Did you know that more and more Americans are packing up and moving to Portugal? It’s true! Studies show that over 60,000 American expats are now living the dream in Portugal. And it’s not just working folks either. Many retirees are making the move too. So what’s the draw? Well, it could be for work, or maybe they have family there. But it could also be because of the beautiful coastal living, the charming cities, the amazing architecture, the relaxed lifestyle, and the cost of living that’s easier on the wallet. It’s no wonder so many people are making Portugal their new home!
Making the move to Portugal sounds exciting! But is it really that easy to make it happen? The good news is, yes, it can be! Just make sure you do your research, have made a solid decision, and are working with a trusted international shipping company. That’s where SDC comes in. SDC is an experienced and reputable international moving company that will be there for you every step of the way.
What to Look for in a Top-Tier Door-to-Door International Moving Company
Expertise and Experience
This is obvious. The company you work with should be very experienced and have all the expertise necessary to navigate all the elements that come along with completing a trouble-free shipment from the USA to Portugal. Failure to work with a company that is truly knowledgeable and experienced can result in rather unpleasant, negative outcomes. SDC has been moving household goods and personal effects to Portugal for our clients for over 20 years.
A Dedicated Support Team Working with You from Start to Finish
Shipping household goods and personal effects to Portugal from the USA is often confused as being “simple”. If all your T’s are crossed, I’s dotted and you are working with a very experienced shipping company, it can be. From door to door, including navigating customs in Portugal, SDC International Shipping guides you every step of the way. We stay in communication and advise you on the paperwork and documents we need to make sure we clear customs at the port of entry in Portugal. Further, we deliver to your new residence (or delivery location).
Online reviews are an important and effective way to better understand the sort of company with whom you are considering working. It is our advice to only work with companies who have 4+ star ratings.
Visual Survey / Question and Answer Meeting (meet your shipper)
In order to accurately quote a client, it is critical for any international moving company to thoroughly understand both the volume of items being shipped, as well as any other important considerations. To do this, a virtual or in-person visual survey, conducted by an experienced shipper and estimator, is usually necessary. This critical step ensures that the quotation is based on the actual volume estimate as well as all of the client’s needs.
Things to Watch Out for When Choosing a Shipping Company
Are You Working with a Genuine International Moving Company? (Caution)
Be careful when choosing a moving company! There are some companies out there that pretend to be movers, but they’re actually just brokers. They may seem trustworthy and specialize in moves to Portugal, but in reality, they just book your move with the cheapest third-party mover they can find. Don’t fall for that trap! Make sure you choose a company that’s actually a true international moving company, not just a broker posing as one. To avoid any headaches, do your research and choose a reputable and experienced mover like SDC. Your peace of mind is worth it!
Bait and Switch (low-ball) (Caution)
This is just as it sounds. Beware of the very low quote. Have you ever seen a new car advertised as “starting as low as…”? Does that mean the steering wheel, transmission, and tires will cost extra? Kidding aside, the “bait and switch” or “low-ball quote” is a real thing; and you should understand it. SDC has been at this for a long time, and we know that too often the lowest quoted price may ultimately end up as the costliest. It may be a red flag when a shipping company quickly provides a quote, often a lower quote than others, but didn’t take time to understand all the inventory, let alone the client’s needs. Those “surprise” costs add up!
At SDC we strive to thoroughly understand all your needs and expectations. From there, we provide a clear, professional quotation that is as low as our many years of experience, shipping relationships, and efficiencies allow.
Up-Front $ Deposits (Caution)
Beware of any company that requires an up-front deposit. A credit card authorization (as security) is fine, but an actual deposit could be a red flag. SDC Intl. Shipping does not require up-front deposits, nor do we charge a credit card up-front, for 99+% of our jobs.
Consistently Poor Online Reviews (Caution)
Just as you should look for an international moving and shipping company that has outstanding online reviews, the opposite is obviously just as important. Look to yelp and Google to understand what others have to say about the international shipping company that you are considering.
Lack of a Professional, Comprehensive Quote (Caution)
SDC will provide a comprehensive, professional proposal for your shipment to Portugal. This will spell out precisely what service is being quoted (e.g., door to door, door to port, port to port, etc.). Further, all elements which are included, as well as any which are not included, will be clearly stated. Be very cautious of any outfit that does not provide such a proposal!
Top Relocation Destinations in Portugal
Every country has cities with a large expat population. When it comes to Portugal, the major destinations are:
- Alcobaca & Batalha
- Lagos and Aveiro
The SDC Shipping Process
SDC International Shipping is your best choice when it comes to selecting international movers to Portugal. We take extra time to first fully understand our client’s needs. This helps to reduce or even eliminate “surprise” charges and/or other potential troubles. From there, the process, depending on the desired level of service (e.g., door to door, door to port, port to door, port to port, air freight, etc.) is handled by SDC Intl. Shipping. That is from your point of origin all the way to your desired destination. As an example, let’s consider a full household move, using ocean shipping, from door to door, including full professional packing, wrapping, and protecting of all household goods.
