May next year, right in the summer, Delyanne Barros plans to move to the Portuguese Algarve region to take advantage of the constant sunshine and bustling expat community.
It’s not entirely surprising, says Barros, a coach who makes money from a lawyer Luck; she has been planning to move for at least a year. The 40-year-old San Diego resident originally wanted to travel nearly 6,000 miles with Portugal D7 Visaallows retirees to earn a solid passive income of around $8,773 per year to move to the country.
But Barros, a native of Brazil, is far from retiring. She officially incorporated her coaching business into a full-time limited liability company in 2021; As such, she doesn’t fit bill D7. “It was tough, because I have a very active online business and I thought it would be great if I could qualify with my income from there,” she said.
Fortunately, a solution awaits her: in early October, Portugal Announces new digital nomad visaand applications were opened on October 30. Barros learned about it after attending a webinar on moving to Portugal organized by Global Citizen Solution, a consulting firm focused on securing visas and residency for prospective expats. Its implementation shows that the Portuguese government “is very open to immigration right now,” she said.
The rise of remote work in most white-collar fields has created a explosive interest in digital nomadism. Some people, considered “stealth worker,” even chose to move abroad without telling their boss. Countries such as Malta, Ecuador, Croatia and Iceland, whose tourism economies have been hardest hit by COVID, are rushing to cater to the new travel needs of workers. Portugal is the latest to join the fray.
For self-employed workers who aspire to travel remotely, Barros thinks the digital nomad visa is a glittering opportunity that is likely to grow in popularity. The low cost of living, the welcoming expats community, the relative safety and warm weather of Portugal are enough to attract her. But there may be some trade-offs she’s also willing to face.
A mass exodus to Portugal could cause bureaucratic headaches
When it comes to getting around, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows—or brilho do sol and arc-íris. Barros’ biggest worry, anecdotally, is “the tax situation.”
On arrival, digital nomads in Portugal can obtain NHR (irregular resident) status, which offers many perks, including a 20% tax rate on income earned in the country ( standard tax rate up to 48%) and no tax on foreign income. However, maintaining that status needs to be reconfirmed every year and is only open to first-time Portuguese residents. And that’s the tax you pay after Break through the maze of US tax authorities.
But Barros thinks tax concerns are overblown. “America and Portugal have a treaty in place that prevents double taxation,” she said. “Obviously, having a really great tax attorney who understands these things will be key.”
While she’s eager to get involved in the community — she only anticipates needing two weeks to fully navigate — Barros’ business will always be U.S.-focused and primarily American-based, she said. This would require a lot of paperwork and legal disclosures, she said.
“Everything with [Portugal] is a bit older school, she continued. “Things are a bit more bureaucratic. There will be more bureaucracy.”
That kind of bureaucracy can especially occur during the visa application process, although all one needs is proof of employment from a foreign company and proof of residency in a country that is not part of the country. EU or European Economic Area.
Indeed, Portugal is famous for its “byzantine” bureaucracy, a recent expatriate of America told Luck, adding that her process for applying for another type of visa has very little quality control. Amy Leavitt, who has left her Vermont home to retire to Aljezur, suggests preparing for a year of “the dense paperwork and bureaucracy of immigration”.
But Barros has heard the visa process for the digital nomad visa is pretty quick, and if all goes according to plan, she will be in Portugal within six months. First, she needs to file her business papers in california, required her to travel from San Diego to San Francisco, where the Portuguese Embassy was located. They asked for a physical copy that she personally turned in, “that’s a myth,” she said.
Sunny, affordable and safe Portugal
Aside from a drawn-out legal process, Barros admits that Portugal is generally not more convenient than living in the states. “Not available Amazon delivery in two days,” she said. “Things move slower.”
That is to say nothing about the time difference. Barros, a freelancer, has trained herself to be eight hours ahead of many of her California clients—and she doesn’t plan to change the time of the webinar she teaches at 5:30 p.m. Pacific Time once a month.
But all the trade-offs are worth it, says Barros, who has done more than she shared in her research and is still super excited about her seaside move. Her visit to Portugal with her mother last year sealed the deal. “We both absolutely love it,” she said. “I can see myself retiring there, and my mother retiring there.”
Barros financially supports her mother, who still lives in Brazil. She plans to eventually move her mother to Portugal, citing the inability to care for the elderly in her home country and the unsuitable housing market. In America, she says, she has no hope of buying a home for herself and her mother — or retirement. “But I could be in Portugal.”
Both she and her mother speak fluent Portuguese so they won’t face a language barrier. But most Portuguese speak English, Barros said. She also heard that Portuguese residents are very friendly with foreigners. Plus, she added, “The weather is perfect and it’s one of the safest countries in the world.”
She believes she will no longer be the only American who works remotely from coffee shops; she said that Americans flocking to other countries is a product of the US economy right now. political conflict and highest inflation in 40 years sent some flexible workers packing their luggage.
“People in America are frustrated because their money isn’t going as far as they thought it would,” she said. “They are disillusioned. This is an alternative to explore—but certainly a very privileged alternative.”