How to retire in Portugal from the USA

What is retirement in Portugal for US citizens like? How to retire to Portugal from the USA? From best towns to retire in Portugal, to a step-by-step guide on immigration options for retiring in Portugal, this guide provides detailed information for Americans who are interested in retiring in continental Europe’s easternmost nation.

How to retire in Portugal from the US: Residency visas

Portugal is a big draw for American retirees due to its endless sunshine, favorable housing market, gorgeous beaches, and affordable living costs. Most of the American expats in Portugal originate from the East Coast states of the US, in pursuit of hotter climates and a fresh start in Europe.

Visas for Americans who retire in Portugal from the US

To retire in Portugal from the US, you’ll need a valid visa. This will need to be arranged before you move to Portugal. 

Retiring in Portugal from the US with a Portugal Golden Visa

If you have a pension or money from a house sale in the US, you can get the most favorable tax conditions through Portugal’s Golden Visa Program. The scheme encourages investors to make a financial contribution to the nation — most popularly as a real estate investment in exchange for residence permits.

One of the most popular investment options for the Golden Visa is through a qualifying home purchase. You can purchase a new property from 500,000, or choose a government pre-approved renovation project totaling or exceeding 280,000 and rebuild the property into a second home. Since Portugal’s property market is performing so well, it is possible for you to get a solid return on your investment. 

Your Portugal Golden Visa Experts

We highly recommend you consider using a local investment migration firm such as ours to take care of your relocation needs in Portugal. We’ve already helped hundreds of our American clients relocate to Portugal successfully. Our main mission is to make the whole move as smooth and stress-free as possible. You’ll have peace of mind to know your visa paperwork is being filed correctly according to Portuguese legislation. 

Talk to our property specialists and book a free call to discuss your relocation objectives.

Retiring in Portugal from the US with a Portugal D7 visa

American retirees can opt to apply for Portugal’s D7 visa. It gives foreign citizens who wish to live in Portugal the chance to do so, either as a retiree or as a passive income earner.

In exchange for showing you have a regular and reliable income, either from your pension funds or from your own finances, you can get the residence permit (D7 visa), granting you special tax status for a 10-year income tax break.  The D7  visa is an excellent option for Americans looking to retire in Portugal, and a rising number of Americans are applying for this specific residence program.

Portugal inheritance law and wills 

To retire in Portugal from the US, it’s important to understand the inheritance tax rules in Portugal. According to the Portuguese government, inheritance tax is governed by the home nation of the deceased. What this means is, that unless stated in a will, your estate will be handled and taxed according to the inheritance laws of your respective country.

Americans retiring in Portugal: What to expect

For Americans retiring in Portugal, there are a couple of things you need to consider.

Portugal living costs for US retirees

You can live comfortably with an estimated €1,300-€1,500 (US$1,500-1,700) per month in small towns or €1,700 ($2,200) in larger urban areas such as Lisbon or Porto.

Healthcare for American retirees

Portugal has universal health coverage through its publicly funded National Health Service (called the Serviço Nacional de Saúde, SNS). It’s free for Portuguese citizens and mostly free for residents.

However, the quality of care might not match your standards, especially if you have had private healthcare in the US. Portugal’s SNS is also not entirely free, you’ll need to pay a certain amount each time you need treatment or a procedure (relatively low fees). 

Since Medicare doesn’t cover medical costs outside of America, your best bet is to set up international private healthcare, since private Portuguese healthcare only covers people up to the age of 55. If you have an ongoing health condition, the best hospitals are located in Lisbon, Porto, or the Algarve region.

Retire in Portugal from the USA to enjoy tax benefits

For Americans retiring in Portugal, the NHR scheme is the best tax option. After applying to the scheme, retirees are exempt from paying local taxes for the next ten years. Currently, NHR offers a 20% income tax rate to people employed in ‘high-value’ professions, as well as the potential to receive some foreign income, like property gains or pensions, completely free of Portuguese taxes.

American expat community in Portugal

When retiring in Portugal from the USA, you’ll be greeted by many American retirees who have successfully relocated to Portugal. In fact, Algarve is the most popular destination for American retirees. With a large English-speaking population, you’ll feel quickly welcomed. There are also many expat community groups you can join. Platforms like InterNations and Meetup are great ways to meet likeminded people and make friends.

Best towns to retire in Portugal from the US

There are many different regions to choose from in Portugal, from the Portuguese Riviera to Porto or the cosmopolitan Lisbon

Hands down though, the Algarve is the most well known for retirement, and for good reason. Its incredible beaches, warm water, and endless sunshine make it an incredible place to live. The existing English-speaking community means that there is a considerable amount of administrative support available to help take care of the Portuguese retirement process.

Those looking for a less developed and more authentically Portuguese region also pick the Silver Coast.

Retiring in Portugal from the US: The pros 

Fantastic weather Fantastic weather
Warm and welcoming people Warm and welcoming people
Relaxed lifestyle pace Relaxed lifestyle pace
Thriving culture, food and arts scene Thriving culture, food and arts scene
Lower cost of living Lower cost of living
Affordable real estate prices Affordable real estate prices

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Frequently Asked Questions about Americans retiring in Portugal

How much do I need to retire in Portugal?

n smaller towns, a couple could get by on as little as €1,400 per month. In bigger cities like Lisbon or Porto, it is recommended to budget for at least €2,400 a month to get by comfortably.

Can an American live in Portugal?

Yes, an American can live in Portugal provided that they have a residency visa. You can get a visa through six ways: Marrying a Portuguese, family reunification, study, work, investment, or retirement. For any of these, you need to apply for a visa, then apply for a residency with the Portuguese government.

Where is the best place to retire in Portugal?

The best place to retire in Portugal depends on your interests. If you like beaches, then the best spots will probably be in the Algarve. If you like cities, check out Lisbon or Porto. Portugal also has beautiful vineyards, farms, mountains, and quaint villages throughout the country.