Information on Travelling to and Moving to Portugal After Brexit

Brexit update: Passports and travel section updated to include information on passport validity and entry requirements when travelling to other European countries from January 2021.

Rather like Spain, there are generally no changes to the rights and status of UK nationals (and their direct family) living in Portugal, while the UK remains in the EU.

Just make sure you’re correctly registered as resident, via your local Câmara Municipal (town hall) for stays of over three months and (after five years of legal residence in Portugal) as a permanent resident with their immigration authorities – the Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras.

If this is all correct and up-to-date you should see no change and this also extends to working in Portugal and accessing their healthcare and schools, plus UK pensions and other exportable benefits you’re entitled to.

If you are studying, you may need to have your British qualifications recognised in Portugal, but these can be converted easy enough by a legal notary. Those resident in Portugal can also continue to vote in local municipal elections – and in some UK elections if registered as an overseas voter?

The introduction of any new or updated administrative procedures after the December 2020 transition period will be decided by Portugal themselves, but we have contacts in the Iberian countries and can bring you those details very quickly.

There may be a requirement for UK nationals to apply for a new residency document or status conferring the right of residence, but they’ll have at least until the end of June 2021 to submit their applications.

This should be free of charge, or at least no more than the cost of issuing similar documents (such as passports), but applicants may be required to provide proof of identity and undergo criminality and security checks – called Certificado de Registo Criminal in Portugal.

Official information for UK nationals moving to or living in Portugal, including guidance on Brexit, residency, healthcare and passports.

The Withdrawal Agreement

The Withdrawal Agreement sets out the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and provides for a deal on citizens’ rights. It sets out a transition period which lasts until 31 December 2020. During this time you can continue to live, work and study in the EU broadly as you did before 31 January 2020.

If you are resident in Portugal at the end of the transition period, you will be covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, and your rights will be protected for as long as you remain resident in Portugal.

Any rights that are not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement will be the subject of future negotiations. Read this guidance page for more information.

In the meantime, make sure you are registered as a resident in Portugal. We will update this guidance as soon as more information becomes available.

You should also read the guidance on living in Europe.

Visas and residency

Check the entry requirements for Portugal.

Residency
If you are resident in Portugal before the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, you will be able to stay.

You must register as a resident in Portugal if you want to stay for more than 3 months. To get a Registration Certificate (Certificado de Registo), go to your local Town Hall (Câmara Municipal). You will need:

  • proof of address
  • a valid passport
  • proof of earnings or evidence of sufficient means to support yourself and your family
  • proof of enrolment in a Portuguese school or university, if you are a student

The certificate costs €15 for an adult and €7.50 for a child. This certificate is normally valid for 5 years.

After 5 years’ residency in Portugal, you can apply for a Permanent Residency Certificate (Autorização de Residência Permanente) also known as a residency card. You must apply before your Registration Certificate expires.

You can apply directly with SEF (Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras, the Borders and Immigration Agency) at any of their offices. You need to book an appointment by calling SEF:

  • from a landline: 808 202 653
  • from a mobile: 808 962 690

You will need:

  • registration certificate (Certificado de Registo)
  • a valid passport
  • two passport photographs
  • if you have changed your address, proof of your new address

You can use your Permanent Residency Certificate as proof of ID in Portugal but you cannot use it as a travel document. The Permanent Residency Certificate is valid for 10 years. You will need to renew it every 10 years at a SEF office.

Visit the SEF website for English-language guidance on how to register and apply for residency.

If there are changes to residency registration processes, we will update this page as soon as information is available.

For more information:

UK Nationals Support Fund
The government announced funding for organisations to provide practical support to UK nationals who may have difficulty completing their residency applications.

This support is available only to those who need additional help. This may include pensioners, disabled people, people living in remote areas or who have mobility difficulties.

The services available for people who need this additional support include:

  • answering questions about residency applications, such as the documents required and application procedure
  • guiding individuals through the process, if necessary
  • supporting people facing language barriers or difficulty accessing technology

In Portugal, this support is being provided by The International Organisation for Migration. If you or someone you know may have difficulty completing the paperwork, you can contact them using the details below to discuss how they may be able to help you.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM)
Visit the IOM website

Helpline: +351 913 886 456

Email: UKNationalsPT@iom.int

Healthcare

You should ensure you are properly registered for healthcare as a resident in Portugal. Private health insurance is available but is not mandatory and should not be a substitute for registering for state healthcare.

Once you are registered as a resident in Portugal, you are entitled to state healthcare. You need to register at your local health centre (centro de saúde) and get a user ID number (health number) by showing your residence certificate and your passport.

Read the guidance on how you can register for healthcare in Portugal and how the healthcare system works.

State healthcare: S1
If you live in Portugal and receive an exportable UK pension, contribution-based Employment Support Allowance or another exportable benefit, you may currently be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK. You will need to apply for a certificate of entitlement known as an S1 certificate.

Read the guidance on how to get an S1 form.

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
If you are resident in Portugal, you must not use your EHIC from the UK to access healthcare in Portugal, unless you are a student or posted-worker.