- First, it is a great idea to conduct the Visual Survey in order to get to know each other better, and for SDC to understand the client’s needs and inventory. This is also an opportunity to answer any questions the client may have. ß Very important Sometimes a visual survey isn’t possible. In that case, it is still important for SDC to understand your needs. Sometimes we use pictures; or in certain cases, we agree on an amount and service. That said, for most shipments of household goods from door to door, a visual survey is an important part of the process.
- After the survey is complete and analyzed professionally, SDC Intl. Shipping will then provide a Professional Quotation. This quote will clearly explain all elements of the move that are included as well as those which are not or may not be.
- If everything looks good, the next step would be for your SDC Intl. Shipping Relocation Specialist to provide you with an Order for Service. This is the actionable booking document that initiates the shipping process. The order for service will clearly spell out not only the price but also all details, including what is included, what is not, etc.
- Internal Support and Logistics Team gets involved- Once your job is booked, an internal Support Expert for Portugal is assigned. This Specialist will provide constant communication, and guidance, request the proper documents /paperwork that might be required, and stay with you from start through finish.
- Packing, Wrapping & Protecting, and Pick-Up- Sometimes this (packing and pick-up) is done on the same day. Sometimes, for larger and more complex jobs, professional packing (if part of your requested service), wrapping, protecting, and prepping could be 1-3 days prior to the actual pick-up/loading.
- Shipping– The next step is to ship your household inventory.
- Customs– Unless otherwise requested, SDC Intl. Shipping will clear customs at the destination port of entry. Long before this point, your SDC Intl. Shipping Specialist will have taken care of all of the necessary paperwork. This way, clearing customs at the destination port of entry should go smoothly.
- Final Delivery– Unless otherwise requested, SDC Intl. Shipping then delivers your household goods to your destination residence or desired delivery location. All furniture is reassembled (if applicable), unwrapped, and placed where you would like it. All boxes are delivered to the room or area of your home that you wish. We then clean up all trash and depart.
SDC International Shipping’s Logistics and Support Team works with you and helps with the documents necessary to ship your household goods, clear customs, and deliver to your residence in Portugal.
What Can’t I Ship from the US to Portugal with My Household Goods?
Attempting to ship a prohibiting item into Portugal can derail your plans, or worse. Keep in mind that some items are banned outright (e.g., illegal drugs), while others may only be “restricted” and require prior approval for import. Please consult SDC International Shipping for specific information regarding what can, may, and cannot be shipped as part of your household goods shipment to Portugal.
Restricted or Prohibited Items
- Pornographic objects
- Systems for copying Portuguese mail stamps.
- Essences for regional wine
- Counterfeit Drugs
- Cut and thrust weapons.
- Any war instrument without a specific application
- Roulette or any other game of hazard
- Gold bars
- Loose gems
- Cash over $10,000 USD equivalent
- Apes and monkeys (Yes, this is a listed restriction. So, neither apes nor monkeys can ship!)
- Alcoholic beverages
- Narcotics and drugs
Here is a helpful link for more information- Customs Regulations- Portugal
Packing and Protecting Your Household Goods
- Standard Service (protecting your larger items/furniture)- SDC International Shipping, by default will wrap and protect all of your furniture items. This would include items that would not normally be boxed. For example, desks, sofas, dining tables, credenzas, beds, etc. All furniture items will be protected in a manner necessary to ensure transit from door to door, with complete protection.
- Special Enhanced Protection for Delicate and/or Specialty Items- SDC International Shipping will always provide the appropriate level of protection for your different inventory items. Items such as glass and marble tops, statues, glass china cabinets, etc., will receive the appropriate level of enhanced protection for the shipment. At SDC, our mandate is to do everything in our power to ensure your items arrive in the exact same condition in which they left. We are experts at making this happen.
- Packing of Boxes– There are basically 3 options when it comes to packing your boxes.
- Full Professional Packing Service by SDC– When it comes to boxes, the client may elect to have SDC International Shipping professionally pack all boxes, or only some of them, and create a professional inventory list. This is often helpful with customs at the port of entry in Portugal.
- Self-Pack- Alternatively, the client may elect to self-pack (or partially self-pack) boxes for the shipment. In this case, you need to create an inventory list. SDC Intl. Shipping will help.
- Hybrid- This is an option when the client would like to self-pack most of their boxes but leave some delicate items to be packed by the agent (SDC Intl. Shipping). For Example- the client will pack most boxes but would like SDC to pack the framed wall art, TVs, and fine china. This is a common arrangement.
