Porto, the second-largest city in Portugal, is a vibrant and culturally rich city that has become increasingly popular as a destination for ex-pats in recent years. The reasons can vary as the city offers pleasure to all the senses, and surely whoever thinks of relocating for good has some exotic and intriguing location in mind. There is also the food, the rich heritage, the culture, and the amazing people filling you with positive energy. 

If you’ve already made up your mind regarding the city and country, in the text below we’ll discuss everything you should know in the form of a step-by-step guide. Read on! 

Step 1: Research the City

Before you decide to relocate to Porto, it’s important to research the city thoroughly. You’ll want to learn about the cost of living, the job market, the culture, and the language. You can start by reading online resources and joining ex-pat forums to connect with others who have already made the move. Keep in mind that the best experience is first-hand so don’t believe everything you read or hear. Surely, there are some exceptions to the general rule, but before making any serious move, have all the above in mind. 

Also, thanks to Google Maps, you can actually “research” the city and have a mental map of it in your head. That way, you won’t feel as lost as you would if the only knowledge you possessed of the city is the one you read online. So, learn a bit of Portuguese and brace yourself, as relocating to another country is an adventure. 

Step 2: Apply for a Visa

If you’re a non-EU citizen, you’ll need to apply for a visa before you can move to Porto. You can do this by contacting the Portuguese embassy or consulate in your home country. The type of visa you’ll need will depend on your reason for moving to Portugal. For example, if you’re planning to work in Porto, you’ll need a work visa. If you plan to study and pursue academic agendas, you’ll need a student pass visa, and so on. You get the idea, but interestingly enough, Portugal is one of the few countries offering a tempting program for those looking to get a passport for business and travel purposes easily and fast. So, when applying for a Golden visa in Portugal, you’ll need to make a substantial investment in the real estate market of the country via a reliable agency and then apply for a visa. Within weeks, you’ll get your passport, and you’ll be able to travel to 100+ countries visa-free, including the whole of the EU and others. 

Also, you’ll have access to their educational system, which is free, and their healthcare system. You’ll have all the privileges of a regular citizen, and after a few years, you can apply for a permanent residency visa and citizenship status. It’s a golden opportunity (a little world play never harmed anybody) for those with the resources to get easy access to all the above-mentioned benefits. 

Step 3: Find a Place to Live

Once you’ve secured your visa, the next step is to find a place to live in Porto. You can start by searching online for apartments or houses to rent or buy. It’s a good idea to visit Porto in person to view properties and get a feel for the different neighborhoods. Keep in mind that the cost of living in Porto can vary depending on the area, so be sure to research prices before making a decision. If you’ve applied for the Golden Visa program, the real estate of your choice will probably be your home, otherwise, it’s smart to contact local agencies to help you in your pursuit. They’ll usually take a small fee, but you’ll get a guarantee and a money-back policy if something is not according to the initial agreement. For comparison, if you’re looking on your own, whether online or in person, any agreement you make really is up to you, and if you happen to make a bad deal, there is almost nothing you can do about it. 

Step 4: Open a Bank Account

Opening a bank account is an important step in the process of relocating to Porto. Having a bank account will make it easier for you to manage your finances, pay bills, and access a range of financial services that you may need while living in Porto.

There are a variety of banks to choose from in Porto, including Portuguese banks such as Banco Português de Investimento (BPI), Caixa Geral de Depósitos (CGD), and Novo Banco, as well as international banks.

You’ll probably need to visit a branch of the bank you have chosen with the following documents:

  • Identification documents: You will need to provide identification documents, such as a passport or national ID card, to prove your identity.
  • Proof of address: You may also need to provide proof of address, such as a utility bill or rental contract, to confirm your residential address.
  • Tax identification number (TIN): You will need to obtain a Portuguese TIN

Once you have provided the necessary documentation, the bank will process your application and open your account. You will typically receive a debit card and online banking access to manage your account.

Step 5: Learn the Language

This should be high on our list, almost on the top. Although many people in Porto speak English, learning the Portuguese language will make it easier for you to integrate into the local community. You can take language classes in Porto or use online resources to learn Portuguese before you arrive. Learning the language will not only enrich you culturally speaking it also allows you to create new friendships, start relationships, mingle through the masses, and experience living in Porto like a true Portuguese. Also, you’ll find it much easier to strike deals, bargain, and find a job. 


Step 6: Find a Job (Optional)

If you’re planning to work in Porto, you’ll need to find a job before you can make the move. You can start by searching online job boards and networking with others in your industry. Keep in mind that the job market in Porto can be competitive, so it may take some time to find the right job. Also, if you happen to apply for citizenship via neutralization, having a secure job and bank records of your salaries can help you a lot. One of the points when applying for permanent citizenship status is the ability to financially support yourself and be independent. It can speed up the evaluation process of the commission and give you a better chance. Also, it’s much more enjoyable to travel around with money in your wallet. 

Don’t worry, yes, the market is competitive, but even if you’re not a doctor or engineer, you can still find employment. Teaching positions in education are in demand and so are tourism and marketing. 

Step 7: Register with the Local Authorities

Once you’ve arrived in Porto, you’ll need to register with the local authorities. This step is a MUST, don’t try to find any way around it because it’s not worth it and you could regret it at some point. The last thing you need is a deportation letter. So, registering includes obtaining a residence permit and registering with the tax office. You’ll also need to register with the local healthcare system if you plan to use public healthcare. It’s easy enough, you can even ask your landlord to help you with this step. 

In short, relocating to Porto can be a wonderful experience, but it requires careful planning and preparation. By following these seven steps, you can make the move as smooth as possible and start enjoying all that this vibrant city has to offer.

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