Moving to Portugal from the UK After Brexit

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Updated: This post has now been updated since January 1st 2021 when the UK left the EU.

The UK has now left the EU and the withdrawal period is over.

This means that UK citizens are no longer EU citizens. While the UK was in the EU, UK citizens had an automatic right to come and live in Portugal (or any other EU country). There’s now no longer an automatic right and, it seems, that UK citizens will be treated the same as any other 3rd country (or non-EU) citizen (e.g. those from the US, India, Brazil, Australia, etc).

That doesn’t mean that you can’t move to Portugal anymore: it just means that now you don’t have an automatic right and you will need to apply for a visa, attend an interview with SEF, and obtain permission to live here.

Portugal has some of the most attainable residency requirements of any EU country so, if you want to live in the EU and perhaps earn that “EU Passport,” it’s worth looking at Portugal.

If you were living in Portugal before Brexit

2020 was a messy year with Brexit, Covid, and everything else, but if you were living in Portugal prior to the 31st of December 2020, and can prove it, you may have an easier route to residency.

The Portuguese government have been quite understanding that it was very difficult to get appointments during 2020, particularly the last few months, and have introduced a grace period until June 2021.

If you can prove that you were living in Portugal before the Brexit cut-off date, you should be able to obtain a 5-year temporary residency permit in Portugal rather than the 1-2 year residency permit those applying on visas like the D7 will get.

How do you prove it? Flights into Portugal, use of your credit card here, a rental contract, or an Airbnb contract are all things that would show that you were living in Portugal.

Otherwise…How to apply for residency in Portugal

Post-Brexit, Brits will most likely need a visa to come and live in Portugal the same way as Americans or Australians do.

There are a number of visas available, but the most common visa routes are the Golden Visa or the D7 Visa.

The Golden Visa

The Golden Visa is an investment visa that gives you your residency in return for making an investment in Portugal. You don’t have to invest in Portuguese companies, however: one of the routes is buying a property in Portugal.

The property is normally required to cost €500k or more, but there are some exceptions where it can cost €350k or even as little as €280k.

After 5 years, you would have the option of applying for permanent residency (which is renewed every 10 years) or citizenship (which comes with a Portuguese passport).

The benefit of the Golden Visa scheme over other forms of residency is that you only need to spend an average of 7 days per year in Portugal – perfect for those that have commitments elsewhere or want to travel.

The D7

The D7 (also nicknamed the “retirement visa” or “passive income visa”) is one of the most popular visas due to its low costs and attainability. It’s essentially open to anyone with a regular and ideally passive income (such as a pension, but a remote job is also a possibility) that amounts to the Portuguese minimum wage.

Given that the Portuguese minimum wage is less than €700 per month, this is a very achievable visa for a lot of British retirees, those with rental income, freelancers, or those with a remote job back in the UK.

Read a longer writeup of the D7

The D2

The D2 (or entrepreneur visa) is ideal for those that want to start a business in Portugal. There are no limitations on what the business could be, and the suggested required startup capital is just €5k, so this could be ideal for those that want to move to Portugal to start a new self-employed career.

Read a longer writeup of the D2

NHR

The NHR scheme is open to all new residents to Portugal, not just those that are moving from outside the EU, so it’s worth mentioning here.

NHR stands for Non-Habitual Residency, which is somewhat of a confusing term as many of the people who use the scheme are, in fact, residents. It’s basically a tax incentive to attract people to Portugal, a country that otherwise doesn’t have attractive tax rates.

Many people are able to avoid paying tax completely, while others are able to reduce their tax bill considerably. As of 2020, pensioners pay 10% tax on their pensions which could be attractive for those with large pensions.

Whether or not it’s the right solution for you will depend on many factors including where your income is coming from, where you’re currently tax resident, and how it’s paid to you (e.g. dividends, royalties, etc.).

Generally, though, it’s seen as a very attractive reason to move to Portugal.

A Few Considerations

Becoming resident in Portugal *normally means becoming tax resident here. If you’re a freelancer or pensioner that mightn’t make a big difference to your life but, if you’re still in full-time employment with a UK company, it’s something you’ll need to speak to your company about.

