Bureaucracy & Portugal

January 13, 2023.

To those considering a move to Portugal: You’ve no doubt heard about the bureaucracy here. It’s usually mentioned in connection to the immigration process.

But here’s one area not discussed, and if you’re moving here with young kids you should be aware of it.

We moved here in the summer of 2021 with our 12-year-old son. We signed him up for the local soccer team so he could make friends and learn to play. We were told that since we were residents and not citizens, there was a little more paperwork involved.

Fine, no big deal, right?

The ENTIRE season came and went without the “paperwork” ever going through, and our kid never got to play in a single game.

The next year (starting in fall 2022), he wanted to play futsll (very popular here … think indoor soccer). We were told the same thing—paperwork would take longer to process because we weren’t citizens. 

This year was different. Our kid was really eager to play, he does well at all the practices, the kids like him … He has a lot to add to the team (last year, on his soccer team, he was the weakest player so being “bench warmer” was to be expected).

Well, now we are FOUR GAMES from the end of the season and the “paperwork” still hasn’t been processed. He goes to every practice (three a week … OH and they are never on the same nights every week, so it’s impossible for him to have other activities) … and he goes to every game, where he just sits on the bench.

Coach says the futsal association in Lisbon should approve him to play “any day now” … They’ve been saying it since September.

It’s infuriating, and it’s amazing how well our son is taking it. But you can tell it hurts him. 

That’s the Portugal we’ve come to know—bureaucracy at all costs!

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