Some people overseas are looking for more affordable options because of the rising cost of living in the US

A family left the Bay Area for Porto, Portugal in October. The move has made a big difference in their monthly expenses.

She said that their expenses were in the $5,000 to $6,000 range. It has been less than half.

The mortgage was $2,500 a month in the US. She and her family rent a two-bedroom home in Porto for 1,000 euro a month. While her husband is an engineer for a software company that already had employees in Europe, she stopped working as team lead and operations manager for a small tech startup before she moved.

She said that cutting back on monthly expenses has been nice. The process to apply for and obtain a D7 visa, a document that lets non- European Union residents apply for legal residency in Portugal, has been both expensive and difficult to navigate.

She said that the D7 process is not for the faint hearted. Before you embark on it, you need to be financially stable.

Anyone considering making a similar move should be aware of the pros and cons of her family's move.

Why she chose Portugal to move to

Americans have been eager to go to Europe. Thanks to the rise of remote work and a strong dollar, they have been looking to buy properties in France, Italy, and Greece.

Her research continued to lead her to Portugal.

She said that they didn't know anything about Portugal but were curious about it. The cost of living and the fact that a lot of people speak English made us like it. Both the education and healthcare systems have been found to be high quality and easy to access.

Porto, portugal
Porto, Portugal, where Cordova and her family moved.

Cost savings in Portugal were too appealing to pass up, even though Spain was also on the list.

She said that the taxation in Spain was the main reason they decided not to go there.

But Portugal has bureaucracy — and it's not cheap

Since moving to Portugal, Cordova has saved thousands of dollars, but the process to get there was time consuming and expensive.

She said the cost of moving to Portugal could be between $6,000 and $10,000.

To apply for a D7 visa, applicants need a valid passport, proof of income, bank statements, proof of adequate housing, and more. According to Global Citizen Solutions, the D7 application can take up to 60 days to complete.

There is a lot of paperwork You have to order copies of your birth certificate, marriage certificate, and other certificates from your US county.

You have four people in your family if you have 20 applications with 20 pieces of paper. It adds up fast.

Background checks had to be done in person at the Portuguese application center in the US. Luckily for her, it was a short drive away in San Francisco, so she was able to save on those.

Establishing proof of accommodation was the most expensive part

If you apply for the D7 visa, you must show proof that you have a place to live in Portugal. The most expensive part was that.

In June, she signed a lease for the family to live in Porto, the country's second- largest city. She had to pay rent on the apartment for several months until she could get a visa. She would be prepared with proof when she presented it to the authorities.

Most people have been unable to get around that. You have to be prepared to lose several thousand dollars.

Porto Portugal
Another view of beautiful Porto.
artem evdokimov/Shutterstock

She said it costs more to move abroad than to move domestically.

It isn't cheap to get all of your ducks in order to move. All the extra suitcases have to be bought. All of the luggage tags, luggage wrap, and specialty straps need to be purchased. You need people to drive you and your luggage to the airport. I think a lot of people don't think about their expenses until they're really needed.

The experience will pay off even though it was not cheap.

The more time we stay here, the more it will have been worthwhile.