How to Apply for a Portugal Retirement Visa and the Downside to Retiring There

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Portugal is a common destination for retirement. But if you wish to retire in this country (and do not have an EU passport), you may need to apply for a retirement visa.


Fortunately, Portugal has some of the most lenient and compassionate visa requirements out of European countries and is regularly known as the entry to Europe.

How to Apply for a Portugal Retirement Visa

How to Apply for a Portugal Retirement Visa and the Downside to Retiring There

How to Retire in Portugal

If you are not a European citizen, you must apply for a visa to retire in Portugal. Two of the most common visa paths which permit you to stay or live in Portugal as a retiree are:

  • The Retirement Visa

This is a national or residency visa issued to non-European citizens who wish to live or stay in Portugal without working but have a stable income from pensions, savings, etc.

  • The Golden Visa

The residency regulations for the Golden Visa are generally much less stern than for a steady or regular retirement visa. One may apply for this visa if one buys a property in Portugal worth a minimum of €500,000.

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 Requirements for Portugal Retirement Visa

For you to apply for a retirement visa for Portugal, you need to present the following documents:

  • Passport. Which has to be valid for a minimum of another six months.
  • Two new, passport-size pictures of you must comply with Schengen requirements.
  • Application form for Portugal national or residence visa. You may download the application form from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Portugal website.
  • Proof of income or resources. You have to show evidence that you can sustain yourself monetarily during your stay in Portugal via a pension, savings, or other legitimate sources of income.
  • Proof of accommodation or housing. It would be best to show that you would have a place to stay or live once you move to Portugal, like an apartment rental, buying a property, etc.
  • Health insurance. It would be best if you had travel health insurance or international health insurance plans for expats before moving to Portugal. Then, when you are settled in, you can either continue with international insurance coverage or subscribe to health insurance from a resident company.
  • Marriage certificate, birth certificate, as needed quired.
  • Criminal history clearance. It would be best if you were not charged with a crime punishable with a minimum of one year of denial of freedom (imprisonment).
  • Any added documentation, as needed by the Embassy or the SEF.

Document Guidelines

All the documents you handed in have to be in English or Portuguese. And if you still need to, you should have them translated or interpreted by a certified translator and validated.


Some documents, like civil documents, may also require to be official or legalized via an Apostille Stamp or the Portuguese Embassy.

Applying for a Portugal Retirement Visa

The procedure for applying for a Portugal retirement visa is as follows:

#1. Contact the Portugal Embassy or Consulate in authority for your area. Know where you have to hand in the application for a visa, according to where you live.


#2. Book an appointment to hand in your application.

#3. Gather or collect the necessary documents.

#4. Make payment for the visa application. Sometimes, you may pay the application fee on the date of application, not before.

#5. On the appointment date, hand in the documents. Once the Embassy/Consulate is in another country from which you reside, you may be permitted to apply through mail. The relevant visa officials will notify you.

#6. Wait for the application to be processed.

#7. Once the result is positive: You will get a retirement visa, which the Embassy/Consulate staff will enclose on your passport. You can use a visa to enter Portugal.

#8. When you enter Portugal: Book an appointment with the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service to apply for your residence permit.

#9. Occasionally, the Embassy/Consulate will automatically book an appointment for you when you get the visa, showing that they will ask you when you plan to visit Portugal.

Visa Fee for Portugal Retirement 

When applying for a Portugal retirement visa, you will need to pay different fees.

  • Residence permit cost – €72
  • To process the residence permit application at the SEF – € €83
  • National visa fee at the Embassy/Consulate – €90

Duration of a Portugal Retirement Visa

Once you get your residence permit for retirement in Portugal, it is initially valid for a year. You can renew it two times, each time for two years, summing up to a maximum of 5 years. After 5 years, and if you are eligible for all other requirements, you can apply for permanent residency in Portugal.

The Downside of Retiring to Portugal

Do not allow this list to discourage you. Portugal is Heavy on the Bureaucracy and Red Tape

#1. The volume of bureaucracy, paperwork, and red tape that is involved.

This is not just for the actual move; whatever you need to achieve involves the government.

This downside has been heard repeatedly from people who have moved to Portugal and lifelong locals.

You may think that after you have a visa, you won’t need to trouble the government, then you need to think again.

Obtaining a driver’s license, waiting for your mail to clear customs, and getting health care will take a long time and comprise several added steps.

#2. Getting Used to Different Products

The standard items used in the US or the UK will differ in Portugal. Everything from laundry soap to conditioner is different from the usual, and you will start over to figure out your go-to items.

Yet again, this is different from Portugal; just a thing to think about.

Beauty brands you can obtain from any old pharmacy may not be available in Portugal. Ordering and shipping your preferred items can be costly, so it is more economical to start over.

#3. Portugal Can Be Too Hot

Portugal is known for its lovely sunny weather and mild winters, but the summers could be hot inland. Much hotter than on the beach.

If you wish to live in a town away from the beach, check out the summer temperatures, and ensure that there is a lake or river to cool off in.

Nobody wishes to be stuck or trapped inside whenever they retire!

#4. Portugal could Be Too Cold.

A usual complaint among the people staying in Lisbon is that their houses are drafty and cold in the winter.

It is common for Portugal’s (older ones in particular) buildings to have central heating. If you relocate there in the summer, ensure that the A/C unit equally has heat capabilities or there is another heat source.

In Northern Portugal, the winters can be pretty rainy and significantly more excellent, so it’s even more significant to have heat!


Retiring in Portugal may only be one of the best choices you make! Visualize living in an attractive country with rugged shorelines, Insta-worthy seashores, striking volcanic islands, multicultural and lively cities, award-winning wines, and charming stone villages with cobblestone streets. If you’d like to know even more about living in Portugal, go through this guide.

I wish you well on your retirement journey!


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