Looking to make Lisbon your next destination as a digital nomad? For individuals who are not EU nationals, the Portugal D7 visa is the most suitable for digital nomads. This does not require any investment on the applicant’s part and is for non-EU citizens who want residence in Portugal. However, they do need to show that they have reasonable passive income to support their stay, which can come from a salary, real estate, or a retirement pension. The main applicant must show that they have a minimum passive income of €8,460 per year.
But depending on the amount of time you want to spend in the country and your nationality, you might not need a visa at all. For example, US and Canadian citizens can stay in Portugal for up to 90 days without a visa. Make sure to check the travel requirements beforehand so you don’t run into any unexpected challenges.
If you aren’t sure about your trip to Lisbon yet, here’s a quick look at the pros and cons of making the move.
Good Wifi and plenty of coworking spaces
Lisbon is the capital city and it covers a big area. This means that a lot of investment and infrastructure has been poured into making sure that internet connectivity is stable. In addition, the area has a wide and varied selection of coffee shops where you can sit and work. You can also browse around several coworking spaces dedicated to digital nomads in Lisbon.
Attractive tax system for ex-pats, investors, and freelancers
If you are an ex-pat living in Portugal, all you need to do is spend 183 days of residency in the country before you qualify for the Non-Habitual Residency (NHR) tax system in Portugal. The Portugal NHR tax regime offers a variety of benefits, including a special personal income tax treatment over ten years, tax exemption on nearly all foreign sources of income; tax exemptions for gifts or inheritance to direct family members, no wealth tax, and free remittance of funds to Portugal.
Solid education system for youth and adults
When it comes to schools and universities, Portugal offers an extensive network and inclusive education system for youths and adults alike. It is one reason why the country is popular with families who want to migrate or work abroad. Many Portuguese universities are internationally recognized and graduates are free to work in any country within the European Union.
For those interested in higher education, Portugal applies the standards of the European Bologna System, which is considered one of the most affordable in the European Union.
Low cost of living compared to other cities
If you want a taste of the digital nomad life in Europe without having to shell out too much, life in Lisbon is not as expensive as the other large capital cities around the continent. You may be able to get by with $700 to $800 per month, or $1000 to $1500 if you feel like splurging on membership for a coworking space and eating out.
To cut down on living expenses, try walking to your destination as frequently as possible. Taxis here are expensive and while public transport is reasonably priced, it will still hold you back by over $100 per month. There are also a variety of furnished rentals in Lisbon to help you get settled in.
Safe area with low crime rates
The World Population Review in 2023 ranked Portugal 3rd in a list of the safest countries in the world and 4th in a list of the most peaceful countries. This shows in the way the locals act: they are friendly, accommodating, and warm. Even if you do not speak Portuguese fluently, you can always find someone who can talk to you in English and help you figure out where to go.
You need to carry cash around frequently
Digital payments and bank cards still have a long way to go before they are fully integrated across the country. Visa and Mastercard are not yet accepted everywhere, so you may need to check if the place you are going to be accepting cash only. Thankfully, establishments will immediately indicate your payment options by hanging a sign at the front door.
Radiators are not a common fixture in homes
Portugal is known for its warm and balmy summers. But if you plan on staying here for a few months, you should know that the winters can be a struggle—especially if you live somewhere that does not come with a heater. Make sure to invest in one before the cold weather sets in. The walls store humidity during the day, which means that temperatures can drop much lower at night.
Plenty of government red tape
This is something that even the locals complain about. Everyone agrees: one of the biggest disadvantages of life in Portugal is the bureaucracy. Filing for paperwork and preparing your documents can take some time. You may have to wait for months for your driver’s license, government appointments, and the issuance of certified paperwork.
So if you plan on moving to Portugal soon, just know that the pace of living is incredibly relaxed—which is both a good and a bad thing.