Guide for moving to Portugal from US

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Biting the bullet and moving to a different continent is a pretty big challenge, so if this is what you’re doing, props to you! You’re facing a life-changing event and you should be really proud of yourself. However, we know that it’s not all roses, butterflies, and excitement. When you’re planning on moving to Portugal from US, you are probably looking forward to many things. But the actual move and the adjustments you’ll have to make usually aren’t the things you’re excited about. In fact, these things are usually what causes a lot of stress and even fear. So, to help make this big move easier for you, we’re here to give you a little guide explaining how to go about relocating to Portugal. Let’s talk about international moving services, customs, paperwork, and life in Portugal. Grab a cup of coffee and let’s begin.

How to organize the move to Portugal from US

Get an appropriate residence permit before moving to Portugal from the USA

As an American, you’re allowed to travel to Portugal with no visa, which is great for tourist trips. However, if you’re planning on staying in Portugal longer than 90 days and making it your home, you need a residence permit. There are different types of visas you can get when relocating from the USA to Portugal, so you need to figure out which one is appropriate for your needs. There are work visas, family reunifications visas, residence visas, etc. So, do some research and figure out what type of visa you need and if you’re eligible for it. If you don’t get the necessary residence permit, your dream of living in Portugal won’t be able to come true.

Find international movers who can help

First things first, let’s state the obvious – an international move is hard to do all by your lonesome. This is not your average down-the-street-move. Moving overseas entails a lot of preparation, planning, paperwork, and usually quite a lot of your nerves and energy. So to keep at least some of your sanity, you’ll need to get some help. And who better to give you a hand than professionals who handle international relocations on a regular basis?

Man holding a box in front of the moving van
International movers will make moving to Portugal from US significantly easier and less stressful.

So once you’ve booked your flight and found your accommodation in Portugal, it’s time to start organizing the move. One of the first steps is finding good international moving companies NYC and booking movers who will make your life easier. As they’ve already helped many people relocate to Portugal from US, they can probably give you some advice and guide you along this journey. So don’t be shy, find experienced international movers and let them help you.

Get a Luggage Certificate (Certificado de Bagagem)

If you’re planning on taking all your things with you when you move to Portugal from the US, you need to think about customs. The last thing you need is some of your things not being able to clear customs and enter the country. So, before the move, you’ll need to get a Luggage Certificate. This is a document that you can get from a local Portuguese consulate or diplomatic mission. Hand them the inventory of the goods you’re planning on taking to Portugal and avoid issues with the customs. The items listed in your Luggage Certificate should arrive in Portugal within 90 days of your own arrival.

Downsize your household before your international move

To be fair, downsizing your home isn’t only important before an international move, it’s important before any type of move. But because moving to Europe requires you to get a Luggage Certificate and ship your possessions overseas, it’s desirable to not have too many things. After all, moving to Portugal from US isn’t really cheap, so it’s nice to reduce the costs where you can. Well, decluttering will help reduce your moving expenses.

A couple deciding what to pack for moving to Portugal from US
Look through your things before packing and decide which items you are ready to say goodbye to.

So, donate, give away, sell, recycle – do whatever your heart desires with the items you don’t need. Just don’t pack them up and ship them overseas. There’s no need. Consider if there are things or clothes you won’t be needing in Portugal, things you could upgrade there, etc. You don’t need to take your entire household to Portugal. Once that’s done, you can start packing.

Shipping your belongings to Portugal from the USA

Another important thing to take care of before the move to Portugal from the States is how you’re going to handle the shipping of your belongings. Think about how you will transport your books and furniture and how you’ll transport your car overseas. Luckily, Portugal’s geographic location allows you to choose among different options when it comes to shipping goods. You can choose:

  • air freight
  • sea freight
  • road transport from a certain point

We suggest looking into the different shipping methods and figuring out which one is the best for your needs. Airfreight is the quickest, but the most expensive. Sea freight is slower but much cheaper. So, which one is it going to be?

What to expect when moving to Portugal from US

Because you’re not only moving to a new country but a new continent as well, you should be aware that you might experience a bit of a cultural shock once you move. That’s why it’s a great idea to do some research and learn more about the country of Portugal before you move overseas. Here are some of the basic facts to bear in mind.

Castles in Sintra, Portugal
Before moving to this beautiful country, you should get to know some of the basics.
  • Portugal is known for being super affordable and Lisbon is one of the cheapest capitals in Europe!
  • Expect a lot of seafood, a lot of cheese, and a lot of meat. Food is one of the most important aspects of Portuguese culture.
  • Generally, the cities in Portugal are much smaller than American ones. Lisbon is the biggest city.
  • Medical fees are much more affordable than in the US.
  • The job market is booming and growing.
  • You’ll get to live the Mediterranean dream and enjoy the sun – the weather in Portugal is amazing.

So, if these things sound appealing, it’s time to look into Portugal some more and decide if it’s the place for your next adventure. If you want to enjoy the beautiful beaches, learn about Portuguese culture, learn a new language, and get to know a new country, why wait? We’re certain that moving to Portugal from US will be a decision you won’t come to regret. 

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