When you travel from Portugal for a temporary stay in another European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland, you can use an EHIC to access state-provided healthcare in that country. During that short stay:

You should apply for a Portuguese-issued European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for visits outside of Portugal if you are either:

  • registered with Portuguese Social Security (if you are working or the dependent of someone working in Portugal), or
  • resident in Portugal and do not have healthcare cover from the UK or another Member State (for example if you are not entitled to an S1), but have a healthcare user number (Número de Utente de Saúde).

The Portuguese government has more information on how to apply (in Portuguese), including an application form which you should complete and hand in at your nearest Social Security office.

You can also continue to use your EHIC, as you did before, during the transition period, until 31 December 2020.

You should also read guidance on:

Send questions about access to healthcare in Portugal to healthcare.portugal@fcdo.gov.uk

Passports and travel

The rules on travel will stay the same until the transition period ends on 31 December 2020. During this time you can continue to travel to countries in the Schengen area or elsewhere in the EU with your UK passport.

Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip. Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay.

You can apply for or renew your British passport from Portugal.

Passports from 1 January 2021
Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip.

From 1 January 2021, you must have at least 6 months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland). This requirement does not apply if you are entering or transiting to Portugal, and you are in scope of the Withdrawal Agreement.

If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months needed.

You will need to renew your passport before travelling if you do not have enough time left on your passport.

As a non-EEA national, different border checks will apply when travelling to other EU or Schengen area countries. You may need to show a return or onward ticket and that you have enough money for your stay. You may also have to use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing. Your passport may be stamped for visits to these countries.

Entry requirements
From 1 January 2021, you will be able to travel to other Schengen area countries for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa for purposes such as tourism. This is a rolling 180-day period.

To stay for longer, to work or study, or for business travel, you will need to meet the entry requirements set out by the country to which you are travelling. This could mean applying for a visa or work permit. You may also need to get a visa if your visit would take you over the 90 days in 180 days limit.

Periods of stay authorised under a visa or permit will not count against the 90-day limit. Travel to the UK and the Ireland will not change.

Different rules will apply to EU countries that are not part of the Schengen Area. Check each country’s travel advice page for information on entry requirements.

Driving in Portugal

Driving licence rules will stay the same until 31 December 2020.

For information on driving in Portugal, read the guidance on:

Register your UK licence with the Instituto da Mobilidade e de Transportes (IMT) (in Portuguese) within 60 days of taking up residence, or face a fine.

You can exchange an expired UK licence for up to 2 years after the expiration date. After 2 years, you will have to pass a Portuguese driving test.

Alternatively, exchange your UK driving licence for a Portuguese driving licence (in Portuguese). You can do this at any IMT office.

Use your Portuguese licence if you need to drive in the UK and other EU countries as a visitor. Exchange it for a UK licence without taking a test if you return to live in the UK, as long as you originally passed your test in the UK or in an EU country.

Find more information on recognition and exchange of driving licences in the Instituto da Mobilidade e de Transportes (IMT) guidance (available in Portuguese and English).

If you are resident in Portugal and your UK driving licence is lost, stolen or expires, you will not be able to renew it with the UK Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

Bringing a UK-registered vehicle to Portugal
Read the guidance on taking a vehicle out of the UK.

Read the guidance on how to import your vehicle into Portugal.

You can read the European Union´s guidance on car registration rules and taxes in Portugal. You may be exempt from some of these taxes. If so, you will need certificates of exemption.

Working and studying in Portugal

If you are registered as a resident in Portugal on or before 31 December 2020, you will maintain your right to work in Portugal, as long as you remain resident. Read the guidance on working in an EU country.

To apply for a job you may need to provide a:

You can read the guidance on how to apply for a criminal record in Portugal and in the UK

Studying in Portugal
If you are resident in Portugal on or before 31 December 2020, your right to study in Portugal will stay the same, as long as you remain resident.

For more information read studying in the European Union.

British qualifications
If you are studying, you may need to have your British qualifications recognised in Portugal. You will need to contact:

You can get your diploma or school report officially certified by the UK Legalisation Office.

You can get a local notary (in Portuguese) to authenticate the translation of your diploma or school report.

You can read the guidance on the recognition of UK educational qualifications.

Money and tax

The UK has a double taxation agreement with Portugal to ensure you do not pay tax on the same income in both countries. Existing double taxation arrangements for UK nationals living in Portugal have not changed.

If you are a Portuguese resident, you must declare your global income to the Portuguese authorities, no matter which country it came from. Ask the relevant tax authority about double taxation relief.

If you are not a resident, you will only pay tax on income that came from Portugal.

If you are liable to pay tax in Portugal, you should apply for a tax number (Número de Identificação Fiscal or NIF). You will also need a NIF if you intend to buy or sell property, open a bank account or sign long-term rental agreements.

Read guidance about:

We recommend you get professional advice on paying tax in Portugal. You can find a financial advisor or find an English-speaking lawyer in Portugal.

National Insurance
Find out if you can pay National Insurance while living in Portugal in order to protect your State Pension and entitlement to other benefits and allowances.