While some companies are fine with having their employees in another country, or moving their employees to a freelance or contractor role, others are unwilling.

*Normally is the key word here: there does seem to be a possibility where you can remain tax resident in the UK, at least temporarily, but have your residency in Portugal (buy purchasing a property or renting a property). This isn’t normal, however, and so it’s recommended that you get expert help.

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61 thoughts on “Moving to Portugal from the UK After Brexit”

  1. I’m a UK citizen based out of Switzerland working full time and have owned a property in Portugal (but not lived in it) since 2017.

    Because of the Covid situation my employer has changed their policy so that employees can work remotely without restrictions in the future.

    Therefore I would like to relocate to my property in Portugal and live and work from there for around 6 months a year.

    However, it is not clear which resident category I could fit into. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated, including company’s who could help with the paperwork.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Thanks Sean,

      Yes, good question for the experts! I will put you in touch.

      I imagine your choice will be between relocating to Portugal on something like the D7 visa or choosing to do stays of up to 90 days in 180 days, which is another thing to consider if you decide not to relocate permanently.

      WIll let them confirm though.

      Reply
  2. Hi James,

    Thank you for the article, a good and useful read!

    My husband, myself and two children are currently in the UK from Cape Town where we used to live until December, planning to relocate to Portugal when the lockdown eases.

    He and the children are Portuguese citizens (as well as SA), but I only have British citizenship. Our marriage was registered in Lisbon several years ago, and we all have NIF numbers.

    We are planning to go over to Portugal around July time, do I need to apply for a visa to enter prior to arrival, and if so, what sort of visa would I require?

    Many thanks for any information in advance!

    Best regards,

    Dee

    Reply
  3. Hi
    Looking to take early retirement later this year….will have a lump sum and roughly £18k a year for 15 years..state Uk pension 10 years after I retire..
    My wife and I have been looking at a Park home on a residential site to purchase..would buying this help with any visa ?
    My wife is looking at doing nails/manicure/etc as a side line
    Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Ian,

      With a pension, it sounds like the D7 visa would be the right visa for you and £18k would meet the financial requirements. The d7 also allows you to run a business in Portugal, so your wife would be able to do her sideline.

      You will need an address in Portugal but I don’t know if a park home would necessarily help any more than an apartment. Personally, I would focus on getting the visa first.

      Reply
      • Thanks buddy for you help and advice….lockdown permitting we’ve got plans to visit Portugal this year hopefully to view a few places and get the ball rolling
        Thanks again
        Ian

        Reply
  4. Hi James.
    My fiancé and I are hoping to move to Portugal in mid 2022. We will have a small passive income from a business in the UK but will need need employment once we are there. Obviously this is something we’ll look at nearer the time, but we would both be looking at something along the lines of personal training or coaching. We have just started learning Portuguese too.
    As well as visa options, is there any other bits of advice you could share please? Many thanks, Scott.

    Reply
    • Hi Scott,

      I’m going to put everything together in a book so hopefully that’ll give you a birdseye view of everything that you need to know.

      Reply
  5. Hey!

    I arrived in Portugal on 7th of December 2020, with no return ticket. I’m staying with close family friends and I intend to stay for at least a year. I work remotely (still working in the UK) but have a steady salary (it’s not huge though!). Because I arrived before Brexit, what can I do? How do I obtain the 5-year residency permit? I can’t seem to find anything online, and I’m not sure who to contact.

    Any advice would be much appreciated!
    Shivaike

    Reply
  6. Hi there, I am a non-resident non-domiciled British citizen living in the UAE. I also have a Jordanian passport. I do not have an income at the moment but have small savings. I am looking to share a property with friends in Portugal and create income by selling farm produce and healing retreats ie. we each pay a share to purchase one property. Will this be a problem for me to get a residency in Portugal?
    Thanks

    Reply
  7. Hi! Name’s Kenny. I am a business owner looking to move to Portugal, to buy a plot of land and live “off-grid” with my mrs – Claire. My business’ income would be our main support at getting us there – and is fast reaching a point of self sustainability. We would be looking at making money in many ways once we are there – our 2 main skills being my barbering, and her artisnal soap-making and other products. We would also look at selling goods from our allotments etc. I’m fairly confused at the extent of visa options and very inexperienced with it all. Any advice on where to start? I’d hate for us to go about things in the wrong way or order, or make an application at the wrong kind of visa. But still, great info on here – definitely the clearest of websites so far – i think it just takes a bit of life experience to understand these things. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Hi Kenny,

      Thanks so much for getting in touch and your kind words about the site.

