Darmel Hudson’s Migration Story and Timeline

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Welcome to the start of a new journey! I’m going to start by saying two very important things to remember. 

  1. This is YOUR journey and the next chapter in YOUR life. Own it!
  2. Congratulations on your bravery, assertiveness, and decision/consideration to migrate outside of the USA. 

The starting point of any major decision is to make a plan. You can start by making a list of your needs, wishes, and absolute deal breakers here. It’s called your “criteria set.” Feel free to use this as a template by adding or taking away from the bullet points as you need to for your journey. Then, just insert your criteria and schedule of needs into the areas and customize this for yourself.

NOTE: The key to any good plan is to write your plan down, and then begin to execute it. 

An example of that would be to determine what things are important to me in retirement and this chapter of my life. I wanted a community that was affordable, walkable (I didn’t want the hassle of a car), safe, accessible, and good healthcare, with a mild climate and weather year-round. After researching retirement destinations, the eastern Algarve in Portugal met all of my criteria and desires. 

Here’s the approach that worked for me in my retirement and migration journey:

June 2021  

• Decided to retire from nursing with a goal date of April 2022. 

• Began researching retirement strategies, downsizing tips, and housing options for older adults. 

• Gathered all the information and reviewed it.

• Placed it in file folders and labeled them, to be able to easily access it later. 

July 2021  

• Met with a couple of realtors and decided on one. Decided to place the house on the market in January 2022. 

• Began the initial search for a condo, nice senior apartment, or townhouse in the USA. 

• Did a serious review of the USA economy, crime rates, mass shootings, road rage killings/shootings, and ability to retire there. 

August 2021

It quickly became apparent that I would be unable to retire in the USA and live financially and economically comfortably at the current housing, gas, and food prices. 

• I set up searches for housing in the USA (last chance and hope that I might retire in my own country).

• Began looking at other housing options in multiple geographic locations in Europe and different African countries.

September 2021 

• Stumbled across a Facebook group called Blaxit and connected with a few people. This was my first connection with others who felt as I did about the decline of safety and lack of affordability for retirement in the USA. One of the Blaxit members recommended the Facebook group Americans &Friends PT

• I joined this group above, began to watch the posts, and reviewed the files they had on Portugal and the migration process. 

• After thoroughly researching multiple sources, and sites and watching YouTube videos, I decided to migrate to Portugal. 

• Visited the vfsglobal.com website and started officially gathering all of the information on types of visas, costs, and requirements. 

October 2021

• Started my first two lists – one with pros and cons of migrating and one with things I’d need to do to be able to migrate pursue of the USA. Again, placed in file folders and labeled, to be able to easily access it at a later time. 

• Began researching Medicare and my retirement plan. 

• Met with my Human Resources contact and obtained all needed information for retirement. 

November 2021

• Began the process of downsizing, making the necessary lists to help with this aspect. For example, I had one list detailing what was to be kept, what was to be sold, to be donated, and what was to be given to family members. I placed all of my lists on a clipboard so they’d be all together. This particular list helped a lot later on when dividing all of the household items up and stopped the arguments among family members about “who got what?”

• Started working on my other three lists aggressively: one for disposing of household goods, one for business things to complete, and one for addressing the household goods I was shipping. 

• Started preparing for 2022 taxes and gathering my information.

• I used online resources recommended in the Facebook groups, e.g. properstar.com and idealista.com to start searching for potential properties. 

December 2021  

• Since it was my last Christmas in the USA, I decided to celebrate that with my family in their homes. 

• Started researching companies to ship the household items I wanted to take.  

• Made Facebook connections and took recommendations from people who had successfully migrated to Portugal, obtaining names of credible companies they had utilized.

NOTE: This is where you do your research on customs, taxation, special requirements, etc. thoroughly.

• Researched the files on the Facebook group “Americans&FriendsPT” again for visas, posts on timelines, failures, and successes in obtaining the visa. 

• Visited the vfsglobal.com website and started familiarizing myself with it and visa information.

• Continued to search for retirement options in the USA, but it was futile at that time. 

• Secured a one-year lease on a two-bedroom condo in Olhão. It had sea views, a rooftop pool, restaurants, a post office on-site at the property, and a laundromat. 

January 2022

•  Continued clearing the house of small appliances, and things to donate, painting and preparing the home for sale. 

• Applied for my Medicare Part A (I was 65 at that time).

• Again visited the vfsglobal.com website and started officially gathering all of the information on types of visas, costs, and requirements. 

• Visited the vfsglobal.com website and started officially gathering all of the information on types of visas, costs, and requirements. 

February 2022 – Critical Point

• Placed house on the market. 

• Continued gathering the things needed for a D7 visa (passive income) Examples of this were renewing my passport, obtaining photographs for the visa, obtained the three-month’s of bank statements. 

• Arranged fingerprint appointment.

• Applied for the federal background investigation. 

• Arranged appointment for my Medicare Part B and Social Security to start.

• Arranged for the keys to the rental to be picked up by friends in Portimão.

• Reviewed my LISTS and checked off all things that had been successfully done.

NOTE: This is both a crucial and  rewarding aspect of things. It gives you the confirmation that you’re accomplishing things and succeeding. It also lets you know what’s left to be done. Mark things off as you get them done and celebrate the accomplishment!

• Placed my 9-month old 2021 Subaru Outback Premium for sale on Carguru.com with tons of pictures and mileage. It later sold in 3 days for $5,000 more than I paid for it 10 months prior. 

March 2022 

• Submitted my application for a D7 visa via courier (UPS) to VFS Global (Washington, D.C.) with all of the required documentation. NOTE: At that time, post-pandemic, those living > x number of miles away could apply via mail. 

• Appointment with Social Security Admin made and initiation of both Medicare Part B and the monthly retirement pension. 

• Started the first of three estate sales to address selling the expensive furniture items I had. I sold 80% of my inside furniture and small appliances, washer/dryer, etc. this way.

• Held 3-weekend garage sales to clear all of the outside terraces and patios, garage, and storage shed. 

• Sold my 2021 Subaru.

• Sold the house and prepared for closing. 

• Arranged for an Airbnb.

• Arranged for a rental car. 

• Set up the shipping of small amounts of household goods via UPackWeShip.

• Filed 2021 taxes.

April 2022

• Finalized clearing of the home and had the final things done, e.g. grass cutting/landscaping completed and cleaning

• Household goods were picked up by UPackWeShip.

• Closed on the house. 

• Moved into the Airbnb. 

May 2022

• Contacted VFS Global on the status of my D7 visa. Still under review and no word. 

• Arranged to stay with one of my adult children in June if the D7 visa hasn’t arrived by then. 

• Extended the car rental contract. 

• Changed my airline ticket for a later flight date.

• Again sent an email to VFS Global in the third week of May on the status of the visa. THIS TIME I emailed a contact whose name was passed to me by a fellow Facebook member. I received a reply one day later, informing me that my D7 visa was approved and the need to send my passport to VFS. 

June 2023

• Passport sent to VFS Global via DHL courier services. The cost was $40. and well worth it!

• Passport received back with D7 visa embedded in it within three days. 

• Back to Airbnb for a week. 

• Moved to family’s home for a few days. 

• Flight to Portugal on June 16th with 5 large suitcases and a carry-on. 

• I was picked up by friends from the Faro airport, taken to my apartment, and began my journey in the beautiful country of Portugal.

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