Students studying in Portugal can either choose to live in university residence halls or in off-campus private accommodation. The most popular option is undoubtedly living in private flatshares.
Some sites for searching for private accommodation (rooms and apartments) include:
With these sites, you’ll have to write to or call the landlord to arrange a viewing. Bear in mind that, some of the landlords speak English but definitely not all.
Note: apartments are usually listed as T0, T1, T2, T3 and so on with T0 being a studio.
If you’d like to secure accommodation at a shared flat before arriving you can check out:
You can check out some scholarships available for international students here. You can also have a look at which scholarships the different universities offer and the scholarships that your home country gives to students studying abroad.
DGES also offers several grants to both EU and non-EU students studying in Portugal.
The language requirements will depend on the university and the language of instruction of the specific course. Usually, you will need to show proof of either Portuguese B1/B2 level and/or English B2 level.
Living in Portugal
The cost of living in Portugal will depend largely on which city you’re living in with Lisbon being the most expensive option by far. Prices are much lower than in other Western European countries but they have been on the rise recently.
You’ll often need 300-600€ to rent a room in Lisbon and around 250-400€ to rent a room in Porto. For cities such as Coimbra, Aveiro and Braga rents are normally around 150-300€ (for a room).
Food, wine and eating out is notoriously cheap in Portugal. You’ll be able to get a coffee for 0.60€ and a decent bottle of wine for 3-5€. Lunch specials (Prato do Dia) are often 5€ or under and include a full 2-3 course meal.
For more information about the cost of living, you can check out Numbeo and the websites of different Portuguese universities.
Each university has an international relations office that provides support to foreign students throughout their stay with regards to matters such as immigration, accommodation, integration and academic support.
The Erasmus Student Network has offices in all of the main Portuguese cities. Although they are geared mainly towards Erasmus exchange students you don’t have to be an Erasmus student to go to their office. They will gladly help out any international student. ESN also organises a variety of events which you can take part in with an ESN card (again you don’t have to be an Erasmus student to obtain it).
Transport in Portugal
CP comboios operate the majority of rail services in Portugal and connect all of the largest cities and towns in Portugal to each other. There are four main types of trains in Portugal, those being the Alpha-Pendular, Intercidades, Regional & Interregional and Urbanas.
Students can get a substantial discount by buying a monthly travel pass. In order to get the pass students will need to show proof of study at one of the transport centres.
Working in Portugal
EU citizens are free to take up employment in Portugal with no restrictions.
Non-EU students will need a residence permit in order to work in Portugal and can only work whilst on their study visa subject to authorisation from SEF. Normally, students are able to work up to 20 hours per week and during holidays. If you wish to stay in Portugal after graduation you will need to secure an employment offer and apply for a work visa.
All employees in Portugal must have a NIF taxpayer number (Numero Identificacao Fiscal). The NIF number is also necessary for opening a bank account and sometimes even for renting a property long-term.
In order to obtain the number, you will have to go to one of the Tax Office (Financas) or Citizen’s Bureau (Loja de Cidadao) branches and ask for it as either a Portuguese resident or a non-resident. In order for you to be eligible for obtaining a NIF number as a non-resident, you must show proof of your permanent address in your home country. If you’d like to register as a Portuguese citizen you must first register at your local council office (Junta Freguesia or Camara Municipal) as a resident (for which you’ll need proof of your Portuguese address and a passport) and then you can obtain your NIF number.
Citizens of non-EU countries will have to go through roughly the same process, the only difference being that you’ll need a tax representative (either a Portuguese citizen or permanent resident in Portugal).
700€ a month or 4.38€ an hour
New Year’s Day (January 1st)
Carnival Tuesday (February/March)*
Freedom Day (April 25th)
Labour Day (May 1st)
Portugal Day (June 10th)
Corpus Christi (May/June)
Feast of Assumption (August 15th)
Republic Day (October 5th)
Portugal Restoration of Independence Day (December 1st)
Feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8th)
Christmas Day (December 25th)
* Carnival Tuesday is optional meaning that employers may or may not give that day off
22 days a year minimum