(CNN) — With “work to live” rather than “live to work” as the unofficial lifestyle mantra, more than 1,100 miles of coastline to explore and delicious pastéis de nata all over the place, putting down roots in Portugal sounds pretty appealing. Anyone who dreams of moving to Portugal, or putting their home on the market, may be able to do so. Portugal has been a country that is easy to obtain residency. This is due to the availability of visa programs for non-EU citizens and those not from the European Economic Area (also known as the EEA) and Switzerland. The country’s city of Coimbra and the surrounding area are drawing transplants from other nations. The city of Coimbra and its surrounding area are drawing transplants from other countries.rh2010/Adobe StockOne way in: The D7 visaGrace Veach, who teaches virtually at a Florida university from her new home outside the riverfront city of Coimbra in central Portugal, says she first became serious about leaving the United States after the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012.Veach, 59, states that she knew she wanted a place where gun violence wasn’t a daily threat. But it took some time due life circumstances to make the move. Veach moved to Portugal with her husband, her son, now 27, and their dog. Veach says that the family applied for Portugal’s D7 visa together. Passive income sources can be used for the required earnings, which is 705 euros per monthly (about $705) in the case of first-time adult applicants. Additional family members will receive a lower amount. This visa option is popular with retirees. The D7 visa holder can enjoy the same health benefits as Portuguese citizens and residents through the country’s National Health Service. However, the D7 visa holder must spend 16 months in Portugal during the first 24 months. There are some conditions. This allows you to work in Portugal and allows you to apply for Portuguese citizenship after five-years. The D7 visa application process usually takes roughly six months.Grace Veach and her family moved to the village of Sao Martinho de Árvore outside of Coimbra.Grace VeachOther ways to live in PortugalThe D7 is just one of just several visa options that can facilitate a move to Portugal right now. The Golden Visa, Portugal’s investment visa program has been available since 2012. It allows for permanent residence in Portugal through investments in Portugal. This includes unrestricted real property purchases exceeding 500,000 euros (about $500,000), as well as other investment options. The Golden Visa is for people who don’t want to spend too much time in Portugal. It allows holders to reside in Portugal for seven to fourteen days each year and provides access to the National Health Service benefits. Some people find the prospect less appealing due to restrictions that were in effect in 2022 regarding the areas where property investments could be made. Portugal’s new temporary-stay visa, also known as the “digital nomad” visa, was launched on October 30. It allows remote workers to temporarily relocate to Portugal. They are allowed to stay for one-year/12 months provided they can prove that they have earned at least 2,820 euros per month while working for a company in Portugal. Danish Soomro, founder and CEO of Visadb, a visa database that indexes over 800 visas from around the globe, says “There is great excitement about this visa in the nomadic community.” Central Portugal has beautiful scenery away from the bustle of coastal cities.Michal/Adobe StockSoomro also founded a private Facebook nomad community with more than 155,000 members. Soomro said that Portugal is one the most popular destinations for remote workers (alongside places like Greece and Spain, Croatia, and Cyprus) due to factors such “warm weather, good Internet connection, and community.” “Before, the D7 visa was primarily intended for pensioners who had passive income sources.” The D7 visa requires applicants to register for a Portuguese tax ID number. The digital nomad visa does NOT. However, holders of the digital nomad Visa cannot access Portugal’s healthcare system. As such, they must prove that they have their insurance. The visa does not provide a pathway to Portuguese citizenship. The Algarve, Portugal’s southern region, where Ponta da Piedade is pictured, is a popular spot for tourists and transplants. She joined Facebook groups such as Americans & FriendsPT as well as local expat groups in Coimbra for advice, too. The private group has nearly 35,000 members and allows members to share their successes as well as their failures on the path to Portugal. Bill MauroBill Mauro, 58; and Marcus Laurence, 51, took an early retirement from their jobs as insurance and healthcare sales professionals and moved to Lisbon in 2019 from Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. The couple applied for the D7 visa and completed the entire application process by themselves, using documentation from the Americans & FriendsPT Facebook group. “We followed the documentation to a T, and it took six month from the moment we decided to move to obtain our visa and arrive to Portugal in October 2019.” Mauro states. They sold everything they had in the US and brought six suitcases to Portugal. Mauro cites Portugal’s quality healthcare, safety, recognition and acceptance of their marriage, LGBTQ+ rights, and more than 300 days of