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Greetings,


My family is relocating to Portugal from Las Vegas in early 2010, for my husbands work. He was born in England and has both Canadian and American citizenship (passports for all three countries) and our daughters and I are both dual citizens of Canada and the USA. We have been doing extensive research online, however we are finding it difficult to get a sense of the cost of living in Portugal vs the USA. I am hoping you can help! :)

We are considering living in the Cascais area to be close to my husbands work and the American International School in Sintra.

A few questions that we have include:

1. What would be a reasonable housing (rental) budget for a four to five bedroom home with central heat?

2. We are considering sending our daughters (ages 15 and 11) to CAISL as we feel this will be the easiest transition for them. Do you agree that this school would be the best fit? Does anyone currently have children attending this school that are on the forum?

3. What are the Income Taxes implications as an Expat being paid by an American company? Does it matter if he is paid in American dollars or Euros with regards to tax implications? We know there is a tax treaty where the first $80,000 of income will not be taxed by the USA, however, we are unclear if there will be Portuguese taxes that we will have to pay as well?

4. From the Internet research I have done, it looks like we will need International drivers licenses. Is this correct? Is this the same license that we can get from AAA and we will then need to keep our Nevada licenses current?

5. We will be leasing cars. Do you have a rough estimate of what a lease would cost monthly (I currently drive a Volvo SUV)? What is the average cost for registration/plates and auto insurance?

6. Our children would like to be able to watch their American TV shows. Does Portugal have satellite TV options?

7. What is the average cost for cell phones and plans in Portugal? What is suggested for home telephone plans so that we can keep in contact with family back home in Canada and friends in the USA? VOIP system?

8. What would be an average budget for food for a family of four on a monthly basis?

9. We are bringing our dog (Pekinese). From speaking with the Portuguese Consulate in San Francisco, it sounds like we will need to have all shots up to date, get a pet visa and register our dog with their consulate prior to moving. It was also suggested to travel on a weekday as the customs officials who handle this don’t typically work on the weekends. Is this correct?

10. With my husband being a citizen of England, he will be able to work in Portugal very easiliy and his company is taking care of visas, etc. However, I have a small PR consulting business in Las Vegas and would like to be able to continue serving my clients. My question is, can I continue to work in Portugal, handling US clients and hopefully doing some freelance work for clients in Portugal once I learn the language?

11. Any other information that you feel would be helpful is so appreciated.

We are so looking forward to embracing our new country and assimilating as quickly as possible, learning the language and culture and being good citizens.

Looking forward to hearing back!
 

