Looking To Take Advantage Of Portugal’s New Digital Nomad Visa? Here Are 5 Tips For Brits Moving To Lisbon

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Ideal for citizens of the world with restless feet.

Remote workers rejoice! 2023 looks to be a welcoming, inclusive year for those who prefer to work in a transient office and ever-changing time zones.

This is because a whole host of popular global destinations, keen to place the pandemic firmly in the rearview mirror and find new ways to welcome in visitors, are introducing so-called ‘digital nomad’ visas to encourage upwardly mobile professionals to call their country home, at least for a little while.

One such place is Portgual, and more specifically, its capital Lisbon. It’s easy to see why the place might appeal to remote workers armed with a laptop and a taste for adventure; Lisbon boasts a reputation as being one of the best places for digital nomads to live in Western Europe, with a low cost of living, fantastic local food, loads of sunshine and a super fast internet (17th in the world, if you’re asking). 

What’s more, the socialist identity of the country and the openness of its citizens lends itself to a convivial way of life which welcomes in remote workers with enthusiasm. 

Should you be planning on moving to the Portuguese capital and make the most of the laid-back life in the City of Seven Hills, then first, you should read these; our 5 tips for British digital nomads moving to Lisbon, IDEAL for citizens of the world with restless feet.

The Lowdown On The Digital Nomad Visa

If you’re a member of the European Union, you don’t need a visa to visit Portugal. But if you are in the country for longer than 183 days you need to register as a resident. If you’re from outside the European Union, check the applicable regulations that apply to where you’re from, though in general, Portugal is very amiable to foreign residents making it their home. 

Of course, the UK’s exit from the European Union has rather complicated this, but the introduction of those aforementioned digital nomad visas may well simplify the process for some.

At the end of October, Portugal announced their digital nomad visa program (Law No. 18/2022), which allows people to live and work in Portugal for a year without having to worry about leaving after the usual 90 days. 

Now, remote workers can apply for either a temporary-stay visa of up to one year or a residency visa, using their monthly salary – which should show an average monthly income earned in the last three months of €2,820.00 per month – as the means of proof of subsistence in the country. 

If this box is ticked, then the perks of carrying the digital nomad visa are numerous. For starters, you can enjoy visa-free travel across the Schengen Area, which is particularly useful for Brits as new visa restrictions for European travel are set to be introduced next November

But that’s not all; having the Portuguese digital nomad visa allows you to stay tax-free in your own country, which simplifies the experience for those remote workers paying tax back home (no second-country tax obligations, and all that!).

Finally, Brits living in Portugal on the digital nomad visa can extend for a further six months. Exciting times, indeed.

Nomad woman in Lisbon
By RossHelen via Canva

Other Visa Options

Should you want a longer stay, be looking to buy property in the country, or don’t quite tick the right boxes for the digital nomad visa, then you might want to consider the Golden Visa for Portugal option.

This visa program allows travellers to experience the best of both worlds, granting them residency rights in the country but allowing them to travel freely in and out. This includes access to the Schengen states due to Portugal’s EU membership, so opportunities really are unlimited for this type of traveller. It’s great for someone who can’t or doesn’t want to spend most of their time in Portugal, as the required  stay requirement is only 7 days on average per year.

You can of course spend as much time as you want in Portugal, but 90 days maximum for other Schengen countries still apply until you receive your permanent residency or citizenship. This type of visa can be achieved via a property purchase starting from €280,000 or investment in the country. 

Another huge benefit of the Golden Visa is that it helps facilitate family reunions in Portugal, as investors may bring family members, provided they fulfil certain conditions. This includes parents and children  in-laws, provided the Visa holder can prove they are responsible for their financial support.

Finally, if you’re a non-resident with high value-added potential, such as skilled workers, investors, freelancers, and retirees, then you might want to consider Portgual’s non-habitual residence program (NHR), which can be enjoyed for a whopping ten years when in the right hands.

Medium Term Stays 

Speaking of a medium term or longer stay, finding somewhere to live in Lisbon can be challenging. Lots of flats have been taken over by AirBnb, which could work to your advantage if you’re looking for somewhere temporary and transient at first, prior to finding somewhere to settle.

Behere is a useful app that links up folk looking for medium length stays with landlords of verified, serviced apartments, as well as co-working spaces, gyms and other amenities ideal for newbies in a city. They have a strong presence in the Portuguese capital.

Nomadix and Spotahome are also platforms offering rentals for medium length stays. 

Where To Live

In terms of where you should be looking to settle, Lisbon is a diverse place, with a whole host of neighbourhoods catering to different needs and types of people. Alcantara is a great area for digital nomads, a little cheaper on the rent and cost of living than more central neighbourhoods, and is home to LX Factory, which boasts hipster cafes, shops and one of the city’s best coworking spaces. It’s also served by the metro (on the red line) which makes jaunts into other areas as easy as custard pie.

Alfama is also a popular neighbourhood for digital nomads, with the widest range of accommodation on offer. It’s connected to two Blue Line Metro stations, Terreiro do Paço and Santa Apolonia, the latter of which offers a launchpad to the rest of Portugal, should you be wanting to explore further! Alfama also boasts perhaps Lisbon’s most beloved landmark, Sao Jorge Castle, which sits atop the hill of the same name, and offers the finest views of the city and River Tagus.

Photo by André Lergier on Unsplash

Healthcare 

Portugal’s healthcare system is one of the best in the world, and was ranked 12th globally by the World Health Organisation at the start of the millennium. The good news for folk moving to Lisbon is that healthcare in Portugal works much like the NHS. Named the Serviço Nacional de Saúde (SNS), accidents and emergencies, consultations and standard treatments are generally free, or at least, heavily subsidised.

For those under 18 and over 65, the service is completely free of charge, but a small fee is required for GP appointments and prescriptions. Dental work is generally free, too. You’ll have to register at your local medical centre in Lisbon once you’ve confirmed residency. For temporary stays, a European Health Insurance Card, which you can apply for via the NHS for free, can be used to gain access to healthcare.

tourist in Lisbon
By RossHelen via Canva

Meet Other Nomads 

There’s a huge digital nomad community in Lisbon, and it’s both one of the most sociable and network-friendly scenes around. You can meet fellow digital nomads at Outsite Lisbon, or at one of the many brilliant coworking spaces in the city. Aside from the aforementioned LX Factory, there’s also the Second Home workspace, perched on top of the Mercardo da Ribeira, which is a firm favourite of ours.

The Lisbon Digital Nomads group on Meetup is another great platform for finding fellow freelancers and creatives. All in all, it’s an incredibly hospitable city for those who love to do work remotely. Lisbon’s superb cafe culture certainly helps that; the Copenhagen Coffee Lab in Principe Real and Comoba in Cais do Sodre are two brilliant places to do work and enjoy some superb coffee and pastries. 

The Bottom Line

Whether you’re a copywriter or computer programmer, if you have an online-based job and enjoy working remotely, then Lisbon is a brilliant place to be a digital nomad. With Portgual’s recent announcement of the new digital nomad visa, might 2023 be the year you spread your wings and fly somewhere new and exciting? We think that Lisbon might be just the ticket.

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