Portugal is the number-one destination in Europe for ease of residency.

The Portuguese government is eager for foreign investment, offering a wide range of residency visa options designed to attract different types of people.

It’s innovative and adaptable, introducing new visa options like its Digital Nomad Visa, launched in October 2022, in response to changing trends in global migration.

It’s also home to one of Europe’s most popular golden visa programs. The Portugal Golden Visa has brought in more than US$6.5 billion since its inception in 2012.

The government made changes to the Golden Visa, mainly to do with the minimum investment thresholds and geographic restrictions, which went into effect in early 2022.

The program remains popular despite this. However, the changes raise an important point: if you’re interested in taking action offshore, do it when you’re able to, while you’re eligible for whatever opportunity you’re considering.

You never know when that opportunity will no longer be available to you—either because requirements change and you no longer qualify or because the opportunity is eliminated altogether.

Faced with this ever-evolving situation, what are the residency visa options for the average American who wants to live in Portugal?

Your first option is to visit as a tourist. This allows you to stay in the entire Schengen zone, including Portugal, for 90 days in any rolling 180-day period.

That could be 90 days straight in a Schengen country followed by 90 days outside the Schengen zone, or you could spend 30 days in and 30 days out on an ongoing basis.