Listen to our full episode on The Portugal D7 Visa Process… Explained! below (with full transcript) or find our podcast by searching What is it all for? in your favorite podcast player.
Five Key Takeaways for The Portugal D7 Visa Process!
📌 Disclaimer: Visa rules change all the time so this info could become outdated. Please make sure to do your own research.
1. What visa we are applying for (the D7 Visa)
The visa that we specifically applied for is called the D7 long-stay visa. It is for people who are either retiring or have personal income (i.e. you have remote personal income.) Because we have online businesses, we definitely fit into that category.
Two other options that you might hear about are the Golden Visa and the (new as of 2022) Digital Nomad Visa.
The Golden Visa is a program where essentially you’re injecting money into the economy and they’re going to give you residency or a visa for that money that you injected. For Portugal, specifically, the Golden Visa started out with a $250,000 investment into a residential home in certain areas because they wanted to build up infrastructure and the economy. Essentially, you buy a house and they would give you a visa for buying.
Since Portugal has had many people buying property (to get the Golden Visa), the prices have gone up, and (some of) the areas have shut down for residential investment. You have to be invest inland to get any kind of Golden Visa opportunity as of late 2022. Many people are hinting that eventually, the Golden Visa will go away completely for residential home buying because there are enough residents and ~$5 billion in residential economic growth has happened from the Golden Visa program.
As of late 2022, Portugal has just come out with a new visa, which we haven’t done a ton of research on. It is called the Digital Nomad Visa and the big difference to the D7 or Golden Visa is that it’s not a path to citizenship. Hence the nomad part of it.
For us, for the D7 Visa, another reason why it’s so attractive is because of the way that it works if you get approved, you basically get a two-year residence permit.
After two years, you do another appointment where you can renew for another three years. At the end of that second renewal, it will have been five years of Portuguese residency, and that’s when you can start the path to apply for citizenship.
What we like about that is we have the flexibility, where it’s maybe we only want to be there for one or two years, or if we really love it, maybe we’re there until we become citizens. As of this moment, our goal is to stay the five years and receive dual citizenship and an EU Passport.
2. Scouting trip to narrow down areas
We would highly recommend, if you are thinking of moving to a different country, to plan for a scouting trip. You really want to know what it feels like when you’re there.
In August of 2022, we had this plan to do one week in what’s called the Silver Coast, which is kind of the west coast north of Lisbon, and then a week to visit the Algarve, which is the southern coast of Portugal.
We were very much going into our scouting trip not even knowing if we were going to like these places. We were just curious to see what it’s like and to see two very different options.
The way that we thought it would work is, if we did find an area that we liked that would put us over the edge in terms of knowing that we wanted to move to Portugal, we would figure out the visa stuff after that (then we would figure out where we wanted to sign a lease). However, that took a turn when we found our PERFECT rental home. When we say perfect for us, it is perfect for us.
When we say it’s perfect for us, we don’t mean it’s “perfect.” There are plenty of things that we would change. There are also some things about the place that are not ideal, but what we mean by “perfect for us” is recognizing what is better than we could ever imagine and recognizing that no place is going to be perfect. We canceled the second half of our trip and we didn’t even end up going to the Algarve, and this was the “enough” moment for us. We didn’t need to go looking for something else to compare it to.
Instead, what we did was use that second week to actually stay in a short-term rental in the neighborhood where we found the “perfect” long-term rental home. This was almost like a scouting trip within a scouting trip, where we were now asking, “What does it actually feel like to live in this neighborhood?” And… we absolutely loved it!
We decided to sign the rental agreement for the long-term home without having submitted our D7 Visa applications. We talked through the what ifs, but ultimately decided we would cross all those bridges if we didn’t get approved for the D7 Visas.
3. Immediate first steps: Getting a NIF and a bank account
You can’t actually sign a rental agreement in Portugal until you have what’s called your NIF (Número de Identificação Fiscal). A NIF is essentially your taxpayer number. For US folks, it would be like your Social Security Number, but only for tax purposes, not necessarily for your birth identification. Anyone can get a NIF in Portugal (even if you’re not a Portuguese citizen).
So you have to get a NIF and you have to get a Portuguese bank account. We looked this up and we found a service called Bordr that could assist us in getting both things virtually. This wasn’t a cheap service, but we were happy to have someone to help us do everything because doing things in a foreign country, in a foreign language, AND while traveling full-time, can be very cumbersome. Bordr helped us through the process all through email and we cannot recommend them highly enough!
It was worth every penny because everything was so well-organized by the Bordr folks. The only snafu that we ran into in the process was that they asked for a couple of proofs of address, and proof of name things.
💡 Random: One lesson we learned during that process is to make sure the name on your passport, including your middle name, matches your bank statements.
Because Caroline’s passport has her first name, middle name, and last name on it but our bank statements only had her first and last name, the folks at Bordr needed both to match exactly. That was a little bit of a roadblock where we actually had to open a new US bank account that had her full name on it.
💡 Life hack: We opened up a Wise account, which is actually helpful to have in Europe when you have a US bank account as well. Jason just opened it using Caroline’s first, middle, and last name. Opening the account was immediate, so as soon as it was done, we printed off the PDF statement and mailed it to Bordr.
It took us three days to get our NIF and then it took us about a month from start to finish to get our Portuguese bank account opened. Not too bad!
Just as a reminder, we didn’t have to go into any physical place, everything was was done online. The only physical thing we had to do was for the bank account set up, we had to print off the documents and mail those in.
We had lots of calls, three calls with different people, to ask questions about the application process.
We are researching the application at this point. There are inevitable questions that pop up so we had different people’s experiences:
- One is from a couple whose full-time thing is helping people do the application process. They’re called Expats Everywhere (if you want to check them out). Their YouTube videos have been some of the most helpful for us because they’re very similar to our circumstances as well, which really helped us.
- Then we had another call with a friend who had just been approved. That was much more from the perspective of someone who is navigating currently the move to Portugal just like us, which was also really helpful.
- Then finally we had a call with a lawyer as well. We didn’t hire them, but we just paid for their time to ask questions.
We think investing a little bit upfront and paying for someone’s time for an hour is worth it to help you avoid the headaches especially as we were traveling. We needed to not have any roadblocks and loved getting all our questions answered ahead of time.
Our situation was a little bit different because we are traveling full-time. We don’t have a physical home anywhere in the US. We had to figure out our travel timeline for:
- How we were going to get back to the US to submit our D7 Visa applications
- Go back to Portugal to live in our place in November; and
- Be back in the US to mail in our passport to get stamped with the approved visas
We had to figure out the travel timeline of when we would have to come back, but then we can’t stay in the US, because of tax purposes, for too long. (There’s a foreign income exclusion tax, which the US gives you on your federal taxes. Again, this is not tax advice. Please talk to your CPA. But if you’re out of the country for more than 330 days, you don’t pay federal income taxes, essentially.) That was a little bit of a limitation because then we can’t just wait in the US to be approved. On top of that, we started our rental agreement in November and we don’t want it to just sit empty.
We finally figured out this massive puzzle, which resulted in having to come back twice to the US: once, to submit the application. Then we’re going to go back to Portugal to be in our place on our standard tourist visa time. Then when our tourist visa runs out, we’ll come back to the US, hopefully we’ll be approved for the D7 Visas, and we have to mail in our passports to get them stamped with the visa.
💡 When you submit the application if you’re in the US, if you’re not planning on traveling, you CAN submit your passport with your application, and then you just wait, because it’ll take 30 to 90 days to get approved, and they’ll send your stamped passport back.
For us, people who are traveling full-time, we needed our passports with us. So we had to send a notarized copy, which they accept, but we do have to come back to the US so that we can then mail our passports in.
When we’re trying to do complex stuff like this, we always come back to the name of this podcast, What Is It All For? When you’re in the midst of stress, remind yourself, “What is the bigger picture that I’m working towards here?” And it’s to live in this beautiful place and to have this adventure and to have this exciting new chapter unfold in a new country, which we’re very excited about. So that helped us get through any of the tough parts, the confusing paperwork, or the stressful conversations.
4. The D7 Visa application submission
There are three offices in the US to submit your applications depending on where you live (San Francisco, New York, and Washington DC). We had been living in Southern California, so we would have had to go through the San Francisco office, where you have to actually go in person. However, because we were no longer residing in California and our businesses pay taxes out of Florida, Washington DC became our application office (where you can mail in your applications!)
Feel free to visit the VFS Global Website to learn more about what US office you need to use to submit your applications.
Now let’s talk about the application itself because we knew where we were going to be submitting it, but the application is not just one form…
Let’s go through each piece of the D7 application puzzle and let you know what we did. Again, this all could change and we actually don’t know if we got approved yet (lol).
✔️ Here is a checklist of what goes into the application for the Portugal visa process:
- Application in English
- Application in Portuguese
- Additional Passport Photo(s)
- Notarized copy of Passport
- Cover Letter/Personal Statement
- Travel Insurance Information
- Request for criminal record inquiry by the Immigration and Border Services (SEF)
- FBI Background Check
- Proof of Accommodation – 12-Month Rental Agreement
- Proof of Subsistence – Portuguese bank account
- Proof of Funds & Financial Assets
- Previous year’s Tax Return
- Flight to Portugal from the US
- Marriage Certificate
- Money Orders
There are many resources online, including the VFS Global Website which give you a list of the required items needed in your application.
