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Moving from UK to Portugal


Historically, Portugal has been a preferred destination for British ex-pats owing to various factors such as its favourable climate conditions, dream-like sceneries, and attractive tax cuts. However, since Brexit, you’d need to take some extra steps to live there legally.

As a British Citizen or Resident, Can I Migrate from UK to Portugal?

It’s possible to move to Portugal from UK, though there are some caveats to keep in mind. Since the UK’s exit from the EU effective after 31 December 2020, it is considered a “third country” by Portugal and the rest of the European Union member states. This fact makes it considerably harder for UK nationals to move freely to these countries.

Would I Need a Visa for Moving to Portugal from UK?

You could travel to Portugal without a visa and stay for a maximum of 90 days. If you wish to stay longer, you’d need to apply for a National Visa.

The visas you could apply for as a British citizen are:

Temporary Stay Visa

It enables you to stay in the country for one year. You could use this visa for a myriad of purposes, including employment, study, health, and religious work.

Residency Visa

For more extended staying periods. This visa gives you four months to apply for a Residence Permit and is only available for work, study, professional training, volunteer work, internship, family reunification, and retirement.

Business Visas

Under this category, you’ll find the following:

  • Startup Visa: This visa is for people who wish to do startups capable of creating job positions and having a €325,000 turnover in the next five years
  • Tech Visa: Similar to the Startup Visa but for innovation and tech business owners
  • D2 Visa: This visa is primarily for experienced businesspeople who wish to conduct dealings in Portugal.

D7 Visa

This visa is for people with a passive income (retirees or entrepreneurs). To apply, you won’t need to make any investment, but you must have a minimum income of €7,200 per year. If you wish to include other family members, you’d have to add €3,600 per adult and €2,160 per child.

Golden Visa

Also known as the “Golden Residence Permit”, this visa is offered to people interested in purchasing property in Portugal valued at €250,000 or more. This visa allows holders unrestricted travel to the Schengen area.

How Do I Apply For a Portuguese National Visa?

You can apply by going to the Consulate General of Portugal offices that currently operate in either London or Manchester. The application form can be found on the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

These are some of the documents and information you’d have to submit:

  • Two identical passport photographs
  • A return ticket
  • Evidence that you can financially sustain yourself during your stay. Alternatively, you can provide a statement of responsibility signed by a Portuguese citizen or permanent resident
  • Your criminal records covering at least one year
  • A signed form by which you grant the Immigration and Border Services (SEF) access to your Portuguese criminal records
  • Proof of accommodation (hotel booking, rental agreement, an invitation from a Portuguese national, etc.)
  • Schengen travel insurance with a minimum €30,000 coverage
  • Biometric fingerprint (for people over 12 years of age)

These are the documents you’d need to submit for essentially all visas. Nonetheless, you’d also have to lodge documents and data pertaining to the purpose of your visit or stay. These are some examples:

For Work

  • Employment contract
  • Bank statement showing movements made in the last six months
  • Your employer’s leave permission
  • Your Income Tax Return or Certificate of Income Tax

For Self-Employment

  • Business licence
  • Company’s bank statement showing movements made in the last six months
  • Income Tax Return

For Retirement

  • Pension statement of the last six months

For Studies

  • Proof of enrollment
  • No-objection certificate from the institution

If You’re Unemployed But Married to an EU Citizen

  • A letter confirming the employment of your spouse/partner (at least three months old)
  • Your spouse’s valid passport
  • Your marriage certificate in English or Portuguese (certified by the Embassy or the Foreign Office in the UK)
  • Your spouse’s Portuguese family record book

If You’re Sponsored

Your sponsor’s:

  • Passport
  • Employment letter
  • Bank statement
  • Schengen visa
  • Recent payslips.

And your:

  • Sponsorship letter
  • Proof of your relationship with the sponsor
  • Marriage or birth certificate (original and copy)

How Much Do I Have to Pay for a Portuguese Visa?

The fee per adult applicant is €80. Children over six years of age and up to twelve have to pay €40. Children under six are exempt from the application fee.

When Should I Apply for a Portuguese Visa?

You ought to apply for the Portuguese visa of your choice up to six months before the trip. It’s recommended to apply with at least three weeks of anticipation, as it normally takes two weeks for the application to get processed.

Residency in Portugal for UK Citizens. Requirements for Residency Permit

You should apply for your Residency Permit as soon as you arrive in the country. To do so, book an appointment at the SEF office in your nearest vicinity. You can also visit your local town hall and file for a permit there.

You have to show that you have access to adequate accommodation and the ability to support yourself throughout the period you intend to stay in the country.

Other documents you must provide are:

  • Your passport or valid ID card
  • Your proof of address
  • Your tax and social security numbers
  • Documents related to your purpose of stay

Your first Residency Permit is valid for one year, and you may extend it two more times (each extension is valid for two years.) After five years, you can apply for a Permanent Residency Permit or Portuguese naturalisation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is healthcare in Portugal Free?

State-provided healthcare is free for the most part. However, you’d have to pay a standard fee (“taxas moderadoras”) and other fees for visiting your family doctor or requesting an ambulance, among other examples.

Could I take my UK pension to Portugal?

If you migrate from UK to Portugal, you can claim your State Pension there (provided that you paid the necessary UK National Insurance contributions) payable into your foreign bank account. Visit the GOV.UK website for more information.

Could I be exempt from the visa fee?

You can only be exempt if you are a:

  • Family member of an EU/EEA citizen
  • Researcher travelling for scientific purposes
  • Representative of a non-profit organisation aged 25 or younger who’s participating in events, conferences, or seminars arranged by said organisation
  • Student or trainee accompanied by the teaching staff

Additionally, as mentioned earlier, children under six don’t have to pay any fees.


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