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Portugal Country Security Report

Travel Advisory

The current U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory at the date of this report’s publication assesses that travelers should reconsider travel to Portugal due to COVID-19. Review OSAC’s report, Understanding the Consular Travel Advisory System.

The Institute for Economics & Peace Global Peace Index 2021 ranks Portugal 4 out of 163 worldwide, rating the country as being at a Very High state of peace.

Crime Environment

​The U.S. Department of State has assessed Lisbon as being a MEDIUM-threat location and Ponta Delgada as a LOW-threat location for crime directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests.

The U.S. Department of State has/not included a Crime “C” Indicator on the Travel Advisory for Portugal, indicating that there may be widespread violent crime and/or organized crime present in the country, and/or that local law enforcement may have limited ability to respond to serious crimes.

The crime emergency line in Portugal is 112. Review the State Department’s Crime Victims Assistance brochure.

Crime: General Threat

​Portugal has a relatively low rate of crime, but non-violent street crime does occur in major cities. Petty thefts and other crimes of opportunity (e.g., vehicle break-ins, pickpocketing, surreptitious bag snatching) occur frequently, particularly in the major cities and in/around tourist locations. Thieves have been known to loiter in tourist locations, near beaches, and at transportation hubs (e.g., metro, bus, train stations) to take advantage of disoriented/distracted travelers. Pickpockets take advantage of crowds getting on/off public transportation, using the jostling of the crowd as a distraction. Wallets and cellphones are particularly vulnerable. Crime reporting typically increases during the summer, primarily due to the increase in tourism.

Pickpocketing in the Lisbon area is most likely to occur in buses, hotel lobbies, restaurants, the airport, trains, train stations, and trams. Surreptitious purse snatchings occur in restaurants and bars from bags left on the backs of or underneath chairs. Theft of belongings from inside vehicles continue to be a problem as the number of tourists to Portugal continues to increase. Thieves will often pop locks on vehicle doors and trunks, taking all personal belongings found in the vehicle, even if those belongings are out of sight.

While recently updated laws have increased regulation of private-security activities (to include bouncers at bars and nightclubs), exercise caution in dealing with nightclub security. Bouncers are prone to violence, and police often struggle to find evidence or witnesses to any events related to an escalation of force by the security staff.

Organized crime is not a major issue. Criminal organizations are present, and predominantly engage in racketeering, extortion, and vice-related criminal activity (e.g., gambling, prostitution, narcotics). Other gang activities are generally focused on narcotics, petty crimes, and turf protection.

ATMs are widespread and accept most U.S. cards for fund withdrawals. Avoid using ATMs in isolated or poorly lighted areas, or on open sidewalks; instead, use machines inside bank alcoves, and secure cash and belongings before departing the bank area. Many local establishments will only accept cash payments or credit cards with a chip.

Criminal incidents occur with less frequency in Madeira, and significantly less in the Azores, than in mainland Portugal.

Crime: Areas of Concern

​There are no off-limits areas for U.S. Embassy personnel. Within Lisbon, take special care for petty crime in the Oriente, Santa Apolonia, Entrecampos, Marques do Pombal, and Rossio metro and train stations; the Sete Rios bus station; the Alfama, Martim Moniz, Baixa, and Bairro Alto districts; and the tourist area of Belém. The 28 Tram is particularly notorious for pickpocketing; pay very close attention to all belongings while waiting for or riding on the 28.

The tourist area of Sintra reports a particularly high rate of vehicle break-ins; take special care when parking in the areas around the castles and palaces there. Thefts are common in the popular tourist destinations of Cascais, Mafra, Obidos, Fatima, Coimbra, Setubal, Porto; in the Algarve; and at the beachfront areas of Peniche, Nazaré, Guincho, Cabo da Roca, and Boca do Inferno.