5. Feelings about our move
(For Jason) It felt real when we signed the lease because even if we didn’t get approved for the visa, we’re still going to live there for three months at a time with a break in between. My (Jason’s) brain is already saying, we’re going to live there. It’s just a matter of, “Are we going to live there full-time or we’re going to live there in three-month chunks?”
As we’re typing this to you in Washington DC, we finished our D7 applications, submitted them, and have one week until we move into our new home in Portugal. I’m (Jason) so excited to get there, but I can’t fully enjoy it because we have logistics before that with travel and things and other stuff. So it’s hard to really look forward to our new lives just yet.
Also, 11 months in of full-time travel, you very much live in the moment, not just to enjoy it, but also because you’re like, “Oh, yeah, I’ve got to pack up all my stuff here. I got to think about getting us to this place, in this place, and getting on this flight.”
The time horizon that you’re thinking is, quite frankly, a week at a time.
(For Caroline) [I feel] so grateful that the visa process takes a couple of months because it has allowed me to process such a big decision. Remembering how it felt in August when we actually decided, I felt totally surreal and kind of knowing it was right in my heart because I wouldn’t have chosen it if it wasn’t, but I definitely felt this sort of, “Oh, no, I just hopped on a roller coaster, and I don’t know if I want to be on it, and I just hadn’t processed it yet.”
We think anyone can relate to that feeling when something big happens in your life, you need a little bit of time for it to sink in. And then the process of putting this application together has just allowed it to really sink in for me (Caroline) to really get excited. And now just a week and a half out from being in our place with the application submitted, I just feel as excited as ever, and I’m thinking, no longer in one-week increments. I am so excited about what it feels like to think at, like, a quarter, six months at a time. Like, wow, it’s so exciting. And so now I’m just excited.
Show Notes for Episode 148: The Portugal D7 Visa Process… Explained!
In this week’s ep, we broke down the entire visa process we’re going through to eventually end up with a residency permit (which lasts two years, renewable for another 3 years) and then hopefully becoming dual citizens in the U.S. and the EU [after 5 years]!
Whether you’re planning to move to Portugal or anywhere else in the world, maybe hearing us break down this entire process can help you with a big change in your life?? Or, it’ll just be entertaining to hear us go through all the silly steps.
Here are some helpful links we mentioned if you’re interested in learning more about the Portugal D7 Visa process:
NIF + Bank account setup: www.bordr.io
VFS Global website: visa.vfsglobal.com/usa/en/prt
Printscan for FBI Fingerprints: www.printscan.com/services/fbi-fingerprinting
Expats Everywhere YouTube channel (we bought their D7 Visa course too): www.youtube.com/c/ExpatsEverywhere
Portuguese lawyer we chatted with: eimigrante.pt/en
Full Transcript of Episode 148: The Portugal D7 Visa Process… Explained!
⬇️ You can also download the .TXT file of the transcript
Caroline: Welcome to What Is It All for? A podcast designed to help you grow your online business and pursue a spacious, satisfying life at the same time. We’re your host, Jason and Caroline Zook, and we run Wandering Aimfully, an unboring business coaching program. Every week, we bring you advice and conversations to return you to your most intentional self and to help you examine every aspect of your life and business by asking, What is it all for? Thanks for listening. And now let’s get into the show.
Jason: And I’m here too.
Jason: Hi there. Welcome to our podcast.
Caroline: Always interested to see…
Both: How it’s going to start.
Jason: 148 episodes in, you just never…?
Jason: Thank you for finishing my…?
Jason: Hello and welcome to our podcast. And this week we have a very, I think, interesting episode. Some people might just skip right past this one because, like, I don’t care at all about this process.
Caroline: Does not apply to me, whatsoever.
Jason: But I think it’s going to be very interesting to share. However, we’re not going to get right into that yet. We got a pramble.
Caroline: Back to the pramble, y’all.
Jason: For those of you been around for a while, we’re still traveling. Oh, gosh. It is kind of a pramvel.
Caroline: We’re just not traveling to new European countries, but we are going to basically be traveling through January.
Jason: Wow, man, this is really.
Caroline: It’s confusing. I know.
Jason: I think I need to take a moment to think about this. I’ve taken a moment. It’s still a pramvel.
Jason: I’m not the deciding factor, but I just decided for myself.
Caroline: I’ll take your lead.
Jason: Oh, nice. So we are currently, this is kind of fun now because we’re going to basically get to talk to you not in, like, weeks past of what we’ve been doing.
Jason: We are currently sitting in Northern Virginia, back in the United States.
Caroline: You’re almost real time right now.
Jason: Almost real time. So we flew back from Europe, where we last left you in the last episode, we were finishing up our Switzerland time.
Jason: After Switzerland, we had one week, just the way that the schedule shaped out to basically kind of like burn before moving back to the US.
Caroline: We had to sort of bide our time because there was a very particular schedule of when we had to come back into US, which we’ll talk about in this episode because logistics. You’re going to get lots of logistics here.
Jason: Lot of logistics in this episode. So the reason why we actually chose to go back to Lisbon after Switzerland was not just because we’ve been there and it’s comfortable and we know it, but because of flight prices. So as we were looking… and flight time, so we were trying to find us the shortest, most affordable route to get back from Europe to the US. And Lisbon, funny enough, we looked at Dublin, we looked at a bunch of other places. It was actually the cheapest and the quickest.
Caroline: It’s like, sign me up.
Jason: We love a–
Caroline: And we got to spend another week in the country we’re moving to.
Jason: Yeah. So just very quickly, we went back to Lisbon. We actually stayed in the exact same building on the exact same floor of the–
Caroline: As our first Airbnb of this whole trip.
Jason: We didn’t even know that when we first booked it.
Caroline: We didn’t realize that we booked it, and it was just a weird coincidence. So I think it was a good omen.
Jason: Oh, it’s fantastic. We got to see Manuel at Fabrica Coffee.
Caroline: Full circle.
Jason: It really was. So anyway, then we flew back. You did a fantastic job handling the flight.
Caroline: I really did.
Jason: We’ll see how it goes on the way overnight ’cause it’s during the day.
Caroline: But this was during the day flight. It was an 8-hour flight. It was the longest flight we’ve been on since my first terrible flight on the way over. But it was like a really cool, boss-level way to… boss-level, meaning, it felt like I was in a video game, and I had just reached the boss when I could try to beat again, having a year of practice.
Jason: Real quick, it’s like in Breath of the Wild Zelda, the first one. You’re Link. You barely have any supplies, and you meet a Savage Lynel. This is a gigantic sub-boss in this game, and it just destroys you.
Caroline: A sub-boss?
Jason: And that was you in the first flight over, the Savage Lynel. You had no weapons.
Caroline: The Lynel came at me.
Jason: You were just devastated.
Caroline: I was just a little baby Link.
Jason: Ten months later, you had every sword, every bow and arrow. You see a Savage Lynel, especially the silver ones, because they’re the weakest. And you just like it’s like nothing. You can parry. You switch weapons at all times. You’re doing jumping arrows, slow motion shots in the head shots, so you’re really getting the most damage possible. That Savage Lynel can’t handle you. For your Breath of the Wild fans, all of you sitting at home who play Breath of the Wild, you’re like, yes, I get this. Everyone else listening is like, what are you talking about?
Caroline: What are the words you’re saying?
Jason: We made it back. Like I said, I’m very curious to see how the flight back to Europe goes, because that you have to do overnight. I checked on you every twelve minutes, visually, of our flight from Lisbon to DC. We ended up in Dallas. And every twelve minutes, I looked over and I was just going to see, like, is she having a panic attack? Is she dying? Is she needing to go to the bathroom?
Caroline: And she was okay.
Jason: And you did such a great job.
Caroline: Thank you.
Jason: Also, I’m going to throw you under the bus.
Caroline: Oh, no.
Jason: My wife smuggled.
Caroline: Stop. Don’t. This is a real scary thing that I did.
Jason: Which isn’t scary whatsoever. It’s not scary at all. So right before we about to get on the flight, Caroline’s like, I think I might grab just like, a little wine from the shop.
Caroline: This isn’t right before. Let me be clear. This is we’ve just made it past the customs.
Jason: It’s a great idea for people who have flight anxiety just to take the edge off. It’s a great idea.
Caroline: Yeah. I have found that one quick glass of wine, like right before you board is a clutch move for me.
Jason: It’s a great move if alcohol is a thing that you consume and you’re okay with it.
Caroline: Exactly. And so it works for me. And so I found a little thing where you can just literally grab one of those single serving red wines from a cooler. I paid for it. Boom. For whatever reason, this flight decided to immediately start boarding. I thought we had a—
Jason: We were at the gate an hour before.
Caroline: An hour before. So… Anyway, so I don’t have time to even drink it, y’all.