sunshine annually as some of Portugal’s selling points. Since then, they have moved from Lisbon’s capital and largest city to their “dream home”, a schiststone house in Salgueiro da Lomba, a mountaintop village in central Portugal. They bought the house for 165,000 euro in 2021 and are currently renovating it. This is the same amount they would have paid for their health insurance if they stayed in the US. Bill Mauro and his wife live in Salgueiro da Lomba. It is a small village located about 25 minutes south from Coimbra. Bill Mauro “We couldn’t afford to have health insurance” Glen Cook, a retired high-school music and drama teacher, and their son, then teen, moved to Portugal in 2018 on a D7 visa.Cook says that they had reached a point in their lives where they had enough money to retire but couldn’t afford to buy health insurance. They considered Ecuador, Costa Rica and Ireland as options but chose Portugal because it was closest to what they wanted. Soon after moving to Portugal, they were able to experience the benefits of Portugal’s National Health Service. Cook wrote an email to CNN Travel describing a “catastrophic medical situation” that would have led to financial ruin in the US. “Here, everything is covered. I am still stunned by the fact that we weren’t billed for any of the care. This included a month in ICU, and more than four years of inpatient rehab.Cook said he hired an immigration assistant for the application process. He also recommends other people who feel overwhelmed by all the details to do the same. The business boom for visa assistance services is evident. While it is possible to apply to visas on your own, many people feel overwhelmed by the details. Welcome To Portugal’s Sara Galis, a Lisbon-based company that assists with visa applications, says that Americans are in high demand. Galis claims that 60% of her clients come from the United States and most are applying to the D7 visa. Galis, who founded her business in 2021, said that Americans are at par with European currencies. “They want to put a foot here and a foot there. And they consider Portugal a very safe place to live in. Relocate Portugal’s Gail Aguiar said that she has noticed increased interest from British and Canadian citizens who are also looking to move to Portugal. Aguiar cites global events such as the 2016 US presidential election and the economic recession in Brazil, as well as political scandals in Brazil, as reasons for the historical interest in her company’s services. She claims that the majority of migration to Portugal is made by Brazilians, but her clients are mostly American. According to the 2021 immigration report, Americans accounted for just 6,885 of Portugal’s 698.887 official immigrant arrivals in that year. In comparison, 204.694 Brazilians immigrated, and 22.782 Chinese. It can take time and patience to settle in. Even if you have a visa, it is not easy to adjust to a new way of living and country. Mauro claims that learning Portuguese was the most difficult part of the move, even after completing the 150-hour government-sponsored language class offered to foreigners. He admits that sometimes we miss the familiarity of the country where we grew up. It can be difficult learning about cultural differences in house projects and healthcare. But we try to view these challenges as learning opportunities and an opportunity for growth.He says that Portugal is not a magical land that solves all your problems, contrary to what you might see in social media.He says that two words are key to managing the ongoing transition. “Appreciate and Assimilate. Portugal has shown us the best by welcoming us into their beautiful country. We are grateful for everything. We have also tried our best to assimilate by learning the language and culture. Veach believes that making connections is key to settling in Portugal. She’s made many friends through various Facebook groups and networking sites. She says that while she is introverted, she has been very intentional about attending group gatherings to meet people. “It doesn’t happen organically if you don’t speak the language most of the people you share your home with.” Veach said that despite the challenges, she still loves the feeling safe. Portugal is a far cry from the US’s “toxic political climate” and she has the freedom to travel all over Europe in her free time. Cook admits that the slower pace of living that many people travel to Portugal for is not ideal. “One of the most important words we learn is amanha which means “tomorrow”, he says. It doesn’t actually mean tomorrow. It means “When I get around it.” Portugal’s bureaucracy has become “rampant.” Cook says that there are more forms, processes, permits, and licenses in Portugal than you can imagine. Cook states that Cook misses the US for certain things, but these are becoming less frequent and are usually outweighed by the things that he loves about Portugal. “But I would love to eat good Mexican food.” Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled some of the requirements for visas to reside in Portugal and the amount required for the investment visa program.
Top image: Lisbon is a magnet to tourists and transplants. But, international residents are also making their ways to other parts of Portugal. (Alexander Spatari/Moment RF/Getty Images)

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