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Moving to Portugal: 5 Tips for UK Expats

Are you planning on moving to the picturesque land of Portugal?
Its secluded beaches, world-famous grottos, and medieval architecture are only some of the drawcards for Brits gravitating towards the westernmost country of mainland Europe.

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Published Date: 29 July 2022

Located between Spain and the Atlantic Ocean, Portugal is just a quick 2-hour flight from the UK, major European cities like Paris, Rome and Milan, as well as Tunisia and Morocco.


Does moving to Portugal intrigue you?

With plenty of fresh seafood, a rich history and vibrant culture, the warm Mediterranean weather, an easy-going lifestyle – what’s not to like?

The Portuguese are welcoming and friendly; they treat expats with kindness and respect. If you do not speak the language, try to learn the basics to help easily adapt and become comfortable.

One of the first things you’ll notice when you move to Portugal is that the pace of life is a lot slower than what you’re used to in the United Kingdom – it’s not uncommon to have to wait a few weeks for a medical appointment, and bank lines can be notoriously long. However, Portuguese people are generally relaxed about these things. This laid-back attitude stretches to other aspects of Portuguese culture as well, such as meetings, and general customer service. This can be a huge adjustment for expats.

A good way to look at life in Portugal is that there is no hurry – so enjoy the moment. The weather is good, the beaches are stunning, and the cost of living is low. So, take things slow and easy, and you’ll soon fall in love with the laid-back lifestyle.


The UK expat community in Portugal is sizeable

Local residence tax in France, Taxe d’habitation

Over 48 000 British citizens live in Portugal, making them the second largest group of expats in the country.

Many choose to move to the dynamic and exciting city of Lisbon, where there is a thriving expat community. Other popular destinations are the Algarve, Porto and Coimbra. The Algarve is well-known for its impressive beaches, while Porto is known for its lively atmosphere, and Coimbra for its historic university.

If you’re an expat, it can be beneficial to join an expat community to seek out information from those who have already made the move. There are tons of Facebook groups and forums where you can ask questions. They can provide valuable insights on places to see, visa requirements, necessary paperwork (this can be mundane), and importing a vehicle from the UK. Being part of a community can help make the transition much smoother and provide a support network during difficult times.


5 tips on moving to Portugal

  1. Search for a reputable moving company

Local residence tax in France, Taxe d’habitation

Moving to Portugal is a big decision. To make sure you get all your packing and moving needs taken care of, consider using a reputable moving company. To ensure a seamless process, start your search at least 6 months before the big (or small!) move.

AGS Global Movers is an experienced international moving company, and has been moving expats, families, and corporations since 1974, across Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. We specialise in international moves, secure storage and vehicle transport. AGS Movers UK can literally move you anywhere in the world.

We can also assist you with shipping your furniture and belongings, pet travel services, transporting your artwork, as well as professional packing, and all-risk insurance.


  1. Choose how to ship your belongings

Local residence tax in France, Taxe d’habitation

There are three options to transport your goods and furniture to your new home: sea, air, or road freight. Because Portugal is relatively close by, road freight is the cheapest way to ship your goods. Air freight is faster but more expensive.

Now that the UK has left the EU, it’s true that getting your goods through Portuguese customs has become more complicated. However, a reputable moving company like AGS Movers UK will be up to date on the latest requirements. What’s more, they will save you the headache of the paperwork by completing it on your behalf.


  1. Use secure storage facilities

Local residence tax in France, Taxe d’habitation

Do you need to store your goods, furniture, fine art, or vehicles?

With AGS Movers, you have a range of secure storage options in the UK and Portugal, and we can store your items for however long you need – short, medium or long term. Goods are stored in well ventilated storage warehouses, stacked in vermin-proof wooden pallet boxes.

With access control, 24/7 CCTV monitoring, and on-site security, you can have peace of mind that your goods are always secure.


  1. Remember the fur-kids and the car

Local residence tax in France, Taxe d’habitation

Wondering if you can move your pets to Portugal? Yes, you can! The laws and regulations for moving a pet from the UK are fairly relaxed. Your pets should be microchipped, at least 12 weeks old, vaccinated against rabies (the vaccination should happen 21 days prior to travelling), and hold an international health certificate.

AGS Movers UK works with pet moving specialists, experienced animal handlers who will ensure your pets are comfortable, safe, and stress free on their journey to the continent. They will also guide you through every step of getting your pets ready for travel, from finding the perfect crate to paperwork completion.

You can also easily move your vehicle to Portugal with the help of a vehicle moving service. At AGS Movers, we offer door-to-door vehicle transport as part of a larger household move, or on its own. Vehicles are shipped by sea, either in standard steel containers for international moves, or roll-on roll-off for certain destinations within Europe.

If your vehicle is going in a standard steel container, the extra space can be used to transport your belongings. We build a wooden cradle around your vehicle, and your belongings are packed on top.

You will need to pay a vehicle importation tax to exchange your foreign licence plate for a Portuguese one, within the first six months. And remember, the Portuguese drive on the right side of the road! Learn more about the rules and regulations for importing you vehicle to Portugal.


  1. Research wages and search for a job

Portugal has often been seen as a retirement destination for UK expats, but in recent times, the country has become increasingly popular with digital nomads and other young professionals looking for an affordable place to work and live. While the cost of living is relatively low, wages are also generally lower than in other European countries, so finding a remote job that pays in pounds or dollars could help a lot. Bonus: the internet connection in Portugal is one of the fastest in the world. If you’re thinking of making the move to Portugal, be sure to search for a job and research Portuguese wages before you go.

Need help moving to Portugal? Get in touch with AGS Movers UK to discuss your moving requirements.



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