Caroline: And so I go, what do I do? What do I do? And so I put it, I smuggle it in my backpack. And then I’m like, oh, no. And then I remember that, specifically, they tell you: you cannot bring your own alcohol onto the plane and drink it. If you buy something at Duty Free, you have to… There’s a whole process. And so you all know, I am such a rule-follower that I’m like, oh my God. I’m like–
Jason: This is going to be… You’re going to be deported.
Caroline: An Air Marshal is going to—
Jason: You’re going to end up in the back.
Caroline: Come up in my seat behind me. But then, secretly, I’m like Jason, what do I do? I’m like, maybe there’s a way that I can drink it while we’re just taxiing? And I’m like, no, that’s definitely recipe for getting caught.
Jason: That’s definitely like the worst thing you could do, yeah.
Caroline: Also, we sat on a bus to get to the plane jet thing for probably 45 minutes.
Jason: Definitely could have had it there.
Caroline: Definitely could have had it there. You imagine me though on the bus? And it’s like ten minutes. I’m like, Certainly, we’re about to start going. I’m like, Do I have it now? Do I have it now? And then I’m like, No, because then people are going to be looking at me. And then we’re about to leave. That goes by for 45 minutes. I still have this smuggled wine in my backpack. I get on the plane. I think some type of alarm is going to go off.
Jason: Yeah. Just like a scanner.
Caroline: Some time of scanner.
Jason: A wine scanner.
Caroline: I get to my seat, I’m like, they haven’t caught me yet. I’m like, what do I do? I’m like… and then so of course I don’t have it while we’re sitting on the– because again, a recipe to be caught.
Jason: Then you put your bag up so you then forget about it.
Caroline: Then I forget about it.
Jason: You forget it exists.
Caroline: Then we’re in the air. Then they pour me wine. Then I think to myself, should I get my wine down and just pour it into my glass? No one would ever know except for someone could catch me.
Caroline: The point is–
Jason: Patty would get an immediate phone call.
Caroline: Oh, then, so I don’t drink it, okay? I don’t drink it at all. Because then also at that point, I’m drinking…
Jason: Plane wine.
Caroline: Plane wine.
Jason: You got great plane wine.
Caroline: It’s fine. So we land after 8 hours, we land. And we have to go through customs. Thankfully, we had global entries.
Jason: Did you remember it was in your bag?
Caroline: I did once I saw an authority figure and knew that they were going to… some customs agent…
Jason: But they don’t check your bags. So, yeah.
Caroline: I don’t know what type of scanning devices they have, okay? But anyway, I hope you can picture me smuggling this wine across international waters into the US.
Jason: And just as a reminder, this is a travel-sized bottle of wine. It’s tiny. It’s literally one glass of wine in a bottle.
Caroline: My favorite part is I do forget about it at that point. We go stay at your grandparents house.
Jason: For a week.
Caroline: I’m unpacking my things in very limited quarters.
Caroline: And I see the wine and I’m like, oh, my God, I remember it existed. I put it on the side table, and I’m like, if his grandparents come in to do something, they’re going to be like, Is your wife smuggling wine in her backpack? The whole time I just keep it there. Then I don’t know what to do with it. So I repack it. When we come to this Airbnb, the wine makes it from a kiosk in the Lisbon airport to here in Alexandria, Virginia, and I keep it in the fridge for five days. And finally I go, I should have that wine. I pour it, I take a sip of it. It’s terrible. I throw it out.
Jason: That poor bottle of wine really went through the wringer to not even get enjoyed. At least it got opened, though. I feel like that bottle of wine was just happy. Like, Woo! I made it. I got opened. Fantastic. So hope you don’t mind me bringing that up.
Caroline: What a saga. I don’t.
Jason: Because it wasn’t in our notes and that was hilarious.
Caroline: Thank you for reminding me.
Jason: So as Caroline mentioned, when we landed in the US, we stayed with my grandparents for a week, and that was part of coming back here, seeing family, seeing friends. It’s really great to stay with family, but as we talk about often, if you’ve ever heard us say it, it’s really great to have stayed with family. And I think many of you can resonate with this. And I think even our family would resonate with this as well. Like, they’re sad to see us leave, but they’re also glad to see us leave because we’re all just very particular humans out here. And so when you stay at someone’s house, you get your own way of doing things. They have their own way of doing things. And one of the cutest things, though, besides facts, is the adorableness of my grandparents, who are nearing 80 years old, and they just have a house full of things. But my grandfather knows that I’m into coffee, and I’ve been keeping this daily journal throughout the entire year of travel, and they read it, like, every single day they look forward to it, which is amazing, and it’s why I write it. But they know that coffee is, like, such an experience for us. So when we show up, there is a cute Chemex waiting for us on the counter. And so for those of you who don’t know what a Chemex is. It’s this glass coffee pour-over device. It’s very nice, and it was a very nice gesture. But the thing about a Chemex is you can’t just, like.
Both: Throw coffee into it.
Jason: So he did buy filters, which was great, but there was no scale. There was also no coffee. And you have to grind coffee for Chemex different than you do for AeroPress and everything. So, anyway.
Caroline: And the key missing ingredient was…? No kettle.
Jason: No kettle. Thank you so much. I forgot because–
Caroline: That’s actually a key thing. I’m like, you actually don’t need a scale.
Jason: This is true. This is true.
Caroline: You actually don’t need–
Jason: You do need coffee.
Caroline: You do need coffee.
Jason: You do need filters. And you can kind of figure it out.
Caroline: You need hot water.
Jason: But you do need hot water. And I asked my grandmother, who has a kitchen full of things. You all have grandmothers. You know what this is like. I’m like, Grandma, you don’t have a kettle? She’s like, No. I’m like, you don’t ever drink tea? She’s like, No. I’m like, what do you heat up hot water? And she’s like, A little Pyrex thing. I’m like, Well, I’m not going to pour… you can’t do pour-over coffee with a Pyrex pouring device. So the next morning, I get up. I couldn’t sleep anyway. I’m up at 6:30. I’m scouring the local coffee shops. I find one that looks like it has an electric kettle in store because Target and other places weren’t going to be open for hours. And I was like, well, let me just go to a coffee shop. So I go there, I buy a kettle, and I swear I’m the only person who’s ever bought a kettle off the shelf in a coffee shop.
Caroline: Like, we’ve been waiting for you.
Jason: Exactly. So I bring it home. And then I also ordered a scale online, and that showed up like a day or two later. And so now, what’s great about if you go to Arlington, Virginia, and you swing by my grandparents house, my grandfather can pour and make you a Chemex pour-over coffee with everything.
Caroline: That was the cutest part. You started accumulating this little set up now to go along with the Chemex, and then you’ve got to teach him how to do it.
Caroline: And he is… one of my favorite things about your grandpa is he’s very curious and he loves learning things. And so it was very cute watching you give a tutorial, a coffee tutorial. So I don’t know. Who knows how often I’ll use it? But I think he will.
Jason: So we’re… I’m about to make the first cup, and he’s like, I don’t know if I’m going to really notice the difference between this and my espresso that I drink or the Starbucks that I drink all the time. He’s like, I like those Starbucks beans. And I’m like, Okay, first of all, stop it. Second of all, I think you’ll be able to tell the difference. And so he takes his first step and he’s like, Yeah, that’s delicious.
Caroline: It is delicious.
Jason: And that’s different. And he’s like, I don’t even need any sweetener or cream. And I’m like, exactly.
Caroline: You’ve converted him for sure.
Jason: So, anyway, we spent a good week in DC. We did a whole bunch of visa stuff, which we’ll get to. And then we moved over to Alexandria, which is just down the road in Northern Virginia. We’re staying in Old Town, which those of you who know the area–
Caroline: I’ve never been to Old Town Alexandria. It is very cute.
Jason: It very much does remind us of like a small European town where everything’s walkable. There’s lots of little cafes, lots of little shops. It’s very lovely, a lot of brick buildings.
Caroline: And then, of course, it’s Fall so it’s just all the beautiful leaves.
Jason: All the things. So, yeah.
Caroline: There was a dog trick or treating event yesterday.
Jason: Well, because as of recording this, it’s Halloween.
Caroline: It’s Halloween as we’re recording this, and so they were out on the streets and I just got to look at a bunch of doggos with their costumes.
Jason: When you came back, because I didn’t go with you, I was like, Please give me your top three. And you definitely had a top two, which was one was the spider dog, which had spider legs.
Caroline: The tiny dog and just his massive spider legs on both sides and it definitely was too big. But it was very great and not practical because people had to completely walk around the dog.
Jason: Which is fine.
Caroline: It doesn’t matter. And then the other one, which you’ve definitely seen before, but it was just a tiny dog. I think it was a Corgi, actually. I think I told you that.
Jason: Oh, was it? Oh, wow, that’s great.
Caroline: I think it was a Corgi. And it was one of those that has the horse with the cowboy on top, but the cowboys kind of like…
Jason: Flopping around?
Caroline: Flopping around like a bucking bronco. And man, that just made me happy.
Jason: So, yeah, we’ve been in DC for now almost two weeks, week and a half, and we’ve been able to enjoy a lot of the conveniences. We went to a Chipotle, we went to a Jamie’s Ice Cream. We got to go to some shopping places to stock up on toiletries and things that we haven’t been able to buy.
