Since the United Kingdom left the European Union in 2020, certain freedom of movement restrictions now apply to all UK nationals looking to either travel around Europe or live, work and study in a European country. The good news is, that some countries like Portugal are welcoming UK nationals, allowing them to apply to Portugal’s popular Golden Visa Scheme. Yes, moving to Portugal through the Golden Visa program could be an excellent option to secure EU residency once again.
Initiated in 2012, the Portuguese Golden Visa offers the right to live and work in Portugal and travel freely across the EU in exchange for qualifying investment in the country. To date, the program has generated more than €6 billion from 10,903 applicants. British citizens have enjoyed the possibility of applying for Portugal’s Golden Visa since the 1 of January 2021.
If you are a British national, the Portuguese Golden Visa is the perfect solution to your EU residency needs, allowing you to travel freely across the Schengen area and live in a European country. This guide walks you through the practical steps to consider to acquire a post-Brexit Portugal Golden Visa for UK citizens.
What is Brexit?
Brexit is the nickname for “British exit” from the European Union (EU), which the United Kingdom (UK) had been a member of since 1973. Officially, the UK left the EU at the end of 31 January 2020, but the transitional phase of leaving only concluded at the end of December 2020.
How Brexit impacts British citizens
Now that the UK is no longer in the EU, there are certain restrictions in place for Brits wanting to live, study or work in an EU member state. UK nationals now need a visa if they want to stay in the EU for more than 90 days in a 180-day period.
Exceptions apply, namely some EU member states and the UK have a withdrawl agreement that protects the residence rights of EU nationals and their family members living in the UK, and vice versa. However, this protection for EU nationals and British citizens is not automatic in other EU countries or in the UK. There is also a UK national support fund in many countries. The UK nationals support fund is meant to support British citizens already in the country to understand the next steps to continue residing in their EU country of residence.
For more information about your residence rights post-Brexit, check out Europa’s useful resource by clicking here.
How to obtain Portugal residency for British citizens after Brexit?
While Brexit is ‘over’, certain EU member states like Portugal are open to any British expats looking to move to Portugal, or simply spend a few months a year here.
To move to Portugal, Brits will need a visa the same way Americans or Australians need one. A number of visa options are available like the D7 visa, but an excellent option is Portugal’s Golden Visa.
Portugal Golden Visa for UK citizens
In a post-Brexit climate, the Portuguese Golden Visa is an extremely popular option for UK nationals. The Golden Visa is basically a visa that you attain through making an investment in the country, allowing you to live, work, study, or simply hold an investment in Portugal. After five years of maintaining your Golden Visa, you’re eligible for Portuguese permanent residency and even citizenship. Residence permits can also be granted to family members alongside the main applicant, a significant advantage of the Portuguese Golden Visa.
One of the most popular investment routes is to buy property in Portugal. Options start from €280K, and go up to €500K, depending on your property type and the area you’d like to purchase property in.
Another popular option is to invest in investment funds for the Portugal Golden Visa. Whatever investment route you decide to go for, the Portuguese Golden Visa is an excellent solution for Brits looking to reside in a European country, or simply travel visa-free around Europe’s Schengen area.
Portugal Golden Visa Benefits for British Citizens
From the moment the Brexit process started, many British citizens started searching for new alternatives to enable them to travel around Europe freely and still enjoy the EU citizens’ privileges. Once the Brexit process is complete, some European countries like Portugal offered many available solutions to make it easy again for British citizens to move around Europe. One of the best available visa options is the Portuguese Golden Visa for UK British citizens.
The Portuguese Golden Visa is a great opportunity that assures unconditioned access to the EU and also qualifies individuals for citizenship through naturalization if they fulfill all the necessary requirements. In the following section, we will give you more details about the benefits of the Portugal Golden Visa for UK British citizens.
Visa-free travel to 172 countries in the world
With Portugal being part of the European Union (EU), this means that once you obtain a Portuguese passport, you will enjoy the benefits of being a citizen of Portugal.
