So, now that I have decided to make Portugal my European base instead of Madrid, I am applying for my Portuguese visa. Having left Spain before staying too long, I already had a trip home scheduled to visit family. It was pretty easy to apply for my visa while I visit with friends and family.
Each country has a little different process. To make sure I am doing everything correctly, I decided to use the help of some Portuguese attorneys. This will not only be helpful for the visa, but allows them to look at my rental contract for housing and make sure I’m covered since the contract is in Portuguese. They will also come in handy when I need a reference to open a local bank account.
Using an attorney or other professional to apply for a visa is optional, though. I did not use one for my Spain visa. One difference is that I had a different visa in Spain. I had to finish my application once I got to Spain. That was a non-working visa and now I am applying for a working visa in Portugal. Also, in Madrid, many landlords are fine with you paying your mortgage in cash. Others will allow you to pay both the rent and your utilities directly to them, without having to set up your own utility accounts. In Portugal, so far it looks as if I will need to pay my utilities as a direct deposit from a local bank account. The same seems to be true with my rent. And since banks want an introduction from someone who will vouch for you, I chose to spend the money for the attorney.
But most of the information I needed to provide for the Portuguese visa is similar to the information I needed for my Spanish visa. Passport pictures, international insurance, proof of minimum funds and a clean criminal record are all things I needed before. Unfortunately, you do have to get a new, updated criminal record everytime you apply for a visa outside of the same three month time period. But getting the information together was pretty simple. The most complicated part is getting my rental contract which I started working on several weeks ago.
Deciding on where to live took a while but what a great problem to have! I decided I wanted to try something different. I knew I needed at least a six-month rental contract for my visa. I have been to a couple of places in Portugal. One is the Lisbon area and one is the Algarve area of Portugal. I really like the Lisbon area because it has everything you could want in an area…plenty of grocery stores, restaurants, shops and services. The Algarve is in the southern part of Portugal, with breathtaking cliffs and beautiful, soft, sandy beaches. Some areas are very touristy and some are less so. Many of the towns in the Algarve are small, so you may have to go to the next town over for a specific shop or service you need.
But I really like the idea of living near the beach. I like that the Algarve is further south than Lisbon to live during the winter season. And even if it ends up not being a permanent thing, it will be a great experience to try. So next I had to narrow down which town. Through connections, I had met a realty person that started looking for places for me. I gave him my criteria and he helped me find several places that might work. Some were more typical Portuguese, with local tile and decorated wood as features. Some were more modern style that could be located anywhere. In the end, I chose a more modern place. While it isn’t really Portuguese style, I
In the end, I chose a more modern place. While it isn’t really Portuguese style, I liked the fact that the building has all the modern amenities I’m used to. Listen, I have done a lot of downsizing for a privileged American female so as I give up the size of home I’m used to, I appreciate the ability to have some of the creature comforts I used to have. Do I have to have them? I’ve found that I don’t. But if I have the option with all other things being equal, sure, I’ll take them. I will have a nice view. I will also have two balconies. Being near the beach, both are important to me for this place. I did get advice to choose the larger town for the winter than one where the apartment is closer to the beach. Since the towns get quieter in the winter, some people were worried I would be bored in the smaller town. Since they live in the area, I am taking their advice. But I think I would be fine anywhere in the Algarve. I mean, I’m going to be living on the beach for the winter…I think I can deal with that!
Your Takeaway – Take some time to think about the visa you want. Each country is a little different and you may want to try it on your own or get help. Either way can work. Just give yourself plenty of time to work through any potential complications. It wouldn’t be unusual to have one or some, but don’t panic. It’s not uncommon and it’s not too tough to overcome. Don’t be afraid to get help from those who may know more or have experience in what you’re trying to accomplish. Don’t let small bumps in the road stop you from reaching your goals. Ever. It will just make your achievements that much sweeter!