Did you decide to leave Switzerland and move to Portugal? Whether you are Swiss and have decided to live a retirement on the Atlantic coast or you are Portuguese and have decided to return home, many of you have decided to pack boxes and move to Portugal. Our moving companies, which are present throughout Switzerland, are specialized in international moves and will be happy to organize your moving to Portugal from Switzerland. In this article, we collected all the information and documents you need before moving to Portugal.
Hiring a moving company to transport your belongings to Portugal
Our moving companies, which are present throughout Switzerland, are specialized in international moves and will be happy to organize the transport of your belongings from Switzerland to Portugal. You can request 5 free international moving quotes online. For international moves, the company you are interested in will arrange a home visit with you to check the inventory to be transported to Portugal and answer any questions you may have.
Our companies are used to planning international moves and will be able to help you with the administrative formalities and steps to be taken before departure.
Moving to Portugal on your own
You can rent a vehicle and organize your move yourself. Please read our article on moving on your own.
Why moving to Portugal?
Why do so many Portuguese people leave Switzerland to return to Portugal?
The Portuguese are the third largest foreign community in Switzerland. Since 2019, the Portuguese government invites Portuguese living abroad to return to Portugal. The “Regressar” (“return”) programme has been set up for this purpose. If the person signs an employment contract in Portugal, the Portuguese government contributes to the moving expenses and offers some tax benefits. Thus, more than 10,000 Portuguese decided to move to Portugal in 2020.
In addition to the tax benefits, Portugal has experienced strong economic growth for several years. Although the country suffered greatly from the economic crisis between 2011 and 2013, Portugal’s unemployment rate has been falling steadily since 2013 and has been below 7% for the last year. Thanks to Portugal’s strong economic growth, the country has an unemployment rate well below its European neighbors such as Spain, Italy and even France.
As a result, many Portuguese are enjoying their retirement in Portugal, but increasingly they also have good career opportunities in their home country.
Finally, despite an increase in Portuguese property prices, it is still much more attractive to buy a property in Portugal than in Switzerland. This is why, whether Portuguese or Swiss, many people take the plunge and buy a house in Portugal and take advantage of the country’s relaxed lifestyle.
Procedures for a move from Switzerland to Portugal
Documents for the different customs
In order to transport your personal belongings to Portugal, you must cross France and Spain. The French customs will ask you for your removal file including the documents to be presented as well as a transit declaration approved by a customs broker. If you wish to contact them for more information, you will find below the contacts of the different border offices in Geneva and St-Louis:
- Thônex-Vallard: +339 70 27 31 83
- Saint-Julien-en-Genevois: +339 70 27 32 19 or by email at :
- Ferney-Voltaire : +339 70 27 31 83
- St-Louis : +339 70 27 79 20
To cross Spain, the principle is the same, you must have a transit declaration allowing you to cross the country with your personal effects without having to pay taxes on these goods.
If you are crossing two countries, we advise you to use the services of a customs agent who will help you with the customs formalities and the import of your personal effects into Portugal. This will allow you to avoid any unpleasant surprises during customs controls. We advise you to use a forwarding agent directly in Portugal.
If you use an international moving company, they will be able to answer your questions on this subject. Most of our moving companies work with a customs broker.
Exemption from customs tax
As with other EU countries, you are exempt from customs tax on the transport of your personal belongings if you meet the following criterias:
- you have been living in Switzerland for at least 12 months
- you wish to transfer your main residence to Portugal
- you are transporting your personal belongings, intended for your personal use or for the needs of the household (alcohol and tobacco are excluded)
- you do not sell your goods in the 12 months following your move
- you have been in possession of your personal belongings for at least 6 months before the date of your move
Documents to present to customs
You must declare what you are exporting from Switzerland. If you are moving from Switzerland to Portugal, you will have to declare your personal items to the different customs as well.
You will be asked to present the following documents
- Proof of change of residence (work contract or rental agreement).
- A detailed and quantified inventory of all your personal belongings in triplicate.
- A valid identity document.
Your just moved to Portugal, what is the next step?
Registering with the authorities
Whether you are a Swiss citizen or a citizen of a member state of the European Union, you do not need a visa to enter Portugal, a simple valid identity document is sufficient. Once in Portugal, however, you will need to register if you wish to stay for more than three months. You can find more information on this subject on the official government website.
Applying for your Tax Identification Number
This number, the NIF, is essential for all administrative procedures once you have settled in Portugal. With this number, you can apply for social security and open a bank account.
Checklist for your move from Switzerland to Portugal
Because a move involves a lot of paperwork, logistics and more, download our moving checklist to follow your move step by step.