In recent years, Portugal has emerged as a beacon for individuals seeking a change of scenery, a slower pace of life, and a warmer climate, captivating the hearts of many from across the globe. Among those drawn to its charm are New Zealanders, who find in Portugal not just a new home but a gateway to a rich cultural tapestry, an enviable lifestyle, and endless opportunities for exploration and personal growth. 

This article delves into why Portugal is becoming a preferred destination for New Zealanders looking to relocate.

Why New Zealanders are moving to Portugal?

New Zealanders are moving to Portugal for a variety of compelling reasons, each finding something unique in this picturesque European country that resonates with their lifestyle aspirations and goals. Here are some of the key factors driving this trend:

Affordable Cost of Living

Compared to New Zealand, Portugal offers a more affordable cost of living, including lower costs for housing, food, and general expenses. This economic advantage allows individuals and families to enjoy a higher quality of life without the financial pressures they might face back home.

Pleasant Climate

Portugal’s climate is another significant draw. The country boasts a Mediterranean climate with warm, dry summers and mild winters, especially appealing to those from New Zealand’s more temperate or cooler regions. This favorable weather supports an outdoor lifestyle year-round, including dining al fresco, beach activities, and exploring nature.

Easy Access to Europe

For New Zealanders looking to explore Europe, Portugal serves as an ideal base. Its location on the continent’s southwestern edge offers easy access to other European countries, making it a perfect starting point for travel enthusiasts keen on exploring the diverse cultures, landscapes, and histories within Europe.

Safety and Stability

Portugal is known for its safety and political stability, making it an attractive destination for families and individuals seeking a secure environment. Its low crime rates and peaceful society contribute to a high quality of life.

Friendly Immigration Policies

Portugal’s friendly immigration policies, including the Golden Visa program, offer an appealing path for non-EU residents seeking residency or citizenship. These policies are particularly attractive to investors, retirees, and professionals looking to relocate.

Business Opportunities

Portugal presents numerous opportunities for business and investment, especially in the tech, real estate, and tourism sectors. New Zealanders looking to start anew or expand their business ventures find Portugal’s growing economy and supportive entrepreneurial ecosystem appealing.

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How to move to Portugal from New Zealand?

Just like any international move, relocating from New Zealand to Portugal requires following the necessary immigration procedures to ensure a seamless transition and establish your legal status in your new country.

For non-EU citizens, including New Zealanders, who intend to stay in Portugal for more than 90 days, it’s essential to begin the process by applying for a residency visa. This visa provides the authorization to live in Portugal for a longer period.

Upon arriving in Portugal, the next important step for New Zealanders is to visit the Agency for Integration, Migration, and Asylum (AIMA), previously known as SEF. At AIMA, you can submit your application for a residence permit, a crucial document for securing your legal residency in Portugal.

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Visas for New Zealanders to Live in Portugal

New Zealanders who want to relocate to Portugal have access to different types of visas, depending on the purpose of their move. The most relevany types of visas available in Portugal for New Zealanders are:

Portugal D7 Visa

The Portugal D7 Visa, often referred to as the Retirement Visa or Passive Income Visa, was introduced in 2007 to enable non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens, including New Zealanders, to apply for temporary residency in Portugal. It’s designed for retirees or individuals who have a regular passive income of at least €820 per month from sources such as pensions, real estate, royalties, dividends, financial investments, or intellectual property.

D8 Digital Nomad Visa

Launched in October 2022, the Portugal D8 Visa, also known as the Digital Nomad Visa, allows non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens with a monthly income of €3280 to apply for temporary residency while working remotely from Portugal. There are two options available:

  • Temporary Stay Visa: Ideal for those not seeking permanent residency but wishing to stay in Portugal for an extended period. It’s valid for one year and can be renewed for up to two additional years.

  • Residence Permit: Suited for those aiming to stay longer than a year. Initially, you’ll receive a Temporary Resident Visa valid for four months, during which you must apply for a Permanent Residency Permit.

Portugal D2 Visa

The D2 Visa, or Entrepreneur Visa, is tailored for non-EU entrepreneurs, including those from New Zealand, looking to start or purchase a business in Portugal. The visa permits a stay of up to four months, during which applicants can apply for a resident permit. A Portuguese Residence Permit obtained via the D2 Visa is valid for two years and can be renewed for an additional three years, provided the business activities remain ongoing.

How New Zealanders can I apply for a Portugal residency Visa?

