Move to Portugal from New Zealand: Tips & Procedures

Looking to move to Portugal from New Zealand? Find out about residency options such as the Golden Visa and D7.
April 24, 2024
Ana Fankhauser
April 24, 2024

Looking to move to Portugal from New Zealand? Find out about residency options such as the Golden Visa and D7, cost of living differences, and how to establish your new life. This article answers critical questions on the practicalities and procedures of relocating to Portugal.

Key Takeaways

  • Portugal offers an attractive lifestyle for New Zealanders with its mild climate, political stability, low crime rates, and welcoming culture, coupled with favorable immigration policies such as the Golden Visa program.
  • New Zealanders have several visa options for moving to Portugal, including the visa-free stay for up to 90 days, the Golden Visa for investors, the D7 Visa for those with passive income, and work visas for those seeking employment.
  • The Golden Visa provides numerous investment pathways to residency, including fund investment, real estate ventures, and job creation, each with specific conditions and the potential for long-term benefits such as citizenship.

Embracing the Portuguese Lifestyle: Why Kiwis Choose Portugal

Embracing the Portuguese Lifestyle: Why Kiwis Choose Portugal

Kiwis can look forward to a delightful experience as they embrace the Portuguese lifestyle. Imagine:

  • Sipping coffee in a bustling Lisbon café
  • Enjoying a leisurely pace of life that’s a world away from the hustle and bustle of Auckland or Wellington
  • Experiencing the inviting Mediterranean climate, with its warm summers and mild winters
  • Enjoying Portugal’s safety, political stability, low crime rates, and rich historical and cultural canvas

All of these factors make Portugal an attractive destination for those seeking a peaceful society.

Beyond the appealing climate and culture, Portugal’s immigration policies are remarkably accommodating. One standout is the Golden Visa program, offering residency or citizenship pathways for investors, retirees, and professionals looking to relocate. What’s more, the cost of living is considerably lower than in New Zealand, making day-to-day expenses and lifestyle changes more accessible.

Portugal offers New Zealanders a wealth of experiences, whether you're enamored with the vibrant culture or the cordial atmosphere of its citizens.

Preparing for Your Portuguese Adventure: Visa Options for Kiwis

Having decided to live in Portugal, you might be wondering about your visa options. The good news is that, as a New Zealander, you can stay in Portugal for up to 90 days without a visa, thanks to a visa-free agreement. However, if you’re planning to stay longer, you’ll need a visa, for which you must prove sufficient financial resources, health insurance, and, if necessary, a work permit.

You have several options, including the D7 Visa, Golden Visa, and specific visas for freelancers like the Portuguese nomad visa. To determine the best visa option for you, your first step should be to contact the relevant authorities or services.

Golden Visa: A Pathway to Portuguese Residency

The Portugal Golden Visa is a highly attractive option for many Kiwis planning to relocate. This program provides a pathway to Portuguese residency through investment options such as a €500,000 investment into private equity or venture capital funds, the creation of 10 jobs, or a €250,000 donation to support arts or cultural heritage.

However, with great benefits come certain commitments. To retain the Golden Visa, investors must meet the requirements, which include:

  • Spend at least seven days in Portugal during the first year
  • Spend a minimum of 14 days in Portugal for each subsequent two-year period
  • Maintain the investment for at least five years

Despite these conditions, the Golden Visa opens up an excellent opportunity for those ready to invest in their future through the golden visa application process.

Passive Income Visa (D7): Retire in the Sun

If you’re a retiree or an individual with a regular passive income, the Portugal D7 Visa might be your ticket to sun-soaked retirement. This visa is designed for individuals who can demonstrate a regular passive income of at least €820 per month.

While the financial requirements are quite straightforward, the application process can take a bit of time. The typical processing time for the D7 Visa ranges from 4 to 6 months. However, the wait is often worth it, as the D7 Visa can serve as a path to permanent residency or citizenship in Portugal for New Zealand citizens who maintain a clean criminal record, among other criteria.

Work Visa: Employment Opportunities in Portugal

Perhaps your Portuguese adventure includes a career change or continuation. In that case, obtaining a work visa can open up employment opportunities in Portugal. To apply, you’ll need to submit several documents and prove that you have a job in Portugal, with your employer providing the requisite paperwork.

The typical processing time for a Portugal work visa ranges from one to three months, and applicants should apply within 90 days of arriving in Portugal. While job opportunities for non-EU citizens may be limited and salaries in Portugal are generally lower compared to many other Western countries, the experience of working in a unique cultural environment can be a rewarding adventure in itself.

Investing in Your Future: The Portugal Golden Visa Program

Investing in Your Future: The Portugal Golden Visa Program

The Portugal Golden Visa program extends beyond mere residency; it symbolizes an investment in your future. This program offers a range of investment opportunities that cater to different financial capabilities and interests. Whether you’re considering a venture capital fund investment, planning to buy real estate, or aiming to create jobs, the Golden Visa program has an investment pathway for you.

Fund Investment: Contributing to Growth

If you’re looking for an investment option that offers diversification and expert management, fund investing might be the right choice for you. The Golden Visa program requires a minimum investment in the form of a capital transfer of €500,000 for this route.