In Madeira, pickpocketing, while infrequent, may occur in the Old Town and Santa Catarina Park areas of Funchal in Madeira. On São Miguel Island, in the Azores, petty crime is more likely in the areas of Ponta Delgada and Rabo de Peixe. In the Azores, police occasionally receive reports of theft of belongings from vehicles parked at turnouts by walking trails.

Review OSAC’s reports, All That You Should Leave Behind, Hotels: The Inns and Outs, Considerations for Hotel Security, and Taking Credit.  

Kidnapping Threat

The U.S. Department of State has not included a Kidnapping “K” Indicator on the Travel Advisory for Portugal. Review OSAC’s reports, Kidnapping: The Basics and Active Shooter and Kidnapping Response Tips.

​There are no significant or specific threats of kidnapping in Portugal.

Drug Crime

​Although neither a center of drug production nor a significant source of drugs destined for the U.S., Portugal is a gateway for drugs entering Europe, particularly from South America and western Africa. In addition to direct shipments from South America, traffickers use former colonies (e.g., Guinea Bissau, Cape Verde) as transshipment, refueling, and storage points for cocaine-laden vessels from South America en route to Europe through the Iberian Peninsula. While cocaine is the most significant drug threat, ecstasy, hashish, and heroin are also readily available.

Drugs or mixtures appearing to be drugs are often sold at night, in the downtown area, especially near the bars and restaurants; drug dealers sometimes approach travelers. Do not be surprised if dealers offer you drugs on the street. Drug trafficking of any amount is illegal.

Since 2001 “personal use” quantities of drugs have been decriminalized, but drug possession is still prohibited. Law enforcement officers refer individuals found to have “personal use” amounts to the Drug Addiction Dissuasion Commission, consisting of multi-disciplinary teams charged with assessing users and deciding the appropriate sanction as well as referral to educational or treatment programs.

 Consult with the CIA World Factbook’s section on Illicit Drugs for country-specific information.

Terrorism Environment

​The U.S. Department of State has assessed Lisbon and Ponta Delgada as being LOW-threat locations for terrorism directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests.

The U.S. Department of State has not included a Terrorism “T” Indicator on the Travel Advisory for Portugal.

The Institute for Economics & Peace Global Terrorism Index 2020 ranks Portugal 135 out of 163 worldwide, rating the country as having no impact from terrorism.

Terrorism: General Threat

​While Portugal has been free of any recent major terrorist incidents, it maintains open borders with its neighbors, allowing the possibility of terrorist operatives to enter/exit with anonymity. Law enforcement and security officials, in close cooperation with neighboring countries, maintain an effective anti-terrorism effort and a welcoming environment for tourism and business.

Authorities remain alert to potential recruitment and radicalization threats, and work closely with U.S. and European partners to counter associated risks. The call for self-radicalization, whether disseminated on extremist forums or via the broader approach via social media, continues to be a global concern. It is difficult to determine which message will inspire a violent extremist or sympathizer.

Political Violence and Civil Unrest Environment

​The U.S. Department of State has assessed Lisbon and Ponta Delgada as being LOW-threat locations for political violence directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests.

​Elections/Political Stability

​Portugal, which includes the archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira, is a constitutional semi-presidential representative democracy with a president, prime minister, and parliament elected in multiparty elections. Observers considered the 2019 national legislative elections to be free and fair. Elections occur routinely, with peaceful transitions of power.

Protest & Demonstration Activity

​Protests and demonstrations generally do not target the U.S. Embassy or U.S. interests in Portugal. All public demonstrations in Portugal require prior police approval; police are present at protests to ensure adequate security for participants and passers-by. Portugal has experienced a notable period of political and social tranquility. However, economic and labor related protests and demonstrations are not uncommon and are generally peaceful. Even peaceful demonstrations can become violent and unpredictable; avoid them if possible.

Sometimes fights occur leading up to and just following soccer matches. Be cognizant of local culture and team colors when traveling in the area of or attending a game.

Review OSAC’s report, Surviving a Protest.