Portuguese European passport holders have the right to visa-free travel to 172 countries in the world.
At Global Citizen Solutions, we have recently developed a new passport ranking. We take into account not only visa-free access to other countries but also investment opportunities and quality of life. In our Quality of Life Index, Portugal ranks in 12th position. This takes into account the cost of living, alongside levels of freedom, happiness, environmental performance, sustainable development, and migrant acceptance. This highlights that, as countries go, Portugal is one of the best countries to live in for those looking for a high quality of life in an affordable country and a valid passport from Portugal has a wide array of benefits.
The right to live, work, and study in EU/EEA countries
The Portuguese Golden Visa grants you a temporary residency as a UK citizen for two years, and then you can renew the Portuguese residence permit for an additional three years. After five years of obtaining the Portuguese residence permit, you can apply for citizenship. During the five years of residence in Portugal, you have the option to live in Portugal or still be living in the UK and maintaining your old lifestyle. You will just need to be in Portugal for at least seven days every year with a residence permit.
One of the main perks of having a Portuguese residence permit through the Portuguese Golden Visa is the family reunification option and family members can be included. By obtaining a residence permit as a British citizen, you can apply for your family members to have a residence permit too. Family reunification covers your spouse and children under 18 years of age. It may also include children older than 18 years of age if they study full-time and are dependent on you. Yes, your family is entitled to residence permits alongside the main applicant.
Low cost of living and healthcare
Portugal offers an affordable cost of living compared to other European countries. As a British citizen, you will definitely notice the difference in the prices while living in Portugal. And this price difference doesn’t only include the food or the transportation but also includes education and healthcare. Healthcare in Portugal is quite affordable compared to that of the UK and offers a variety of high-quality options and good services. The Portuguese National Health Service, known as the SNS, is excellent and you will have your own local health centre that you will be registered with. Public hospitals in Portugal offer free medical care, for both citizens and residents of the country. Private clinics, however, offer medical care with fees, where you will get an appointment faster than the public ones, and very high-quality services, so having private health insurance is also an option.
You can see more about the topic in our Portugal Golden Visa Healthcare for Foreigners article.
According to the Global Health Expenditure 2022, Portugal spends about 9.53% of its GDP on annum healthcare and the Portuguese National Health Service. You will also find different health insurance policies in Portugal that offer different packages for different prices, and most of them cover a good part of the full cost of the treatment. Some private clinics also offer telephone consultations, which can be helpful. You’ll find that living in Portugal, you will have access to very good quality healthcare. You can also get the European Health Insurance Card issued free of charge if you are covered or insured under a statutory social security scheme in an EEA country or Switzerland and receive medical care in member countries.
International schools with British and international curricula
International schools are the best option for UK expats living in Portugal. These schools offer a multicultural environment that provides students with international skills and the ability to engage more with different curricula including the international and British curricula
There are also other international schools that offer alternative curricula for UK expats other than British curricula. So, you will have the option to opt your children in any new culture with a new language and help them learn more new skills. Here are the best international schools in Portugal:
- British School of Lisbon (with a British curriculum)
- Astoria International School (with both a British and a Portuguese curriculum)
- Redbridge School (with British, French, and Portuguese curriculums)
- International College of Porto (CLIP) (with a British curriculum)
- International Preparatory School (IPS) (with a British curriculum)
- St. Julian’s School (with both a British and a Portuguese curriculum)
- Nobel International School Algarve (with both a British and a Portuguese curriculum)
- Peter’s International School in Setúbal
- Oporto British School in Porto
Read more about the education system in Portugal, and what are the available options for your children as expat parents living in Portugal.
Favorable tax treatments in Portugal for British citizens
Portugal is well-known for its flexible Portuguese tax system that attracts many expats from all over the world who are willing to live, study, invest, and work in Portugal.
Portugal has a Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) with many countries, and luckily the UK is one of them. In a few words, the DTA agreement is great for included citizens because it prevents them from paying double taxes on the same income in two different countries. For example, if you are a UK citizen and you pay taxes on your income already, you won’t need to pay again while staying in Portugal.
