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Moving to Portugal

How to easily organise your move from the UK to Portugal at the best price? What are the steps to settle and live in Portugal as a UK citizen? Discover the prices of international movers, our tips for moving to Portugal at a low cost and easily prepare for your removal.

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

How to Move to Portugal?

The easiest way to move to Portugal from the UK is often by shipping in a container via sea freight. However, you should consider the route of your belongings to the port of departure and from the port of arrival to your new home.

What Is the Cost of Moving to Portugal from the UK?

Moving to another country is more expensive than a local move within the UK. The average cost of a move from the UK to Portugal is estimated at £2500. The price varies depending on the distance and the volume to be transported.

Take a look at the table for the ballpark on international removals to Portugal by shipping container:

Size Of The House20ft Shipping Container40ft Shipping Container
1-2 Bedroom Flat£879 – £1282£1,660 – £2,256
3-5 Bedroom House £1,450 – £2,080£2,420 – £3,239

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Breaking Down the Expenses of Moving to Portugal

Most moving companies provide a base rate for removals, which can potentially increase depending on the following core factors:

1. The Distance

The longer the distance between your current residence and your new home, the higher the moving price. International relocation providers usually also consider the accessibility of your house in their quote prices. Movers have little control over these factors, so it’s a good idea to focus on other variables that may reduce the total cost of your move instead.

2. The Date of Your Removal

Most people organise their removal during vacations, weekends and the beginning and end of the month to avoid taking time off from work. Therefore, moving companies charge higher rates during these periods of high demand. To get the best rate, be flexible on your moving date.

3. The Weight of the Cargo

The movers will estimate the weight of your belongings to determine the cost of moving them and identify the most suitable truck or shipping container size to carry them.

The cost may be higher if you have fewer items compared to the size of the truck or container. In this case, the removal company provides a quote that will reflect the real cost of moving the load.

4. Any Extra Removal Services You Book

Finally, the price of moving from the UK to Portugal will fluctuate based on the options and removal services you choose. For example, do you want to leave the packing of your belongings to the movers? Would you like to use cleaning services for your old or new place? The price you’ll be quoted should also consider the accessibility of the house or the need for special equipment (freight elevator, number of movers required, etc.)

Cost for Optional Moving Service Add-ons

This table provides an overview of the main removal services and their price range:

OptionsWhat You EnjoyCost
Packing SuppliesCustomised supplies for packing£120-£150
PackingProfessional packing of your household items£150-£400
Disassembling and reassemblingProfessional disassembly and assembly of furniture £120-£125
Storage Store household items if you can’t move to the new home immediately£30 per week
Piano RemovalSafe disassembly and reassembly
CleaningCleaning old and new home£15 per hour
Parking PermitRate depends on the area£30-£75

Formalities & Must-Dos: Your Portugal Relocation Checklist

To move to Portugal from the UK, as with any long-distance international move, you must comply with a certain number of procedures and formalities required for settling in your new host country. Let’s break down the main steps we’ve got:

1. Moving to Portugal After Brexit

Take a look at the European Commission’s resource (here) for the visa and immigration requirements for UK nationals planning to move to a country of the EU, EEA or Switzerland. Remember to check Portugal’s visa and immigration requirements before planning your move.

Residence Permit

You must request a residence permit from the Serviço de estrangeiros e de fronteiras (SEF). This request can be made in your new town hall or municipality of residence in Portugal.

2. Customs Formalities

As a British citizen who wants to relocate to Portugal, you must conform to the customs formalities.
Your chosen removal company can help you with the necessary documents and lists of objects you can and cannot take with you.

3. Request your Tax Identity Number

The Número de Identificação Fiscal (NIF), your VAT identification number, is essential for settling in the country after moving to Portugal. It gives you the right to claim coverage and social security in Portugal, to open a bank account, to pay tax, to find a job and to exercise a business.

4. Social Security and Healthcare

Once you’ve got your NIF number, it will give you the right to register with the Portuguese Health Services (SNS). You can make your request via the Portuguese public services website.