Caroline: I got my deodorant, which I cannot find in Europe. It’s just a solid… it’s the clear, solid deodorant. But they love their rollers over there.
Jason: They really do.
Caroline: I cannot get behind it. I’m sorry.
Jason: I know. We’re going to bring back a suitcase full of deodorant, which is going to raise some red flags, just like that one you try to smuggle in.
Caroline: Don’t tell them.
Jason: This lady, on your flags list. For me, it’s like, might do illegal things. For you it’s like, smuggles in wine and deodorant.
Jason: So, yeah, that’s our time in DC. And then next week, we’ll chat with you and give you a recap of our next stop, because we’re actually leaving tomorrow to go to another place.
Caroline: The whole point of why we’re in this area specifically is what we’re going to talk about on this episode, which is we had to come back to submit our visa application so that we would be legal residents of Portugal. And we’re going to walk you through that entire process in case you’ve ever… well, first of all, if you’ve never done any research into what does it take to become a legal resident of another country, specifically Portugal, we’re going to take you through the whole process. If you’re just curious about what that’s been like.
Jason: Yeah. And I think, for many of you, because we’ve heard this a lot, you might think, Why couldn’t you just go to the embassy in Portugal to do this? And that’s a great question. You can. However, the timelines are drastically longer, and the biggest thing is getting your FBI background check done, which we’ll talk more about later on.
Caroline: Which you have to do by submitting your fingerprints.
Jason: And you can do it at an embassy in Portugal. But we talked to a lawyer, and they said it takes, like, three to four months to get the results back.
Caroline: Well, ’cause it makes sense, right?
Caroline: You’re having to submit things from your home country, and so the processing time is like it’s just easier if you’re submitting that in the home country.
Jason: And it was incredibly easy.
Caroline: It was very easy. So let’s just start at the top, Jason.
Jason: Let’s do it.
Caroline: I want to do a quick disclaimer.
Jason: Let’s do it.
Caroline: Because I do not want to be–
Jason: Oh, my gosh. Hold on. Sorry. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. I keep forgetting. I can’t forget. Back to the pramvel, final, this is the epilogue of the pramvel. We go to breakfast with my grandparents. It’s worth it.
Caroline: I know. I understand.
Jason: We go to breakfast with my grandparents, and we find this cute little restaurant, and we sit down, and on the menu, the first thing that I see is cinnamon roll…
Both: As big as your head.
Caroline: And if that doesn’t say America, I do not know what does.
Jason: And if that doesn’t say Jason needs to order this, I don’t know what does.
Caroline: That’s right.
Jason: I ordered it. It was, in fact, as big as my head. It was, in fact, I think, the best cinnamon roll I’ve ever had in my life.
Caroline: It was delicious.
Jason: I think I could have had it the size of a quarter of it. It didn’t need to be as big as my head, but I got to eat it for, like, three days after that because I was not going to eat it all in one sitting, but portion sizes in America? Wow. But for all the cinnamon rollers and I’m so sorry, I know some of you have been emailing in lately and saying, like, Oh, I’m a cinnamon LOL-er, please add the tally.
Caroline: If you’re a cinnamon LOL-er…
Jason: I’m so sorry to tell you.
Caroline: You can’t get rid of us.
Jason: But it’s like…
Caroline: We still… we exist.
Jason: Listen, when an election happens, you can’t just come back and be like, oh, I want to add my vote and change who it is. You’re like, that’s not how this works, unfortunately. We got elected, the cinnamon rollers, and that’s who we are. So anyway, cinnamon rolls as big as your head. Had to bring that in.
Caroline: It’s smart of you to use democracy as an argument, because you’re right.
Jason: Yes. Okay, I’m so sorry I had to bring in that pramvel part into your disclaimer, but back to your disclaimer. I’m so sorry.
Caroline: That is okay. The disclaimer that I want to give before we get into the nitty gritty of what it was like to submit this visa application, is that I, in no way, shape, or form, would like to be an authority figure on any type of visa rules or regulations. All of this information changes all the time. So definitely use us as sort of like a dip your toe in, but do your own research if you too, want to.
Jason: This is what we did throughout this process, too, is we read so many people’s different experiences and things, and it was different between them. Also, the timelines were very different. So, yeah, I think this is just like if you’re especially applying to this specific visa in Portugal, use this as one data point to… than go off of doing this as the only one.
Caroline: Yeah, ’cause we heard lots of different things, and also, we’re in this Facebook group of people submitting their applications, and it is all over the map.
Jason: It really is. Also, this is not financial advice. Please don’t invest any of your money without any knowledge of your accounting firm.
Caroline: Good disclaimer.
Jason: And like all this.
Caroline: Let’s get into it. First and foremost, I’ll be the first one to admit that I had never… because obviously, I didn’t know I was ever going to move countries in my lifetime. I didn’t even know anything having to do with visas. I probably very ignorantly thought that it was just you can move anywhere.
Jason: And we are ignorant because we’re from the US. And our passport is very powerful. Our passport allows us to do a lot of things around the world, but many people’s passports don’t.
Caroline: Exactly. And so I just thought we could move to Ireland. We can move to Portugal. We can move to Switzerland. And as it turns out, no.
Jason: Not quite.
Jason: I mean, you could. You just couldn’t leave. You just would have to stay with your money.
Caroline: Everywhere has different rules. So if you were like me and you didn’t know very much, I’m happy to die on the sword and let you know.
Jason: Good. Bring the Breath of the Wild back. I like it. That’s Savage Lynel, yeah?
Caroline: The Lynel. I can’t remember the words. The Lynel. But let’s talk about the specific visa that we… so we did some research on visas in Portugal, and thankfully, we’ve known people who have moved. And so that’s what kind of gave us the idea of what the visas are. But Portugal has a whole slew of different visas that you can sign up for for different reasons. You can be like, you’re a student visa, you’re on this type of thing.
Jason: Retirement, like, all kinds of things.
Caroline: Yeah. So, for us, the visa that we specifically applied for is called the D7 long-stay visa. And it’s specifically for people who are either retiring or you have personal income, like you have remote personal income. And so meaning that you’re not going to be taking any jobs, so you’re not going to get a job when you get a Portugal. You have some income source, whether you’re living off of investments or whatever that is. And so for us, because we have only online businesses, we definitely fit into that category. So that’s what allows us to do that. I think two others that you might hear about are the golden visa. Do you want to explain that a little bit?
Jason: Sure. So the golden visa is a program that actually a bunch of countries in Europe have adopted and maybe other parts of the world as well, where essentially you’re injecting money into the economy and then they’re going to give you residency or a visa for that money that you injected. So for Portugal specifically, it started out with like a $250,000 investment into a residential home in certain areas because they wanted to build up infrastructure and economy.
Caroline: So you’re buying a house.
Jason: So you buy a house and then they would give you a visa for buying. That’s what’s called the golden visa that has since… it changes every year because they get so many people buying them and then the price goes up and then areas shut down. So the whole southern part of Portugal is called the Algarve, which is a very attractive part for people to move to, especially folks in like, the UK. But that golden visa program has basically stopped, and you have to be way inland to get any kind of golden visa opportunity. And a lot of people are hinting at that eventually the golden visa is just going to go away completely for residential because there’s enough resident, like $5 billion in residential economic growth has happened from this program.
Caroline: And that’s why you see a ton of new construction in different areas.
Jason: Exactly. But they are still doing it. You can actually still do it for commercial. So if you were a person who had, I don’t know, like a photography studio where you’re very upscale photography studio, and you wanted to buy a building for €300,000 to invest to make this huge photography warehouse, I don’t know what you’re doing.
Caroline: That would be a bad business move, just so you’re aware.
Jason: I mean, it depends on what you’re doing. You may have some really cool thing you’re doing, but that could still work because that could still do it. So anyway, the golden visa is very much, and it’s also you can start a company, you can invest in companies, but that’s a lot more money that you have to do. So when you hear the term golden visa, just think, I’m putting a lot of money into the economy. We don’t have a lot of money to put in the economy. So we had to go the D7 route.
Caroline: And then, finally, they just came out with, I think, a new visa, which we haven’t done a ton of research on. But it is sort of like a digital nomad visa. So obviously they’re picking up on this whole move to remote work. But the last I checked, I think it’s only a one-year residence permit.
Jason: That’s all it is. Yeah. It’s not a path to citizenship.
Caroline: It’s not a path to citizenship. Right. Hence the nomad part of it. If you just want to be in the country for a year and then you want to move on. But for us. For the D7 visa. Another reason why it’s so attractive is because the way that it works is if you get approved… first, basically, it’s like a temporary thing for four months. And when you get to Portugal, you have to have an appointment where they sort of like give you the seal.
Jason: Their governmental agency says, Come in. We review your paperwork that you submitted.
Caroline: Make sure you’re good.
Jason: Make sure you’re a person.
Caroline: And then when you do that, you basically get a two-year residence permit. And so we could stay there for two years. After the two years, you do another appointment where you can renew for another three years. And so at the end of that second renewal, it will have been five years, and that’s when you can start the path to apply for citizenship. And so what we like about that is we have the flexibility, where it’s like, maybe we only want to be there for one or two years, or if we really love it, maybe we’re there until we become citizens.
