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Study and Living Expenses in Portugal

Planning to study abroad in Portugal, read the post below to get details on student accommodation, cost of study and living, transportation, health & insurance, working conditions & more..

Transportation

In Portugal, public transportation is easily available. Buses, metros, trams, taxis and trains are available in Portugal. 

Getting Around by Metro (Underground System)

The metro is the best option if you want to get around. In Portugal, Porto and Lisbon are the cities that have an underground system.

Lisbon’s metro is vast and is managed and run by Metropolitano de Lisboa. A single ticket costs about €1.40 and a day-ticket is about €6. The metro in Lisbon runs from 6.30 am to 1.00 am.

Porto’s metro has 6 lines and it easy to get around the city. The fare of the ticket ranges between €1.20 and €5 depending upon the destination zone.
Andante Card: A reloadable Andante Card can be used for the Porto city transport- metros or tram (Metro do Porto) buses (Resende, Espirito Santo, STCP, Maia Transportes), suburban trains (Comboios de Portugal) and funicular. Monthly cards are also available for travelling in and around Porto.

Metro tickets can be taken from the machines or counters available at the metro stations.

Travelling In and Around by Rail

Portugal has an extensive network of trains connecting every major city in the country. The Caminhos de Ferro Portugueses or CP is the main rail service company operating in the country, and provides a wide rail network. To check the fares and schedules of trains, visit the official website of CP. Different types of rails running in Portugal are:

Regional and inter-regional trains: These trains are for short distance travel and for travelling from one big city to the next.

Intercity trains (Intercidades): These trains connect the major towns and cities and have fewer stops. These trains run on the following routes: Lisbon-Evora-Beja, Lisbon-Oporto-Guimaraes, Lisbon-Covilha, Lisbon-Faro, and Lisbon-Guarda.

Urban commuter trains/Suburban trains (urbanos): These trains operate in and around Porto and Lisbon and cover long distances. Lisbon’s suburban train are managed and run by Portuguese Railways.

High-speed train: Alfa Pendular is the high speed train that runs on one route: Braga-Porto-Coimbra-Lisbon-Algarve. This option is comfortable. 

Travelling In and Around by Tram, Buses and Funicular

In Portugal, there are trams and buses easily available. In Lisbon, buses and trams are run by Companhia Carris de Ferro de Lisboa (Carris).  You can get the tickets on board. If booked in advance at the Carris booths, you may get a discount of 40%. 

Getting Around by Taxis

Taxis in Portugal are easily available. All taxis in Portugal run on a meter. Fares begin at €2.50 for the first 500 meters. 

Air Travel

In Portugal there are international and domestic airports, thus making easy to fly to major towns and cities. 
Domestic flights are managed and run by: 
  • TAP - Air Portugal: Run between Oporto, Madeira, Lisbon, Azores, and Faro.
  • SATA: mainly run between Madeira and the Azores archipelago. 

Driving a Car

To drive a car in Portugal, you must be of age 18 or above; for renting a car you must be 21 years old or above.
If you are a non-EU country citizen, you will need an International Driving Permit along with your original license. Also, you need to have an insurance proof of your vehicle.

Tuition Fees 

The tuition fee of private higher education institutions in Portugal is higher than the public higher education institutions. The public higher education institutions determines the tuition fees but the Ministry of Education sets a minimum tuition fee that is equal to 1.3 times the minimum national wage rate.

Generally, students can expect to pay an average of €950 to €1,250 per year for first and second cycle studies in Portugal public higher education institutions. The costs of study at the private higher education institutions vary from €350 to €500 per month.

Accommodation

In Portugal, most of the higher education institutions provide accommodation for students in Student Residences. 

Student Residences: This accommodation option is the cheapest and easiest. All the necessary facilities are provided. 

Private accommodation: Private accommodation is easily available in Portugal. The costs vary depending upon the facilities and location. 

Sharing a Flat: This is the most common alternative in Portugal. You can share the flat and its costs with other students.
To get rental flats or apartments, check local newspaper, pin-walls in universities, or internet. 

Living Expenses

Portugal is comparatively less expensive than other northern and western EU (European) countries.
An estimate of the costs of living in Portugal:
 
Accommodation costs:
The accommodation costs vary depending upon the location- in centre or outskirts, facilities, and city (example: Lisbon is a costly city to live than other cities in Portugal). Generally, you can expect to pay between –euro-150- and –euro-350. 

Transportation costs:
  • Metro: €1.20 and €5 per day
  • Bus: €0.95 cents (for advance booking tickets); €1.45 (ticket bought on board)
Other living expenses:
  • A bottle of water (1.5l): €0.40
  • Bread roll: €0.10
  • Coffee (espresso): €0.60
  • Lunch: € 5.00
  • Meal (university canteen): €2.50
  • Meal off campus: €5 to €15
  • Cinema: €4 (After student concession)
  • Alcoholic drinks: €0.80 to €5
Porto and Lisbon are expensive, while Coimbra is the cheapest city. 

Working While Studying

All EEA (European Economic Area) country citizens are allowed to work in Portugal while studying. Students from non-EEA can work for up to 20 hours part-time per week or full-time during vacation. 

Health and Safety

The National Health Service (SNS) in Portugal offers healthcare to all. The National Health Service comprises of all the public bodies that provide healthcare – health care centres, hospitals, and local and family health units. 
Students from EU/EEA countries and Switzerland are given the same benefits as citizens of Portugal. Such students must hold a European health insurance card (EHIC) in order to get the health benefits- free or reduced-cost healthcare.

Students from non-EU/EEA countries must have a medical insurance for the entire duration of their studies.

Third Country citizens, who have been living in Portugal for more than 90 days, can apply for the National Health Service Card, or SNS (Cartao do Utente do). This card enables them to get access to the Portuguese public healthcare service. There is no cost levied on card and it can be taken from the local health centres or any Citizens store (Loja do Cidadao), after showing the residence permit.

Residence Permit

The EU, Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland country nationals, who have been residing in the country for more than 3 months or 90 days must get a legal status of residence through a Registration certificate (Certificado de Registo) in the Municipality (Camara Municipal) of the area of residence or the nearest Foreigners’ Department (Servico de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras /SEF) in the area of residence. The students from the EU countries must show academic registration evidence and a valid passport or identity card for the formalization of residence. 

Third Country citizens who wish to stay in Portugal for a period of more than 90 days must apply for the residence permit (In Portuguese: Autorizacao de Residencia) upon arrival in Portugal. Application for the residence permit must be submitted at the nearest Foreigner department, or SEF, along with following documents:
  • A valid passport and visa
  • Two passport size photographs
  • Criminal records: Police clearance certificate
  • Medical records: Should include vaccine details.
  • Health insurance certificate 
  • Proof of accommodation in Portugal 
  • Evidence of sufficient funds 
  • Academic registration document 

Emergency Numbers

Emergency numbers for your reference:
  • For Medical emergency (ambulance), Police and Fire rescue: Call 112
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