If you are employed or self-employed in the EU or EEA and you have a UK-issued A1/E101 form, you will remain subject to UK legislation until the end date on the form.

Pensions

You will need to tell the UK government offices that deal with your benefits, pension and tax if you are moving or retiring abroad.

If you retire in Portugal, you can claim:

Life certificates for UK State Pensions
If you get a life certificate from the UK Pension Service, you need to respond as soon as possible. Your payments may be suspended if you don’t.

Pensions after 31 December 2020
There will be no changes before 31 December 2020 to the rules on claiming the UK State Pension in the EU, EEA or Switzerland as a result of the UK leaving the EU.

If you are living in the EU, EEA or Switzerland by 31 December 2020, you will get your UK State Pension uprated every year for as long as you continue to live there. This will happen even if you start claiming your pension on or after 1 January 2021, as long as you meet the qualifying conditions explained in the new State Pension guidance.

If you are living in Portugal by 31 December 2020, you will be able to count future social security contributions towards meeting the qualifying conditions for your UK State Pension.

If you work and pay social security contributions in Portugal, you will still be able to add your UK social security contributions towards your Portuguese pension. This will happen even if you claim your pension after 31 December 2020.

If you are considering moving to Portugal on or after 1 January 2021 and you are not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, the rules depend on negotiations with the EU and may change. Check the guidance on benefits and pensions in the EU.

You can continue to receive your UK State Pension if you live in the EU, EEA or Switzerland and you can still claim your UK State Pension.

Benefits

You must tell the UK government offices that deal with your benefits, pension and tax if you are moving or retiring abroad.

You may still be able to claim some UK benefits like child and disability benefits if you live in Portugal. You should:

Many income-related benefits such as pension credit and housing benefit cannot be paid to you if you’re abroad for more than 4 weeks.

You may be eligible to claim some Portuguese social security benefits.

You can request proof of the time you have worked in the UK from HMRC if you are asked for this.

Benefits after 31 December 2020
There will be no changes before 31 December 2020 to the rules on claiming UK benefits in the EU, EEA or Switzerland as a result of the UK leaving the EU.

If you are living in the EU, EEA or Switzerland by 31 December 2020, you will continue to receive any UK benefits you already receive. This will continue for as long as you live there and meet all other eligibility requirements.

If you work and pay social security contributions in Portugal, your UK social security contributions will be taken into account when applying for Portuguese contributions-based benefits. This will happen even if you claim contributions-based benefits after 31 December 2020.

If you are considering moving to Portugal on or after 1 January 2021 and you are not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, the rules depend on negotiations with the EU and may change. Check the guidance on benefits and pensions in the EU.

Accommodation and buying property

Read guidance on how to buy a property abroad.

If you are buying property in Portugal, you should ask a lawyer who is experienced in land law and property transactions. Make sure that they are registered with the law society, Ordem dos Advogados (in Portuguese).

Some notaries, who are trained lawyers in Portugal, offer an independent property purchasing service known as Casa Simples, Casa Segura (in Portuguese).

If you are thinking of buying a coastal, river or lakeside property, ensure it’s not affected by the 2005 water resources law (in Portuguese).

If you buy rural property, make sure you comply with the law on preventing forest fires (in Portuguese).

Voting

The UK has signed a bilateral agreement with Portugal on UK nationals’ right to vote in local elections. The agreement guarantees that if you were living in Portugal before 31 January 2020 you maintain the right to vote and stand in local elections.

If you move to Portugal after 31 January 2020, you will be able to vote in local elections after 3 years of residency After 5 years of residency you will be able to stand and be elected for local office.

You cannot vote in European Parliament elections.

You may be able to vote in some UK elections. You can:

Births, deaths and getting married

If your child is born in Portugal, you will need to register a birth abroad.

If someone dies in Portugal you can:

Find out how you can get married abroad.

Find out about notarial and documentary services for UK nationals in Portugal.

You may also need:

Pets

Current pet travel rules will stay the same until 31 December 2020.

If you’re travelling with your pet for the first time you must visit your vet to get a pet passport.

Read guidance on bringing your pet to the UK.

Emergencies

You can dial the European emergency number 112. This is the only emergency number in Portugal.

If you’re the victim of crime, have been arrested, or are affected by a crisis abroad, contact your nearest British embassy or consulate.

Returning to the UK

Tell the UK and Portuguese authorities if you are returning to the UK permanently.

To move your pension to the UK, contact the International Pension Centre.

If you get healthcare in Portugal through the S1 form, you must contact the Overseas Healthcare Team on +44 (0)191 218 1999 and your local social insurance organisation to make sure your S1 is cancelled at the right time.

Read the guidance on returning to the UK permanently which includes information on, amongst other things, tax, access to services and bringing family members.

Disclaimer

Please note that this information is provided as a guide only. Definitive information should be obtained from the Portuguese authorities.

Source: gov.uk

Join the BD Forum

The BD Forum provides members with access to discussions on the topics that matter to you. Whether you are an EU national wishing to discuss matters within a country specific area of the forum or with the wider community you will find answers to questions and be able to access other members’ experiences and knowledge.

Join the BD Forum