Working and Living in Portugal

Immigration, permanent residence, residence permit

Anyone who is a citizen of a member state of the EU or Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland and who intends to stay in Portugal for more than 3 months must register with the municipal administration (Câmara Municipal) of the respective residential district in which they live. A certificate of registration (Certificado de Registo) is issued, which confirms the residence permit.

After five years, you have to apply for a permanent residence permit (Certificado de Residência Permanente) at the Immigration Office (Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras).

Anyone who is a citizen of a third country and intends to settle in Portugal needs a visa (visto de residência) applied for before entering the country. This visa enables entry into Portugal so that you can apply for a residence permit at the immigration office.

The temporary residence permit (autorização de residência temporária) is valid for one year from the date of issue and can be renewed every two years. After five years of residence in the country, you can apply for a permanent residence permit.

Before you go to the immigration office, you should make an appointment by phone or on the official website.

Labor market

An EU citizen can take up work at any time without a work permit. The wages are comparatively low (the minimum wage in 2020 was 635 euros per month). Self-employed people can settle down here and carry out their work without any problems.

According to countryvv, the statutory weekly working time is 40 hours. Work is carried out six days a week. For overtime, a surcharge of 50% is paid for the first hour of overtime and 75% for each additional hour. There is a 100% surcharge on Sundays and public holidays. Employees are entitled to 22 vacation days. In addition, there are 13 mandatory and two optional holidays.

Due to the somewhat higher unemployment rate of 6.5% (December 2020), there are only a few areas where you have good chances for a job, for example: craft, construction, doctors and nurses and the IT industry. The growth sectors are in the areas of renewable energies and energy efficiency, infrastructure, water management, the environment, logistics, tourism and trade.

Especially seasonally, there are the best opportunities in the areas of tourism and gastronomy. However, the wages here are particularly low. Employees are deducted 11 percent from their gross salary for social security contributions. Income tax is calculated progressively and ranges between 14.5 and 48 percent. For the autonomous regions of the Azores and Madeira, slightly more favorable rates apply.

To start working in Portugal, you should have at least a basic knowledge of the Portuguese language.

Real estate – buy or rent

Foreigners from the EU can easily buy or rent real estate in Portugal. However, it is beneficial to seek help from an experienced real estate agency.

Cost of living

The cost of living is around 20 percent lower than in Germany. Depending on the location and furnishings, a one- to two-room apartment costs between € 500 and € 1,000 a month in rent.

You would need around € 3,020.07 in Lisbon to maintain the same standard of living that you could have in Berlin with € 3,700.00 (assuming you rent in the cities).

  • Consumer prices in Lisbon are 21.54% lower than in Berlin (excluding rent)
  • Consumer prices in Lisbon are 18.38% lower than in Berlin (including rent)
  • Rental prices in Lisbon are 11.47% lower than in Berlin
  • Restaurant prices in Lisbon are 19.30% lower than in Berlin
  • Food prices in Lisbon are 23.72% lower than in Berlin
  • Local purchasing power in Lisbon is 52.85% lower than in Berlin

Average cost of living in Lisbon (from 07/2020 – 06/2021)

Restaurant Ø € Price € Price from / to
Food, price w. restaurant 9.00 7.00 – 13.00
Middle class, 3 courses for 2 people. 40.00 30.00 – 60.00
Local beer, 0.5 l 2.00 1.00-3.50
Imported beer, 0.33 l 3.00 2.00 – 5.00
cappuccino 1.82 0.60-3.00
Coca / Pepsi (0.33 l) 1.46 1.00-2.00
Water (0.33 l) 1.16 1.00 – 1.50
Food Ø € Price € Price from / to
Milk (1 L) 0.67 0.48-0.96
White bread (500g) 1.17 0.68-2.00
Rice (white), (1kg) 0.96 0.70 – 1.50
Eggs (12) 1.91 1.20 – 2.64
Local cheese (1kg) 7.62 4.98-20.00
Chicken breast fillet (1kg) 4.86 2.00 – 9.00
Beef (1kg) or other red meat 10.85 5.00-15.00
Apples (1kg) 1.61 1.00-2.00
Bananas (1kg) 1.06 0.90-2.00
Oranges (1kg) 1.35 0.75-2.00
Tomatoes (1kg) 1.54 1.00-2.00
Potatoes (1kg) 0.98 0.50 – 1.50
Onions (1kg) 1.05 0.70 – 1.50
Lettuce (1 head) 0.99 0.59 – 1.50
Water (1.5 l) 0.58 0.20-1.00
Bottle of wine (middle class) 4.00 2.50-9.00
Local beer (0.5 l) 1.20 0.74-2.00
Imported beer (0.33 l) 2.31 1.00-3.00

Average costs for local transport, utilities, clothing, leisure, education of Lisbon (from 07/2020 – 06/2021)

Mode of Transport Ø € Price € Price from / to
One-time ticket 1.80 1.50 – 2.00
Monthly pass 40.00 30.00 – 40.00
Taxi base amount 3.40 3.00-4.00
Taxi 1 km 0.47 0.47-0.99
Ancillary housing costs Ø € Price € Price from / to
for 85 sqm apartment (electricity, water, garbage, etc. 117.01 75.56-178.50
1 minute prepaid mobile tariff 0.17 0.05-0.30
Internet (60 Mbps or more, unlimited data, cable / ADSL) 34.00 28.00 – 50.00
Clothes, shoes Ø € Price € Price from / to
Jeans (Levis 501 or similar) 75.31 30.00-110.00
Summer dress (Zara, H&M,… 30.00 18.00 – 50.00
Nike sports shoes, middle class 70.94 49.00 – 90.00
Leather business shoes 80.04 45.00-100.00
leisure time Ø € Price € Price from / to
Fitness center, month / adult 33.40 20.00 – 50.00
Tennis, 1 hour on weekends 13.02 7.00-20.00
a movie ticket 7.00 6.60-8.00
training Ø € Price € Price from / to
Preschool / Kindergarten, private, whole day, monthly per child 421.22 300.00 – 583.33
International primary school per year and child 8,311.30 5,400.00 – 15,000.00

Average rental prices / purchase and salaries of Lisbon (from 07/2020 – 06/2021)

Monthly rental price Ø € Price € Price from / to
Apartment (1 bedroom) in the city center 860.47 700.00 – 1,200.00
Apartment (1 bedroom) outside the center 6462.10 500.00 – 900.00
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in the city center 1,563.33 1,200.00 – 2,200.00
Apartment (3 bedrooms) outside the center 1,060.51 850.00 – 1,500.00
Purchase price of apartments Ø € Price € Price from / to
Price per square meter for an apartment in the city – purchase 4,583.25 3,100.00 – 6,500.00
Price per square meter – apartment outside the center – purchase 2,654.21 1,600.00 – 4,000.00
wages Ø € Price € Price from / to
Average monthly salary (after taxes) 994.95

Emigration and Living in Portugal

Pleasant and friendly people, beautiful landscapes and beaches and a mild climate are some positive aspects. However, wages are low. Anyone who has to take up a job here should be able to speak Portuguese well. Especially in the tourism sector and with international companies, English and / or French is an advantage. Some advantages of the country: easy immigration, peaceful, free of nuclear power, somewhat cheaper cost of living (LHK-I 81.1), high quality of life, tax advantages.

Working and Living in Portugal