The first step in your relocation from New Zealand to Portugal is to apply for a Portuguese residence visa. This requires submitting the necessary documents to the nearest Portuguese consulate or embassy in New Zealand. Here’s what you need to remember when applying for a residence visa:

  • Visa Application Form: Complete the form with all required details.
  • Portuguese NIF Number: obtain your tax payer number in Portugal
  • Your Valid Passport: Ensure your passport is valid for the duration of your stay.
  • Two Recent Passport-Size Photos: These should be up-to-date and clearly show your face.
  • Criminal Record Certificate: Obtain a certificate from the relevant authorities in New Zealand.
  • Valid Travel Insurance: Your insurance should cover medical expenses and repatriation.
  • Evidence of Accommodation in Portugal: This could be a rental agreement or property deed.
  • Proof of Sufficient Funds: Typically, the latest 3 months’ bank statements to show you can support yourself.
  • Declaration with Reasons for Requesting Portuguese Residency: A written statement outlining why you wish to move to Portugal.
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Golden Visa for New Zealanders

The Portugal Golden Visa program, also referred to as the Residence Permit for Investment Program, offers New Zealand investors the chance to gain residency and potentially citizenship in Portugal through significant economic contributions.

Golden Visa Investment Options

  • Investment Funds: A minimum contribution of €500,000 into Portuguese investment funds or venture capital funds.

  • Business Investment: A minimum of €500,000 invested in establishing a Portuguese company, along with the creation of five permanent jobs.

  • Scientific Research: A capital transfer of €500,000 or more into research activities conducted by recognized public or private scientific research institutions in Portugal.

  • Cultural Heritage Contribution: Also known as the Cultural Golden Visa, this involves a donation of at least €250,000 towards the arts or the restoration and refurbishment of Portuguese national heritage.

  • Job Creation: Starting a company and creating at least ten job positions in Portugal.

For investments in the scientific research, cultural heritage contribution, or job creation options, if the investment is made in a designated ‘low-density’ area, investors can benefit from a 20 percent reduction in the required investment amount.

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Where do New Zealanders live in Portugal?

New Zealanders, along with expats from various parts of the world, have found their homes in different parts of Portugal, drawn by its beautiful landscapes, agreeable climate, and welcoming culture. The choice of where to live often depends on personal preferences, lifestyle, and, sometimes, work opportunities. Here are some areas in Portugal that are particularly popular among New Zealanders and expats in general:


Lisbon, the capital city is a magnet for those seeking a vibrant urban lifestyle. With its rich history, bustling nightlife, and diverse cultural offerings, Lisbon appeals to young professionals and families alike. The city’s tech scene is also growing, attracting digital nomads and entrepreneurs.


Porto, known for its stunning architecture and the famous Douro River, Porto offers a more laid-back atmosphere compared to Lisbon. Its strong sense of community and cultural richness makes it a favorite among those who prefer a slower pace of life without sacrificing the amenities of a big city.

The Algarve

Famous for its gorgeous beaches, golf courses, and sunny weather year-round, the Algarve region is a top choice for retirees and those looking for a holiday home. Towns like Albufeira, Lagos, and Tavira are particularly popular, offering a mix of traditional Portuguese living and expat-friendly communities.

Cascais and Estoril

These coastal towns near Lisbon offer a blend of the cosmopolitan lifestyle with the charm of seaside living. They’re popular among families and retirees for their high quality of life, safety, and proximity to both the capital and stunning beaches.

Coimbra and Braga

For those who prefer the tranquility of smaller cities and the proximity to nature, Coimbra and Braga offer a rich historical backdrop, a vibrant academic scene, and a more affordable cost of living compared to the larger cities.

Madeira and the Azores

For the adventurous and those who love nature, the islands of Madeira and the Azores offer unparalleled natural beauty, a mild climate, and a slower pace of life. They’re perfect for expats looking for a retreat from the hustle and bustle of mainland living.

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Taxation in Portugal vs. New Zealand

Both Portugal and New Zealand have their unique tax systems, designed to meet their respective economic, social, and fiscal policies. Understanding the differences between the two can help individuals and businesses make informed decisions, especially when considering relocation or investment. Let’s dive into an overview of both systems.

Taxes in Portugal

  • Personal Income Tax: For residents, the personal income tax rates are progressive, ranging from 14.5% to 48% for 2023, based on income brackets.
  • Corporate Tax: The standard corporate income tax rate is 21% for mainland Portugal. However, reduced rates and incentives may apply for certain regions (e.g., Madeira) and activities.
  • VAT (Value Added Tax): The standard VAT rate is 23% in mainland Portugal, with reduced rates of 13% and 6% for certain goods and services. Madeira and the Azores have slightly lower rates.
  • Capital Gains Tax: For individuals, capital gains on the sale of property are taxed at a rate of 28%. For residents, 50% of the gain is taxable.

Taxes in New Zealand

  • Personal Income Tax: New Zealand has a progressive income tax system, with rates ranging from 10.5% to 39% for income over NZD 180,000.
  • Corporate Tax: The corporate tax rate is a flat 28%.
  • GST (Goods and Services Tax): New Zealand has a GST rate of 15% on most goods and services.
  • Capital Gains Tax: Generally, New Zealand does not impose a capital gains tax, except for certain types of investments and under specific circumstances (e.g., property speculation).
  • No Inheritance Tax: New Zealand does not levy an inheritance tax upon death.
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Comparison New Zealand vs Portugal

Cost of Living in Portugal vs New Zealand

If you are planning to move to Portugal, here’s some good news for your financial planning. According to recent data from Numbeo and a comparison between the capitals Lisbon and Wellington, the cost of living in Portugal is significantly more affordable. 