Law Enforcement Concerns: Security Agencies

​Law enforcement is the main responsibility of five bodies:

  • Polícia de Segurança Pública (PSP) - Public Security Police. PSP is a civilian police force that works in larger urban areas and has tourist units to provide additional assistance. PSP safeguards internal security and the rights of citizens. PSP is the leading agency responsible for maintaining public order, countering violent acts, and performing tactical intervention.
  • Guarda Nacional Republicana (GNR) - National Republican Guard. The GNR is a military police office with civilian policing responsibilities (gendarmerie) that work predominantly in rural areas too small to warrant the PSP; it also provides a national highway patrol.
  • Polícia Judiciária (PJ) - Judicial Police. Overseen by the Public Ministry, the PJ mandate focuses on prevention, detection, and investigation of violent, organized, and financial crime.
  • Policia Maritima (PM) - Maritime Police. PM focuses on law enforcement operations on the waterways, but also has jurisdiction along the waterfront and the assorted bars and restaurants located near the river.
  • Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras (SEF) – Immigration and Borders Service. SEF’s fundamental objectives within the internal security policy include border control of persons, permanence, and the activities of foreigners in Portugal, and the study, promotion, coordination and execution of measures and actions related to these activities and migratory flows.

Police Response

​Portuguese law enforcement authorities are generally very professional.

Law Enforcement Concerns: Emergency Contact/Information

​The emergency number in Portugal is 112. For social welfare emergencies (domestic violence, child abuse), dial 144. English-speaking operators are available. Portugal has a crime victim’s assistance program, administered through an organization known by its acronym, APAV.

  • Lisbon: Rua José Estêvão, 135 A, Pisos ½. Tel.: +351 21 358 79 00.
  • Porto: Rua Aurélio Paz dos Reis, 351. Tel.: +351 22 834 68 40.
  • Estoril: Tel.: +351 21 466 42 71.
  • SOS immigrant line with English speaking operators: +351 808 257 257.

Transportation Security

Road Safety

​Principal highways are in exceptional condition, and secondary roads are generally of good quality and maintained well. In remote locations and in historic city centers, traffic lanes are very narrow and can be difficult to navigate. Traffic enforcement is limited, but the use of speed cameras is on the rise. The police in continental Portugal have the authority to issue on-the-spot fines, and most of their vehicles have portable machines to facilitate immediate payment.

Particularly problematic are drivers who fail to properly merge, yield, and safely change lanes, as well as drivers disregarding traffic control signals. Motorists, especially motorcyclists, often drive excessively fast and violate traffic codes. Motorcyclists/scooters may drive between the lanes and go to the front of traffic at stoplights, all of which can be disconcerting for drivers not used to this practice. Most highways in Portugal require toll payments, which may be paid with cash or credit cards. However, some smaller connecting highways may only take electronic payment methods. International credit/debit cards are not always accepted at all toll booths.

Exercise particular caution when traversing intersections, as motorists often accelerate to beat the traffic lights or become impatient sitting in line and disregard the traffic light altogether. While there is traffic congestion in Lisbon, Porto, and surrounding metropolitan areas, particularly during rush hours, incidents of road rage are rare. In Lisbon and other large cities, be mindful of beggars or street performers at intersections.

Fines for speeding violations registered by radar arrive to the offender via the postal service, often months after the violation has occurred. Drivers and passengers must wear seatbelts. Drivers must use hands-free headsets for cell phone; if using headsets, one ear must remain uncovered/unobstructed.

Incidents of serious traffic accidents in the Azores and Madeira are rare. However, high-speed driving, bad weather, and unskilled drivers contribute to accidents, including rollovers and those involving multiple vehicles, sometimes resulting in serious injuries or fatalities. In the Azores, driving can be challenging due to narrow cobblestone streets, thick fog, blind curves and corners, and livestock on roads.

For traffic accidents and emergencies, dial 112. Drivers must keep a reflective vest and triangle in their vehicles and deploy it in the case of an emergency. Police may fine those found without this required safety equipment. Portuguese law requires you to leave your vehicle where it is and immediately notify the police. The drivers of the vehicles involved must exchange details and both/all parties complete the Declaração Amigável (“Friendly Agreement” accident report), which each driver submits to their own insurance company. All drivers must maintain third-party insurance coverage.

