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.
Whether or not there is a deal, you will need to change your registration document for a new card after Brexit.
If the UK leaves the EU with a deal and you are resident in Portugal before the end of the implementation period you will be able to stay.
If there are changes to residency registration processes after Brexit, we will update this guidance as soon as information is available.
For more information:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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. Your Portuguese EHIC will continue to be valid in most EU countries and Switzerland after Brexit, but may no longer be valid in the UK.
If you are a student, read the NHS guidance on healthcare and studying abroad.
You can find an English-speaking doctor in Portugal.
You should also check your prescriptions are legal in Portugal.
Send questions about access to healthcare in Portugal to firstname.lastname@example.org
Healthcare after Brexit
If there is a deal, your current rights to healthcare in Portugal will remain the same, as long as you remain covered by the Withdrawal Agreement.
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal and you are registered for healthcare based on your residency, your healthcare will be protected.
If there’s no deal and you receive cover through the S1 form you will not lose access to healthcare. If there are no other arrangements between the UK and Portugal on the day the UK leaves the EU, you will be covered on the basis of your residency. This means your registration within the Portuguese National Health system will continue and you will not need to re-register.
If you currently have your healthcare costs paid for by the UK government, we can help if you are asked to pay for treatment during the first 6 months after Brexit. To organise a payment, you must give your healthcare provider’s details to the NHS Business Services Authority’s Overseas Healthcare Services.
If you’re an S1 holder, your UK-issued EHIC may not be valid for travel elsewhere in Europe if there’s no deal.
If you are registered with Portuguese Social Security, you can be issued with a Portuguese EHIC that will be valid in any EU and EEA member state. Your Portuguese EHIC may not be valid in the UK if there’s no deal.
You should always ensure you have comprehensive travel insurance for any travel.
If the UK leaves the EU with a deal, your current rights on access to healthcare in Portugal will remain the same as long as you remain a resident in Portugal.
You should read the guidance on healthcare for UK nationals living in Portugal and how it may change after Brexit.
Read the travel advice for Portugal and sign up to email alerts for up-to-date information on local laws and customs, safety and emergencies.
Passports and travel after Brexit
Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip. You’ll need to renew your passport before travelling if you do not have enough time left on your passport.
If there is a deal, nothing will change until the end of 2020. During this time you can continue to travel freely in the Schengen area with your UK passport. What happens after 2020 will form the next part of negotiations.
If there’s no deal, you must have at least 6 months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland).
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.
If there’s no deal, UK nationals will not need visas for short stays elsewhere in the EU. You will be able to stay up to 90 days in another EU, EEA and EFTA country, within a 180-day period. You must retain evidence of travel (for example, train and plane tickets), in case these are requested by national authorities. If you hold a residence permit from an EU, EEA and EFTA country, you will be able to transit through other EU, EEA and EFTA countries to reach your country of residence.
If there’s a deal, nothing will change until the end of 2020. During this time you can continue to travel freely in the Schengen area with your UK passport. What happens after 2020 will form the next part of negotiations.
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.
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.
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.
Driving after Brexit
If there is a deal, driving licence rules will stay the same during the implementation period.
If there’s no deal and you are resident in Portugal on the day of Brexit, you will have until 31 December 2020 to exchange your UK driving licence for a Portuguese one.
If you move to Portugal after Brexit, you will have 90 days from the day you become a resident to exchange driving licences. If you have not done so after these 90 days, you will be required to take a Portuguese practical driving test.
When you exchange your driving licence, Instituto da Mobilidade e de Transportes (IMT) (in Portuguese) will issue a temporary permit (guia) as a replacement until your new Portuguese driving licence arrives. You can only drive in Portugal with this temporary permit (guia).
If you are visiting Portugal and you stay less than 185 consecutive days, you will not need an International Driving Permit (IDP) to be able to drive here. You may need to hold an IDP to drive through other EU member states.
If there is a deal, driving licence rules will stay the same during the implementation period.
Find more information on recognition and exchange of driving licences in the Instituto da Mobilidade e de Transportes (IMT) guidance on the Brexit (available in Portuguese and English).