      If you already have any kind of “passive” income such as money from a pension, property rentals, etc then you may be eligible for the D7. If not, and if your money is going to be made solely from your businesses here, then the D2 (entrepreneur) visa would be the better option.

      This visa (the D2) allows you to come to Portugal and start a business. The d2 is slightly more challenging than the D7 as your eligibility will be judged on your business plan, but aside from that it’s quite achievable.

    • https://www.portugalist.com/d2-visa-residency/
    • https://www.portugalist.com/d7-visa-residency/
    • Reply
  8. Hello.
    Great piece. Question please we are brits have NIFF NHR Atestado from the Junta Freguesia and have been living in Portugal since Feb 2019 have all the evidence you highlight but stupidly never got our European residency. My question is how do we get our CRUE and can you recommend someone who can help us?

    Reply
    • Hi Mona,

      Apologies for the delay in replying.

      Normally you would go to your local Câmara with all your documents to get your CRUE. You will need to check with your local Câmara as to whether they still have appointments during this lockdown period.

      Obviously, you’ll need to prove that you have been in Portugal pre December 31st 2020. Be aware that saying you were in Portugal as far back as February 2019 could make you eligible for taxes in Portugal if you earned money during this period.

      Reply
  9. Hiya, I just found your site. I am living in Scotland since 2005, but have Dutch nationality. Do I need a visa to emigrate to Madeira for retirement? Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Eveline,

      You’re lucky in that you have an EU passport.

      As far as I understand, when you apply for residency in Madeira, you’ll be given your CRUE which is a 5-year temporary residence permit and you have an automatic right to live in Portugal.

      Those on a visa, on the other hand, need to apply for the right to live here and then be granted their visa in 1-2 blocks until they get to the 5-year period.

      Reply
      • Hi James, I have another question I hope you can answer. I grow my own vegetables and have sitting to preserve my food via water bath and pressure canning according to the American system with mason jars. I can beside vegetables, also fruit, pickles and meat. Would you know if I would be allowed to bring filled jars with my move or would you know where to find that info. Thanks Eveline

        Reply
        • Hi Eveline,

          Not sure.

          You certainly can’t take meat or dairy into the EU now. I’m not sure about preserved vegetables (I think fresh fruit and veg is banned).

          Reply
          • I think I will have to eat everything I have canned in the coming months and then just take the empty jars with me. I don’t want to loose the jars if they get confiscated as they cost me a lot of money when I bought them from the USA as that was cheaper than buying them in the UK, even with the tax and transport. Still it was a lot of money. Thanks anyway.

            Reply
  10. Hi there

    I am British citizen come to Portugal on 27/12/21 tried to register my self but there was no appointments in December I have proof of my flight ticket one night hotel proof and also bayed some stuff from the shop proof my question is still I am under withdrawal agreement or not
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Aziz,

      Unfortunately, we haven’t really heard from many British people who’ve tried to claim residency post January 1st 2021. There is a grace period, and obviously there were extenuating circumstances given Covid, but the only way to find out is to actually get an appointment and see what you get told.

      As far as I know, this has nothing to do with the withdrawal agreement.

      Reply
        • Hi Simon,

          If applying for a visa (the conditions post Brexit) you apply from the country where you’re resident and then move to Portugal, attend an interview with SEF, and get your residence card.

          If you’re eligible for the pre-brexit conditions, you won’t need a visa but you will need to come here to get your CRUE (Certificado do Registo de Cidadão da União Europeia).

          Also worth pointing out that if you’re applying for residency in Portugal, it’s assumed this is where you’ll be spending the majority of your time. Spending the majority of the year somewhere else can complicate things, especially with taxes.

          Reply
  11. Hello everyone,

    Does anyone know if the same rules for living in Portugal apply to Madeira?

    We had planned to move there last year before Brexit but the pandemic got there before us!