Jason: That’s kind of like I think one of the goals of this.
Caroline: Dual citizen, I should say.
Jason: Is that by the end… well, first of all, if we get approved for the visa, we get approved for the appointment in Portugal, which most people do the second part, if you get approved for the first part, you can travel anywhere in Europe unencumbered. You don’t have any limitation of time, because essentially you have, like, a temporary European passport, is what that gives you. So it’s really great, because for us, this year, we’ve had to only be in places for 90 days out of 108 days, that goes away completely. You don’t so we could live in Switzerland for three months if we wanted to. We’d lose all our money because it’s so expensive, but we could. And then the great part is, at the end of the five years, like you said, we take a citizenship test where you have to understand the basic language of Portuguese and be able to speak it. You have to like all these other things.
Caroline: Love tests.
Jason: You love a test. I hate tests. I will fail for sure. And then they give you a Portuguese passport, an EU passport. So then we would literally hold passports for the two countries, essentially. And if we have kids, which is the plan, we think, based on some recent information we’ve seen, that if we’ve stayed in Portugal for a year and we’ve applied for visas, our kids will have citizenship in Portugal when they’re born. They don’t have to do anything, which is kind of cool.
Caroline: Yeah, I have to do some follow-up research on that.
Jason: But what a cool thing as a kid to have dual citizenship when you’re born, you can go to Europe, you can go to the US. That’s amazing. That’s a really cool thing. They better thank us. Yes. Ahead of time.
Caroline: Be grateful.
Jason: Do babies thank their parents for things? I hear they do it via Poop.
Caroline: Yeah, one poop equals a thank you.
Caroline: It’s called gratitude poop.
Jason: So that should wrap up the what is the visa? What types are there? It’s the D7. That’s what we’re going forward to a path to citizenship in five years.
Caroline: Yes. So now let’s talk about the process. So we knew that was an idea, and then we’ve done the episodes previously about the scouting trip, but I just want to catch folks up if they don’t know about that.
Caroline: So Jason had this idea that he might want to move to Portugal.
Jason: I just wanted to move to Europe but Portugal was number one on the list because it was the one where I’ve heard other people move to.
Caroline: And because of the visa, which we went over. So we planned this scouting trip in August of this year, and I would highly recommend, if you are thinking of moving to a different country.
Caroline: Do a scouting trip, because you really want to know what does it feel like when you’re there, what areas? We even did this when we were moving to California from Florida. We flew out and did a scouting trip to look at neighborhoods that we wanted to potentially live in. And so it’s really helpful. So in August, we had this plan to do basically one week in what’s called the Silver Coast, which is kind of the western coast north of Lisbon, and then a week to do the Algarve, which Jason said is kind of the southern coast. And after the first week, we found this area, we did not go there thinking we were going to sign a lease.
Caroline: At all.
Jason: In fact, I was the person who’s very impatient and just wants to get things done and be done with it. I was very much going into it like, I don’t even know if I’m going to like these places. I just am curious to see what it’s like.
Caroline: Yeah. And the way that I thought it would work is we would go, if we did find an area that we liked, that would put us over the edge in terms of knowing that we wanted to move to Portugal, we would figure out the visa stuff, then we would figure out where we wanted to, like, actually sign a lease. However, that took a turn when we found our perfect rental place. When I say perfect for us, it is perfect for us.
Jason: And I think we talked about this when we were doing some episodes when we were in Portugal and the pramvels. But just to reiterate, there was this moment where we did the scouting. We looked at a place, we found this perfect rental, and we were sitting in the car, and we were basically just going, what more would we want in life?
Jason: At this point in our lives, this is absolutely fantastic. And I think that as the human existence goes, you can always be looking for like, yeah, but this could be better, or this could be better.
Caroline: Yeah. Because when I say it’s perfect for us, I don’t mean it’s perfect. I mean, there’s plenty of things that we would in our dream of dreams change or whatever, but…
Jason: Like, it doesn’t have a trampoline.
Caroline: Oh, my God, and we really need a trampoline.
Jason: I need… I have two fake ACLs I need to tear through.
Caroline: No, but I mean, there are plenty of things about it that are not ideal, but what I mean by it’s perfect for us is recognizing what is better than you could ever imagine, recognizing that no place is going to be perfect.
Caroline: And so once we realized that, to Jason’s point, he was like, well, first of all, why don’t we cancel the second half of our trip? So we didn’t even look at the Algarve, and this was kind of like, enough moment for us, saying, like, this place is enough. We don’t need to go looking for something else to compare it to. And instead, what we did was we used that second week to actually stay in the neighborhood that we found the rental in. They had, like, short term rentals. So the scouting trip was like, find the areas, make sure you like it. And then this was almost like a scouting trip within a scouting trip, where it was like, what does it actually feel like to live in this neighborhood? And we absolutely loved it.
Caroline: So then we were sort of like, oh, no, do we sign a lease?
Jason: Yeah. And this is kind of scary because at this point, it’s August, it’s not now, when we’ve submitted our visa paperwork, we haven’t even started that process yet. Now, granted, we did have… some things that were on our side where there’s a lot of people that we have seen in, like, the Facebook groups and things that have been approved for the visa who are very much in our similar circumstance.
Caroline: It’s not like, arbitrary where they’re choosing, like, Oh, you’re denied. You’re approved. It’s like, if you have these components…
Caroline: You’ll be fine.
Jason: And truthfully, if we’re just being totally honest, they just want to know that you’re not going to be a burden on the economy.
Jason: So they want to know you have enough money saved up that you can last I think it’s like a year or two of their minimum wage, which, by the way, is like $9,000 a year. So it’s not a ton, but it’s a good amount of money to have. Yeah. We decide to sign the rental agreement. We don’t have visas yet. We don’t even have applications submitted. But we just had a conversation of, okay, what’s the worst thing that would happen if we didn’t get visas? So our travel visa that we have, being US citizens grants us three months out of six months. So we could basically live in our place for three months. Then for another three months we would have to be outside of the Schengen region. So we would maybe live in Ireland for three months? I know that would be a lot logistically, but we just talked it through and we’re like, it wouldn’t be terrible.
Caroline: Yeah. For us, the risk benefit wasn’t… like the risk was not as great as it seemed at first.
Jason: Especially going off of ten months of full-time travel in like twelve different countries and all these different places.
Caroline: I’m like, I could definitely stay in a place in three months and move.
Jason: One year for three months…
Caroline: More nomadic, yeah.
Jason: A little bit.
Caroline: And then also what did convince me as well is when you submit the visa application, they actually want to see that you have accommodations for twelve months.
Jason: It’s not even want, it’s have to.
Caroline: Well, yeah, there’s some wiggle room in terms of showing a couple of long-stay Airbnbs and things, but yeah, one of their requirements is show us that you have accommodations for twelve months. And so I thought to myself, well, that’s done. That was kind of the thing that kicked it off. And the rental agreement started in November.
Caroline: Which is something that we negotiated. We said, can you start…? Because we were looking at it in August. We signed, but started in November. Great. So that’s when kind of things then get kicked off. Right. Because now we found a place. We know we want to move. Now we have to go through the process of making it happen.
Jason: Yeah. So the next step in the process is really the first step, maybe even before signing a rental agreement, I think, which would be…
Caroline: Yeah, ’cause they said you can’t actually sign the rental agreement until you have what’s called your NIF.
Jason: Yeah. So you need to get a NIF, which is NIF, which I don’t remember what the actual acronym stands for, but it’s essentially like your taxpayer number. So, you know, for US folks, it would be like your Social Security Number, but only for tax purposes, not necessarily for like, your birth number. But anyone can get a NIF. So even if you’re not a Portuguese citizen, you can get a NIF because I think they’re just happy to have people who might be paying taxes in Portugal to get this number.
Caroline: I think maybe you’re right that it’s a tax number.
Jason: Yeah, it is, because a lot of times you have to give it at like, grocery stores and things. Not all the time, but sometimes you do.
Caroline: I think it’s sort of like your identification number. I don’t know if it’s directly tied to taxes but I know that you have to use it when you pay taxes.
Jason: It’s a lot tied to taxes from my research. But anyway, so you have to get a NIF and you have to get a Portuguese bank account. And so we looked this up. We heard from some folks who did this themselves. They went into banks, they went into things, and we had a very short amount of time left in Portugal. And so we were like, we kind of need someone to help us do this. And we found a service called Border. This wasn’t a cheap service, but we were just happy to have someone to help us do everything. Because anybody who knows when you’re doing stuff in a foreign country, in a foreign language, it can be very cumbersome. And also it’s not like wildly expensive. But they helped us through the process all through email.
Caroline: It was phenomenal. Like, I cannot recommend enough. It was worth every penny because everything was so well-organized. For starting a process that is very you kind of feel like you’re getting dropped in the deep end, it was very like, here’s what you do next, here’s what you do next. The only snafu that we ran into in the process was that they asked for a couple of proof of address, proof of name things. And my passport has my beginning, middle, or my first name, my middle name and my last name on it. But our bank statements only had my first and last name and they need it to match exactly. So that was a little bit of a roadblock where we actually had to open an account.
