Moving to Portugal

“Navigating a move to Portugal during these dynamic times calls for a mix of patience, persistence, and proactive engagement.”

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Patience, Perseverance, and Proactivity!

Happy December, friends and readers!

Warm greetings from California, where I am currently visiting friends and family. Returning here inevitably evokes a sense of nostalgia for Portugal, particularly for the charming, walkable towns and lively squares—a stark contrast to the sprawling housing developments and strip malls of Southern California.

The town square in my walkable town in Portugal

Having made Vila Real de Santo Antonio my home for over six years, the question often arises: Do I miss California? While the occasional visit is enjoyable, the challenge of meeting up with friends, where everyone must drive, stands in stark contrast to the effortless gatherings in a Portuguese city square. Explaining the merits of my retired lifestyle in Portugal usually suffices to convey why I prefer it.

Portugal may be a dream for many, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all destination. Through my YouTube videos and articles at and, I share my experiences to guide those interested in visiting or residing in this beautiful country. Patience becomes paramount given the intricate bureaucratic processes and the ever-evolving legal and immigration landscape. for print and
@AmericanInPortugal on YouTube for videos.

Reflecting on significant changes during my time in Portugal, I’ve witnessed shifts in driver’s license exchange timelines, alterations to the Golden Visa program, the introduction of ETIAS for EU travel, and the restructuring within immigration services. Despite these changes, I take pride in the resilience displayed by friends and clients who’ve navigated with positivity, proactive planning, and patience.

This month, instead of narrating specific stories, I shine a spotlight on the achievements of Melissa and Bob, who successfully obtained their D7 visas in just 40 days, and Tracy and Bobby, who secured theirs in 60 days. Their positive attitudes, proactive measures, and the support from the local community exemplify the resilience needed during uncertain times.

Melissa and Bob secured their D7 visas from the Washington DC Consulate in an impressive 40 days from application to approval. Setting up home in a breathtaking riverfront apartment (thanks to João from our team for finding this gem in VRSA), they received the visa news while still settling in. Swiftly, they orchestrated a trip back to the USA to finalize the process.

While back home, a curveball came their way—the government announced the end of the NHR tax program. Undeterred, they employed the ‘Power of Patience and Proactivity,’ reaching out to one of the recommended chartered accountants, Miguel. Despite not having scheduled an AIMA appointment (previously SEF), Miguel worked his magic, getting them registered for NHR. I’m immensely proud of them and my team.

Melissa shared, ‘My husband and I are absolutely delighted to be settling into our new life in the Eastern Algarve. Our checklist is getting shorter now that we’re here, but there are still some important steps yet to do. Although there’s a lot of uncertainty now about how smoothly the next steps will go, we know it’ll all work out in the end.’ Their winning attitude places them at the top of the list of winners and adds a delightful touch to our town.

Another success story, fueled by Patience, Perseverance, and a Great Attitude, comes from Tracy and Bobby, who also made the move to the East Algarve at the same time (thanks again to João for another great rental). Tracy shares, ‘We couldn’t be happier to have our D7 VISAs approved in only 60 days. Everything else we will figure out. We have such an amazing support group here to help us navigate our next steps. Both expats and local Portuguese have been so welcoming and helpful. We wouldn’t change our decision moving here, even with the uncertainties with the SEF/AIMA transition and the future of NHR.’

Staying Positive and Holiday Message

These stories are shining examples of a ‘can-do’ spirit in times of uncertainty, and I applaud their proactive measures to ensure the best outcomes.

Melissa also revealed an interesting aspect of the NHR process—different results for her and Bob due to different government staff members working on their applications. Miguel, their professional, managed to align their decisions, securing approvals for both. If faced with a ‘no,’ don’t hesitate to explore alternative avenues with your professional’s guidance. Always seek referrals from trusted sources when engaging professionals, ensuring a smoother immigration journey.

Our newest visa holders share their stories.

Melissa and Bob encountered challenges within the NHR process, underscoring the significance of seeking professional assistance. I highly recommend relying on trusted professionals and am readily available to provide referrals.

On a positive note we have many people in our community helping others, last month we held a successful benefit night to help the dance school in town and sponsor dancers and programs who lack the funds to continue in their dreams of dance (video soon). Contact me if you’d like to help with these dreams and I will put you in touch with the group. We also have a new English Speaking Lions Club starting up for the Eastern Algarve to support local charities and you can also reach out to me to find out more at

ABC Dance Academy in Portugal performs for Patrons

Given the constraints of reading column, I invite you to join me on my YouTube channel @AmericanInPortugal for a more comprehensive video journey documenting my experiences and insights. If you’re contemplating Portugal as your future home, I can be of assistance in connecting you with reliable real estate agents and consultants.

For further inquiries or assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at Wishing you joyous holidays and an exceptional year ahead!

Warm regards,
Veronica Ondrejech,
AmericanInPortugal (YouTube)

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