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Hello Las Vegas, I have just moved from Johannesburg to Cascais. Cannot answer questions on schooling for your kids though mine have been out of the house for quite some time.
4. You must come with an International drivers licence. It lasts for one year. Once you are here you can get it exchanged for a Portuguese drivers licence. Either you go to the "loja do cidadao" (citizen's shop) or you get an agency to arrange the docs for you (there's one at the Cascais train station). You have to go to your embassy and get a certificate from them that states that your original driver's licence is a valid and legal one. Then you must go to a doctor for an eye test. You take these papers plus all the other ones that you have been given back to the agency or "loja do cidadao" together with your passport, fiscal number and original driver's licence and hand them in. They will give you a slip that allows you to drive. Eventually you will get a brand new Portuguese driver's licence. If you go to the agency it will cost you about 80 euros excluding certificates, doctors eye tests. If you go to the loja do cidadao it will cost you just under 30 euros. The choice depends on how much time you have in your hands to waste.
6 There are quite a few satellite TV options and cable TV as well. Your best bet is to get what they call a packet that includes internet, TV and telephone, depends on how many channels you want to pay the price will be different. Aa an example, Meo fibra can give you 100 channels, 100mb internet downloads 100mb broadband per month for54.90 euros. Channels include local ones, CNN,FOX AXN, kids programs, if you want I will send you a complete list. Some sport channels will cost you extra though.
7 There are several cell phone companies plus the official PT local company. They all offer different packages depending on who pays (parents, company, the kids) I pay ,258euro cents for the first minute and ,155 following minutes for calls within the same service provider, otherwise, ,413 euro cents to other service providers. VOIP is also available, I do a lot of skyping as well
8 We are still looking at how much we are spending on food so can't tell you. This will be a difficult one as I have always bought whatever food I wanted without looking at prices but here things are different and we have to start counting the cents. I'm sure someone else will be able to answer that.
9 I brought a dog (an SPCA special) and an African Grey parrot accross from Johannesburg. For the dog, your vet will have to update all the vaccinations including rabbies now, then I think about 3 months before you come the dog has to go for a blood test to get the rabbies count. It also has to have a chip. Then you make an appointment with the state vet, about a week before you come, the dog must go for a last health check up wherupon your vet will sign a health certificate which you take to the state vet who will sign it as well. Meanwhile you can either contact a company that will do the paper work for the airline. You have two options, you can bring the dog as luggage on board if it weighs less than I think 7 kilos or it can come as cargo. You must phone the airline and confirm with them if you can bring the dog onboard. I know TAP does it. I brought my pets as cargo so I had to buy a wooden box for each of them. It took me 5 hours to get them cleared as the clearing agency had forgotten to advise the state vet on this side and they kept sending me to different parts of the airport!!! All is well that ends well though, the animals have adapted quite well and we take our dog for several walks every day. Once you are in Cascais, the theory is that you must go to a local vet, register you dog with them, they will send the papers to the chip company to update your address records, You must also go to the "Junta de freguesia" (kind of a parish office) register you dog there and that will cost, depending on the size of the dog, mine is less than 7 kilos, around 17 euros per annum. Don't forget as well there is some kind of mosquito desease in Portugal with a funny horrible unpronounceble(?) name and your dog will have to have drops once a month for that. The Cascais vet that I will be using quoted me 18 euros for a 4 month pack and 30 euros for a consultation. A bath here, with nail clipping and hair cut goes for 30 euros so I bath mine at home. There are quite a few vets around Cascais and pet shops as well and I have just been given the name and telephone number of an english lady that pet sits, she comes very well referred I can give you her contact details once you arrive. My dog arrived on a Tuesday night, yes they prefer that animals travel during the week. Never heard anything about registering the dog at the consulate, maybe they have different requirements for American pets. There is no quarantine here so your dog will go straight home.
11 Once you arrive you will also have to register at the town hall within three months, get a bank account and a fiscal number. As for language schools, we have just done some research because HD needs to learn Portuguese. Prices vary a lot but he opted for a language school in Estoril. Will give you some more details if needed in a private message.
Public transport is very adequate although the Portuguese are always complaining that it's no good. Coming from a country where you don't dare travel in the local taxis (that's their public transport!) I find the transport here very good. Around Cascais there is a small bus that does the rounds for 60 euro cents from the train station to the residential areas. If your kids are going to the International school, you might have to get yourself a car though. They are expensive, about 1/3 of the car price is tax so a lot of people buy used cars. Don't remember the price of petrol, will find out for you if needed. We bought a new diesel car, unfortunately it's still at the factory in France, will only take delivery mid November.
I think your kids will adapt themselves quite quickly here specially if they are sociable and the male youngsters are quite good looking!!! There is also a good cultural centre in Cascais with exhibitions and lots of concerts.
Good luck, the secret is to start preparing long before your departure time and don't stress. Let me know if you need more info about Cascais.
Nelinha
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Nelinha,

Thank you so much for the amazing information. I so appreciate all the time you spent providing expert knowledge! I hope that one day I will be able to offer the same service to a new Expat in Portugal! :) I'll review your email in detail over the weekend and let you know if I have any additional questions. Again, thank you thank you.

Cheers, Lisa
 

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Hi Lisa it's a pleasure I've just gone through the whole process that's why it's still fresh in my memory. Still have lots to learn though, eg medical aid societies. Will try to get any info for you that will make your entry into the Portuguese lifestyle easier.
Regards,
Nelinha
 

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cascais

Hi Lisa
1- House rental 4/5 bed in Cascais, you probably will be spending at least 1.000 Euros month
2- Private school to start it is the best idea, for the 2 girls something between 1.500 to 2.000 Euros month
3- Normal Portuguese tax is around 11% for social security and anything from 5% for IRS up to….
This is monthly
4- Not sure about outside of EU driving licenses. For EU citizens it is as it fallows.
Driving licenses issued by countries inside EU, are valid in Portugal, changing your EU license for a Portuguese one, it is optional. However drivers who relocate in Portugal have the duty to inform the regional IMTT office of their residence area. They should do it during the first 30 days of residence or they will be able to be fined
Basically you can call your nearest IMTT office or “Loja do cidadão”, (not all citizen shop agencies have this facility), and request the form “model 13”. With this form, you’re driving license and your Portuguese residence order; they will issue a document which will allow you to drive with your EU license a Portuguese REG. vehicle in Portugal, during the validation of your license. You can also download this MOD: 13 document on the IMTT website
Remember that it is illegal to drive a Portuguese reg. vehicle just in your normal EU license, except if it is a hired vehicle
5- If you will be leasing cars, you can do it with insurance cover included. For a Volvo SUV, you will be talking around, (probably), 1.000. In Portugal the registration plates come with the vehicle
6- Yes you will be able to see SCI, American Idol, Simpsons etch… but trough the Portuguese satellite system does show are a few seasons behind. American Idol, American best dance team, etch… several months
7- Cheapest way to stay in touch with your friends and family are web cams and Skype
8- All depends, I should say somewhere between 300 and 500 Euros
9- They work 7 days a week. In general Lisbon airport is busier at weekends so it will be faster and less stressful if you come during the week
10- Yes you will be able to work with your American clients. I suggest, for Tax reasons that you get payee in to your American account.
 