For detailed, country-specific road and vehicle safety information, read the World Health Organization’s Global Status Report on Road Safety.

Review OSAC’s reports, Road Safety Abroad, Driving Overseas: Best Practices, and Evasive Driving Techniques; and read the State Department’s webpage on driving and road safety abroad.  

Public Transportation Safety

​Be careful on public transportation. Electronics and unattended luggage are particularly vulnerable to theft. When walking into train and metro stations at night, only enter well-illuminated and well-traveled stations.

Taxis and ridesharing companies (e.g., Uber, Lyft) are a reliable means of transportation. When using taxis, always be alert to possible discrepancies between the meter fare and the amount the driver requests. Always ask the taxi driver to use the meter. Taxis can charge additional fees related to baggage, not including handbags. Always use a taxi from the queue or kiosk; do not drive with someone who walks up to you and offers you a ride. In the Azores, taxis do not have meters; the fare consists of a base fee plus a posted rate per distance traveled.

Public transportation is inexpensive and reliable. Bus services begin at 0700 and generally operate until 2000, depending on the destination.

Review OSAC’s Report, Security in Transit: Airplanes, Public Transport, and Overnights; and consider the European Union Air Safety List.

Aviation Concerns

​The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government’s Civil Aviation Authority as compliant with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Portugal’s air carrier operations. Find further information on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

High winds can temporarily close airports and seaports in the Azores and Madeira.

Maritime Security

​Mainland Portugal and the outlying islands of the Azores and Madeira are prone to occasional storms. Storms in the islands have created flash floods that can cause deaths, significant damage, and considerable erosion. For updated local weather, consult the Portuguese Institute for Sea and Atmosphere (IPMA).

Rip tides are a serious hazard on many waterfronts in mainland Portugal and the Azores. Take local advice and learn the system of colored safety flags on supervised beaches: green means safe to swim; yellow means swim with caution; red means swimming forbidden. A blue-and-white checkered flag means the beach is temporarily without a lifeguard. In the Azores, lifeguards only staff public beaches during the tourist season. Waves can appear from nowhere, and can sweep people out to sea or into sharp rocks, even right from the water’s edge. Be cautious when turning your back to the sea.

  • Sea Rescue: 214-401-919
  • Maritime Police (plus pick-up boat service): 210-911-100
  • Maritime Police (24-hour emergency): 210-911-155/49

Personal Identity & Human Rights Concerns

​In 2020, there were some reports of significant human rights abuses; the most notable was an incident in which a person was killed by Foreigners and Borders Service officers. The government has mechanisms in place to identify and punish officials who may commit human rights abuses.

Safety Concerns for Women Travelers

​Sexual assaults against women are rare. However, there have been reports of women having their drinks drugged in bars in the Bairro Alto area. Do not take a drink from someone you do not know, and never leave your drink unattended.

Violence against women, including domestic violence, continues to be a problem. Sexual harassment is a crime, with penalties ranging from one to eight years in prison. If perpetrated by a superior in the workplace, the penalty is up to two years in prison, or more in cases of “aggravated coercion.” The constitution and the law provide women full legal equality with men, and the government enforced the law.

Consider composite scores given to Portugal by the UN Development Program (UNDP) in its Gender Development Index, measuring the difference between average achievement in three basic dimensions of human development, and Gender Inequality Index, measuring inequality in achievement in reproductive health, empowerment, and the labor market. For more information on gender statistics in Portugal, see the World Bank's Gender Data Portal.

Review the State Department’s webpage for female travelers.

Safety Concerns for LGBTI+ Travelers

​There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI+ events in Portugal. The constitution and the law prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Review OSAC’s report, Supporting LGBT+ Employee Security Abroad, and the State Department’s webpage on security for LGBTI travelers.

