A recent survey by Bloomberg has ranked various nations' healthcare efficiency scores and the U.S. isn't doing so hot. Currently at #54, the States' high healthcare costs aren't adding any additional years to one's lifespan.
While Portugal has issues of its own (a month-long nurses' strike is likely to begin Nov. 22nd) the cost of healthcare is not egregious. As residents, we can attest to the fact that it is considerably less expensive, especially prescription medications. Because we are not citizens, we are required to have private medical insurance, which at present is about $250 per month for both of us. That's roughly equal to Medicare Part B costs, which we do not have since we live out of the country.
If you’re planning to become a resident of Portugal, one of the first things on your To Do list is to obtain a Número de Identificação Fiscal or NIF (nēf). Almost any activity that has taxes associated with it will require this nine-digit number: opening a bank account, renting an apartment, purchasing property, establishing utilities, taking out a loan, obtaining a residency permit, or even making everyday purchases.
This explains a lot. Every time we pay for purchases the vendors are desperate for coins, not just the one and two cents. They will shake us down. It seems Portugal is so short of one and two cent coins they're buying them from Ireland.
When we packed up our possessions to be shipped overseas, there was a finite amount of space so a few items were put into the estate sale. One of these was Jana's computer monitor, and we also needed to buy a microwave (micro-ondas) as there was not one included with the apartment. The thought of wrestling them into the back of an Uber or a taxi was not that attractive, so Jana did what she does best: order these online to be delivered directly to our new home.
Let’s start with the yak shaving, since one wouldn’t expect to hear about that long-haired mammal in a blog post about Portugal. Sometimes large projects are so complex, have so many interconnected steps, that you feel like one of those stages must entail hiking to the Himalayas and shaving a yak just to make a bit of progress. With all the various requirements and paperwork, obtaining a residence visa is just such a journey.
Harold is a former software engineer. Jana is an author. Together they're exploring their new life in Portugal.