If you still need to shade yourself from the sun in November, and if that cold drink, recently brought to your table, costs considerably less than you might expect to pay back home… well, it’s certainly worth considering isn’t it? If so, here are a few things to consider as you mull it over.

Register as a resident
If you are planning on staying longer than three months, you will need to register as a resident. Registration certificates (Certificado de Registo) can be obtained from your local town hall. You will just need to provide them with a valid passport, proof of Portuguese address and evidence that you have sufficient means to support yourself – either through earnings or personal savings. The certificate is normally valid for five years, after which time you may be able to apply for permanent residency, which would need to be renewed every ten years.

Get access to healthcare
Even if you already have a comprehensive personal health insurance, it’s advisable to register here for state healthcare. Once you are registered as a resident, you are entitled to access the health services for free. Take an appointment at your local health centre (centro de saúde) where you will be given a user number, providing you can show a valid residence certificate and passport. If you are arriving from the UK and register before the end of December 2020, your right to healthcare will be secured from 2021 onwards.

Exchange your driving license
If your license is issued by an EU Member State, you are permitted to drive in other member states without exchanging it. However, should you move to Portugal on a permanent basis, it really is best practice to exchange your license for a Portuguese one. Problems can arise if your current license gets lost, stolen or damaged, and you need to get a replacement. If you are no longer resident in the country of issue, you may find yourself unable to get it replaced, leaving you with no option but to retake your test here in Portugal.

Fortunately, the exchange process is fairly painless, and can now be done online at www.imtonline.pt. First off, you will need to have a medical examination, after which the doctor will send a certificate to the IMT (Institute of Transport), thereafter you can fill in a form online. You will need to scan copies of ID, proof of residence and your current driving license – although if you are from a country outside the EU or EEA you may need to provide a certified translation of your license and a certificate of authenticity from your consulate. In both cases the fee will be around 30 euros.

Optimise your investments
Hopefully you have been investing wisely in the years previous to moving abroad, and have built up a strong and diversified portfolio. It’s worthwhile bearing in mind that any investments you may hold in your country of origin, will now have some liability for tax in your new country of residence. It’s a good idea to speak to an expert who knows the financial landscape in Portugal, and can advise you on how to minimise any tax liability. Potentially moving your investments into the local currency might be an option in order to protect yourself from the fluctuations of the financial market and also looking at tax efficient structures is highly recommended

Take pension advice
Pensions are a possible headache for anyone coming to live in a new country with different regulations, layers of red tape and bureaucracy. Add an unfamiliar language to the mix and you have the potential to lose time and money in making good your arrangements for payments going in and out of your scheme. You may have heard all about SIPPs and the benefits for and against QROPS from fellow expats, but this can be a tricky area to fully understand. In order to maximise your future income, minimise your exposure to tax and to insulate yourself from further changes to pension legislation in your home country, it makes sound financial sense to speak with a local specialist.

Blacktower Financial Management have been providing expert, localised, wealth management advice in Portugal for the last 20 years. If you are thinking of moving to the Algarve, and would like specialist, independent advice on securing your financial future here, get in touch with us on (+351) 289 355 685 or email us at info@blacktowerfm.com.