Safety Concerns for Travelers with Disabilities

​General information is available on the website of the Portugal Tourism Board. Public transportation vehicles in general have specially reserved seats for individuals with disabilities, but some vehicles may not be equipped to load and secure wheelchairs mechanically.

The State Railway Operator, Comboios de Portugal (CP) has an “integrated mobility service” (SIM) aimed at helping passengers with reduced mobility: Tel +351 707 210 220. SIM staff provide for train and station accessibility; assistance during boarding/exiting or during the train ride; and with trip planning. Some train stations are equipped with elevators. While SIM service is free of charge, you must request information or assistance at least 48 hours before travel. Additionally, CP offers discounts to residents of Portugal of up to 75% upon presentation of the cartão do deficiente (disabled person’s card). The card is available from CP ticket offices and is valid for two years. To qualify, applicants must have a Portuguese taxpayer ID number and provide certified proof of both disability and annual income. For additional information, visit CP’s website.

At least 36 of Lisbon Metro’s 56 stations offer full accessibility to people with disabilities. There are no reduced fares for passengers with disabilities. There are, however, elevators and moving walkways at main stations that provide access from the platform to street level, as well as payment machines adapted for passengers with disabilities and/or visual impairment. Passengers with visual disabilities can travel with guide dogs as long as their service animals are leashed and muzzled. Check Lisbon Metro’s website for more information. Porto’s metro system affords accessibility for passengers with disabilities system-wide with a network of elevators, ramps, and spaces for wheelchairs onboard metro cars.

Review the State Department’s webpage on security for travelers with disabilities.

Safety Concerns for Travelers Based on Race, Religion, & Ethnicity

​Portugal is a multi-ethnic/religious country, and a harmonious relationship generally exists among all groups. Occasionally, inter-ethnic disputes may arise in depressed neighborhoods owing more to socio–economic pressures rather than an ethnic conflict or clash of political/religious ideologies.

According to the Commission for Equality and Against Racial Discrimination (CICDR), the 26% increase in discrimination complaints from 2018 to 2019, including a finding of racism against a presidential candidate (who denied wrongdoing), might have been due to the global Black Lives Matter movement, which led to greater awareness of racial and ethnic discrimination issues and improved understanding of the legal mechanisms available to victims.

A large number of Roma continue to live in informal encampments. Many settlements are in areas isolated from the rest of the population and often lack basic infrastructure, such as access to drinking water, electricity, or waste-disposal facilities. Some localities have constructed walls around Romani settlements. Media reports of police harassment, misconduct, and abuses against Roma continue.

Review the latest U.S Department of State Report on International Religious Freedom for country-specific information.

Review OSAC’s report, Freedom to Practice, and the State Department’s webpage on security for faith-based travelers.  

Anti-U.S./Anti-Western Sentiment

​Portugal is a country with relatively low public anti-government and anti-U.S. sentiment.

Concerns involving the Rule of Law, Arbitrary Detention, Official Harassment, Corruption &/or Transparency

​Portugal places a premium on privacy rights and individual freedoms; reports of unlawful detention, intimidation, harassment, and graft are rare. The constitution and federal law prohibit arbitrary arrest and detention. Persons arrested or detained, whether on criminal or other grounds, are entitled to challenge in court the legal basis or arbitrary nature of their detention and any delay in obtaining judicial rulings. If the court finds persons to have been detained unlawfully, they are entitled to prompt release and compensation. The government generally observes these practices.

The constitution and law provide detailed guidelines covering all aspects of arrest and custody, and authorities generally followed the guidelines. Individuals are normally arrested only on a judicial warrant, but law enforcement officials and citizens may make warrantless arrests when there is probable cause that a crime has just been or is being committed, or that the person to be arrested is an escaped convict or suspect.

Authorities must bring the suspect before an investigating judge within 48 hours of arrest. By law the investigating judge determines whether an arrested person should be detained, released on bail, or released outright. Authorities generally inform detainees promptly of charges against them.

