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Retiring to Portugal, Newbie

Retiring to Portugal, Newbie

Old Feb 15th 2020, 6:57 pm
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Default Retiring to Portugal, Newbie

Hello Everyone
I'm a British citizen, living and working in the US as a Permanent Legal Resident, and coming up to retirement sometime in the next four years.
Given the distinct possibility of Trump being re elected this November I'm thinking that my time in the US (great country that it is) should probably come to and end and I'm considering retiring to Portugal, probably to the Algarve.
I would welcome any advice about absolutely anything in connection with this, but if you will forgive me, I have some newbie questions...
1. Will a pension income of $36000 pa be adequate?
2. Can anyone recommend a local lawyer/accountant who might be able to handle the necessary paperwork for me?
3. Is it possible to get a mortgage given my age (66) and that my income will be all in the form of pensions from the UK and USA
4. Anyone know a really good pub?
5. Is there a local Portugese bank I could open an account with from the US prior to moving to Portugal.

I think I have worked out the residency/tax situation from helpful posts here..
But all advice as I said earlier would be welcome
Cheers
John
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Old Feb 16th 2020, 9:04 am
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Default Re: Retiring to Portugal, Newbie

Hi, and welcome to the forum from me

I'm not an Algarve dweller, so can't answer the local knowledge questions but there are a couple of things there which I can pass a comment on.

Firstly, Brexit is going to complicate matters for those looking to move here post December 2020, when the transition period ends. At the moment, the financial requirement for UK citizens is low and there's usually not even a requirement to provide proof of income. The residency registration is little more than a formality. Post transition period, that changes, UK citizens will be treated the same as any other third country national and residency visas become harder to obtain, more discretionary and with less transparent rules about their granting and a more difficult route to permanent residency. I'm not trying to spread gloom and doom or anything and I can't at the moment shed too much light on exactly what the requirements might be, but just posting this so you're aware that it might not be a matter of simply upping sticks and arriving in the confident expectation of being allowed to remain for ever as at present.

Second, the mortgage might not be straightforward. Age is going to be a problem and it's pretty common practice here to require a guarantor. Those are just initial thoughts off the top of my head, so definitely not gospel but maybe worth considering whether that's a must have.

Third is the bank account. You could try asking around direct but I don't think it'll be all that straightforward to open one from abroad. Banks here do have accounts for foreign residents, though, so it might be better perhaps to think about making a visit sometime and opening one then. You'd probably need to apply for a PT tax number first - I won't go into any details on that right now - don't want to overburden you! Or there might be a PT bank operating in the US which could be worth making enquiries of, and maybe think of opening an account there with them to facilitate matters later.

With regard to income, yes that's enough to get by on even with rent (or possibly mortgage, if you did actually manage to secure one) taken into consideration. The costs and availability of accommodation in Algarve are affected by its status as a major holiday destination though, so you might find it a bit of a challenge finding something affordable for the long term in some of the more popular areas. Big place, though - there are some out of the way bits if you're intent on Algarve alone. Or there's quite a lot of Portugal besides where things are considerably more economical, provided you steer clear of the big cities.

Just some random thoughts to kick off with. Hope all that doesn't sound too offputting.
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Old Feb 16th 2020, 9:20 am
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Default Re: Retiring to Portugal, Newbie

Originally Posted by Red Eric View Post
Hi, and welcome to the forum from me

I'm not an Algarve dweller, so can't answer the local knowledge questions but there are a couple of things there which I can pass a comment on.

Firstly, Brexit is going to complicate matters for those looking to move here post December 2020, when the transition period ends. At the moment, the financial requirement for UK citizens is low and there's usually not even a requirement to provide proof of income. The residency registration is little more than a formality. Post transition period, that changes, UK citizens will be treated the same as any other third country national and residency visas become harder to obtain, more discretionary and with less transparent rules about their granting and a more difficult route to permanent residency. I'm not trying to spread gloom and doom or anything and I can't at the moment shed too much light on exactly what the requirements might be, but just posting this so you're aware that it might not be a matter of simply upping sticks and arriving in the confident expectation of being allowed to remain for ever as at present.

Second, the mortgage might not be straightforward. Age is going to be a problem and it's pretty common practice here to require a guarantor. Those are just initial thoughts off the top of my head, so definitely not gospel but maybe worth considering whether that's a must have.