Besides the DTA option where you do not need to pay tax in two countries, there is also the Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) regime for foreign residents. If you’re a UK expat living in Portugal, the good news is you can take advantage of the Non-Habitual Residency (NHR) tax system in Portugal.
The Portugal NHR tax regime (non-habitual resident regime) is a successful scheme offering attractive tax breaks for foreign residents, talented individuals, and investors. Introduced in 2009, it offers many tax benefits to its recipients such as:
- A special personal income tax treatment over a 10-year period.
- Tax exemption on almost all foreign source income; a 20% flat rate for certain Portuguese source incomes (from specific professions and from self-employment).
- Tax exemption for gifts or inheritance to direct family members, no wealth tax, and free remittance of funds to Portugal.
We recommend getting a Portuguese bank account if you are moving to Portugal to avoid any transaction costs. Also, alongside opening a bank account, one of the first things that you’ll need to do when making any financial transaction in the country is to apply for a NIF (Número de Identificação Fiscal or the Número de Contribuinte, in Portuguese) which is your tax identification number in Portugal. You can read our article here on the topic: How to Get a NIF Number in Portugal.
Less crowded and better weather compared to the UK
One of the main pros of living in Portugal is enjoying the lovely location over the Atlantic Ocean with its beautiful coasts, and the mild climate around the year with more than 300 days of sunshine. Portugal is also known for its tranquility and slow pace of life. This is one of the reasons why British citizens adore living in Portugal or at least love to spend their summer vacations here. It’s worth mentioning the population in Portugal is around 10,2 million, while in the UK it’s around 68 million.
If you are moving to Portugal,, you should also be aware of the fact that the further you live away from the big cities like Lisbon and Porto, the more you will enjoy a quiet lifestyle.
English is widely spoken
The Portuguese speak extremely good English, particularly the younger generations. You should have few communication issues in the country and there are many expats living in Portugal. If you learn a few Portuguese words then this will impress the locals and make it easier to settle when moving to Portugal.
Portugal Golden Visa is the ultimate residency solution
There’s a reason why the Portuguese Golden Visa is one of the most popular and accessible residency through investment initiatives.
Portugal Golden Visa statistics alone show a huge surge in demand, with over 10,000 investors to date having successfully secured a legal residency in Portugal.
This comes as no surprise since there’s already a huge expat community settled in Portugal. British expats are no exception; In fact, the number of registered UK expats in Portugal reached an astonishing 35,000 figure at the end of last year.
Portugal D7 Visa
While the Portuguese Golden Visa is an excellent way to secure residency in Portugal, another residency visa open to British citizens moving to Portugal is the D7 Visa. This residency visa is a great option if you are looking to move to Portugal, but do not want to invest a significant of money.
So, what is the D7 Visa? The Portuguese government introduced the D7 Visa back in 2007, which is also referred to as the Retirement Visa, or Passive Income Visa. This residence permit program allows any non EU nationals, non-EEA nationals, or non-Swiss citizens (third country nationals) to apply for Portuguese residency, as long as they have a reasonable and stable passive income and can sustain themselves during their stay in the country. The D7 residency visa is a great alternative for individuals moving to Portugal.
The D7 Visa is an affordable way to secure a Portuguese residency permit. Pensioners, entrepreneurs looking to live in Portugal, and other expats living off a recognized stable income can apply. A recognized stable income covers movable property, real estate, intellectual property, pensions, or financial investments. You will then be able to apply for the D7 Visa and, subsequently, apply for a residence permit. To qualify for this residency visa, you will need to earn the minimum wage, as dictated by the Portuguese Government.
The residence permit granted through the D7 Visa can be renewed after one year for two successive two-year periods. Following this, the residence permit can then be converted into a permanent residence permit. After five years of holding a residence permit under the D7 Visa scheme, you can also apply for Portuguese citizenship, provided that you fulfill the additional requirements as set out under Portugal nationality law.
