Choosing where to live in Portugal
If you have never been to Portugal, how did you choose an area to live?
Our original plan was to spend 30 days in the Algarve, 30 days in Lisbon and 30 days in Porto to get a feel for where we wanted to live more permanently. When we started to work on our documents to apply for a resident visa – which would allow us to stay in the country longer than a 90-day tourist visa - that type of proof of accommodation was allowed. So, we began researching short-term rentals in those areas thinking that we could experience the different regions of Portugal and then make a commitment to a long-term rental once we found an area we liked.
However, a change came in early 2020 and the Portuguese government became stricter in their requirements for a resident visa – in particular, they wanted to see a 6-month lease or longer, or proof of ownership of a property in Portugal. This was a blow to businesses like Airbnb that catered to short-term rentals in Portugal. It also concerned many resident visa applicants because they would now have to accept more risk. The rules even became stricter when visa applicants would not be approved if they didn’t have a funded Portuguese bank account. And of course, with COVID, you couldn’t go on that scouting trip…
Paul and I were faced with a choice – accept the risk and find a way to secure a long-term rental and a Portuguese bank account while still in the U.S. or wait COVID out until we could travel to Portugal and see areas and rentals in person, secure a lease and open a bank account. We had many sleepless nights trying to decide what to do. We felt as if there were constant roadblocks keeping us away from our desire to retire in Portugal. We almost gave up.
After much discussion, we decided not to wait. We kept remembering the mantra that there is “no perfect time” and we were certainly not getting any younger! So, we started looking for resources to help us get a long-term lease on a property in Portugal as well as a bank account. It wasn’t easy, but through some excellent contacts and a lot of luck, we did it!
Note: How we did it and what it entailed will be detailed in future content.
Until next time…