- Framed Art- SDC can pack framed wall art for our clients. Alternatively, the client may choose to pack themselves. SDC can provide everything from standard wrapping and boxing of art, to acid-free wrapping and soft crating, all the way up to creating full, custom hard crates for your fine art.
- White Glove Service- If needed, SDC International Shipping’s teams of expert packers and un-packers are happy to provide full white-glove service.
Art, Pianos, Billiard Tables, Sculptures
When shipping your Piano, Billiard Table, Fine Art, and other specialty/collectible items, they must be handled properly by an experienced, knowledgeable, and capable shipping and relocation company. If you need to ship a musical instrument, oil painting, a pool table, collectible pinball machines, or any other high-value specialty item, our team has the knowledge, experience, skills, and equipment to handle any specialty shipment, door-to-door.
Shipping Your Household Goods to Portugal by Ocean or by Air
Household shipments to destinations outside North America are usually shipped by ocean freight. A benefit is that ocean shipping is a more economical mode. The downside however is that the total transit time is longer. SDC Intl. Shipping is an expert in both shipping by air and shipping by way of ocean. Often, a combination of both may be utilized.
Shipping Your Car to Portugal
Moving your car from the US to Portugal is a breeze for International Shipping. We have a team of expert personnel who know the process well and can ship your vehicle as part of your household goods shipment to Spain. Vehicles are sometimes shipped by themselves without a container. This is known as Roll On, Roll Off (RoRo). There are significant advantages to shipping your vehicle as part of your household goods shipment. No matter your need; SDC Intl. Shipping has a solution for shipping your vehicle to Portugal.
- Required Documentation Includes-
- Original title
- Bill of sale (if applicable)
- EIN or Passport
Helpful Link- Shipping Your Car
Importing Your Motorcycle
The shipping process includes several stages. Your shipping representative will advise you on the safest way to get your bike to the port during each stage. The process involves the following:
Step 1– You can either transport your bike yourself or take advantage of our transport service.
Step 2– Once your bike is on the ship and the sea, you will get a bill of lading and an approximate time of arrival.
Step 3– The bike import process in the EU will start after the ship arrives at the port.
Step 4- You will be notified when the bike enters the country, and the customs clearance process is completed.
Step 5– You can either pick up the bike yourself from our warehouse in Portugal or have us deliver to your home.
Can I send my pet/s to Portugal? Yes! When moving abroad, taking your furry friend with you is a realistic option. We employ a team of pet experts who take charge of making your pets feel comfortable and safe during transport. We also use planes to bring them to their destination fast and stress-free. Make sure to speak with one of our logistics agents about this. There are specific criteria and requirements to import your pet to Portugal, including ensuring all forms, health certificates, and vaccination records are submitted before boarding.
SDC International Shipping offers both Total Loss as well as Full Coverage insurance options which cover your possessions from door to door. Please contact SDC International Shipping at 888-779-3962 for details.
Can US citizens get healthcare in Portugal?
Please note: Portugal does not offer free medical treatment to visitors, and under European Union rules non-EU citizens are required to have travel medical insurance covering emergency medical, hospitalization, and repatriation (including the case of death). All permanent residents of Portugal are eligible to enroll in the National Health System. However, this does not mean that long-term visa holders will receive care.
What You Need to Know About the Application Process
The first step towards gaining health insurance for foreigners in Portugal is to have health insurance! It sounds like circular logic, but in order to get a residence or work visa, would-be expats must demonstrate that they carry private health insurance. The same applies to students who are not from the EU. This is so they will not be a burden to the state by arriving ill or not having adequate coverage to provide for their care should they fall ill. The process of obtaining a residence permit can be expedited by visiting a local Junta de Freguesia or Parish Council office. They will issue a certificate confirming you have more than 90 days of residency in Portugal.
The next step for expats is to obtain a Portuguese número de contribuinte, the equivalent of a social security number. Employers usually do this on behalf of their employees, but self-employed individuals will need to do it on their own.
With your SS number and residency permit in hand, you head to your local health services center. Once there, you fill out an application and receive your healthcare card, necessary for accessing the public healthcare system.
Benefits of a Private Global Health Insurance Plan
While English is widespread in Portugal, there is no guarantee that an expat seeking care through the public healthcare system will have an English-speaking doctor or nurse. But by using private health insurance, an expat in need is all but guaranteed access to bilingual and multilingual staff members. Plus, private healthcare facilities are more comfortable, with a greater emphasis on patient privacy, rest, and recuperation.
Moving and shipping your household to Portugal can be a significant undertaking, but with proper planning, knowledge, and the support of reputable shipping professionals, it becomes a manageable and exciting process. Remember to stay organized, communicate with your chosen shipping company, and take advantage of the resources available to ensure a successful and stress-free relocation.
As you embark on this new chapter of your life in Portugal, may your journey be filled with excitement, discovery, and the joy of starting anew.