The worsening political and social divisions within the United States are driving more and more Americans across the Atlantic Ocean to seek a better life in the European Union, particularly Portugal.
Lower property and other cost of living prices, plus an attractive and peaceful lifestyle are encouraging the eastward movement. So too is the ease with which people can work remotely.
Close to 10,000 Americans were living in Portugal in 2022, an increase of almost 240% in five years, according to Portuguese government data. The number of students attending the Carlucci American International School in Lisbon has significantly increased in recent years and now represents a quarter of the student body, according to The New York Times.
The variety of urban, rural and coastal locations available to buy or rent property is another major attraction. Some newcomers head straight for Lisbon or Oporto. Others prefer the quieter central regions or the beautiful beach resorts in the southern Algarve. The ease with which you can work remotely is also encouraging.
As most readers of this journal will know, many Azoreans and Madeirans emigrated to the United States and Canada in the 20th century. Many of their descendants are now moving back to live amid the natural beauty of these amazing, Portuguese autonomous islands.
Starting in 2024, Americans will need to register online with the ETIAS system before their trip to get visa-free entry to Portugal. According to SchengenVisaInfo.com, U.S. citizens do not need a visa to enter Portugal, as long as their stay does not exceed 90 days within a 180-day period for purposes such as tourism, business, short-term studies, cultural or sports events, or medical treatment.
However, Americans who plan to work long-term, study, or move to Portugal must apply for a National (D) Visa, explains Marla Barrett, who specializes in giving second citizenship advice and help.
ETIAS, she adds, is “an electronic travel authorization that will allow all citizens who come from visa exempt countries the opportunity to travel in the Schengen area without having to go through any visa application process. It will be valid for three years or until a passport expiry date, whichever comes first.”
As for the documents required, here are some of the most important ones: (1) Your valid passport; (2) Two passport photos; (3) Copies of your previous visas; (4) Round-trip flight Itinerary; (5) Proof of accommodation; (6) Proof of sufficient financial means for the period of stay in Portugal; (7) A cover letter.
Len Port, born in Northern Ireland, worked as a news reporter and correspondent, mainly in Hong Kong and South Africa, before moving to Portugal many years ago.