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Moving to Lisbon

Moving to a new city can be overwhelming. Either near or afar, it requires paperwork and planning. Are you moving to Lisbon, but haven’t gathered the information? Here’s a helping hand, your ultimate guide!

First things first: documents.
Prepare all your documents ahead!

European Union Citizens

If you’re a EU citizen, you can travel to Portugal with your ID (or passport) and you’ll have up to 3 months before you need to register in the local city hall.

When staying for more than 3 months you should register in the city hall, you can start the process online using this form.

Other nationalities

Portugal requires a passport valid for at least three months beyond your final travel date.

As far as visas are concerned, the first step is to understand if you need a visa and what type of visa applies to your specific situation. You will find detailed and up to date information on the types of visas, where and when to apply on the portuguese diplomatic portal. The information is quite well organized and you can easily find the contacts on where to apply.

Visas are not required for European Economic Area Agreement citizens and specific freedom movement agreements may exempt other nationalities. Do you need one?

The type of visa will required will depend on the duration and the purpose of your stay.

  • Short stay visas are valid for up to 90 days in the Schengen area; you can get either a “tourist” or a seasonal short stay visa;
  • Temporary Stay, for less than one year stays, are required for non EU citizens and can be obtained for multiple purposes (work, study, health, volunteer, etc);
  • Residency Stay, for more than one year are also required for non EU citizens and can also be obtained for multiple purposes.

Please be aware that, according to Portuguese Immigration and Border Service (SEF) in order to enter the portuguese territory you should hold a visa valid and adequate for the purpose and duration of the stay. This visa shall be required always in a diplomatic mission or Portuguese consular post abroad. Once you are in Portugal you can extend your visa in SEF, but be aware this is a bureaucratic and time consuming process.

We advise you to check all documents needed with your University or Employer!

moving to lisbon

Time to pack!
Packing can be tricky,

especially when moving to another country! Fitting all your belongings in 20kgs can be an impossible task and ticket upgrades cost a fortune. A great option to consider is to travel light and ship your luggage directly. Some of the available options are:

· Send my bag – on this website you can send unaccompanied luggage at a cheaper price.
· Eurosender – also a very good company to trust your bags to.

Combining moving in and holidays is a great option – if you are considering a road trip through Europe or holidays in Portugal before moving in or after moving out, you may consider baggage storing services, you may try:

· Radical Storage – you can enter your address and find a storage facility close to you. The price is per day.
· City Lockers – great for smaller luggage and a maximum of 7 days.
· Luggage Driver – they collect and deliver your bags and also keep them for as long as you need. The price depends on the bag size.


Portugal has public and private health institutions, both offer quality service. Public healthcare is not free but it’s much cheaper, provided you are portuguese or hold an European Health Insurance Card. Different costs apply if you are not covered by Public Health Insurance.

Private healthcare can be faster and more convenient, especially for ambulatory services. You may consider private insurance to reduce the cost of basic medical acts and to cover bigger costs in case of need.

European Health Insurance Card

A free card that gives you access to medically necessary, state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in any of the 27 EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland under the same conditions and at the same cost (free in some countries) as people insured in that country. If you are eligible then apply for it and bring it with you. More information on the EU website.

Private insurance

Having private insurance can be wise to reduce the risk of medical costs and cheaper access to private healthcare.

Bear in mind that you will need a portuguese tax number to have a portuguese insurance. It might be wise to make an insurance in your home country.

Important phone numbers
112 – emergency line
808 24 24 24 – National Health Service. If you are not feeling good, but you’re in doubt whether you should go to the hospital or not, you can speak with a nurse to get all the indications you need.


If you did some research, you might already know that Portugal is the safest country of the European Union and the Global Peace Index ranks Portugal number three at a world level! Putting in other words, Portugal is an extremely safe place to live! Of course, you should avoid dark alleys at night, and we do have pickpockets in the most crowded and touristic places, but that’s everywhere right? It’s generally safe to walk around at any time!

For any emergency, you can call the 112 or the local police.

Bank accounts

Opening a bank account is quite bureaucratic anywhere in the world, Portugal is no exception. So, ask yourself if you need one. Supermarkets, shops and the vast majority of restaurants and cafes accept VISA and Mastercard payments. Some shoppers may require a minimum of 5 Euros for card payment. Moreover, you will find an ATM literally around every corner.

Having said that, if you do need to open a a bank account, start preparing your documents. There are a few documents all banks will require, namely:
· VAT number – information on how to request one in this website
· ID or passport
· Proof of address
· Proof of employment

Now you just need to choose which bank works better for you. In Portugal, the more common ones are Caixa Geral de Depósitos, BPI, Millennium BCP, Santander and Montepio. If you prefer an international bank you’ll find international brands like Abanca, Barclays, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank and a few more.

Some places in Portugal already accept digital payments and contactless payments, but you should always carry some money with you in case you’re going to a smaller shop or just to grab a coffee.


Whether you’re staying for a short or long period you should always consider buying a Portuguese SIM card. Especially because you will be able to use it all over Europe, so you can do that dreamy road trip without worrying about communications.

These are the companies that offer the best deals:
· Vodafone – check their under 25 offer YORN
· Meo – check MOCHE offer
· Nos

Now that you know all you need before you move, it’s time to start planning your journey to enjoy the most out of Portugal! We hope to welcome you soon at Co.Lisbon!