Jason: Life hack. We opened up a Wise account, which is actually helpful to have in Europe when you have a US bank account as well.
Caroline: And you just opened it using my first, middle and last name.
Jason: And it was immediate, so as soon as it was done, I could print off the PDF statement and ship it to them.
Caroline: That was perfect. And I commend you for that quick thinking on your feet. And so anyway, they made the whole process amazing. I did, just in case anyone’s curious, it took us three days to get our NIF, which was–
Jason: Very fast.
Caroline: Very fast. And then it took us about a month start to finish to get the bank account open.
Jason: And just as a reminder, we didn’t have to go into any physical place.
Caroline: Yeah, it was all virtual.
Jason: All online. The only physical thing we had to do was for the bank account set up, we had to print off the documents. And then when we were on a Zoom call, she watched us, someone watched us sign, a lawyer watched us sign the documents and she was so helpful to walk us through everywhere we needed to sign and fill out. But that was it. Then we just had to ship that off.
Caroline: Exactly. So you do then you have to go physically to a post office and ship the documents.
Jason: We recommend the post office in downtown Leicester. It worked out well for us.
Caroline: Leicester, United Kingdom. That was great. So that was the beginning. So got the NIF, got the bank account. Then during this whole time so this is now September. During this time, where we’re getting those steps together and we’re also getting the rental agreement signed, we are also doing a few things. Number one, we’re having lots of calls, three calls, I think, with different people to ask them questions about the application process. So we’re researching the application at this point. There are inevitable questions that pop up. We had different, like as Jason said at the beginning of this episode, we have different people’s experience. One is from a couple who like their full-time thing is helping people do the application process.
Jason: They’re called Expats Everywhere if you want to check them out. I’ll leave a note because I think or I’ll leave a link in the description to their YouTube channel because their videos have been some of the most helpful for us because they’re very similar to our circumstance as well, which really helped us see, like, okay, you were coming from Florida. It’s like, that was helpful for us. And we lived in California before this, but we paid taxes in Florida for a long time. And because we don’t have a home anymore, Florida was our place, which we’ll get into more of that in a second.
Caroline: Yep. And then we had another call with just a friend who had just been approved. And so that was much more of like just from the perspective of someone who doesn’t… who just is navigating it just like us, which was really helpful. And then we had a lawyer as well. So that was more of they actually handled doing the process for people. So we didn’t hire them, but we just paid for their time to ask questions. So these were all helpful. And again, I think investing a little bit up front and in paying for someone’s time for an hour is worth it to help you avoid the headaches of especially as we were traveling, we just needed to not have any roadblocks.
Jason: Yeah, and I think I’m going to kind of, like, breeze through these next two points. But our situation was just a little bit different because we are traveling full-time. We don’t have a home stay anywhere in the US. So when we were talking to especially, like the lawyer, who else were like, do we have to go back to the US to do this? And she was like, well, that’s where we kind of learned about, like, you could submit your fingerprint to the embassy, but it would take four months. But if you go back to the US, it’s faster and all these things. So if you’re in the US and you’re thinking about doing this, your life is going to be so much easier because you just do the things, submit them, whether you’re doing it in San Francisco, DC, or New York, and you’re going to follow the steps, and it’s not going to be difficult. For us, we had to figure out, okay, we have to come back, but then we can’t stay in the US because of tax purposes for too long.
Caroline: Right, because then you would think, okay, well, just come back and kind of just wait until you get approved, and then you can go be in Portugal. Well, for two reasons. Number one being the tax things that we can’t be in the States for too long.
Jason: Just very quickly, for those of you who really care, there’s a foreign income exclusion tax, which the US gives you on your federal taxes. And again, this is not tax advice. Please talk to your CPA. But if you’re out of the country for more than 330 days, you don’t pay federal income taxes, essentially.
Caroline: Which you can imagine being doing a full year of travel, we’ve come all this way, it would really be not fun to be…
Jason: And we didn’t even know this existed, like, our CPA told us, because he was like, well, how long are you gonna be gone? We’re like, oh, a year but we might come back, like, a month. He’s like, Whoa, hold on. Here’s this thing like, oh, okay, well, now we need to figure out how to do that.
Caroline: So that was a little bit of a limitation, because then you can’t just wait here to be approved. And on top of that, as you know, we started our rental agreement in November, and we don’t want it to just sit empty. So long story short, this was a big puzzle we had to figure out.
Jason: It really was.
Caroline: It took three days. We’re in Leicester. We’re like…
Jason: Oh, we had so many lists of options.
Caroline: We were like, okay, that plan works for this reason, but doesn’t work for this reason. What if we get approved? All these things. So we finally figure out this massive puzzle, which did result in having to come back twice, basically.
Jason: To the US.
Caroline: Once, to the US to submit the application, which is this is our first trip here. Then we’re going to go back, as you know, to be in our place on tourist visa time. Then when our tourist visa runs out, we’ll come back. And that is also because hopefully we’ll be approved, and we have to mail in our passports to get it stamped with the visa.
Jason: Yes,, which is an important part. So, yeah, there are actually two ways you can do that. When you submit the application, if you’re just in the US. And you’re not planning on traveling, you can just submit your passport with your application, and then you just wait, because it’ll take 30 to 90 days to get approved, and they’ll send your passport back. For us, people who are traveling, we need our passports with us. So we had to send a notarized copy, which they accept but like you said, we do have to come back to the US so that we can then mail our passports in. Technically, could we have mailed them from the embassy in Portugal if we wanted to? Yes, there is a way to do that, but also, it’s very hairy because they really don’t like you mailing your passports, because if they get lost, it’s a huge thing not to do. Anyway.
Caroline: So there were many conversations, there were many frustrations, there were many trying to figure out this big puzzle. But I think we navigated it really well. And I think we always, when we’re trying to do stuff like that, we always just come back to the name of this podcast, What Is It All For? And so when you’re in the midst of stress, reminding yourself, what is the bigger picture that I’m working towards here? Why am I jumping through all these hoops? And it’s to live in this beautiful place and to have this adventure and to have this exciting new chapter unfold in a new country, which we’re very excited about. So that helped us get through that kind of tough part. And then it was a matter of booking all the travel once we had the puzzle pieces in place.
Jason: Oh, my gosh, yeah.
Caroline: And then that was about the time that we got the bank account secured, we got the rental agreement secured. So then it was like, time to start putting together the application, which we’ll get into now. If you’re curious of, like, what goes into this application, and…
Jason: So the first thing is you need to know where your application is being submitted and what you have to do. So there are three offices. Depending on where you live, you have to choose one of these offices. So had we been living in Southern California, we would have had to…
Caroline: Go through the San Francisco office.
Jason: Through the San Francisco office, where you have to actually go in person. You have to set an appointment, you have to meet with a person. And from what we hear, it’s not like that bad. It’s just a pain if you don’t live in San Francisco. You have to get there. You have to bring all your stuff, everything. If you live kind of in the southern east of the US, your jurisdiction, your office is DC. But the good thing about DC is you can mail in your application. You don’t have to actually go and do an appointment.
Caroline: Which was just extremely lucky on our part because that gave us so much added flexibility. Because before, when we thought we had to do in person, trying to pick a date not knowing what we were going to have to do on the ground, not knowing how long our FBI background check would take to come back. There’s this mail in aspect to it. It was so… just the timeline was really tricky. So the mail in aspect was so much flexibility because we just said, okay, as soon as we get the FBI background check in the mail, we can mail in the application.
Jason: Yeah. And so the great part for us is that coming back to DC, being in my grandparents place, we could put the entire application together, literally have it ready. And if the background didn’t come, we could just have the envelope sitting there for my grandparents to slip the background check into, seal up and drop off at a FedEx place.
Caroline: We ended up not having to use that option, but it was great that we had it as a backup.
Jason: Yeah. And then the third location is New York. So San Francisco, DC, or New York? And you can look this up on the Portuguese visa website. They’ll tell you which one you have to go to and what you have to do. So anyway.
Caroline: VFS global, right, is where you go?
Jason: I’ll leave a link in the show notes for that as well. Somehow I’m going to remember all these links in the show notes. Now let’s talk about the application itself, because we knew where we were going to be submitting it. We had done all the research, and by we, I mean you, of all the things that we had to put into the actual application itself, because it’s not just one form, it’s a lot of other things that go into it.
Caroline: And again, these things might change. And also, keep in mind, we haven’t been approved, so if we did, it totally wrong. But they listed out on the VFS website.
Jason: And if you’re investing in cryptocurrency, please don’t sue us if it goes down.
Caroline: So, first and foremost, you need the application itself. So this is just like a form that you can download. We got a little bit of mixed reviews on whether you needed to submit it in Portuguese or English. So what we did was the one that they have on their website is the English version. So we downloaded that. We filled that out.
Jason: When we talked to the lawyer, the lawyer said they appreciate if you include the Portuguese one.
Caroline: The Portuguese version.
Jason: If we’re applying for a very important document, let’s do everything we can.
Caroline: Anything they would appreciate.
Jason: That they would appreciate.