    Cheers

    Steve

    Reply
  12. Good morning ladies and gentlemen,

    My mom lives since 28 years in Monchique and we want to join her there this year. My husband is British. I am German. As a European I believe I have the right to bring my husband? Is there a route through marriage or do we have to apply for the D7 scheme for him as well?

    Thank you for your kind advice!

    Heidi

    Reply
  13. Hi James,

    Really helpful post!

    I work in digital and am self-employed, and I’m looking at moving to Lisbon early this year from the UK. I’m a UK resident, and my contracts will not be disrupted by location.

    What is the first thing that I need to do? I know that UK residents get 90 days automatically as part of the Brexit agreement, so does that mean that I need to do nothing until I land in Portugal? Or do I need to apply for something in the UK?

    Any help or advice or just a point in the right direction would be really helpful!

    Thank you,

    Josh

    Reply
    • Hi Josh,

      I think the post could probably do with an update now Brexit has actually happened, but it’s still a little unclear what the relationship between the two countries will look like. Basically, will UK citizens be offered anything different to what already exists to 3rd country citizens.

      Most people are assuming that the main route for self-employed people like yourself will be the D7 visa (or D2). Although you may need to come to Portugal to get a NIF, open a bank account, etc., this is something you normally apply for while in the UK.

      I’ve written a little more about it (the d7) here:

      https://www.portugalist.com/d7-visa-residency/

      I need to write about the d2 as well.

      Reply
      • Thanks James.

        It is very confusing – not least because I can’t get an appointment at the Portuguese Consulate in London.

        It seems that I need to do things when I come over, and yet, I have to come back to the UK to apply at the Consulate…

        A post about this now that Brexit has happened would be amazing – I’m sure I’m not the only person who’ll be asking questions like this!

        Reply
      • James, in a follow-up to this, do you know any Lawyers in Portugal who can assist me with applying for the D7? I believe that I need a fiscal representative to create a NIF as well as offering some help/advice.
        I have been able to arrange an appointment at the London Portuguese Consulate for the 28/01 but need some help before this!
        Thank you!

        Reply
    • Hi Josh

      Just saw this and I am in the exact same position.

      Having been bounced between embassies and consulates and god knows who else for the past week I finally thought I was getting somewhere with an online Visa application through VFSGlobal.com but completion of this needs to be done in person from the UK apparently and there are no more time slots (or its just closed) in London so depending on where you are you may have better luck. Seems like there are still slot available in Manchester/Edinburgh.

      Going to check out the recommendation here on D7 as this hasn’t come up before but happy to keep you in the loop here if I get anywhere.

      Thanks

      Joe

      Reply
      • Hi Joe,

        Yes, I have tried VFSGlobal and they aren’t much help – London is full and you have to keep checking in the hope that new appointments come up or somebody cancels – they literally don’t offer any other help. And you can’t go to Manchester or Glasgow if your address is in and around London.

        I spoke to somebody at VFS and they said I need to apply for a National Visa at the consulate.

        I’m guessing that when you have this you can go to the SEF in Lisbon after you’ve arrived and continue with your application for a D7 visa…don’t take this as gospel though as I’m still trying to figure this out.

        Brexit is the worst.

        Reply
  14. hi I am looking to move to Portugal for better life and work I am looking at how to rent homes and looking at visa and residency is there anything els that i should be looking into

    Reply
    • Hi Kris,

      Eligibility (visas) is one thing to look at. Another thing is affordability or whether you can afford to live here. Portugal isn’t an expensive place to live, per say, but most people need some form of external income (remote job, pension, etc.)

      Reply
  15. Hi
    I am a British citizen, I could not manage to get my Proof of residency and NIF of portuguese before 31 December 2020 because of the Pandemic and flight banning.
    Can I do it now i mean after brexit.
    Thank you

    Reply
    • If you were living in Portugal prior to January 1st 2021, you’ll need to prove it but there is a grace period until June.

      The most common way to prove it is something like a rental contract, but card receipts, flight tickets to Portugal, etc could all help. It’s possible you won’t be asked for any of these things, but it’s always good to be prepared.

