Portugal has a large ex-pat community. Foreigners from all over the world choose to live in Portugal. There are many reasons why Portugal is so in demand. Tax benefits, low cost of living, and a beautiful climate are some of them.

The largest part of Portugal’s ex-pat community consists of British and Brazilian nationals. Yet, the number of American citizens living in Portugal is growing every day. For investors, business-people, and retirees alike; Portugal is a great country of residence. Also answering some of the most wondered questions, this guide analyzes American ex-pats’ interest in Portugal.

The Most Popular Route for Relocation: The Portugal Golden Visa Program

For people who want to move to Portugal, there are several options. Yet, the most popular route among them is the country’s Golden Visa program. Investors who receive a Golden Visa may live, work, and study in any EU country. The scheme also allows grants investors the right to visa-free travel to more than 180 countries. The Portugal Golden Visa Program permits investors to choose one of its several routes in exchange for Portuguese residency. These routes are:

  • The Real Estate Investment Option: This option has several sub-categories. The traditional method is to buy real estate at a minimum value of EUR 500,000. However, certain modifications are possible. For instance, investors may choose to buy property in need of renovation and older than 30 years old. In this case, the minimum investment requirement goes down to EUR 350,000. Moreover, the authorities designate “low-density areas” for the interested parties within the scheme. If the property is in one of these areas, the requirement decreases to EUR 280,000. Combined investments are accepted if each applicant fulfills all the criteria.
  • Creation of Jobs: This form of investment is permanent. Rather than paying an initial sum, it requires a sustained effort. Under this method, investors must create ten permanent jobs.
  • The Investment Fund Option: This option allows investors to take advantage of various funds from different sectors. Since these funds are regulated by professionals and protected by the government, the odds of getting returns are high. Investors may use this method by investing EUR 350,000 to the fund they select.
  • The Arts and Culture Investment Option: Portugal conducts cultural and artistic projects throughout each year. Investors may obtain the right to a Golden Visa by investing EUR 250,000 in one of these projects.
  • The Scientific Research Investment Option: Like the previous option, Portugal holds scientific research projects investors may donate. Investors may contribute to one of these projects to obtain a Golden Visa. The minimum investment requirement for this option is EUR 350,000.

The Most Popular Regions of Portugal Among American Citizens

The trend among American ex-pats shows that US citizens mostly prefer metropoles. Urban districts tend to have better infrastructure, more efficient transportation, and more business activity. These factors play a crucial role in the decision-making process of ex-pats. Yet, more rural areas have other advantages. Although most US ex-pats live in the city centers, the population of US ex-pats in rural and suburban areas is on the rise.


Very popular among ex-pats, Portugal’s capital is the first choice of US citizens. Considering its safety, sophistication, cuisine, history, beauty, and many other attributes, Lisbon’s popularity is not surprising. Compared to the different regions of Portugal, Lisbon is more expensive. Yet, it is still cheaper than most European capitals and US metropoles.


The second biggest city of Portugal, Porto, is also popular among American ex-pats. Porto is in the northern part of the country. Although the weather is a little bit colder than Southern Portugal, the city’s wine makes up for it.


One popular rural region among US nationals is Cascais. Although it is considered a village, Cascais has 200,000 residents. The town is close to Lisbon airport. Cascais is a great place to enjoy Portugal in calm and peace. The region has world-class golf courses, great eateries, pristine beaches, and an enviable climate.


Algarve is popular among all ex-pats, and it is for good reasons. Especially preferred by British retirees, Algarve is perfect for a calm life near the sea. The region’s luxurious town Vilamoura is very close to Faro airport. Vilamoura has golf courses, a large marina, a casino, and top-notch hotels. Albufeira, on the other hand, is a rather budget-friendly option. It does not mean that Albufeira is just as beautiful. Albufeira also has a marina, but its prime attraction comes from its coziness. The town is patched with cobblestone streets and boutique restaurants.

Why Should Americans Choose to Reside in Portugal?

The first reason why Portugal is so in demand among ex-pats is that the country is affordable. The urban centers of Portugal are more expensive than the rural parts. Yet, still, even Lisbon is cheaper than big European or American cities. So, to increase welfare without spending too much, Portugal is a great choice.

Welfare is another crucial factor. Portugal has a stable and secure economy. The country’s real estate, infrastructure, health, industry, and tech sectors are all growing healthily. Portugal is also often selected among the safest countries. When everything is on its track, ex-pats can enjoy Portugal’s beauties without any worries.

Finally, Portugal has a heavenly climate. With more than 300 days of sun every year, Portugal invites everyone to enjoy its natural majesties. 

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