Obtaining Residency in Portugal for EU/EEA/Swiss Citizens (CRUE)

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Applying for residency in Portugal as an EU citizen is relatively straightforward, especially when compared to applying as a non-EU citizen. Those from the EU/EEA/Switzerland have the right to live in Portugal, so in theory it’s just a case of moving here. 

In theory, anyway. In practice, you may have get asked for seemingly random documents, but, otherwise, most people manage to register for residency without any major setbacks. Other aspects of moving to Portugal, like changing your driving licence or matriculating your car, can be more complicated, but this bit is usually fairly easy – many are able to do it in less than ten minutes. 

This article is relevant to those from within the EU/EEA/Switzerland. If you hold a passport that’s not from one of these locations, you’ll likely need to apply for a residency visa and this usually needs to be done before you move to Portugal. 

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How to Register

Registering involves visiting your nearest câmara municipal (town hall) to get your CRUE or Certificado de Registo de Cidadão da União Europeia. You’ll probably need to take a senha (ticket) when you enter. If you’re not sure which to take, there’s usually a security guard that you can ask.

You can apply for your certificate after you’ve been in Portugal for 90 days and you must apply within 30 days. If you don’t register, it’s possible that you could be fined between €400 and €1,500[1]https://eportugal.gov.pt/en/cidadaos-europeus-viajar-viver-e-fazer-negocios-em-portugal/viver-em-portugal/residir-em-portugal.

It is possible to voluntarily get this before the 90 days are up[2]https://www.acm.gov.pt/widget/-/sou-cidadao-europeu-e-necessario-registar-me-para-residir-em-portugal-, but câmaras may say no. Some will also ask for proof of when you entered Portugal (e.g. a flight ticket) to make sure that it has been 90 days, but others won’t. 

Different town halls will have different documentation requirements. Some just require an ID (e.g. a passport or European ID) and some proof of address while others require other documentation like a NIF and funded Portuguese bank account. It really depends on the local câmara and it’s difficult to know unless you go in or speak to someone who’s applied for residency there recently. 

While town halls should only ever ask for ID, proof of address, and proof of financial means[3]https://gsnadv.com/en/2020/11/04/en-brexit-sef-guidelines-regarding-new-crue-requests-in-portugal/, the following documents are typically asked for:

  • ID (e.g. passport or ID card)
  • Proof of address (e.g. property deeds, mortgage statement, rental contract, utility bill, NIF document)
  • Three month’s of bank statements
  • NIF (Número de Identificação Fiscal)
  • A statement confirming that you have the necessary financial means to support yourself (e.g. pension or savings), are working, or are a student (document provided by câmara)
  • Fee (around €15)

These documents may also be asked for:

  • Private health insurance (normally only required if your country asks the same of Portuguese citizens)
  • Proof you don’t owe any money to the Portuguese social security department (Declaração da Segurança Social com os Descontos Efetuados)
  • A document from your local Junta de Freguesia, signed by two witnesses which confirms you live where you do (Atestado De Residência)

Students will be asked for a declaration they they are registered at a public or private educational institution[4]https://www.acm.gov.pt/widget/-/sou-cidadao-europeu-e-necessario-registar-me-para-residir-em-portugal-. They’ll also be asked to show sufficient funds or evidence that they’re supported by a family member. If Portuguese citizens who move to their country require private health insurance, the same will be asked of them in Portugal.

Besides ensuring you have the basic documents, what the person processing your CRUE wants to determine is whether or not you’re likely to become a burden on the Portuguese state (i.e. will you run out of money). Proving that you won’t is important.

Non-EU Family Members

Non-EU family members (e.g. a spouse or direct descendant under 21 years of age [5]https://eportugal.gov.pt/en/cidadaos-europeus-viajar-viver-e-fazer-negocios-em-portugal/viver-em-portugal/residir-em-portugal#familiarescidadaoue) can also apply for residency at the same time[6]https://eportugal.gov.pt/en/cidadaos-europeus-viajar-viver-e-fazer-negocios-em-portugal/viver-em-portugal/residir-em-portugal.