Investigative detention for most crimes is limited to four months. If authorities do not file a formal charge within that period, they must release the detainee. In cases of serious crimes such as murder, armed robbery, terrorism, and violent or organized crime, and crimes involving more than one suspect, the investigating judge may decide to hold a suspect in detention while the investigation is underway for up to 18 months, and up to three years in extraordinary circumstances.

Bail exists, but authorities generally do not release detainees on their own recognizance. Depending on the severity of the crime, a detainee’s release may be subject to various legal conditions.

Detainees have the right to legal counsel from the time of arrest, but media reports cite instances when police, in particular the Judiciary Police, did not inform detainees of their rights. An attorney must accompany detainees appearing before a judge for the first hearing. If detained persons cannot afford a private lawyer, the government appoints one and assumes legal costs.

Based on the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, bilateral agreements, and customary international law, you have the right to request that the police, prison officials, or other authorities alert the U.S. Embassy/Consulate of your arrest and to have communications from you forwarded to the Embassy/Consulate. To ensure that the U.S. government is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the U.S. Embassy or Consulate upon arrest or detention. Seek legal counsel for appropriate assistance for improprieties, and report incidents to the nearest U.S. Embassy/Consulate.

The Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index ranks Portugal 33 out of 180 worldwide, where 1 means most transparent.

Communication Issues

​The constitution and law provide for press freedom, and the government generally respects this right. An independent press, an effective judiciary, and a functioning democratic political system combine to promote freedom of expression, including for the press. The law criminalizes the denigration of ethnic or religious minorities, as well as Holocaust denial, as an offensive practice. Prison sentences for these crimes run between six months and eight years.

​The government does not restrict or disrupt access to the internet or censor online content, and there have been no credible reports that the government monitored private online communications without appropriate legal authority.

​The constitution and law provide for the freedoms of expression, including freedom of press and assembly, and the government generally respects these rights.

The Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index ranks Portugal 9 out of 180 worldwide, where 1 means most freedom. The Freedom House Freedom in the World report rates Portugal’s freedom of speech as free.

​Health Concerns

Emergency Health Services      

​Quality medical facilities are widely available. Hospitals may not have staff members fluent in English. Calls to 112 emergency centers are free from any phone. The operator will put you in contact with the emergency service that you require. Ambulance services are widely available, but training and availability of emergency responders may be below U.S. standards. Portugal does not offer free medical treatment to visitors.

Find contact information for available medical services and available air ambulance services on the U.S. Embassy website. The U.S. Department of State strongly recommends purchasing international health insurance before traveling internationally. Review the State Department’s webpage on health insurance overseas.

The U.S. Department of State has included a Health “H” Indicator on the Travel Advisory for Portugal, indicating that Health risks, including current disease outbreaks or a crisis that temporarily disrupts a country’s medical infrastructure, are present. Review the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) country-specific Travel Health Notices for current health issues that impact traveler health, like disease outbreaks, special events or gatherings, and natural disasters.

See OSAC’s Guide to U.S. Government-Assisted Evacuations; review OSAC’s reports, The Healthy Way, Shaken: The Don’ts of Alcohol Abroad, Health 101: How to Prepare for Travel, and Fire Safety Abroad; and visit the State Department’s webpage on Your Health Abroad for more information.


​Strongly consider COVID-19 vaccination prior to all travel.

Review the CDC Travelers’ Health site for country-specific vaccine recommendations.

Issues Traveling with Medications

If traveling with prescription medication, check with the Government of Portugal to ensure the medication is legal in Portugal. Bring a sufficient supply of medication with you to cover your anticipated stay in Portugal, along with a copy of your physician's prescription. Portuguese pharmacies generally carry equivalent medications to those found in the United States; however, they may be sold under a different brand name, may not be available in the same dosage, or may require a prescription from a local doctor.

Review OSAC’s report, Traveling with Medication.  