If you are registered as a resident in Portugal, you have the right to work in Portugal. Read the guidance on working in another EU country.
To apply for a job you may need to provide a:
Working in Portugal after Brexit
If there is a deal, your right to work will stay the same until the end of the implementation period.
If there’s no deal, Portugal will continue to recognise the professional qualifications of those who are legally working in Portugal on the date of Brexit.
Read the guidance on providing services after Brexit if you’re planning to start a business, provide a service, or do a job in a regulated profession after the UK leaves the EU.
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 certification of British qualifications.
Studying in Portugal after Brexit
If there is a deal, your right to study will stay the same, as long as you remain resident.
If there’s no deal and you, or a family member, are enrolled in higher education in Portugal before Brexit, or if you enrol before 31 December 2020, you will be exempt from international student status for the duration of the course.
Read the guidance on continuing your studies in the European Union after Brexit.
The UK has a double-taxation agreement with Portugal to make sure that people do not pay tax on the same income in both countries.
If you are a Portuguese resident, you must declare your global income to the Portuguese authorities, no matter which country it came from. You can 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:
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 and you have a UK-issued A1/E101 form, you will remain subject to UK legislation until the end date on the form.
If there’s no deal and the end date on your form is after the day the UK leaves the EU, you should contact the relevant EU or EEA authority. They will confirm whether you need to start paying social security contributions in that country after Brexit, as well as UK National Insurance contributions.
Find out more about social security contributions after a no-deal Brexit.
Money and tax after Brexit
Brexit will not change existing double-taxation arrangements for UK nationals living in Portugal. You should send your taxpayer questions about double-taxation to the relevant tax authority.
If there’s no deal, it may become more expensive to use your UK bank card in the EU. Read more about using a bank card, insurance or other financial service in the EU.
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 Brexit
The UK government will continue to pay a State Pension to those eligible in the EU after Brexit. Your UK State Pension will be uprated in April 2020, 2021 and 2022 if you live in the EU, EEA or Switzerland.
If there is a deal, and 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 the end of the implementation period. Your UK state pension will also continue to be uprated as long as you are correctly registered as a resident in Portugal by the end of the implementation period.
If there’s no deal, the Portuguese government will continue to take into account periods of work in the UK after Brexit and until 31 December 2020 when calculating your Portuguese pension.
Read the guidance on pensions if there’s no deal.
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 Brexit
The UK government will continue to pay the UK State Pension, child benefits and disability benefits to eligible people living in the EU after Brexit.
If there is a deal and 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 the end of the implementation period.
If there’s no deal, the Portuguese government has proposed that they will continue to take periods of work in the UK before Brexit into account when claiming Portuguese contributions-based benefits. We will update this guidance when there is a formal agreement on this.
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).
You may be able to vote in some UK elections. You can:
If you’re resident in Portugal, you can vote in local municipal Portuguese elections and European parliamentary elections.
Voting after Brexit
The UK has signed a bilateral agreement with Portugal on UK nationals’ right to vote in local elections. The agreement guarantees that UK nationals who are living in Portugal on the day of Brexit will maintain the right to vote in local elections and hold office in the future, whether there is a deal or there’s no deal.
It also recognises the right of UK residents who move to Portugal after Brexit to vote in local elections after 3 years of residency and to stand and be elected for local office after 5 years of residency.
UK nationals resident in Portugal will no longer be eligible to vote in European elections after Brexit.
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:
Travelling with your pet between the EU and the UK will change after Brexit. If you’re living in the EU, contact your vet before travelling to check requirements. Also read the guidance for UK nationals living in the EU on the Pet travel to Europe after Brexit page.
Whilst the UK is still in the EU, you can take your pet between the UK and the EU under the current pet travel rules using your current EU pet passport.
If you’re travelling with your pet for the first time, you must visit your vet to obtain a pet passport.
Read guidance on returning your cat, dog or ferret to the UK.
For moving pet horses and other equines read guidance on export horses and ponies: special rules.
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.
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.
Please note that this information is provided as a guide only. Definitive information should be obtained from the Portuguese authorities.