|Some tips for tourists and wannabe immigrants to the Açores
There are several daily regular flights from Lisbon to São Miguel and also 3 regular
departures/arrivals a week from Boston, MA and one from Gatwick, UK. All regular flights are
run by SATA Azores
There are about 17,000 hotel beds on São Miguel. If you prefer to stay in a private house, there is Casa de Falesia in Mosteiros with 3 fully equipped apartments and access to swimming pool, rental car etc.
Your furniture and personal belongings must be transported in a container. There is a shipping company, Horn Linie, that departs from Hamburg on a regular schedule. They also take passengers if you feel like travelling along with your stuff.
The car, if not in the container, may be driven to Lisbon and shipped to the Azores by the Transinsular Co. A Ford Escord costs (in June, 2004) about € 450 single fare. Then you will have to pay about € 15 in port tax. You will see the car 3 days later. You are allowed to drive on the islands for 6 months with your foreign registration plates.
Getting a visa
You do not need a visa for a short visit to the Azores. If, however, you intend to stay in the
Azores, you will need a visa. Visas are issued by the Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras
on Rua Marques Praia e Monforte. If you are an EU citizen, this should be a mere formality. Visas
are good for 5 years.
The following papers are needed:
Buying a house
In general, houses are quite expensive on the islands. A 3 bedroom house not too far from
Ponta Delgada would cost you at least € 250,000 and that is a stripped version.
Do not expect to find refrigerator, stove and other kitchen equipment. Oh the other hand,
these things are not that expensive.
Land is also quite costly. A lot around 1000m2 (0.25 acre) within 15 km (10 miles) radius from Ponta Delgada would be about € 130,000 up with permission to build a house. Farming land is less expensive but you can only build on one percent of the area, so it has to be a BIG piece of land.
Get a lawyer to do all the paperwork. He will charge you a few hundred Euros but, believe me, you won´t be able to handle this yourself unless you have a university degree in Portuguese.
Getting a car in
If you have a Motorcycle - feel happy. You will not have any trouble getting Portuguese registration plates.
If, however, you have a car, then prepare for some real red tape.
Don´t even attempt to do this yourself but consult the SODORA company on Rua do Melo and they will run all the paper work for a small fee.You will need the following documents:
Also, be prepared to present some additional documents. It all depends on the mood of the customs officer. If you are not able to present those papers and get the work done within 6 months, be prepared to pay several thousand € for the priviledge to drive your car here.
Once you have managed to get the car through the needle eye of the customs, you will have to get Azorean registration plates.