If you are new to my site, welcome! I recommend reading through our Spain Visa Saga to share our journey and read a hell of a story. If you've been hanging in from the beginning so glad this hasn't scared you away! I like to think of this as the sequel to our first novel, the Spanish Visa Saga. I know sequels aren't usually as exciting, but I'm sure crap will happen to spice it up, and at least you get to see what happens to your beloved characters.
When you last left us, our heroic family had just had their future yanked away and were unsure how they would recover. We had been royally screwed by our lawyers and were on our 3rd messed-up submission to Spain. Feeling totally jaded, I took to the land of Facebook, shared my plight, and had a ton of people start messaging me about moving to Portugal.
At first, I wasn't sure what to think. We had most of our forms for Spain as we were working on submission three, but we still had a ways to go in getting everything re-apostilled, translated, etc. Also, we can't use the Los Angeles Consulate again, so if we wanted to use San Fransico, we would have to get an address change, and we really didn't want to have weeks for that to happen.
Portugal Vs. Spain
So we said, what the hell? Let's check into Portugal, and we were actually shocked that it may even be a better fit for us. So there are similar pros to Spain, family-friendly, warm community and culture, etc. Below is the list of reasons that stood out for us.
1) The weather
Coming from San Diego, we have been pretty spoiled when it comes to weather. A vast coastal area in Spain called Algarve is said to have a very similar climate to San Diego. Mild winters, not too hot summers, and less humidity than some of the more Mediterranean beaches.
2) Remote work!!!
Their Resident Visa, also known as the D7, allows you to work remotely. I no longer have to hide that I work remotely (yeah didn't mention that in the Spain saga). Maybe that helps you understand why this process was so stressful because I've been working the whole time., in motel rooms and my car a lot.
I work remotely as a therapist, and that was how we were planning on supporting ourselves. Hearing mixed things about the rules to obtain the Visa for Spain vs. what they accepted when you were there, stressed me out. It is a massive sigh of relief that Portugal is a digital nomad hot spot!! Which will also make us eligible for free healthcare and retirement benefits.
3) Way less financial requirements for D7 Visa
Initially, when we applied to Spain, money wasn't an issue, but due to many problems, we didn't have nearly as much money as we did previously. The Portugal Visa only requires about $18,500 for a family of three for the first year, while Spain requires around $45,000 for a family of 3.
4) Faster citizenship
In Portugal, you can become a citizen after five years of residency, whereas in Spain, you must be a resident for ten years.
5) Dual Citizenship
Portugal allows dual citizenship with the US, whereas Spain does not allow dual citizenship and makes you renounce US citizenship to become a citizen
Now, this may be only our thing. Both are known for fantastic food, but Portugal uses more spicy flavors, which is a huge perk for us loving Mexican Food and spices.
The Visas do not need translations if they are in English, and a lot of English is used in Portugal for those of us who will have to learn Portuguese from scratch
Portugal, for the most part, is more cost-effective than most parts of Spain.
Ugghh I Hate Not Knowing Things
Looking at this list, it seems like Portugal will be a better fit for us. I'm not saying there aren't going to be some drawbacks. For me, one big one is switching from Spanish, which I am decent at, to learning Portuguese. From what I am reading, there is about an 82% similarity to Spanish, such as syntax, words, etc. That was reassuring but what has been very tricky for me is the Portuguese pronunciation. Spanish sounds how it looks and is far more pronounced. Portuguese is so different, and I am finding it difficult to unlearn my Spanish pronunciation. My husband, who doesn't know Spanish, seems to have an easier time. Knowing Spanish should help with Portuguese as it is a sister language once you get past the pronunciation though.
Furthermore, with the language, Spain is used more frequently worldwide. However, due to the complexity of Portuguese pronunciation, they say that it is much easier for those who know Portuguese to understand Spanish than vice versa. For me, a big part of my confidence in moving to Spain was learning enough Spanish to get by. Starting as a complete newbie with Portuguese is mega intimidating for me.
On a personal note, that won't affect anyone else is my fear that this blog will die out. I have spent months building up a wonderful community with those living in and moving to Spain. Although adding Portugal to this process may add another grouping of readers, I'm also worried that the relationships I built for Spain may die out.
We have been going back and forth over the last week since we realized we would have to start entirely over for the Spanish Visa. My mother-in-law has been mentioning Portugal for a while now as her close friend goes to a beautiful yearly festival Carnival that she would love to go to. It's nice to have family supportive of this possibility, and honestly, Carnival looks fantastic!! We keep telling ourselves that if we don't like Portugal we can always move to Spain after the first year.
Cue the Guilt Trip
We are waiting to get our applications from the Spanish Consulate, then will compile everything we have, and go from there. We plan to leave Los Angeles and apply at the Portuguese Consulate in San Fransico. That consulate works with multiple states, so we will head back up to Oregon to be with my husband's family, get some support, and save some money! As we are so close to the holidays, we likely will be staying to celebrate in the States and aim for a January leave date.
My Spanish Visa Saga (links below) was a roller coaster of a ride, and although having it be a mess gave it some terrific drama and excitement, I hope to have a much more mellow process with going to Portugal. For new readers, don't worry; I tend to throw in some mimosa-infused blogs that keep it interesting! This is why I recommend reading the Spain Saga to give you something interesting to read and help invest more in our story, so this won't be too humdrum.
Tune in same bat time, same bat channel, to get the scoop on the updated D7 application, which I have titled, "This better F***ing Happen!
If you like the blog or think it might be helpful, please share and subscribe. I also have a member feature that isn't much yet, but once we get to somewhere, haha, I will be adding Vlogs and special inside goodies! That sounded weird...you know what I mean! I also have a Dog Visa Saga and a soon-to-be Child Visa Saga you can check out. Thank you to all my newcomers and my loyal team, who are making this process way less stressful than it could be.
Oh, what? You think this would be a great time to bring up a beloved classic that summarizes our journey?! Cue........