Fund investments can provide you with a share in company capitalization, but it’s important to be aware of potential risks. These might include not having control over investment decisions and navigating the exit strategy. However, with careful planning and expert advice, fund investment can potentially yield significant returns.

Real Estate Ventures: Finding a Home

Investing in real estate can be more than just a financial venture; it can also offer the exciting possibility of owning a second home in a popular destination. With the Golden Visa program, you can become part of the EU housing market.

While recent changes have restricted residential real estate investments to interior areas and removed real estate and real-estate-related funds as qualifying options, there is still potential for advantageous investments in these areas. However, it’s crucial to comply with the legal processes in Portugal, including due diligence and adherence to investment criteria set out by the Golden Visa program.

Job Creation: Boosting the Local Economy

Creating jobs through investment is not just beneficial for you as an investor; it’s also a significant contribution to the local Portuguese economy. Sectors such as tech, real estate, and tourism offer promising business opportunities for New Zealanders in Portugal.

By investing in Portuguese companies in key sectors, you can help create permanent jobs. This not only aids in securing residency under the Golden Visa program but also supports the growth of the local economy, which is a win-win situation.

Settling In: Establishing Your New Life in Portugal

Upon securing your visa and finalizing your investment, you can begin the process of settling into your new Portuguese life. This involves finding suitable housing, adjusting to the cost of living, and embracing the local culture and language.

These aspects will be examined further.

Housing Hunt: Where to Call Home

Housing Hunt: Where to Call Home

Finding a home in Portugal is an exciting part of the relocation process. As a new resident, you can choose from apartments in bustling cities, houses on the outskirts, or properties in quieter towns or the countryside.

With the help of online platforms, real estate agencies, and local classified ads, you can find a range of rental properties that fit your preferences. Whether you prefer a furnished or unfurnished rental is up to you, as both options are typically available. It’s important to remember that utilities and telecommunications services are separate arrangements, which you should plan for.

Cost of Living Comparison: Portugal vs. New Zealand

Cost of Living Comparison: Portugal vs. New Zealand

As you settle into your new life, you’ll notice a significant difference in the cost of living between Portugal and New Zealand. Portugal offers lower living expenses, including housing, groceries, and dining out, making it a significant draw for Kiwi expats.

When comparing the two capitals, Lisbon and Wellington, you’ll find that:

  • Consumer prices in Lisbon are 42.1% lower when excluding rent
  • Groceries are notably 66.5% cheaper in Lisbon
  • Even when it comes to housing costs, although Lisbon has high rental prices, options like Braga offer more affordability
  • Overall, rent prices in Wellington are about 12.7% higher than in Lisbon.

Embracing Culture: Learning the Language and Customs

One of the most enriching aspects of living in a new country is embracing its culture. In Portugal, this means learning the language and understanding the local customs. Portuguese can be a significant barrier, particularly outside tourist areas, but it’s essential for integration.

There are numerous learning options available to expats in Portugal, including language schools, universities, and online courses. Engaging with the local community and showing openness to their customs can improve relationships with Portuguese people, who appreciate when foreigners respect their language and customs.

Navigating the Legalities: Residency and Citizenship Procedures

Attaining residency or citizenship in Portugal entails several legal procedures. Whether you’re applying for a temporary or permanent residence permit or looking to obtain citizenship, it’s important to understand the requirements and documentation involved.

These procedures will be explored in the subsequent subsections.

From Residency Visa to Permanent Residence

Transitioning from a residency visa to permanent residence in Portugal requires meeting several criteria. For instance, you need to have a stable income, health insurance, and a clean criminal record. In addition to these requirements, it’s mandatory to have valid travel insurance covering necessary medical expenses when applying for a Portugal residency visa.

Moreover, to obtain permanent residence in Portugal, you must have legally resided in the country for five consecutive years and demonstrate a basic proficiency in Portuguese. It’s also important to note that specific documents, such as proof of income and accommodation, are needed for the application of a Portuguese residence permit.

The Journey to Portuguese Citizenship

After six years of legal residency in Portugal, New Zealand citizens can embark on the journey to Portuguese citizenship. However, this journey requires more than just time; it also involves passing a basic Portuguese language test.

Keep in mind that the process can take time. While the Golden Visa program allows New Zealand citizens to obtain an EU passport without renouncing their New Zealand citizenship, the application process for Portuguese citizenship can take up to two years.

Nevertheless, the benefits of gaining Portuguese citizenship make the journey worthwhile. These benefits include:

  • Access to employment
  • Access to education
  • Access to healthcare
  • Tax advantages
  • Access to social services

Healthcare and Insurance: Staying Healthy in Portugal

Healthcare and Insurance: Staying Healthy in Portugal

Maintaining good health is fundamental to life in Portugal. The country has a comprehensive healthcare system that offers services through the Portuguese National Health Service. To access these services, new residents must register with the health center in their local area.

In addition to the public healthcare system, expats in Portugal can choose to use private health insurance to supplement their healthcare needs. This provides quicker access to specialists and hospital services. It’s important to keep in mind that certain groups, such as the unemployed, children under 12, and pregnant women, are exempt from particular healthcare fees in Portugal.