Water Quality

​Water quality in Portugal is typical of an EU country, and tap water is generally safe for human consumption. Bottled water is readily available. There are currently no specific or elevated water quality concerns in Portugal.

Review OSAC’s report, I’m Drinking What in My Water?

Environmental Hazards

​In the event of a natural disaster or other widespread emergency, travelers can monitor the Portuguese Civil Protection Authority’s website for the latest information.

Mainland Portugal, the Azores, and Madeira are all in earthquake risk zones. Portugal regularly experiences earthquakes and tremors up to 5.0 in magnitude, primarily off the Atlantic coast. The implementation of improved modern construction techniques in accordance with contemporary EU seismic protocols for large, multi-storied structures are noteworthy. However, many smaller buildings and dated residential dwellings do not incorporate such features, and are susceptible to collapse in an earthquake.

Fires in Portugal, both on the mainland and on the islands, especially in the summer, can be devastating and occur with little warning.

Cybersecurity Concerns

​Cybercrime, in the form of online extortion and IT scams, continue to rise in Portugal, much like in the rest of the EU.

Review OSAC’s reports, Cybersecurity Basics, Best Practices for Maximizing Security on Public Wi-Fi, Traveling Abroad with Mobile Devices, and Guide for Overseas Satellite Phone Usage.

Counterintelligence Issues

​There are currently no specific or elevated Counterintelligence concerns for private citizens in Portugal outside of the issues typically found throughout the EU and the rest of world.

Other Security Concerns


​This country has no known issues with landmines.

Import/Export Restrictions

​The importation and possession of firearms, pepper spray, tasers, extendable batons, and certain knives is restricted and requires licensing in most cases. Permissions to operate high range radios is also required, with many frequencies prohibited and restricted to government use.

A country-specific listing of items goods prohibited from being exported to the country or that are otherwise restricted is available from the U.S. International Trade Agency website.


​Portugal has strict privacy laws that govern the release of personal information. It is against Portuguese law to record police or military personnel, unless part of a special ceremony or at a tourist location. It is also against the law to take photos or record images of the public without their permission. It is always best to ask prior to taking a photo or video. 

Review OSAC’s report, Picture This: Dos and Don’ts for Photography.

ID Requirements

​Portuguese law requires that everyone carry official identification at all times; police officials may request to see your identification at any time. U.S. citizens who are not residents will need to present a U.S. passport.

Critical Infrastructure Concerns

Two main bridges connect Lisbon to the southern part of Portugal that, if targeted (e.g., protest activity), could cause major disruptions to movement in/out of the city. In past years, significant strikes by gasoline truck drivers impacted fuel supplies throughout Portugal, resulting in fuel shortages at gas stations and airports. The shortages only lasted a few days, but emphasized the importance of monitoring local media and keeping abreast of how current events that could impact your travel.

OSAC Country Chapters

​The Country Chapter in Lisbon is active, meeting biannually.

Contact OSAC’s Europe team with any questions.

Embassy Contact Information

U.S. Embassy: Av. das Forças Armadas 1600-081 Lisbon. Tel: +351 21 770 2122; Emergency After-Hours Tel: +351 21 770 2122 or +351 21 727 3300. Hours: Monday-Friday, 0800 to 1700.

U.S. Consulate in the Azores: Ponta Delgada, São Miguel Island.

Trustworthy News Sources

​​The Portuguese news media scene is dominated by four main groups – Cofina (Correio de Manha, CMTV, Sabado) Impresa (Expresso, SIC), Spanish-Portuguese group Media Capital (TVI, Radio Comercial), and Global Media Group (Diaro de Noticas, Jornal de Noticias, TSF). The Government of Portugal is also a major player, supporting public television, public radio, and a news agency. While public television and radio have lost viewers/listeners to private competition, the Lusa wire agency remains an influential news provider. Público, a daily newspaper with a print and online edition, is also a major reference and widely respected outlet. Other widely trusted sources include Expresso, Diário de Notícias, Sábado, Jornal de Negócios, Jornal Económico, TSF, among others.

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