      If you weren’t in Portugal, I’m sure there will be other ways to move to Portugal such as via the d7 visa. These ways haven’t really been established yet, though.

      Reply
  16. Hi James
    My wife and I are about to embark on moving to Portugal for retirement. We would go down the NHR D7 route. Could you please forward details of any professional people who might assist with the process?
    Many thanks
    Tony

    Reply
  17. Hi there,

    I have a holiday home in Portugal, and am out here at the moment but working remotely for a UK business. Will I still be able to do this? I have tried getting a NIF and residency but need a representative? Is that correct?
    Thanks,
    Ellie

    Reply
    • Hi Ellie,

      It’s all become a little more complicated due to Covid. You would normally get an appointment with Finanças and, as an EU citizen, wouldn’t need a representative.

      It’s now possible for someone who’s resident here (basically, someone who has a NIF) to get one for you as your representative. If you have someone who can do that for you, I’d recommend it. You should also set this to your PT address if you want to show you’re resident here. There are also companies that offer this service with fees that start at around €50. That could be an easier option.

      There is a grace period for registering until June but I would try and get this sorted as quickly as possible in January. You basically want to prove that you’ve been living here (so copies of your flight ticket, card purchases in Portugal etc could all help, if needed). I’m imagining if you do it in January, it’ll be a little simpler but who knows.

      Working remotely won’t be an issue, but being resident here does mean being tax resident here too. Hopefully your company are on board with this. Many are but some are not.

      Reply
  18. Hi,

    Do you have any recommendations for citizenship lawyers in Pt? My father left Lisbon 40 years ago and has lived in Britain since where I was born, however, never renewed his Pt passport in this time. My grandfather remained and is now buried in Lisbon for which I believe there is a route to citizenship via a grandparent(?)

    I’m thinking a week today would be a good time to think about getting EU/Portuguese citizenship if permitted; I’m comfortable speaking Portuguese also.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Reply
  19. Hi,

    I’ve been living in Portugal June but do not have a residency permit – will i be able to get a permit in the grace period from January?

    Reply
    • Hi Ross,

      If you can prove you were living here, yes. If you’re still in Portugal, I would try and get it done now if possible.

      Be aware also that if you’ve spent more than 183 days in Portugal already, you should already be resident here (and paying your taxes here).

      Reply
        • Hi Jen,

          The NIF is sometimes used to track whether you’ve been in Portugal or not so, yes, I would try to use this as evidence. If you have some kind of rental contract that would help too. Also, any evidence of you entering Portugal (e.g. flight ticket).

          Basically, get as much evidence together. You don’t always know what will and won’t be accepted.

          Reply
  20. Hi there.

    I’ve managed to get a certificate of registration from the town hall, but not a NIF as yet. I will be returning to England shortly to visit family and then returning to Portugal early next year – Jan or Feb. Do I need to get a NIF now, or can it wait until I return? Also do you know about driving licences? I understand these also need to be changed to a Portuguese licence, but does that need to happen before Dec 31st as well?
    Thank you!

    Reply
  21. Hi There,

    I am a dancer and UK citizen, I will be joining a Portuguese junior dance company on 6th January 2021, I have an official contract of this also. I won’t be getting paid but I also won’t be paying for the course either, I’m not sure if this makes me a student or not. I have researched a lot, but I haven’t found any information on what I need to do in terms of applying for residency or visa. Please could you advise on what I should do?

    Many thanks,

    Reply
    • Hi Hayley,

      It’s very difficult to say because nobody knows what’ll happen to the status of UK citizens on the 1st of January.

      It depends a lot on how long you need to stay in Portugal for. Many people are assuming that, if there’s no Brexit deal, UK citizens will still be able to visit Portugal for 90 days in every 180 days as is the case with people from the US for example. If you’re going to be less than 3 months, that could be fine.

      If you need to be there longer than 6 months, then normally you should be thinking about becoming resident in Portugal anyway in which case it’s probably better to organise that before Jan 1st.

      I couldn’t tell from your comment whether you’re joining the dance company to learn or to work (unpaid). Should you end up needing a visa (and you might not know this until the Brexit talks conclude) you would need to know what type of visa.

      Unfortunately your move to Portugal starts at a very awkward moment in time!

      Reply

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