To apply for the D7 Visa you will first need to apply in your home country for a temporary D7 Visa at your Portuguese Embassy or Portuguese consulate. This temporary stay visa will last for four months. Following this, you will need to attend an appointment with the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF) in Portugal and show the temporary stay visa that you got at the Portuguese Embassy or consulate in your home country. The Portuguese Immigration and Borders service will then approve your residence permit.
Contact our EU residency experts today
Are you looking to secure EU residency rights in a post-Brexit world? We are an investor migration firm, offering bespoke second residency/citizenship solutions to expat families looking to relocate and broaden their horizons. Speak to one of our relocation experts today to see how we can move you forward on your quest for EU residency after Brexit. Contact us today by filling out the form below.
Where to live in Portugal
While the Algarve has long been a firm favorite with UK residents, there are many other locations in Portugal to consider. Portugal has many buzzing cities, small towns, and, with a stunning 832km of Atlantic coastline, there is an abundance of waterfront properties. Each place will have its own unique characteristics and charm and choosing the perfect place for you can be difficult. Once you have a valid residence document and can legally live in Portugal, the next step is figuring out where to live – if you haven’t done so already. Here, we’ll provide you with some of our favorite places in the country.
What better place to start than the cosmopolitan capital of Portugal? Lisbon preserves its historic charm while embracing modernity, with many tech companies and startups flocking to the city. This can be seen with Websummit, the largest tech festival in the world, moving to Lisbon in 2016. Today, many digital nomads and expats from all walks of life choose the stunning capital to live in. With excellent food, a favorable climate, and with many beaches close by, it’s easy to see why.
If you’re planning to buy a property in Lisbon, note that the city has its own price range. However, prices are still affordable compared to many other western European cities and, if you venture a little outside the city center, property prices will decrease significantly.
You can see more in our article: Where to Buy Property in Lisbon.
Porto is one of the best places in Portugal to live. The second biggest city in the country has stunning architecture, including incredible tiles, and is regularly discussed as being one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. While the city is smaller than Lisbon, if you enjoy eating out in restaurants, then Porto has some of the best food and wine in the country. As Porto is close to the Atlantic Ocean, you also have many waterfront properties and beaches close at hand.
You can learn more in our Ultimate Guide to Buying Property in Porto.
Yes, the most popular place for British expats is the Algarve, With stunning beaches, excellent weather, good food, and a relaxed pace of life, this region has everything. Keen golfers can get their golf fix, and with Faro airport in the middle of the Algarve, it’s very easy for avid travelers to get around Europe. A firm favorite, and it looks like its popularity will only continue to increase in the future.
You can learn more in our article: Where to Buy Property in the Algarve, Portugal.
The following articles may also be of interest to you:
- Portugal Immigration Guide
- How to get an EU Passport for UK Citizens after Brexit
- Portuguese Passport: How to Get It Guide
- Spain vs Portugal Golden Visa Comparison
- How to Become an EU Citizen
- Fund Investment vs. Real Estate for the Portugal Golden Visa: Which to Pick?
- Worried about Brexit? Here’s how UK residents can get a second passport…
- Portugal Immigration Guide – Visa Options To Freely Circulate In Portugal
- Portuguese Residency Law Changes
Frequently asked questions about the Portugal Golden Visa following Brexit
How does Brexit impact UK citizens?
If you’re a British citizen that lawfully lives in an EU member state, then you’ll continue enjoying the same rights as you have now (as is the case for some EU nationals that live in the UK, depending on the withdrawal agreement between the two countries). This means you can live, work and travel in the EU. Note that these rights are to be revoked after a leave of absence for more than 5 years.
The same applies to British citizens who moved to the EU during the Brexit transition period, which ended on 31 December 2020. If however, you wanted to move now from the UK to a European country, then you need a legal residency permit as the transition period is finished.
How can I get Portugal residency as a UK citizen after Brexit?
