascais office gave us a short presentation on what will happen and how it will be done during our move. It turned out that registering your business in Portugal is much easier than we originally thought. All you need to open a company is to apply for NIF, open an account in a local bank, deposit the authorized capital and that’s it. Looking ahead – the whole process of registering a company took us only a week.
After walking around Cascais for a couple of days, we headed back to Lisbon to solve the last problem: finding premises for a warehouse and workshop. As we work with wood the demands were not quite normal, but on the third day, we found the perfect option – 2 rooms of 80 and 100 square meters, conditions are ideal and all for a bargain price. Check everything for mold, drop off tools, work on cosmetics and we were all set!
I still remember our first trip to Portugal. Everything went just perfect and my wife and I headed home. This time with the thought that we will definitely come back.
New life in Portugal
It’s been six months since then and my wife and I just got our residency cards last month. Everything has been going on – I’ve been busy in the workshop most of the time, and Vika has been settling in at home for the two of us.
The business, since opening, has almost paid for itself. Local guys who work for us have a sensible attitude to business and we do not have any problems in communication as well. In general, I was surprised at how easy it was to get over the language barrier. I know English pretty well, but I have never had any experience communicating with other people. Of course, the first month was not very easy, but since summer we have had no problem communicating with the locals.
My relatives, who stayed in Kyiv, often ask me if I do not regret that I decided to move. My answer is always the same: of course not. Everything is much better here: the climate, the environment, the food, the overall standard of living. So why should I regret it? I’m really happy here and I sincerely hope that my story can inspire someone to take the same step.
How to move to Portugal in 2021?
Friends, the story you are now reading is by no means an isolated incident. Unfortunately, the quarantine hit a lot of entrepreneurs from the CIS, but some were able to realize themselves here in Portugal.
Why go far away. Just 10 minutes from our office another of our clients, Natalia, together with her husband a year ago opened a small confectionery. The reason was the same: her business in Ukraine went bankrupt because of the quarantine, and all that was left was a small income from the estate she and her husband leased. This was just enough to issue a D7 visa and open a small business. Now things are very different. Just last week the couple opened a second establishment in Lisbon and are planning to buy their first house in Portugal by the summer.
Remember, nothing is impossible. Even if the problems seem insurmountable now, take just one step and you’ll be surprised at how much your life can change. We are happy to help you take that step towards the life of your dreams! Contact us in any way that is convenient for you and we will tell you what you need to do to meet the next year already in Portugal!