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Things to know
about Porto

Second City of Portugal


The town that gave the country (and port wine) its very name, Porto is Portugal’s second-largest metropolis after Lisbon.

Sometimes called Oporto, it's an age-old city that has one foot firmly in the industrial present. The old town, centered at Ribeira, was built on the hills overlooking the Douro River, and today is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The 14th-century São Francisco church is the main attraction, as are the local port wine cellars, mostly located across the river at Vila Nova de Gaia.


Charming, colourful and beautifully authentic; it’s a city made for explorers, weekend visitors, backpackers and photographers alike.

The famous Douro River, the epicentre of the former port city, is the ultimate backdrop for lazy river cruises, sunset strolls, and long lunches.


The twisting cobblestone laneways of the Ribeira are delightful; iconic azulejos (tiles) breathe life onto the historic buildings and the jumble of terracotta roofs spilling down towards the bustling Douro river makes for a postcard-perfect setting.


Beautiful beaches are a short (somewhat rickety) tram ride away, and the architecture and design are so mesmerising that they even inspired JK Rowling's Hogwarts!

From every angle, in every light, Porto is achingly beautiful. 


Porto’s proximity to the beach makes it popular with surfers and those that want to be by the coast, and it’s just one of the many reasons that many Portuguese people prefer Porto to Lisbon.

Although not as big as Lisbon, Porto has a growing international scene of ex-pats and digital nomads who’ve chosen to make Porto their home. There are weekly meetups for ex-pats, digital nomads, book club groups, and coders, and Porto has plenty of sports clubs and societies that you can join as well.

Amazing sights, Amazing food, Amazing Value!


You are really spoilt for choice in Porto ... REALLY! 

Foodies, culture vultures and adventurous types will all find plenty to keep themselves occupied in the vibrant northern capital of Portugal. 

Porto is characterised by its Medieval, Unesco-listed old town, the mighty Rio Douro and port wine.

Expect beach promenades, the most beautiful bookshop in the world, vibrant markets and impressive neoclassical monuments.


Eating out in Porto is very affordable, particularly at lunchtime and especially if you stay away from the "touristy" restaurants.

Many places offer a lunch menu (main, drink, dessert, and coffee) for around €6-13.

For dinner, three courses will typically cost between €20 and €30 per person excluding wine.

Wine is not expensive in Portugal, and you can often get a bottle from €10-12. Many places will have a house wine that’s even cheaper.

Porto’s most famous sandwich, the "francesinha", will cost you around €9-€10. If you’re not sure whether you want a whole one, many places offer half portions as well.

It’s also a good place to try fine dining on a budget. Many Michelin-starred places like Antiqvvm and DOP offer a lunch menu for around €25.

Coffee is also cheap and can cost as little as €0.50 while a pastel de nata from one of the top pastelarias in Porto will typically set you back €1.

Porto also has plenty of hipster cafés, bars, and restaurants for those that want things like pour-over coffee, burgers, and cocktails.

We Could go on and on .... but you'll have to go and experience this one for yourselves to fully appreciate it! 


How does Porto Compare? 

Porto is one of Portugal’s most beautiful cities, and some would say its the most beautiful.

Although smaller than Lisbon, it has plenty of great bars, restaurants, shops, and cafés.

Most importantly, the cost of living in Porto is much more affordable than in Lisbon particularly when it comes to rental and property prices.


Rental prices for a 1 or 2-bedroom apartment in Porto start from around €500-550 per month, but prices can be closer to €400 if you head a little bit away from the city centre.

You can get a better feel for the typical prices by browsing the major property websites that cover Porto rentals.

Flatshares start at less than €200, but a good average is somewhere between €250 and €300.

If you’re staying on a shorter-term basis, there are quite a few Airbnbs with a monthly rate of around €700.

Note: If you’re looking at property listings, you’ll notice that properties are listed as a T0, T1, T2, etc. It’s very simple. T0 is a studio apartment, T1 is a 1-bedroom apartment, etc.

Porto is quite a small city and you should be able to get around a lot of it on foot. It also has a good public transport system with trams, buses, and a metro.

Tickets for the bus and metro cost between €1.20 and €2, depending on the zone that you’re going to. Tram tickets are more expensive and cost €3 for a single, but it’s worth riding the tram at least once for the experience.