Caroline: So what we did was we did the English version. We also downloaded the Portuguese…
Jason: It’s three pages, by the way.
Caroline: Yeah. It’s a 3-page application. Some of the things are kind of tricky. I did find a, if you Google, like, how to fill out application because there were a few things I wasn’t sure about. And I found a Facebook video of a guy going line by line through the application. Specifically, I think it was for Nigerian students who were applying. But he went through a lot of the things that I was curious about. So that was really helpful. So if you want to Google that, that will be helpful.
Caroline: We also needed passport photos.
Jason: Yeah. So yeah, they’re technically not passport photos because they’re the residency cards.
Jason: Yeah. But you go and you get passport photos taken at a CVS, a Walgreens, UPS store or wherever, and then you trim them down because they’re actually a different size in Europe.
Caroline: Yeah, that’s tricky.
Jason: Thankfully, My grandparents had a ruler that was in millimeters.
Caroline: Yeah, they asked for the Portuguese size, so I had to trim them. But we were able to do that at the UPS store. We’ll go through our UPS…
Jason: Win. Victory.
Caroline: Victory. But a lot of this we were able to do.
Jason: The UPS store, really quickly.
Caroline: Is a sponsor. I’m kidding.
Jason: No, in Breath of the Wild, when you end up at the little horse stables where you can buy a bunch of different supplies…
Caroline: That’s the UPS store in our metaphor.
Jason: That’s the UPS store ’cause it’s all right there. There we go. Coming back. And the sub-boss is called…?
Caroline: The sa–
Jason: Nice. Congratulations. Notarized copy of our passport because we were not going to ship our passports in.
Caroline: That’s right. So then you could include your passport but we were traveling. So we did a notarized copy, and they have a notary at the UPS store, so we got those done there as well.
Jason: Again, the horse stable, so many other things.
Caroline: And then a personal statement. So in this statement is basically just a Word doc where you’re saying…
Jason: Excuse you, it is not a Word doc.
Caroline: A Google doc.
Jason: Please don’t say that.
Caroline: It’s a Google doc that we’ve made. But it’s just basically like, why do you want to move to Portugal? How do you plan to support yourself while you’re there? We included a couple of friends that we knew that live in Portugal, just to show that we have ties to the community. Our goal to learn the language, things like that. And that’s just one page. It was like three paragraphs. Not going overboard there. Then you need to submit insurance information. So we have travel insurance. They want to just make sure that you are covered for should anything happen.
Jason: Honestly, for my research, the thing that was most important was the repatriation. So if you for some reason were to pass while you’re in Portugal, that your insurance would cover sending your remains back to your home country, which is a very weird thing, but also I could see why the country is like, we don’t want to pay for your dead body.
Caroline: That’s just the truth.
Jason: That’s the truth.
Caroline: Then there’s a form that is just called the request for criminal record inquiry by the Immigration and Border Services. And it’s a one page form that you can find that I believe just gives them permission to do kind of their–
Jason: Their own background check on you in Portugal, which won’t exist.
Caroline: Exactly. Okay. So then the big one is you need an FBI background check, a very specific one.
Jason: This sounds scary. It sounds like you’re going to have to go into an FBI office. They’re going to slap on the gloves. You’re going to go into a glass room. You can’t see through the glass. Is that opaque or transparent? I can never remember and it’s going to be like 2 hours of misery. But what in fact is that you go into a UPS store, you scan your fingerprints on a digital scanner, you submit a couple of boxes and then literally like 30 minutes later you get a piece of one page emailed to you. I thought, when someone says FBI background check, I just need everyone to know if anyone’s with me.
Caroline: You’re picturing someone in a trench coat shows up with like a Manila, like folio.
Jason: But it’s thick. It’s a thick folio of results of my entire life, 40 years, every single thing I’ve ever done. The tattoo parlor I got my tattoo in when I was 17.
Caroline: The time you cheated in fourth grade.
Jason: The Wendy’s Frosty that I threw in a mailbox when I was 14 and a jerk.
Caroline: You did not…?
Jason: I mean, obviously I didn’t get caught for it, but I know the FBI knew.
Caroline: I hope you felt guilty.
Jason: I still feel guilty. It’s why I don’t eat Wendy’s Frostys. I thought it was all of these things. Everybody, it is not. It is one piece of paper that says, “Jason has not committed a crime.” That’s it.
Caroline: He was so disappointed.
Jason: I was like, I was going to get some more deets.
Caroline: Some more deets of myself.
Jason: I get a lot of speeding tickets. At least, write those down, but say I’m a good person now because I haven’t done them in a while. Anyway, it’s one page and then they send you in the mail, a sealed copy as well.
Caroline: So the tricky part is Jason’s referring to they email you the copy where you can see it, but they mail you the enveloped copy. And the whole thing is you don’t open the envelope because if you do, you have to get it like a possible… anyway, don’t open the envelope.
Jason: Do not open.
Caroline: Just get it in the mail and you put it in the application.
Jason: I picture someone listening to this as they’ve gone through this whole process and they’re about to tear the FedEx envelope open. They’re like, oh no, this is one person.
Caroline: Exactly. But that was the thing… I do want to say, we used a service called Print Scan.
Jason: Oh yeah. I found this service that made it really easy. And I don’t know if there’s a better way to do it, but this is the one that I found that’s made it so simple.
Caroline: You can definitely check out information on Print Scan and they’ll tell you the locations where you can do this.
Jason: Maybe what I’ll do is instead of all these different links, maybe there’s a way we can just take the Notion page that you put together with all of our to-do lists.
Caroline: I have to clean it up. It’s like–
Jason: Uh, well, we’ll fight about this after the podcast. Really helpful for folks though.
Caroline: I understand. I want to be helpful.
Jason: And there are three people who are listening to this that might be interested in it.
Caroline: You might be able to convince me to do that after our appointment today.
Jason: Proof of accommodation is the next.
Caroline: So the proof of accommodation. So we just included our rental agreement, which is great because we had a rental agreement.
Jason: And for those of you who might be thinking like, oh, what if I don’t have a rental agreement? Can I still send my visa application in? You can, but you do have to book something for up to twelve months. So you have to have something that is showing in good faith that you’re–
Caroline: I do think some people have shown just three to four months of long-stay accommodations.
Jason: Not what I heard, but again, this is why you don’t go off of just our advice. You can look more into this. The goal for this is because Portugal wants to see that you’re serious about coming and staying somewhere. So you already are planning on staying somewhere. It’s not just you’re going to show up and figure it out.
Caroline: And figure it out.
Jason: Because again, that puts a burden on the economy and things like that. They want to know, hey, you’re taking the time to plan to invest in this and do it.
Caroline: Right. So that was great because we already had the rental agreement. So then they call it your proof of subsistence. So this is what Jason was referring to, of proving that you have at least enough money to cover like a year’s salary. I think it’s either one year of their kind of minimum wage for one person, or 1.5 times if you’re a couple.
Jason: And if you have kids, it’s like point 3 for every kid.
Caroline: Right. So that amount of money. So you kind of have to show that you have that.
Jason: So just to give you numbers, because that sounds really silly. It’s basically $9,000 a year for one person. For one person.
Caroline: One person.
Jason: It’s $13,000 per year for a couple. And that’s, again, covering the minimum wage income that you would earn in Portugal. And you have that in a bank account, a Portuguese bank account, not your bank account, so that they can see that it’s there, you can have access to it, and it can cover you.
Caroline: Great. So because we had our Portuguese bank account, from the first part of the process, we were able to transfer money and show that. And then on top of that, because we’re applying for the D7 Visa, we also want to show that we have personal income, ongoing. So we did some bank statements of our accounts that we have, our business accounts. We also showed what our ongoing business income is, recurring income. And then, just for good measure, we also put in our previous year’s tax returns so they can verify.
Jason: Also, we put in our investment accounts, our savings accounts, our life insurance accounts. So, again, just thinking about this from the Portuguese government standpoint, they don’t want you to be a burden on the economy. They don’t want you to take jobs from Portuguese people. So the more assets you can show, the better off you are having a chance of doing this.
Caroline: We just threw everything on it.
Jason: And when we talked to the lawyer who, again, helps people do this, basically when we told her that we had X amount of money in savings, which is not like an astronomical amount, she was like, you’ll be fine. That’s all they care about. But we just wanted to make sure we’re only going to do this visa process once. Like, let’s show them everything we have.
Caroline: Then, this is also not mandatory, but we did also show our flight back to Portugal.
Jason: Yeah, we’ve heard mixed reviews on this. I still don’t think this was necessary. I’m just saying this for someone who might be like, oh, do I have to do this? I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary. But we did do it because we already had the flight booked.
Caroline: And we have heard that some people say, depending on when you book your flight for, this can also act as sort of like a deadline for them. If you want to try to get it in under 60 days, book a flight that’s at the end of those 60 days, and that way someone who’s processing your application goes, hey, I should probably get this in before that person has to go on a flight. But don’t do it, like, in three weeks when you submit your application, because that’s just going to be…
Jason: Unless you’re risky and want to get the bisky.
Caroline: Jason was trying to do that, and I was like, don’t do that to them.
Jason: I was like, let’s put a little pressure on this government system. That’d be fun.
