Leaving Portugal and Moving On
Information on what to do when moving from Portugal; including notifying schools and residency officials, closing bank accounts, ending contracts for utilities and insurance, exporting cars and moving pets...
When leaving Portugal and moving on, there are a number of tasks to be completed before departure.
- UK citizens can find useful information on their Government's website: Click here
- US citizens can consult their Government's travel website for tips on returning: Click here
- Canadians can find information about returning to Canada at their government's website: Click here
- Australians should consult their government site: Click here
Anyone who registered with their Embassy on arrival now needs to advise them that they leaving the country.
Anyone residing in Portugal for more than six months is required to obtain a residence card (Autorização de Residência).
If the holder of a residency card decides to leave Portugal permanently, then it should be handed in at the local police station.
Give schools a reasonable amount of notice of a child's departure. There may be outstanding bills for school fees, transport or meals to be settled.
Many schools require a certificate stating the latest grade passed by the child. Request this from the school when you give notice of departure.
Leave a forwarding address for any correspondence.
Most rental contracts in Portugal stipulate that the landlord needs to be given a minimum of one month's notice, though it could be more. A letter giving notice should be photocopied and sent by recorded delivery (or registered post, Correio Registado).
Upon the conclusion of a rental contract, the deposit will be returned minus any costs for repairs. Sometimes a landlord may agree to apply part of the deposit toward the last month's rent. The landlord will likely need to visit and inspect the property prior to departure.
There may be a penalty if the rental agreement is being terminated earlier than contractually agreed.
House insurance can be cancelled once a sale is completed and in some circumstances a partial refund may be due. It is best to cancel all insurance in writing and by recorded delivery.
As with any house move, there are utility bills to be settled and meters to be read. If meters are not outside, access to the property will be required. It may be advantageous to give utility companies as much notice as possible, as waiting times for service can be long. Leave a forwarding address with all the companies involved.
Electricity: The national electricity company in Portugal is EDP (Energias de Portugal SA).
EDP meters are read once a year and adjusted bills are sent out. Therefore it will likely be necessary to have the meter read before departure in order to have an adjusted final bill or receive a refund. Give as much notice as possible, as it could take some time to secure a meter-reading appointment. Cancellation must be done in writing by email, letter or online. The Contract Annulment form (Formulário de Rescisão de Contrato) will need to be completed. If payment was made using direct debit, cancel this facility.
- For the EDP online cancellation form: Click here (in Portuguese)
Gas: The gas market in Portugal is currently a regulated monopoly and consumers have the choice of only one provider, Galp Energia.
If mains gas (gás domicilio) service needs to cancelled, contact Galp Energia. A final reading will be necessary for final billing. If payment was made using direct debit, cancel this facility.
- For contact information for Galp Energia: Click here (in Portuguese)
Unused bottled gas (botijas/garrafas) can be returned to point of purchase for a return on the deposit and possible refund for unused portion. If bottles were being delivered, cancel service and see about getting a refund on any bottle deposit.
If gas was stored in a large tank outside the house (contentores de gás), contact the gas supplier to cancel service. If payment was made using direct debit, cancel this facility.
Water: Mains water supply is usually billed bi-monthly with an estimate. When the meter is read, an adjusted bill is sent (reposição). Before departure, contact the local water board to cancel service and receive final billing or a refund. It is recommended the final reading is checked to make sure the figures are correct.
- For contact information for local water boards, see the Águas de Portugal website: Click here
Telephone, Internet and Television: Portugal Telecom is the national telephone service provider in Portugal, though there are several other telecommunications companies in both the domestic and business market (lines are still owned by Portugal Telecom). Portugal Telecom also provides Internet and satellite television service. Cancel service via the telephone or in writing.
- For contact information, see the Portugal Telecom website: Click here (in English)
If subscribed to satellite television service, the receiver box will need to be returned before departure.
Health Care, Social Security and Pensions
Any private health insurance cover which has been in force may need changing or cancelling.
Before leaving, contact the local Health Centre (Centro de Saúde) for information regarding any necessary paperwork that needs to be completed.
Anyone who has received dental or medical treatment while in Portugal should ask for copies of records or have them forwarded to their new practitioner.
The social security office (Segurança Social) should also be notified of the move.
- For social security office contact information: Click here. Select the English language option, and then select the "Attendance" tab.
Those who have made contributions to a pension fund (state and/or private), should inquire about the possibility of transferring benefits and provide a forwarding address. EU citizens can normally transfer benefits between countries quite simply.
Business and Tax Issues
To settle all final bills (in Euros) it is likely a Portuguese bank account will be required for a short period.
Account closures should be done either in person at the branch where they were opened or by letter sent by recorded delivery to the branch. This letter needs to contain instructions for the disposal of any remaining balance.
Credit card companies will also need to be notified of a new address for statements.
The Portuguese tax year runs from 1 January to 31 December. Before leaving Portugal, anyone who has been completing a tax return in Portugal should get in touch with the Portuguese tax authority (Direcção-Geral dos Impostos). This applies as well if a business has been operated. There may be outstanding payments or refunds due.
Owning a second home in Portugal is not necessarily a qualifier for tax resident status. It is suggested to seek professional legal and financial advice regarding taxation in Portugal.
- For a list of offices see the Portuguese tax authority website: Click here
Change of address and mail forwarding services should be arranged a month in advance, in person, at the local post office (CTT Correios). There will be a charge for this service. Mail will be forwarded for six months.
Vehicles and Driving
If exporting a vehicle, embassy websites are a good source of information regarding regulations and requirements.
Cancel auto insurance before departure. Portuguese insurance companies will provide proof of no claims bonus (prémio bonus malus) if requested.
Depending on the destination, some animals may require a period of quarantine. They will almost certainly require documentation and possible additional vaccinations or similar medical treatment.
Most domestic pets require documentation before they can travel. The EU pet passport covers dogs, cats and ferrets for movement within Europe and the Pets Travel Scheme (PETS) allows qualifying domestic pets to travel to and from the UK without a period of quarantine.
Be aware that sudden outbreaks of diseases (such as avian flu) can affect pet travel. As a general rule, animals have to travel in approved containers and by approved routes.
If there is any doubt about vaccinations and passports for your pets consult your vet well before departure. Alternatively embassy websites are a good source of information.
- British Embassy, Portugal
- United States Embassy, Portugal
- Canadian Embassy, Portugal
- Australian Embassy, Portugal