Living in Madeira...

What you need to know

Couples of all ages come to Madeira to fulfil their dream of purchasing the ideal house on this luscious green island, where life moves along at a pace far more suitable to a stress-free and healthier lifestyle.

When considering moving abroad, you may start with a long holiday in your ideal destination. In Madeira there are several options available for long-term rental that will give you the necessary time to become acquainted with the island and its people. One thing you’ll notice right away is that, due to its mild winters, you won’t have to sleep under a pile of blankets and duvets, and it’s ok to leave your umbrella at home most of the times.

To simplify the whole process of buying/renting a house and finding a job, you should request official copies of some important personal documents: e.g. birth and marriage certificates, social security card, proof of citizenship, vaccination and medical records, insurance policies, diplomas and other academic records, as well as employment records, etc. You should also check whether you’d need certified translations of some of those documents, especially for employment-related reasons. Since regulations and laws vary from country to country, you should research them before moving abroad.

Should you intend to live permanently in Madeira, we recommend that you exchange your driving licence for a Portuguese-issued one, so that it can be renewed or replaced by the Portuguese issuing authority, IMTT - Instituto da Mobilidade e dos Transportes Terrestres (Institute for Mobility and Land Transport), in case it expires or if lost, stolen or damaged. You will be requested to hand over your original licence in exchange for a local one. And since we are talking about driving, bare in mind that you will need to have the correct insurance for your vehicle.

Health insurance is another aspect to take into consideration. The Portuguese health system covers official residents, namely those with EU citizenship or working and paying social security contributions. So after registering with the Immigration authorities or the Town Hall and obtaining a residence certificate, you are authorised to register with your local health centre and benefit from the national healthcare system. Please note that pensioners from non-EU countries usually need to hire a private health insurance. In case you or any of your family members need prescription drugs, we advise you to get a copy of the medical report regarding the condition and purchase additional quantities.

If you are bringing your pet with you, make sure it receives the necessary vaccines and an identification microchip, if required.

The cost of living in Madeira is considerably lower than in the rest of Europe, but it obviously depends much on your lifestyle. Most goods are cheaper than in other EU countries, including the price of real estate, rent, food, drinks and entertainment. In fact, most foreigners from Western Europe who live in Madeira consider that the cost of living is 50% lower than that of their homeland.

Electricity and gas are the most common energy sources. The local electric current is 220 AC using two-pin power plugs. Tap water in Madeira is safe to drink and of good quality, as well as in Porto Santo, although here the water is desalinated.

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