To acquire a residency permit in Portugal as a UK citizen after Brexit, you’ll need to look at Portugal’s immigration programs. Portugal offers a Golden Visa program, which enables non-EU citizens to acquire legal residency in the country in exchange for an investment. Usually when you apply for the Portuguese Golden Visa, provided that you meet all the program requirements, you can acquire residency in Portugal within months. For more information on how to move to this EU country and gain a residency visa, through the Golden Visa program, contact our specialists today.
What is Portugal's Golden Visa for Brexit?
Portuguese Golden Visa is basically an investment residency visa offered to all qualifying investors, including UK nationals. Since 1 January 2021, and thanks to Brexit, British citizens can now apply for the Portuguese Golden Visa and acquire EU residency within months.
Is it easy to get residency in Portugal?
To get temporary residence in Portugal, you will need to get a valid visa. The Portuguese Golden Visa and the D7 Visa are both very good options if you are considering moving to Portugal. For the Portuguese Golden Visa, you will need to make a qualifying investment into the country, with many options on the table, such as real estate, an investment fund, or job creation, plus others. For the D7 Visa, you will need to prove that you earn a passive income of at least €760 per month.
You can receive a permanent residence permit after five years of legally living in Portugal. After you have had permanent residence issued, you can then apply for Portuguese citizenship, provided that you fulfill all the requirements as dictated by Portuguese nationality law.
Can you have dual residency in Portugal and UK?
Following the decision made by the UK to leave the European Union (EU), every UK national will have the right to stay in Portugal for 90 days in a 180-days period. If you have long-term residency plans to live in Portugal, you are going to need a visa, such as the Portuguese Golden Visa or D7 Visa. You can then have dual residency, and live in Portugal and the UK.
Portugal also allows dual citizenship. British citizens are able to retain their British citizenship if they wish to apply for Portuguese citizenship. You will be able to apply for citizenship if you have legally resided in Portugal for five years and fulfill all the requirements as dictated by Portuguese nationality law.
How much money do I need to get residency in Portugal?
For the Portugal D7 Visa, you will need to show that you earn a passive income of at least €760 per month (your income can come from pensions, transferable equity, real estate, intellectual property, or financial equity).
Can I move to Portugal from the UK after Brexit?
Following Brexit, British citizens have the right to stay in Portugal for 90 days in a 180-days period. If you have long-term residency plans to live in Portugal, you are going to need a visa, such as the Portuguese Golden Visa or D7 Visa. You can then have dual residency, and live in Portugal and the UK. In short, you’ll still be able to move to Portugal but will have to apply for one of the Portuguese visas that allow you to do so.
Two of the most popular Portuguese visas are the Golden Visa and the D7 Visa.
For the Portuguese Golden Visa, you will need to make a qualifying investment into the country, with many options on the table, such as real estate, an investment fund, or job creation, plus others. Residence permits can also be granted to family members alongside the main applicant, a significant advantage of the Portuguese Golden Visa.
For the D7 Visa, you will need to prove that you have a stable income and can support yourself during your stay in Portugal.
Note that you can continue to use your UK driving license in Portugal until 31 December 2022. Following this, if you are a resident in the country, you will need to exchange your UK driving license for a Portuguese license.
Can I retire to Portugal from the UK?
Yes, you can still retire to Portugal as a British citizen. If you would like to live in the country for more than 90-days in a 180-day period, you will need to have a valid visa. The D7 Visa, also called the Retirement Visa, or Passive Income Visa is perhaps the best option for you. This residence permit program allows any non EU nationals, non-EEA citizens, or non-Swiss to apply for Portuguese residency, as long as they have a reasonable and stable passive income and can sustain themselves during their stay in the country. This table passive income can be a pension.
A second option is the Portugal Golden Visa, whereby you will need to make a qualifying investment in the country. Residence permits can also be granted to family members alongside the main applicant, a significant advantage of the Portuguese Golden Visa.
Where do Brits retire to in Portugal?
The Algarve is very popular with British expats who retire to Portugal. This is because of the fabulous weather, beaches, and high quality of life on offer.
How much income do I need to retire in Portugal?
You should be able to retire to Portugal, in a small city, on an income of around €1,500-2,000, although this will depend greatly on your lifestyle.