March 29, 2024

Relocating from the UAE to Portugal: Essential Things to Consider

Portugal stands out as a premier choice for individuals worldwide, offering an excellent quality of life and abundant business prospects.

However, relocating to a foreign country entails significant considerations, requiring thorough planning even before departure.

In this blog, we delve into essential aspects expatriates from the United Arab Emirates should understand before making the move to Portugal.

Residing and working in Portugal

It involves obtaining one of three primary visa types:

  • Short-stay visas, commonly referred to as tourist or Schengen visas, permitting a 90-day stay.
  • Temporary stay visas, valid for up to one year.
  • Long-stay visas, also termed residency visas, cater to stays exceeding a year.

Non-EU citizens generally require a short-stay tourist visa for entry unless their country of residence has a bilateral agreement with Portugal.

The UAE benefits from this agreement, exempting Emirati citizens from needing a Portugal tourist visa for stays of up to 90 days. This arrangement is advantageous for individuals exploring the job market or searching for accommodation.

Nevertheless, individuals intending to relocate to Portugal for a longer duration should explore alternative avenues. The Portugal Golden Visa program stands out as one of the most efficient methods to obtain residency.

The program not only provides residence permits for you and your family but also offers a route to Portuguese citizenship and a passport within five years. Additionally, residents enjoy enhanced mobility, particularly within the Schengen Area.

The golden visa program also grants access to a favorable tax regime, which we'll discuss in the following section.

For further details on visas and online application procedures, contact us at

Taxation for Expatriates in the UAE

In contrast to the UAE, your income is taxable in Portugal.

Taxation in Portugal operates on a progressive scale, where higher earnings correspond to higher income tax rates, ranging from 14.5% to 48%.

Although these rates may surprise UAE residents relocating to Portugal, some may benefit from a special tax regime.

The Non-habitual Resident (NHR) program provides significant tax savings and exemptions for the initial 10 years of residency in Portugal.

Those eligible for the program will be subject to a fixed rate of 20% on all income earned in Portugal. Additionally, certain worldwide earnings, such as employment income and capital gains, will be exempt from taxation in Portugal.

Finding Accommodation in Portugal

If you've acquired property through the Portugal Golden Visa, accommodation is likely sorted. Otherwise, securing a place to live becomes paramount.

Ensuring adequate housing is essential for long-stay visa applications. Despite paying income tax in Portugal, the cost of living is notably lower than in many UAE regions. Rental rates, especially, are considerably more affordable compared to cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi, as per Numbero data.

Lisbon attracts a significant number of expats and digital nomads due to its diverse population, with a large portion being foreign nationals. Rent prices in the capital are nearly 36% lower than in Abu Dhabi and just under 34% lower than in Dubai.

In Lisbon, the rental cost for a 3-bedroom city center apartment is around 7,317 AED (€1,950) per month. In comparison, the equivalent in Dubai is roughly 10,638 AED (€2,835), making it just over 31% more expensive.

Healthcare System in Portugal

In Portugal, there is a state-funded healthcare system known as Serviço Nacional de Saúde. As a resident, you have equal access to public healthcare services as Portuguese citizens.

European nationals have access to Portugal's healthcare system, but non-EU residents must have private health insurance for coverage.

Private health insurance in Portugal is affordable and provides access to a wider array of healthcare services. Additionally, it often allows for quicker access to services, making it a practical choice even for those with access to public healthcare.

How Pelican Migration Consultants Can Assist

Embarking on the journey of relocating from the UAE to Portugal entails numerous considerations, particularly concerning finances. Whether you're planning to retire or pursue work opportunities in Portugal, Pelican Migration Consultants is here to provide support.

With over 7 years of experience serving expatriates in the Middle East, Pelican Migration Consultants specializes in aiding Middle East residents immigrating abroad. Our team specializes in addressing the unique challenges of international relocation, providing award-winning customer service and tailored, expert advice to assist you in achieving your immigration goals and establishing a secure future.

Reach out to us by filling out this free assessment form to discover how we can assist you in making a smooth transition to Portugal.