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Removals to Portugal: How to Send Over your Belongings

You’re relocating to Portugal and thinking about how to send over your belongings to the country. Removals are one of everybody’s main worries during this process, so it’s only natural. Depending on your country of origin, there are many options for you to choose from – Pearls of Portugal takes you through them!

Frederik Pohl
Frederik Pohl, CEO
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Moving your belongings to Portugal

There are several factors involved in the process of sending over your belongings to Portugal. Smaller items are easier to transfer in suitcases via airplane, for example, but things get trickier when it comes to larger and/or more precious belongings. Besides airplane or truck, if you’re from a different continent, then boat can also be a great option for you.

Measuring the quantity of belongings you’re taking

The first step in deciding your method of move to Portugal is to have an idea of how much stuff you intend to take. Make a list and organize by priorities – think about what is indispensable to you. Depending on this, you can bring just suitcases on the plane or opt for a larger transport through companies that ship boxes or even by container on a ship.

Moving with checked bags

This is the ideal option for those who are moving to Portugal with little packing. If this is the case for you, we recommend that you check the luggage options offered on the airline ticket when you buy. It may be worth it to pay for extra luggage if it is enough for the amount of items you’re carrying. You can make this significantly cheaper for you if you buy in advance, also. 

For example, on TAP (the main Portuguese airline) the pre-purchase price for a 23kg suitcase is 75€. Online during the check-in the cost rises to 95€.

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What method should I use to send over my belongings to Portugal?

Air Freight

If you’re moving close to either Porto, Lisbon or Faro, then transferring your possessions via air freight is probably your best option. Even better if you’re on a tight schedule, since it is also the quickest. However, it’s not the most popular – mainly because of its cost

Comparing quotes is the first step in selecting an air freight provider. Calculating the quantity, size, and weight of the things you need to mail is required. After you calculate the size and weight of all the stuff you need mailed, you must send this information to the different companies, who’ll get back to you with a budget. 

Often, you also get the option of hiring a joint moving company to handle the packing for you. This is obviously more expensive, but also more handy. Most companies go straight to your door to pick up your belongings and deliver them right at their destination. 

How fast can I get my belongings delivered by air freight in Portugal?

As previously mentioned, air freight is definitely your quickest option overall. This is especially true if you’re moving from a country that’s close to Portugal, with some companies even stating that it can be done just within 24 hours. Even when you’re moving from the other side of the world, your possessions should reach you in a week maximum. 

Air freight prices

Although quicker and more convenient, air freight is also generally more expensive. The cost is measured by both weight and size; however, some other aspects – such as insurance for valuable items – can also play a big role in the final cost. According to the World Bank, the cost per kilogram is usually between two and five euros. ReloAdvisor and The Relocator both offer shipping cost simulators.

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Sea freight

Sea freight is a good long-distance choice if you’re shipping a large quantity of items or are on a limited budget. Despite taking longer than air freight, it is a more cost-effective option.

Sea freight cargo options
  • An individual container  – shipping involves packing all of your possessions into a steel container and moving it to the port for transportation. If you need to transfer a whole house worth of belongings, this option is the best for you 
  • Groupage – the cheapest method. Your possessions can be grouped with those of other clients. On the flip side, if the container isn’t full, you might have to wait longer for delivery because it depends on how many other individuals are transporting their stuff

Using a door-to-door service – when a moving company packs your cargo container and delivers it to your new house – is the most popular and practical choice. However, this is obviously more expensive. You can also have the container delivered to your home and fill it yourself if you are an experienced mover and want to save money. Shipping from port to port and handling your own transportation and packing is the most affordable choice but also far more difficult and time-consuming.

Sea Freight shipping times

Although significantly cheaper than air freight, the whole process of shipping by sea can take quite a while. The first thing you should worry about is arranging for the shipping as soon as you can (at least 6 weeks before your set date). After everything is taken care of and shipped, the arriving time largely depends on how far away from Portugal your country of origin is, but it will always take a while. For example, if you’re from the UK, it should take 3 to 5 days to arrive. Whereas if you’re shipping from the US, it can take up to 2 weeks. 

Customs and taxes when sending your belongings to Portugal

Unfortunately, when transferring your possessions by sea or air freight, you will have to deal with Portuguese customs. The good news is that, after moving to Portugal, you have a full year to get your belongings transferred tax free! All you need to do is go to the Portuguese Consulate of your home country and they will give you a certificate of your move to go with your goods so that they don’t get held up in customs. Of course, you can only do this after officially having a residence in Portugal.

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Shipping from a EU country

For those already located in Europe, the process is much easier and cheaper and there are many more options.

Truck (full or half load)

When opting for a truck service, depending on how far away you are from Portugal, your belongings should take a maximum of a week to arrive and you don’t have to deal with customs in any way. Plus, there are many options depending on the quantity of stuff you’re bringing over and if you want a full service or not. 

If you don’t have that many things, you can book just a section of a truck or van, which is also cheaper. But for a whole house move, a whole truck is recommended. The easiest, most hassle-free way to do this is to hire a company that’ll come directly to your old door and deliver everything to your new one. Some also include a packing service, so absolutely everything can be off your hands! These are some examples:

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