Third is the bank account. You could try asking around direct but I don't think it'll be all that straightforward to open one from abroad. Banks here do have accounts for foreign residents, though, so it might be better perhaps to think about making a visit sometime and opening one then. You'd probably need to apply for a PT tax number first - I won't go into any details on that right now - don't want to overburden you! Or there might be a PT bank operating in the US which could be worth making enquiries of, and maybe think of opening an account there with them to facilitate matters later.

With regard to income, yes that's enough to get by on even with rent (or possibly mortgage, if you did actually manage to secure one) taken into consideration. The costs and availability of accommodation in Algarve are affected by its status as a major holiday destination though, so you might find it a bit of a challenge finding something affordable for the long term in some of the more popular areas. Big place, though - there are some out of the way bits if you're intent on Algarve alone. Or there's quite a lot of Portugal besides where things are considerably more economical, provided you steer clear of the big cities.

Just some random thoughts to kick off with. Hope all that doesn't sound too offputting.
]Thank you Sir, that is very helpful and not offputting at all.
Sounds like I probably should aim to move before the end of 2020.
There is a large Portuguese community in nearby Massachusetts and there may well be Portuguese banks in Boston, I will enquire.
But once again, many thanks for your help I do appreciate you taking the time.
John

Last edited by Rosemary; Feb 16th 2020 at 9:38 am. Reason: corrected quote
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Old Feb 16th 2020, 12:38 pm
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Default Re: Retiring to Portugal, Newbie

Try Millennium bank. They do offer accounts to non-Portuguese residents, so it might be possible to do so whilst in USA.

Millennium Bank, Portugal
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Old Feb 17th 2020, 7:24 am
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Default Re: Retiring to Portugal, Newbie

I've read the above with interest as I'm now thinking of visiting Portugal within the next month or so for a recce before my wife and I visit in late May/early June. Although my wife is one of the most intelligent people I have ever met she can also be very stubborn. I have tried to impress on her the need to visit and formulate residence of some sort before the end of this year but she seems to think that it will be OK to do it next year. I have also told her that we can swap our UK driving licenses this year but probably not from 2021, however she says she is OK with taking a local driving test. Given that we have been driving automatic RH drive cars for the past 30 years I think she will find it a challenge to take a test in a manual LH drive car.

If I visit next Month and rent a small property for say three months will we then be able to do some sort of registration and open a bank account when we are both there in May/June that affords us residency, or the beginnings of such? From reading other posts there are several stages to go through to become "resident". Will we be liable to Portuguese taxes once we register even though we will not be working? Do we have to register with the tax authorities to be recognised as "residents"? If we have to register with the tax authorities are we liable for worldwide earnings? Also, we have no death duties in HK but I understand this does exist in Portugal. Is it possible, as in the UK, to put our assets into trusts to avoid such taxes?

Part of the reason to visit in the next month will be to view areas of interest and apartments, one of which we would hope to buy when we visit in May/June. I doubt we would be in a position to actually "live" in Portugal until early 2021 as it will take us a long time to sort out things here, including to sell our house. Street riots and now the corona virus pox have put the breaks on the property market. Prices have not gone down by much but with all the chaos going on, no one is in the moods to buy.

Thanks in advance of any comments, Richard
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Old Feb 17th 2020, 1:41 pm
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Default Re: Retiring to Portugal, Newbie

https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizen...e/index_en.htm

https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizen...n/index_en.htm
https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizen...l/index_en.htm

You can register for certificate of residence from day 1 to day 110 of arrival. However, docs required vary, check local Camara.

DONT mix immigration residence status with tax residence status. Not a same thing and having one doesn't imply other one,
DO use search function in this forum, most questions have been answered many times before.

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Old Feb 17th 2020, 2:28 pm
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Default Re: Retiring to Portugal, Newbie

Originally Posted by sportpix View Post
I have also told her that we can swap our UK driving licenses this year but probably not from 2021, however she says she is OK with taking a local driving test. Given that we have been driving automatic RH drive cars for the past 30 years I think she will find it a challenge to take a test in a manual LH drive car.
The possibility of not being able to exchange driving licences without sitting a test was only ever an issue in the event of there not being a transition period. Now that's been agreed, the only thing anybody has to worry about - even post the transition period - is making sure they do whatever's required within the relevant time period.