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cascais

Hi Lisa
Just updating, regarding American driving license. I suggest you get in touched with the Portuguese IMTT about it. [email protected] or 808502020 and the reason I am saying this, is because especial rules apply regarding American licenses. I gave them a call and they said that, because American driving licenses are temporary, ours last until you are 65. So it is possible that you might have to take a Portuguese driving test, all depends on the evaluation made by the IMTT office, regarding your process
The documents you need are:
2 Forms nº1
2 Photos
Portuguese residence order
Medical exam
Declaration from your Embassy/consulate confirming your Driving license
And if you need a driving test, will cost you an extra 55 Euros
 

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We have recently moved to Cascais area from the UK. With regards to Schooling, my children age 10 and 16 have started at St Dominics International School and I can only praise it. We have found the school fantastic and so helpful in helping the children settle in.

Hope this helps.

Regards

Tracy
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks Tracy!

I will check out the school. My husband will be moving in January and we have decided that the children and I will stay and finish out the school year in Las Vegas. The plan is, we'll visit over Spring Break and look at schools and hunt for houses then.

How are you finding learning the language?

Cheers,

Lisa
 

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Same situation!

My husband has been offered a job in portugal (Lisbon) and we are going to visit in February to see if this would work for us (fingers crossed!) We have a 7 year old and would like to know what schools are best and if you spoke to any tax folks that could be helpful to newbies to the system like us. We also have a dog to bring over too - your experience of bringing a dog over from the states, would be helpful for us to know too. I'd like to learn the language too, does anyone know of a good place to learn this? And anything else that seems relevant and I haven't thought to ask!
Thanks so much

Greetings,


My family is relocating to Portugal from Las Vegas in early 2010, for my husbands work. He was born in England and has both Canadian and American citizenship (passports for all three countries) and our daughters and I are both dual citizens of Canada and the USA. We have been doing extensive research online, however we are finding it difficult to get a sense of the cost of living in Portugal vs the USA. I am hoping you can help! :)

We are considering living in the Cascais area to be close to my husbands work and the American International School in Sintra.

A few questions that we have include:

1. What would be a reasonable housing (rental) budget for a four to five bedroom home with central heat?

2. We are considering sending our daughters (ages 15 and 11) to CAISL as we feel this will be the easiest transition for them. Do you agree that this school would be the best fit? Does anyone currently have children attending this school that are on the forum?

3. What are the Income Taxes implications as an Expat being paid by an American company? Does it matter if he is paid in American dollars or Euros with regards to tax implications? We know there is a tax treaty where the first $80,000 of income will not be taxed by the USA, however, we are unclear if there will be Portuguese taxes that we will have to pay as well?

4. From the Internet research I have done, it looks like we will need International drivers licenses. Is this correct? Is this the same license that we can get from AAA and we will then need to keep our Nevada licenses current?

5. We will be leasing cars. Do you have a rough estimate of what a lease would cost monthly (I currently drive a Volvo SUV)? What is the average cost for registration/plates and auto insurance?

6. Our children would like to be able to watch their American TV shows. Does Portugal have satellite TV options?

7. What is the average cost for cell phones and plans in Portugal? What is suggested for home telephone plans so that we can keep in contact with family back home in Canada and friends in the USA? VOIP system?

8. What would be an average budget for food for a family of four on a monthly basis?

9. We are bringing our dog (Pekinese). From speaking with the Portuguese Consulate in San Francisco, it sounds like we will need to have all shots up to date, get a pet visa and register our dog with their consulate prior to moving. It was also suggested to travel on a weekday as the customs officials who handle this don’t typically work on the weekends. Is this correct?

10. With my husband being a citizen of England, he will be able to work in Portugal very easiliy and his company is taking care of visas, etc. However, I have a small PR consulting business in Las Vegas and would like to be able to continue serving my clients. My question is, can I continue to work in Portugal, handling US clients and hopefully doing some freelance work for clients in Portugal once I learn the language?

11. Any other information that you feel would be helpful is so appreciated.

We are so looking forward to embracing our new country and assimilating as quickly as possible, learning the language and culture and being good citizens.

Looking forward to hearing back!
 

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P.S. Forgot to mention - we have been living in the States for the past 11 years so we are relocating from America.

My husband has been offered a job in portugal (Lisbon) and we are going to visit in February to see if this would work for us (fingers crossed!) We have a 7 year old and would like to know what schools are best and if you spoke to any tax folks that could be helpful to newbies to the system like us. We also have a dog to bring over too - your experience of bringing a dog over from the states, would be helpful for us to know too. I'd like to learn the language too, does anyone know of a good place to learn this? And anything else that seems relevant and I haven't thought to ask!
Thanks so much
 
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