Utilities are expensive in Portugal, and you can expect to pay €100-€150 per month to cover expenses like water, electricity, gas, and bins. This will increase if you use the AC a lot in the summer or heating in the winter.


Cost of Living
in Porto

Your tax liability as an ex-pat depends on your residency status, which is defined by how much time you spend living and working in Portugal each year.

If you reside in Portugal for 183 days or more in a calendar year, you’ll be considered a resident and will need to pay income tax on your worldwide income. If you live in Portugal for fewer than 183 days, you’ll only need to pay on income earned within Portugal.


Income tax rates for residents in Portugal are progressive, meaning you pay more tax the more you earn. Non-residents are taxed at a flat rate of 25% of income.

Some ex-pats living in Portugal can take advantage of the "Non-Habitual Residency" (NHR) tax codes, which provide substantial exemptions for the first 10 years of residence.

NHR status is available for workers in qualifying professions and has two main benefits.

Firstly, you can live as a Portuguese resident but not pay tax on your earnings elsewhere in the world (including employment and capital gains), effectively giving you non-resident status.

Secondly, you’ll pay income tax on Portuguese earnings at a flat rate of 20%, rather than the standard progressive rates of up to 48%.

In 2020, the Portuguese government increased the tax rate on foreign pension income from 0% to 10%.

Eligibility to Work in Porto

Non-EU nationals who want to work in Portugal will have to apply for a Portugal Work Visa.

To be eligible for a Portuguese work visa:

You must have a job offer from an employer in Portugal. The job opening must have been posted for at least one month, so the relevant authorities can ensure that a Portuguese or EU citizen could not have filled the position instead.
Your employer must apply for a Work Permit on your behalf. They submit the application to the Portuguese Labor Authorities.Do I Need a Visa to Work in Portugal?

If you are not an EU/EEA or Swiss citizen, then you need to apply for a visa to be allowed to work in Portugal. If you are from the EU/EEA or Switzerland, then you can work without a visa, but you have to get a Residence Certificate (Certificado de Registo) if you intend to live in Portugal for longer than three months.

       Portugal Work Visa Requirements:

  • The documents you need when you apply for a Portugal work visa are:

  • Your valid passport.

  • Passport-size pictures, following Schengen visa picture guidelines.

  • Proof of sufficient funds to sustain yourself.

  • Your criminal records from your country of residence. If you have lived in another country for more than one year, you have to get criminal records from there as well.

  • A document giving permission to the SEF to check your Portuguese criminal records.

  • Proof of health insurance.

  • Proof of accommodation in Portugal.

  • Your employment contract.

  • If you are already in Portugal: Proof of legal entry into Portuguese territory, such as a visa.

  • If you are applying from a country other than that of your origin: Proof of legal stay, such as a residence permit or a visa.

    Document guidelines:


  • All the documents you submit have to be in English or Portuguese. If they are not, you must have them translated by a certified translator and then notarized.

  • Certain documents, such as diplomas or civil documents, may have to be legalized. You can legalize documents through an Apostille Stamp or through the Portuguese Embassy in your country.

    How to Apply for a Portugal Work Visa?

  • Once you have secured a job offer, the application for the Portuguese work visa is divided into three parts:

  • Your employer applies for the Work Permit. They must do this after they have offered the job to you but before you travel to Portugal.

  • You apply for a Work Visa at the Portuguese Embassy. Once you have a Work Permit, you must apply for a work visa at the Portugal Embassy, which you will use to enter the country.

  • You apply for a Portugal Residence Permit. Once you have arrived in Portugal, you must apply for your Residence Permit for Work at the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF). This is what allows you to live in Portugal long-term.

    Step 1: Work Permit Application

  • Once your employer offers you the job, they have to apply for a Work Permit (Autorização de Trabalho) at the Portuguese Labor Authorities or the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras – SEF) on your behalf.

    They must submit several documents, such as:

  • The employment contract

  • Company tax statements

  • Proof of having registered with Social Security

  • Proof that an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen could not have filled the position.