Family Matters: Reunification and Education

If you’re planning to move to Portugal with your family, the family reunification visa enables immediate family members of residence permit holders to live together in Portugal. This visa applies to spouses, children, and parents, allowing families to stay united while experiencing a new culture and lifestyle.

To apply for the family reunification visa, applicants must provide various documents, such as:

  • a valid passport
  • a criminal record certificate
  • a valid residence permit of the main applicant, which is often obtained through a residence visa
  • health insurance
  • evidence of financial means and accommodation

However, the benefits of this visa extend beyond living together. Children on family reunification visas are typically eligible for permanent residency in Portugal, granting them access to employment, education, healthcare, tax, and welfare benefits.

Education holds significant importance for expatriate children. However, language barriers within the Portuguese education system may present challenges, necessitating proficiency in Portuguese for smoother integration. But with time and patience, your children will adapt and thrive in their new environment.

Financial Planning: Taxation and Banking Essentials

Proper financial planning is imperative when relocating to a new country. In Portugal, this involves understanding the taxation system, opening a bank account, and managing international money transfers. Before opening a bank account in Portugal, foreigners must acquire a Portuguese Tax Number (NIF).

The documentation required to open a Portuguese bank account includes identification, proof of address, proof of income or employment, and a Portuguese phone number. Portuguese banks offer a range of services, including checking accounts, loans, mortgages, savings, insurance, and digital banking options.

Taxation is another important aspect to consider in Portugal. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Tax rates in Portugal can be steep, with progressive rates going up to 48%.
  • When conducting international money transfers in Portugal, a fee may be applicable.
  • Any transfer over €50,000 must be reported to the Banco de Portugal.

Overcoming Challenges: Potential Drawbacks and Solutions

Embarking on a new journey always presents unique challenges and relocating to Portugal is no exception. One of the most common challenges faced by expats is adjusting to the slower pace of life in Portugal. While this pace can be a welcome change for some, it might require an adjustment period for others used to New Zealand’s faster pace.

Language barriers can also pose challenges, particularly outside tourist areas. However, with the availability of language schools, universities, and online courses, learning Portuguese is a manageable task. Then, there’s the issue of transportation. While Portugal offers affordable public transportation options, service reliability can be an issue, especially outside urban centers.

Despite these potential challenges, living in Portugal offers countless rewards. From experiencing a rich culture and a warm climate to enjoying a lower cost of living and a welcoming community, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. So, ready to embark on your Portuguese adventure?


From the sun-kissed beaches of the Algarve to the historic streets of Lisbon, Portugal offers a unique blend of cultural richness, a welcoming community, and a high quality of life. Whether you’re planning to retire, invest, or work in this Mediterranean paradise, the Portugal Golden Visa program provides an accessible pathway to make this dream a reality. While the journey involves navigating through various procedures, understanding the language and customs, and overcoming potential challenges, the rewards are undoubtedly worth it. So, why not take the first step towards your Portuguese adventure today?

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the investment options for the Portugal Golden Visa program?

The Portugal Golden Visa program offers investment options such as a €500,000 investment into private equity or venture capital funds, creating 10 jobs, or a €250,000 donation to support arts or cultural heritage. These investments can lead to residency in Portugal.

Can my family join me in Portugal if I have a Golden Visa?

Yes, the Golden Visa program in Portugal allows for family reunification, allowing your immediate family members to join you.

How can I access healthcare services in Portugal?

To access healthcare services in Portugal, new residents must register with the health center in their local area. This is the first step towards obtaining healthcare services in the country.

What are the requirements for obtaining Portuguese citizenship?

To obtain Portuguese citizenship, you need to have six years of legal residency in Portugal, pass a basic Portuguese language test, and submit the required documents.

What challenges might I face when moving to Portugal?

When moving to Portugal, you might face challenges such as adjusting to the slower pace of life, overcoming language barriers, and dealing with potential issues with transportation and housing. Embracing these changes can help ease the transition.

About Movingto

Movingto is a leading immigration law firm that specializes in helping individuals and families navigate the complex process of relocating to Portugal. With a team of experienced lawyers and immigration experts, provides tailored solutions to meet the unique needs of each client.

Why Choose Movingto?

  • Expertise and Experience: Our lawyers have extensive knowledge of Portuguese immigration law and years of experience assisting clients with various visa applications, including the D7 Visa, Golden Visa, Startup Visa, and Family Reunion Visa.
  • Personalized Approach: We understand that every client's situation is different. Our lawyers take the time to listen to your goals and provide personalized advice and guidance throughout the process.
  • Comprehensive Support: offers a comprehensive range of services beyond legal advice, including assistance with document preparation, property search, and relocation planning.
  • Competitive Fees: We offer competitive fees and transparent pricing so that you know exactly what to expect.
  • Exceptional Client Service: Our team is committed to providing exceptional client service. We are responsive, attentive, and always available to answer your questions.

Whether you are an entrepreneur seeking to establish a business in Portugal, a retiree looking to enjoy the country's favorable tax regime, or a family seeking to reunite in Portugal, is here to guide you every step of the way.

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