Now you have residency

Now you have temporary residency, which is valid for five years, you can move onto the next stages of Portuguese bureaucracy like:

If you lose your CRUE or move house during those five years, you will need to apply for another.

Interestingly, getting residency doesn’t automatically mean tax residency in Portugal. Determining residency is more complex than that, but Finanças often count your “tax residency” from the date your NIF was registered to a Portuguese address. As mentioned, it’s more complicated than this and you can’t avoid paying taxes in Portugal simply by never switching your NIF address over. You might meet the tax residency requirements in other ways (e.g. having a main address in Portugal or spending more than 183 days in a tax year here).

What a Certificado do Registo de Cidadão da União Europeia (CRUE) looks like

Permanent Residency & Citizenship

After five years, you can apply for permanent residency and Portuguese citizenship. Obtaining permanent residency is fairly quick, assuming you can get an appointment, while the citizenship application usually takes around 18-24 months. 

Permanent residency is ever-so-slightly different to temporary residency. One benefit is that it’s currently renewed every ten years whereas temporary residency for EU citizens is renewed every five. 

You may be wondering whether it’s worth applying for Portuguese citizenship and obtaining a Portuguese passport if you already have a passport from an EU country. Generally, it doesn’t offer any additional benefits, but it can make paperwork slightly easier in Portugal if you’re a citizen rather than just a resident. 

There’s also always the risk that your country could one day decide to leave the EU like the UK did. Since Portugal recognises dual citizenship, it may be worth it. 

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Comments

  1. One thing we found confusing was the rental lease. Every town hall seems to ask for something different. We were never asked for one but other people were asked to show an agreement and some were asked to show an agreement but it had be authorised by finances.

    Why is it that there are so many differences between the town halls? Surely it would be easier if they all followed the same rules? It creates so much confusion.

    Reply
    • Hi Harriet,

      I agree. Unfortunately, this is quite normal in Portugal, particularly with town halls and the consulates abroad. Perhaps the rules aren't specific enough so each town hall is left to interpret them as best as they can? Although it isn't always offered, a registered contract is the best way forward as it protects you so even if you don't think your town hall requires it, it's best to look out for landlords offering this.

      Reply
  2. I have been to the town hall to get my certificado residencia but they told me that I need to show I have funds to support myself since I do not have a portuguese job. Has anyone else been asked for this and what did you show?

    Reply
  3. We also needed to get a criminal records check done via the justice department (cost around 10 euros I think). We have lots of friends who haven't been asked for this so maybe it was just our particular camara.

    Reply
  4. A residencia certificate is valid for 5 years but if your passport is valid for less (mine was valid for 3 years) they won't give you 5 years. They'll give you 3 years or whatever length your passport is valid for. Some people have a lot of trouble getting their certificates and I wouldn't suggest that anyone tries to go through the process twice in 5 years if you can avoid it. It's much easier to RENEW YOUR PASSPORT before moving to Portugal or at least within the first 90 DAYS before you register. Renewing a passport can be a pain but it's nowhere near as bad as all the documents you need to get residency.

    Reply
  5. Hey,

    I hold both an Irish (therefore an 'EU Citizenship') and a British passport. However, my wife is just a British citizen. After Brexit :(, can we move to Portugal permanently to live and work based on my Irish citizenship, or would she need to apply for a D7 visa in addition? Thanks.

    Reply
  6. Thanks so much for this!
    I have two questions (:

    A. Is it possible to do all this online?

    B. I would like to open a bank account in pt and withdraw some of my crypto tax free (: I am confused on wether I should use a pt address and be assumed to be a tax resident (I don't live there for more that 6 months/year so I'm not actually a tax resident, or should I use another eu address (in which case tax free crypto gains might not apply?)

    Thanks!!!

    Reply