Caroline: I also don’t think this was mandatory, but we also included our marriage certificate because we applied separately. But then we just mentioned each other in our personal statement, and so his name was all over mine, mine was all over his. And so then I just included our marriage certificate.
Jason: And it wasn’t a certified copy or anything. It was just a printed copy. That’ll be fine. It also helped me to remember how to spell my biological last name because I only had it for a short amount of time and I forget what it was.
Caroline: Great job. And then finally, you do have to include money orders, which is the thing I had never filled out before in my life.
Jason: Yeah, these are really silly.
Caroline: We just had to go to a post office and get three money orders for each of us. So they have them listed as under the fees on the VFS Global website. But there’s various fees. You have, like, one for the processing fee, one for the application fee, and then one for the courier fee.
Jason: Yeah, which is basically FedExing it back to your address. So that is every single piece of paper that we filled out, printed, set up, downloaded, got, put into an envelope.
Caroline: We did include tabs.
Jason: We did include little labeled tabs. You did create a table of contents. You did mention that. But we really went extra. And they’re either going to love us for it or they’re going to hate us for it.
Caroline: I just want anything I can do to make this more organized for a person I’m going to try to do.
Jason: Imagine we get an email back and they say, this has been rejected because you put sticky tabs on it. What would you feel in that process?
Caroline: I would go drink my airplane wine.
Jason: Siphon it out of the sink. I think with any of these big, huge, kind of like life changes with especially a lot of paperwork and bureaucracy type things, it can really get you down throughout the process of the excitement of the actual thing you’re doing this for.
Jason: And I think for us along the way, like we said, we’ve been working on this… are you leaving? Just really getting up.
Caroline: My back hurts. Micro injuries, man.
Jason: We’ve been working on this since August, and so as of recording this, it’s the last day of October. It’s been a lot of work. It’s not like we’ve worked on every single day, but there’s just a lot of research, a lot of things, and it kind of does bog you down a little. But I can tell you that, as boring as it was to watch you fill out all this paperwork, because I wasn’t going to fill it out. I’ll mess it up. But I did watch you do it all. As awesome as it was to watch you slide that last bit of paper in, seal up that envelope, tape our shipping labels to it, and then drop it off at the FedEx store to be shipped, that felt great. And I don’t know if we’re going to be approved, but it did feel really good to finally chip away that part of this process and know that’s done.
Caroline: Yeah. And honestly, again, we don’t know if we’ve been approved. I expected a lot more roadblocks in this last part.
Jason: Well, let’s knock on some wood. Dear heavens, Caroline. Yeah.
Caroline: Because I think we did put so much preparation into it, and then by the time we got to the UPS store, where we did the background check, the notarized copies, the passport photos, we finished all of that. And then we had already done the previous work leading up to it. So that week of putting the application together, I think went so smoothly because we had done research. I was picturing us running around town trying to…
Jason: Yeah. The UPS store was really a saving grace, because, again, there’s a notary there.
Caroline: This is not sponsored by UPS.
Jason: There’s the passport photo thing, there’s the print scan to do the FBI background check. Like, we were able to do so much in one spot. And we had such a helpful person who also realized we printed, like, my grandparents’ printer, which was a new printer, not an old printer, which you would expect. It scaled the page up so there wasn’t room for his notary stuff. So he was like, oh, just email me the PDF. I’ll reprint this page. It’s just so helpful to be at a place where you could get those things done.
Caroline: So to wrap up. That’s the process.
Jason: That is the process.
Caroline: In case you’re curious.
Jason: Now we wait.
Caroline: Now we wait. We will get an email.
Jason: At some point.
Caroline: At some point saying we’ve been approved, then we will come back to the US. We will mail in our passports, they will stamp it, we will fly back, we will have our appointment on the other side to make it official. And that’s the process. Let’s wrap up here with just, like, your overall feeling about…
Jason: Well, I kind of just shared mine, so go ahead.
Caroline: Oh, that was your feeling about the process? But how do you feel now that we’ve submitted it about, have your feelings changed about moving to Portugal? And, like, does it feel real?
Jason: Honestly, it felt real when we signed the lease, because to me, that was like, even if we don’t get approved for the visa, we’re still going to live there for three months at a time with a break in between. And so my brain is already like, we’re going to live there. It’s just a matter of are we going to live there full-time or we’re going to live there in three month chunks? Chonks. And I think as we’re sitting here in DC, we finished the application, we basically have, like, a week and a half until we’re going to be sitting in our new place, our new home in Portugal. I’m so excited to get there, but I can’t, like, fully enjoy it because we just have logistics before that with travel and things and other stuff. So it’s hard for my brain to really look forward to that. And I think also, ten months of full time travel, you very much live in the moment, not just to enjoy it, but also because you’re like, oh, yeah, I’ve got to pack up all my stuff here. I got to think about getting us to this place, in this place and getting on this flight.
Caroline: Yeah. Your time horizon that you’re thinking in is, quite frankly, a week at a time.
Caroline: For an entire year, it’s a week at a time. And even if you’re planning travel for three months away, you’re not thinking about it until a week at a time. So that’s exciting.
Jason: Please tell us about how you’re feeling.
Caroline: My feelings? I would love to. Thank you for asking. I am so grateful, actually, that the visa process takes a couple of months because it has allowed me to process such a big decision. And I remember how I felt August, when we actually decided. I felt totally surreal and kind of like, am I making…?
Jason: A little blindsided?
Caroline: I knew it was right in my heart because I wouldn’t have chosen it if it wasn’t, but I definitely felt this sort of like, oh, no, I just hopped on a roller coaster, and I don’t know if I want to be on it, and I just hadn’t processed it yet. I think anyone can relate to that, of, like, when something big happens in your life, you need a little bit of time for it to sink in. And then the process of putting this application together has just allowed it to really sink in for me to really get excited. And now we’re just, like, a week and a half out from being in our place with the application submitted, and I just feel as excited as ever, and I’m thinking, no longer in one week, increments. I am so excited for what it feels like to think at, like, a quarter, six months at a time. Like, wow, it’s so exciting. And so now I’m just excited. Like, I really am just excited. I know we’re going to have difficulties.
Jason: Of course.
Caroline: But the fear and the uncertainty has gone down in my mind so significantly.
Jason: Yeah, well, we will keep you posted. Excited that the next episode that we record will probably be from our new home, I think.
Caroline: I think so, too.
Jason: I think it will. Just because we’ve got a weird week of travel coming up. You’ve got a girlfriend’s trip that’s going on. We then are going to fly to three different places to then get back over to Europe.
Caroline: Everybody, put out good vibes for my 8-hour overnight flight.
Caroline: That’ll be the real–
Jason: I think it’s actually 7 hours from where we’re going because we’re actually flying. For those of you who sticked around this long, you care about these end bits. We’re actually flying from Boston to Lisbon, and we chose that specifically because it was.
Caroline: The shortest.
Jason: 1 hour shorter, even from Dallas to fly. And so it was easier. Like, oh, we’ll just take the domestic flight here, spend that time, spend a night at a hotel, then fly the next day and do the long, longer leg as short as possible, especially because it’s overnight.
Caroline: What’s the next boss? Not the sub-boss. The boss boss.
Jason: Yeah, I mean, there’s different colors of Savage Lynel to get much harder.
Caroline: Okay but what’s the boss boss? You said it was a sub-boss.
Jason: Yeah. No, I know. The Savage Lynel is… I mean, it’s definitely the little… he’s the guy that has, like, the vertical… I can’t remember his name, but he’s like the boss boss at the end.
Caroline: You don’t remember his name after all that?
Jason: No, because you only find him one time. You find a Savage Lynel, like, 50 times.
Caroline: Okay. What’s the different Lynel?
Jason: The Golden Lynel is the tough one.
Caroline: Okay. So this flight back will be the Golden Lynel.
Jason: The silver was the easy one and the Golden Lynel is going to be the tough one.
Jason: We’ll see how you do. You do have all of your weapons at your disposal.
Caroline: I have all of my weapons.
Jason: And you can smuggle in some wine if you find any. You do have your smuggled deodorant, so that’s good.
Caroline: Hey, nobody report me to the… I don’t even know what authority that would be.
Jason: I bet if I opened up your background check, it would already be on there.
Caroline: Imagine if my FBI background check, immediately, three days after, it just says once smuggled singular wine on a flight,
Jason: 4oz of wine.
Caroline: Didn’t even drink it, but was contraband.
Jason: All right, everybody. We really hope you enjoyed this extremely nitty gritty episode on the visa application process and moving forward.
Caroline: If you found it interesting, I would love an email.
Jason: Yeah. That would definitely give some reassurance.
Caroline: I worry with some of these very specific, but I don’t know. Some people find it interesting. If you found it interesting, please email us, [email protected] And if you didn’t find it interesting but you liked the podcast, still email us.
Jason: And if you listen to this and you either live in Portugal now or you’re moving to Portugal, definitely reach out because we’d love to meet you. We’re going to have no friends, so we’d love to find some friends, but we are going to do a background check on you. So we’re going to find out if you’re a wine smuggler too, which means we will hang out with you. Okay, bye.