An ex-pat is defined as a person living outside the borders of their native home. The term is derived from the word expatriates, often associated with artists, writers, and prominent personas who chose to live elsewhere. Many of us have dreamt of living somewhere, and looking at pictures of magical places across the Earth has only driven us towards that ambition. Yet, when it comes to making the choice, we are essentially left wondering; what country might be the best for such an endeavor?
Portugal, home to Pessoa and Camões, amazing food and rich history, a capital with centuries-old foundations, and a member of the EU, has been a popular choice in recent years. If you are still not convinced, we summed up some of the top reasons why we believe Portugal is the top location for wanderers looking for a second home.
A good climate and a high quality of life
Portugal’s mild and refreshing climate is no wonder considering the country’s geographical location. Its mild climate also affects your health in more than one positive way. The blue sky, the fresh air, and exposure to the sun can only trigger additional dopamine release. But what makes the country exceptional, according to many, is the feeling of belonging. Portugal, culturally, is a more warm, accepting, and richly diverse country as opposed to the global average. It is especially popular as a retirement option due to its location and the health benefits its climate offers. Tourists are often heard saying how they feel uncommonly welcomed by the locals and people in general. The friendliness and welcoming culture of the Portuguese are famous across the globe, only adding additional points to the list. All this adds up to a higher quality of life, a lack of stress and anxiety, and a decrease in cases of depression. Interestingly enough, people often value exactly these things over more material things, such as careers and job prospects. In short, you’ll feel at home once you set foot on Portuguese ground.
The cost of living, housing, and obtaining citizenship
When it comes to the cost of living and housing, Portugal doesn’t fall behind the global average, making it possible for its citizens to enjoy a quality life without worrying about basic life needs. Living costs are proportional to the average salary (income) of the person, but all in all, the basic commodities are within everyone’s price range, meaning you won’t overpay for a loaf of bread. Of course, it would be absurd to believe that one cannot afford anything more than bread as Portugal offers a wide range of possibilities all within a reasonable price. Housing expenses can vary depending on the location, particular accommodation, and whether you are renting or buying. The purchase of housing or real estate, in general, opens another possibility of acquiring golden visa status and applying for citizenship. The whole Golden Visa Portugal 2022 program is giving a chance and opportunity to ex-pats to invest in the country and acquire citizenship status within two to five years. The investment possibilities are many, and among others, the purchase of real estate is ranked high on the list of possibilities. You can even purchase several real estate properties and pay agencies for their services of managing the properties for a fee while you are generating revenue. The EU citizenship status in return opens many doors, like access to quality education, top health care options, free travel within the Schengen zone, and rights to conduct business in other EU member countries. Also, depending on the project, you can opt for the return of invested funds after 5 years.
You’ll get more than you asked for with this opportunity. As you’ve already planned on living there and buying a property, why not apply for a Golden Visa and claim citizenship?
Safety and family life
Portugal has been known, according to many ex-pats, to be an extremely safe and family-friendly country. It also gives you a wide range of possibilities to enrich your recreational life and become more active. After all, the national sport of the country is football, and it also gives you the chance to enjoy the amazing view of the sea. You’ll notice quite a percentage of families walking around, which creates a pleasant and livable environment. Portugal has been ranked high on the Safety Index, making it a bit better than the average. The rich culture, friendly locals, recreational options, and cuisine make it an almost perfect choice.
Tax benefits for foreigners
Portugal has acquired the NHR tax status regarding tax obligations for foreigners. The Non-Habitual Residence status exempts foreigners from the tax obligation if their income is coming from abroad and is taxed at the source, i.e., the country of origin. This “Non-Habitual Residence” status makes it easier for temporary residents to stay and spend a certain amount of time in the country without having to worry about such things. Of course, this only applies if you have acquired tax resident status, which is mostly after six months. Also, Portugal is very reasonable when it comes to the tax percentage obligations of engineers, programmers, scientists, and everyone else under the category of high earners.
Other things to keep in mind…
Also, the Visa or Mastercard payment systems are not widespread in Portugal, and you’ll have to check first regarding possible card payments or carry cash. It’s worth mentioning how the climate rarely surpasses a mild temperature except for summer when it can exceed 35 degrees Celsius, yet the winters are refreshingly rainy instead of snowy, which some might view as an advantage. When it comes to medicine and education in Portugal, it is up to EU standards, ensuring your security in both aspects.
English is understood and spoken by a vast majority of people and therefore the language barrier should not be an issue, except maybe in handling some everyday situations with local merchants and elder residents. Learning Portuguese might be viewed by some as a disadvantage, yet residing there gives you a unique chance to enrich yourself, train your brain and become more international. You’ll instantly fall in love with the pace of life and become enchanted by the many wonders the country has to offer.
With all this said, maybe the only thing left to do is pack your things and go on a little trip to this amazing and extraordinary country. If you happen to be a lover of culture, rich food, and high quality of life, you won’t think twice after giving the country a chance.