Red Tape – Too Legit to Quit!

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I promised to some readers a while back that I would post an update on our situation with regards to making our move to Portugal all official. For those who didn’t hear about the fun and games we had the threads can be found here:

Red Tape in Portugal
Portugal Red Tape Rant

I am pleased to say some progress has been made! We are now officially Portuguese residents, albeit currently only for one year as no-one at our local camara (town-hall,) seemed to be able to get their head around the fact that we live here in Portugal but make all our money in the UK via remote working.

The residency was more complicated that we had been led to believe. In the end we needed to have a form from our local village council signed by two residents of the village – an interesting job at the time when we didn’t KNOW two residents of the village. A big thank you goes out to the man in the bar and the lady in the shop!

After we had this form all we needed was passports and tenancy papers and we were good to go. I have made this sound a lot easier than it really was – it required several visits to various government buildings, including an extra two trips when we discovered that Tavira camara had managed to get our address wrong on the first residencia certificate we were given.

Our next task is getting this certificate renewed when our year is up. This involves us getting a form called a “workers S1,” from the UK (now in progress) which proves to Portugal that

Portugal Red Tape
Portugal Red Tape

we are still paying national insurance in the UK and therefore covered by a reciprocal arrangement. I think we may need to take a native Portuguese speaker when we come to do this part!

Health cover was next. Until we have our workers S1, we don’t fancy our chances of registering with the local health centre, so if we need a doctor we will go and pay 40 euros at the local private surgery, something a lot of people do anyway. We have also taken out private healthcare for emergencies.

Driving licences are a bit of a minefield, and one that the majority of the expats we speak to choose to ignore, but we have always been determined to be 100% official and respectful of the local laws.

As soon as you become resident in Portugal, or as soon as you no longer live at the address on your UK licence, your licence is technically invalid. It needs to be replaced with a Portuguese licence or supplemented with a piece of paper from the IMTT (Portuguese equivalent of the DVLA,) which makes it legal again.

This part of the red tape was the easiest at all. Twenty minutes at Faro IMTT resulted in the correct form being issued. It is slightly odd that despite having a photocopier onsite they insist you go to a small kiosk down the road to get the documents copied, but if it had been 100% straightforward it wouldn’t have felt right!

So, for now at least, we are completely official and with a bit of time to sort out our taxation situation, the next part of the battle. Anyone going through these processes is advised to take it slow and try to treat any tiny bit of progress as a significant step forward – you do get there eventually.

If anyone is doing any of the bits we have been successful with and would like any advice, please leave a comment and we will try to help.

Photo Credit: Kozumel

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2 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. Hi,

    First of all thanks for taking the time to write on the blog – me and my wife (plus our unborn daughter) are planning on moving to Portugal in September and your site was a wonderful resource that gave us lots of infos, details and inspiration.

    We’ve been there twice and totally loved it – and now we want to take the big step. And I wanted to ask you, besides the state officials, how was your relation with the private companies? For instance, how did you get the house – is it rented? I wrote 14 real estate firms in the Lisbon area, but I’m not sure how will this work, using English to communicate.


  2. Hi Adrian,

    Welcome and thanks for reading.

    We do rent our property through an agency but long term rentals are not that common here and most are arranged privately. It will be different in Lisbon. The local English language papers have long term rentals – the best thing to do is come over for a week or two and visit the agencies in person – you are sure to find some options that way.

    Good luck with your move and best wishes


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