Can a U.S. citizen buy land, house or build property on any Azorean island?|
Commentary by Eduardo Lima
65th Public Affairs Office
5/30/2012 - LAJES FIELD, Azores -- Any foreign citizen, including Americans, may buy land, a house or even build property on any Azorean island as well as any other part of the Portuguese territory, provided they have legalized their stay in the country through the Portuguese equivalent of Immigration and Naturalization Services.
For example, an individual who comes to the Azores as a military member and decides to retire and live here would have to apply for an authorization or visa that would allow him or her to permanently live in the country.
However, foreign citizens must follow all legal procedures with the applicable Portuguese government departments in order to ensure the house or land they are buying is legally registered in their names.
After the potential buyer reaches an agreement with the landowner or the owner of the house concerning price of the property, he or she needs to make an appointment at the notary office for the deed. Once the deed is finished, the buyer also needs to register the property, land or house, in the Property Register Office (Conservatória do Registo Predial).
In addition to that, the buyer also needs to contact the Portuguese equivalent of the Internal Revenue Service (Repartição de Finanças) to register the property in that department. Any foreign citizen who owns property in Portugal will then be subjected to pay taxes just like any Portuguese citizen.
If one intends to build a house on land that is already legally owned, the first step is to contact the city hall of the respective district where the land sits so he or she can get the required approval for the construction. This is a process that can take several months in some cases, depending on the location of the land and the city hall resources.