To put it into perspective, you would need approximately 5,362.5€ (equivalent to 9,503.4NZ$) in Wellington to sustain the same standard of life that you could have with 4,100.0€ in Lisbon, assuming you rent in both cities. This substantial difference in the required budget illustrates the financial advantages of choosing Lisbon as your new home, providing a more cost-effective environment without compromising your lifestyle.

Breaking down the cost of living data further, consumer prices in Wellington are notably 42.1% higher than in Lisbon, excluding rent. Additionally, rent prices in Wellington are 12.7% higher than in Lisbon, contributing to the overall variance in expenses. Groceries, a fundamental aspect of daily life, are also more affordable in Lisbon, with prices being 66.5% lower than those in Wellington. 

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Drawbacks of living in Portugal

While Portugal is a wonderful country with many advantages, like any place, it also has its drawbacks. Here are some potential drawbacks of living in Portugal:

Bureaucracy: Like many Southern European countries, Portugal has a bureaucratic system that might be perceived as slow and complex. Dealing with administrative processes may require patience.

Payment Card Acceptance: While cash remains widely used in Portugal, particularly in smaller businesses, there is a prevalent preference for cash transactions. This may pose challenges for individuals accustomed to utilizing cards for all their transactions. 

Salaries: Some individuals may find that salaries in Portugal are lower compared to other Western European countries. Additionally, the cost of living in certain areas, especially in Lisbon and Porto, has increased in recent years.

Public Transportation: While major cities have reliable public transportation, rural areas might have limited options. Depending on the location, having a personal vehicle may be more convenient.

Why choose to work with us?

Local Expertise

We know Portugal. Due to our extensive local knowledge, we believe that concentrating our services in a single country destination is the best way to give you the most thorough and useful information. 

Holistic Approach

One single channel of communication for the entire process. We provide you with a comprehensive service that covers all aspects of your move, from identifying the ideal residency visa to finding your new home or helping you to settle. 

Transparent Service

We recommend what’s best for you based on an extensive process experience that saves time and money to clients. Our pricing is clear and competitive, and we don’t sell services that make us more money.

Simple Process

Technology plays a very important role in our company. We minimize our clients’ involvement in paperwork. We are customers ourselves and we know how to serve you.

Frequently asked question about Moving to Portugal from New Zealand

Why people move from New Zealand to Portugal?

People often move from New Zealand to Portugal for various reasons, including the allure of Portugal’s rich history, vibrant culture, and favorable climate. Additionally, Portugal’s relatively affordable cost of living and friendly atmosphere attract expatriates seeking a new and enriching lifestyle.

How does the healthcare works for New Zealand expats?

Portugal has a comprehensive healthcare system, and as a resident, you can access both public and private healthcare services. Expats often choose to have private health insurance for additional coverage. It’s advisable to register with the National Health Service and explore insurance options to ensure comprehensive healthcare coverage.

What types of visas are available for New Zealanders moving to Portugal?

Portugal offers various visas to New Zealanders based on the purpose of their move. Common options include the D7 Visa for retirees or those with passive income, the Golden Visa for investors, and the Work Visa for employment purposes. Each visa has specific requirements, and choosing the right one depends on your situation.

How can I apply for a Golden Visa to Portugal from New Zealand?

The Golden Visa program in Portugal allows individuals to obtain residency by making qualifying investments. To apply, you typically need to invest in venture capital funds, create jobs, or contribute to scientific research. Seeking guidance from a legal professional or a Golden Visa consultant can help navigate the application process.

Is it possible to work in Portugal as a New Zealander?

Yes, New Zealanders can work in Portugal by obtaining a work visa. Employment contracts, job offers, and proof of qualifications are typically required for the application. It’s essential to coordinate with potential employers and go through the necessary legal procedures to ensure a smooth transition.

Can I bring my family with me when moving to Portugal from New Zealand?

Many visas in Portugal, including the D7 and Golden Visa, allow family reunification. This means that spouses, children, and sometimes other dependents can accompany the main visa holder. Specific requirements and documentation are needed to facilitate family reunification, depending on the visa type.

What are the financial requirements for obtaining a D7 Visa for retirees in Portugal?

The D7 Visa, suitable for retirees, often requires proof of regular income (minimum of €820 per month) and sufficient savings to support oneself in Portugal. Financial documentation, such as pension statements or proof of investments, is typically required. Engaging with financial advisors and legal professionals can assist in meeting these requirements.

How long does the visa application process take when moving from New Zealand to Portugal?

The duration of the visa application process varies depending on the type of visa and individual circumstances. Generally, it can take five to six months. Planning ahead and starting the application process well in advance of your intended move date is advisable to avoid delays.

Are there language requirements for obtaining a visa in Portugal?

No, there is no language test requirement initially. However, if you decide to apply for citizenship after legally living in the country for five years, a Portuguese language test will be required as part of the citizenship application process.