Originally Posted by sportpix View Post
If I visit next Month and rent a small property for say three months will we then be able to do some sort of registration and open a bank account when we are both there in May/June that affords us residency, or the beginnings of such? From reading other posts there are several stages to go through to become "resident". Will we be liable to Portuguese taxes once we register even though we will not be working? Do we have to register with the tax authorities to be recognised as "residents"? If we have to register with the tax authorities are we liable for worldwide earnings?
This is difficult to put in a nutshell but I'll do my best to give my take on things. Bear in mind that I have no specialist knowledge of law, immigration or tax / financial matters.

Registering residency as an EU citizen is formalising the right you already have to reside in another EU member state, with a minimum of barriers to so doing. You have no need to do this unless, on this visit, you are staying for a period of longer than 90 days (and, indeed, it appears that some local authorities may not allow you to do so within that time). There is no direct or automatic link between obtaining this type of registration certificate and any alteration of your status as far as your tax records are concerned ie it is still incumbent on you to inform the tax office of the date of your commencement of residence. I don't know whether they would ever, under any circumstances, ask for sight of that certificate, or take the date on it as the date of commencement of fiscal residence but it appears from other recent conversations on here that it's not the norm for them to do so.

You are, however, liable for PT tax on worldwide income (of any form, not simply earned income) as of the date of commencement of fiscal residence, whenever that is deemed to be. NHR may well be your 10 year friend in this regard if you have sources of income arising outside Portugal.

Originally Posted by sportpix View Post
Also, we have no death duties in HK but I understand this does exist in Portugal. Is it possible, as in the UK, to put our assets into trusts to avoid such taxes?
It's a little more complicated than simply "being resident means you pay death taxes". There may be none due on your estate, depending on to whom you bequeath it and where the assets are held. There are plenty of decent summaries available on a search but if it needs further discussion that might be best on a thread of its own, as it's a bit off the topics raised by the OP, whereas these other matters might be of more interest to him.

Originally Posted by sportpix View Post
Part of the reason to visit in the next month will be to view areas of interest and apartments, one of which we would hope to buy when we visit in May/June. I doubt we would be in a position to actually "live" in Portugal until early 2021 as it will take us a long time to sort out things here, including to sell our house. Street riots and now the corona virus pox have put the breaks on the property market. Prices have not gone down by much but with all the chaos going on, no one is in the moods to buy.
I can fully understand your anxiety and your wish to get things moving but I don't know how much you can be reassured unless you're definitely falling within the scope of the registration / commencement of residency prior to the end of December 2020.

For sure, it might well be possible to obtain a registration certificate from your local authority but its usefulness from January 2021 onwards might depend on compliance with what is deemed to be continuous residence, which stipulate that absences shouldn't exceed 6 months in any year.

Given that you'll be exiting and re-entering the Schengen Zone on visits to Portugal (and thus your comings and goings will be registered and easily visible) and that border control may well be a good deal more stringent than at present as far as UK citizens are concerned, it may be that the certificate could be deemed irrelevant by the border authority at the port of entry. We really don't have too much of a clue yet as to how things will pan out with regard to scrutiny of visitors or people claiming to hold valid residency documents but who have been absent for long periods.
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Old Feb 18th 2020, 6:09 am
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Default Re: Retiring to Portugal, Newbie

Many thanks for the replies. My basic aim is to try to get some form of residency status before the end of this year, while my wife doesn't think it will be an issue. Having read posts from quite a few non-EU nationals it would seem that there are plenty of those types already living in Portugal and plenty more planning to do so. My wife thinks that if they can gain residency then there is no reason why we won't able to once the Brexit ball has dropped once and for all. I guess our biggest problem is that we can't just up and leave from here and get on a plane to Portugal. After three decades here we have lots of things that will need to be settled, and all will take considerable time. My wife is keeping quite busy with consulting work while I'm at a standstill because of the corona pox. All of the events I was supposed to be working on in China until the end of April have now been cancelled/postponed and my next scheduled piece of work is the Olympic Games in late July. If I could get on a plane and leave tomorrow I would do so in a heartbeat. Instead of gainful employment my wife has instructed me to pain the house
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Old Feb 18th 2020, 8:09 am
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Default Re: Retiring to Portugal, Newbie

Originally Posted by sportpix View Post
My basic aim is to try to get some form of residency status before the end of this year, while my wife doesn't think it will be an issue. Having read posts from quite a few non-EU nationals it would seem that there are plenty of those types already living in Portugal and plenty more planning to do so. My wife thinks that if they can gain residency then there is no reason why we won't able to once the Brexit ball has dropped once and for all.
There is a very appealing logic to your wife's thinking and the pair of you may well have sufficient of whatever it takes in any case for Brexit not to be that big a deal as far as your move goes. Portugal is certainly in need of more residents and is open and welcoming to those it admits.