5. Open a Bank Account

To open a bank account in Portugal, you must have the following documents:

  • Identity document (national identity card or passport)
  • NIF number
  • Proof of residence in Portugal
  • Tax notice
  • Proof of profession or your special status (employment contract, payslip, retirement pension certificate, etc.)

Please note that you are still subject to the exchange rate in force between Euro and Sterling.

6. Car Registration in Portugal

If you choose to import your car or motorcycle to Portugal, you must change the registration of your vehicle and take insurance. There is, in fact, an automobile tax in Portugal. You risk exposing yourself to a fine for non-compliance with these regulations.

Why Move to Portugal?

Portugal is a privileged destination for British citizens who want to settle down to retire or start a new life. The number of British who have moved to Portugal has increased significantly. They represent more than 49000 British living in Portugal.

1. Live Where Others Vacation

Many Brits tend to choose the cities of Lisbon and Porto for living in Portugal. Indeed, if you relocate to Portugal with your family, you might look for international schools for your kids, mostly in the big cities. The coastal towns of the Algarve are also popular, such as Faro, Albufeira, and Lagos. Further north, the vineyards of the Douro or Évora region also attract British expats.

2. Attractive Cost of Living in Portugal

Portugal offers a high quality of life for British citizens. Indeed, the cost of living in Portugal is almost half the cost of living in the UK. The daily items’ prices are on average 30% lower than the same items in the UK. However, when considering house costs, heating is one of the most important items, as accommodation is often poorly equipped or insulated.

Below you can find the average prices of essential goods in Portugal compared to the UK:

Restaurant€8 menu£26 menu

3. Portugal’s Lively, Hospitable and Flavorful Culture

  • The country is predominantly Roman Catholic and values family ethics. Its rich culture is a result of many influences: the Germanic, Viking, Celtic, Phoenician and Visigoth, among others.
  • Over the last few years, the country has gone through a renaissance in its arts. It’s designated the cities Lisbon, Guimaraes and Porto as its capitals of culture.
  • Portugal is known for its rich fish-centered cuisine. The famous salted cod has been a main focus of the country’s traditional diet.

4. Stunning Landscapes and Hot Summers

Portugal boasts diverse geography across its regions. For example, in the south with the seaside resorts or in the northern land and vineyards. The climate in Portugal is therefore influenced by the latitude and proximity to the sea.

  • The winters are fairly cold in the north, around the regions close to Porto.
  • Winter in the south, the area of Algarve, is milder.
  • Summers can be very hot thanks to the Atlantic and Mediterranean influences.

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Keys to a Smooth Portugal Relocation

Relocation to Portugal is not an easy task. It is easy to get overwhelmed by the administrative procedures necessary for your move. To avoid this, plan your move adequately. In addition to hiring a moving company on time, here are other tips to better organise your relocation to Portugal:

1. Moving Checklist

To plan your removal, we recommend you put together a moving checklist. This allows you to keep track of all the steps you need to take for your move from the UK to Portugal. But it will also allow you to better plan your time according to the stages of your move.

Create a folder where you keep all the documents related to your moving company, receipts and other essential documents required for the move.

2. Moving Schedule

Moving to Portugal and leaving the UK is not a one-day service. An expatriation project requires time to plan and complete all the necessary steps. Setting up a schedule allows you to prioritise actions to be organised.

This particularly concerns your current accommodation, when to contact international moving companies through your work, procedures for you and your family (such as school) etc.

3. Budget

An international removal can have a high cost and it is, therefore, important to estimate your budget carefully. Evaluating your budget based on expected moving costs, but also on all the expenses you will have once you’re settling, helps you to save money.

Take also the time to find out if you can benefit from moving assistance or certain compensation from organisations or your employer.

4. Hire a Reliable Moving Company

Getting a professional moving company to handle your UK-to-Portugal move saves you tons of time. Remember, choosing an international moving company isn’t just about the cost. Check what services they offer when you make your decision, their professional credentials, and what people say online in reviews.

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