    Step 2: Work Visa Application

  • Once you receive authorization to work in Portugal, then you can go ahead and apply for a work visa from the Portugal Embassy in your country. This visa will allow you to travel to Portugal for work purposes and apply for a residence permit. The application process is as follows:

  • Locate the nearest Portuguese Embassy or Consulate. Find where you need to apply depending on your country of residence here.

  • Make an appointment to submit the application. You may have to call or email ahead.

  • Collect the required documents.

  • Submit the documents on the date of the appointment. You may also need to enter a visa interview.

  • This type of visa is valid for about three to four months, during which time you have to apply for a residence permit and register your stay.

    Step 3: Residence Permit Application

  • Once you arrive in Portugal, you have to apply for a residence permit as well as register for social security and get a tax number.

  • To register for security, you must visit the Social Security Office.

  • To apply for a residence permit, your first stop is the website of the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF).

  • Appointment: When you apply for a visa at the Embassy, they may make an appointment for you at the SEF, provided you tell them the date on which you intend to travel and where in Portugal you will be settled.

    Types of Portuguese Work Visas

  • You can apply for the following types of work visas, depending on your profession or qualifications:

  • Work Visa for Skilled Workers. You must have a job offer in one of the qualifying professions or positions. For example, scientists, medical professionals, IT professionals, engineers, or someone working in high-ranking or administrative positions in a company.

  • Work Visa for Self-Employment. If you own a business or offer services you can apply for a self-employment visa in Portugal as an independent worker.

  • Work Visa for Highly-Skilled Workers. If you have exceptional qualifications in your profession and are paid at least 1.5 times the national average gross annual salary of Portugal.

  • Work Visa for Cultural Activities. If you will be involved in a cultural activity carried out in Portugal, in a project which is recognized by the relevant Portuguese authorities.

  • Work Visa for Teaching. You are eligible for this visa if you have a job offer from an educational or vocational training institution or from a research centre in Portugal.

  • “Tech” Visa. You can apply for this type of work visa if you are employed by a company that is “active in the area of technology and innovation”.

    Processing Time for a Portuguese Work Visa

  • It may be several months before your work visa application is finalized; it can take up to 60 days for the SEF to process the Work Permit application and two to three months for the Embassy to issue an entry visa.

  • That doesn’t necessarily mean it will take that long, however, and your visa could be processed quicker depending on your specific circumstances.

    Work Visa Fees

  • There is more than one fee you have to pay when applying for a work visa.

  • Cost of the entry visa issued by the Portuguese Embassy – €90 (may be subject to change from country to country)

  • To submit the application for a residence permit for work at the SEF – €83

  • To receive the residence permit for work from the SEF – €72

    What Is the Duration of a Work Visa?

  • When you apply for a work visa, you will receive a residence permit which allows you to live and work in Portugal for one to two years. After 1-2 years, you can renew this permit at the SEF before it expires, as long as you still have a job offer from your employer.

  • Then, you can continue to live and work in Portugal for the duration that the residence permit is issued. Five years later, you can apply for permanent residency.

    Does a Work Visa Lead to Permanent Residency in Portugal?

  • Yes, after you have lived in Portugal for five years using a temporary resident permit, then you can apply for a permanent resident permit. Once you become a permanent resident, you will be open to the job market and no longer need to apply for a work permit.

  • Permanent resident permits also have a longer duration, are more easily renewed, and you will enjoy similar benefits to a Portuguese citizen.

    Does a Work Visa Lead to Portuguese Citizenship?

  • Yes, if you have lived in Portugal as a permanent or temporary resident for at least six years, then you can apply for Portuguese citizenship. You must be proficient in the Portuguese language and have links to the Portuguese community.

    Can I Work in Portugal as an International Student?

  • Yes, international students are allowed to work in Portugal. The permitted hours of work depend on your nationality:

  • If you have EU/EEA/Swiss nationality: You can work without any restrictions on a time limit.

  • If you do not have EU/EEA/Swiss nationality: You can only work for up to 20 hours/week (part-time) during the semester. During semester breaks or holidays, you may work full time.

    Can I Work in Portugal if I Have a Family Visa?

  • Yes, if you are joining a family member who lives in Portugal, then you are allowed to work and study. You may have to seek authorization for work, however, so you should contact the SEF.

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