Moving house can be daunting, but it can be even more so when you’re moving countries. Especially when there’s a language barrier in place.

If you’re new residents in Portugal or are worried about settling in when you get to Portugal, hopefully, this article will provide you with some guidance and put your mind at ease.

10 tips for new residents in Portugal

1. Allow enough time to adapt

Give yourself time to relax and get used to your new surroundings. Enjoy the place as you would on a holiday, and take time to absorb the changes. If at first, things seem bizarre, don’t take it to heart, give it time! For support, perhaps reach out to your neighbours who might be able to show you the ropes regarding everyday tasks, e.g. ask to accompany them to the supermarket.

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2. Learn the language

Learning some Portuguese before you become a new resident in Portugal will make settling in feel more natural. Practice at home with your family or partner, and when you arrive, practice with neighbours, shopkeepers, and other locals to build confidence.


3. Be prepared for bureaucracy

Legal and official matters may move slower in Portugal than in your home country. Accept this and be patient – the benefits of life in Portugal will make it worthwhile.

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4. Get connected

Set up a mobile phone and internet connection as soon as possible. Research deals beforehand and consider a 3G or 4G hotspot for the early days.

Another way you can get connected is socially. Join a local group for expats in Portugal or if you’re a keen golfer, tennis player etc, seek out local clubs to make new friends.


5. Explore local shops

Familiarize yourself with nearby shops and markets, practice your Portuguese, and discover where to find essential foods and comforts from home. Having a better idea of what’s where and where to go in an emergency will give you peace of mind and help with the foreign feeling.

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6. Meet other expats

While you may want to focus on building relationships with locals, other expats can provide valuable support and information about living in Portugal. Have a look at community noticeboards or search for expat groups on Facebook for support.


7. Plan your paperwork

Make a priority list of important tasks for when you become new residents in Portugal. This list might include, registering at a medical centre or organizing residency status, and working through it systematically. It might seem daunting all at once, but divide things up between you (if moving with others) and attack in a logical fashion.

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8. Find a good takeaway

Just like at home, there are always going to be days that you don’t feel like cooking. After a busy day, enjoy the convenience of local takeaway options, from traditional Portuguese dishes to international favourites. A fun thing to do and a great way to make new friends is to invite your new neighbours over and ask them to bring local food to taste, make a part out of it!


9. Organize matters back home

Ensure your affairs are in order in your home country, such as setting up postal redirection, updating online accounts, and notifying tax authorities. This will make things easier for you as a new residents in Portugal.

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10. Plan visits with loved ones

Schedule regular trips to see family and friends or invite them to visit you in Portugal. Enjoy the anticipation and excitement of these reunions to help combat homesickness. Buying a big calendar and inputting all your upcoming plans on it can help you visualise what you’ve got to look forward to, especially if you’re feeling isolated as new residents in Portugal.


For more insight and tips on settling in as a new resident in Portugal, download the FREE Your Overseas Home Buying Guide for step-by-step guidance through the buying process.

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Written by Your Overseas Home for Rightmove