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Relocating to Portugal from the US: A Comprehensive Guide

Home | Immigration | Relocating to Portugal from the US: A Comprehensive Guide

Relocating to Portugal from the US: A Comprehensive Guide

by | Wednesday, 17 January 2024 | Immigration, Personal Income Tax

relocating to portugal from us

Are you considering relocating from the US to Portugal? Moving to a new country can be an exciting and life-changing experience. Portugal, a European Union member-state, offers unique tax benefits and a high quality of life. This comprehensive guide will provide you with all the essential information and tips on making your move to Portugal as smooth as possible.

Understanding the Basics

Before diving into the details, let’s explore the basics of moving to Portugal from the US. Portugal is known for its affordable cost of living, beautiful landscapes, and welcoming culture. Madeira Island, also known as the Pearl of the Atlantic, is a lovely destination for expats. It offers a high standard of living, safety, and access to high-quality health and education services.

Residency and Visas

To legally reside in Portugal, you must obtain a residency visa. The type of visa you apply for will depend on your specific circumstances. Different options are available, such as the Golden Visa, D7 Visa, or Digital Nomad Visa. Each visa has its own requirements and benefits, so it’s essential to research and choose the one that suits your needs and circumstances.

Tax Considerations

Understanding the tax implications of moving to Portugal is crucial. Depending on your visa type, you may be subject to Portuguese taxation on your worldwide income. However, US expats can still benefit from the Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) scheme.

The NHR scheme is attractive for individuals looking to relocate to Portugal. It offers substantial tax benefits for new residents over ten years. To qualify for the NHR program, an individual must not have been a tax resident in Portugal for the previous five years. Once accepted, individuals will enjoy reduced or, in some cases, zero tax rates on foreign income, including pensions, dividends, rental, and employment income. This tax regime can significantly save those seeking residency in Portugal.

Finding a Place to Live: Madeira Island

Securing a residence in Portugal is an essential step in the moving process. Madeira Island, an autonomous region of Portugal, offers an exceptional place to live for those considering a move to Portugal. It is known for its stunning landscapes, subtropical climate, and friendly communities.

Madeira presents an appealing mix of familiar comforts and new experiences for an American wishing to relocate. English is widely spoken, especially in more urban areas and by younger generations, which can ease the transition for newcomers. The island offers a high standard of living, safety, and access to high-quality health and education services. The cost of living is generally lower than in many places in the United States, making it an attractive option for expats.

Cultural and Language Considerations

Moving to a new country involves adapting to a new culture and language. While English is widely spoken in Portugal, learning some basic Portuguese phrases is beneficial to help you navigate daily life and connect with the local community. Embracing the Portuguese culture and customs can enhance your overall experience in the country.

Education, Diversity, and Family Considerations

If you are moving to Portugal with your family, it’s important to consider education options for your children. Madeira Island offers international kindergartens and schools that follow the International Baccalaureate program. Researching and choosing the right educational institution for your children is essential for their academic and social development.

Portugal is regarded as one of the most progressive countries in Europe regarding LGBTQIA+ rights. Same-sex marriage has been legal since 2010, and the country has comprehensive laws against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression. Adoption rights are equal for all couples, regardless of their sexual orientation. Portugal provides a welcoming environment for LGBTQIA+ individuals and families.

Seek Professional Assistance

Moving to Portugal from the US involves numerous legal, financial, and logistical considerations. To ensure a smooth transition and make the most of your move, it’s highly recommended to seek professional assistance. Companies like Madeira Corporate Services (MCS) can provide comprehensive support and guidance in tax, immigration, and corporate matters, allowing you to focus on settling into your new life.


Relocating to Portugal from the US can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience. Understanding the basics, seeking professional advice, and embracing the Portuguese culture can make your transition as smooth as possible. Whether you are retiring, investing, or starting a new business, Portugal and Madeira Island offer a welcoming environment and attractive opportunities for a successful and enriching experience abroad.

Please note that the information provided in this guide, concerning relocating to Portugal from US, is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered legal or professional advice. It’s always advisable to consult with experts in the field for personalized guidance tailored to your specific situation.

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