I wouldn't necessarily apply it as a universal truth though. After all, the USA and Australia are both home to many a Brit but I bet I couldn't get a resident visa for either, no matter how desperately I tried (not that I'd ever want to).
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Old Feb 19th 2020, 8:28 am
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Default Re: Retiring to Portugal, Newbie

John.

we are in the UK - and just joined this forum.

We have had an offer accepted on a property in the Algarve and are proceeding with the process of buying it with a view to applying for residency and NHR in due course this year.

I can let you know the name of our Portuguese lawyer by PM who is a lovely lady who speaks English. Though I have heard good things about Sovereign group.
$36000 seems about right for living on - of course depends on your life style
hope those few answers help?

best of luck

Martyn
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Old Feb 19th 2020, 2:07 pm
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Default Re: Retiring to Portugal, Newbie

Originally Posted by martynjcuk View Post
John.

we are in the UK - and just joined this forum.

We have had an offer accepted on a property in the Algarve and are proceeding with the process of buying it with a view to applying for residency and NHR in due course this year.

I can let you know the name of our Portuguese lawyer by PM who is a lovely lady who speaks English. Though I have heard good things about Sovereign group.
$36000 seems about right for living on - of course depends on your life style
hope those few answers help?

best of luck

Martyn
I'd agree that €33k/£28k sounds more than adequate to get by on for someone owning their own property - but there are huge caveats and the desired lifestyle is only one of them. I'd suggest it's necessary to work out the basic requirements and then see what "free spend" would be available for day-to-day living.

Is that the net figure, free of all deductions?
Obviously, property prices vary enormously - and the talk of a mortgage implies monthly outgoings, which would then reduce the free spend available.
What kind of vehicle(s) would be required - would these also be bought with loans? If so, the above applies.
The more you have, the more to insure..... and different levels of insurance/types of cover can vary the cost hugely - so again, ongoing free spend is reduced.
Local taxes, utilities, etc. will vary according to the number and value of assets.
etc., etc.

Only after all that could you estimate your per diem free spend - and decide whether is sounds enough.
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Old Feb 19th 2020, 2:15 pm
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Default Re: Retiring to Portugal, Newbie

Originally Posted by martynjcuk View Post
John.

we are in the UK - and just joined this forum.

We have had an offer accepted on a property in the Algarve and are proceeding with the process of buying it with a view to applying for residency and NHR in due course this year.

I can let you know the name of our Portuguese lawyer by PM who is a lovely lady who speaks English. Though I have heard good things about Sovereign group.
$36000 seems about right for living on - of course depends on your life style
hope those few answers help?

best of luck

Martyn
Yes. thank you very much, if you could PM me the ladies details that would be great.
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Old Feb 19th 2020, 2:17 pm
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Default Re: Retiring to Portugal, Newbie

Originally Posted by macliam View Post
I'd agree that €33k/£28k sounds more than adequate to get by on for someone owning their own property - but there are huge caveats and the desired lifestyle is only one of them. I'd suggest it's necessary to work out the basic requirements and then see what "free spend" would be available for day-to-day living.

Is that the net figure, free of all deductions?
Obviously, property prices vary enormously - and the talk of a mortgage implies monthly outgoings, which would then reduce the free spend available.
What kind of vehicle(s) would be required - would these also be bought with loans? If so, the above applies.
The more you have, the more to insure..... and different levels of insurance/types of cover can vary the cost hugely - so again, ongoing free spend is reduced.
Local taxes, utilities, etc. will vary according to the number and value of assets.
etc., etc.

Only after all that could you estimate your per diem free spend - and decide whether is sounds enough.
Agreed - My estimate was based on living here in the UK without a mortgage - and comparing to living expenses compared to UK viz. PT which seem to average out perhaps 1/3 less for PT compared to UK. These are just broad brush figures and of course does depend on lifestyle. Also need to consider tax payments that is a bit of a thorn with the new rules imminent. I think the OP was asking about amount to 'live on' so really depends on live style - which we both agree.

All the best

Martyn
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Old Feb 19th 2020, 2:18 pm
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This site might help a little, though of course the costs vary in different localities. Numbeo cost of living in Portugal
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