Even though Brexit is now ‘done’, Portugal remains wide open to any British residents that would like to move there in 2021 to retire, or to work, or simply to spend several months a year there.
Several residency and visa options for non EU residents exist, which we review below.
One of them is Portugal’s Golden Visa. The Portuguese government’s Immigration Service (SEF) explains on its website the benefits of the Golden Visa and also what you need to do to qualify for it.
This is a special programme designed to attract foreign investment into Portugal. The scheme speeds up the process for foreign investors from non-EU countries to get residence in Portugal, if they buy Portuguese real estate or invest up to a certain value. Provided they meet the conditions, under this scheme non-EU citizens will receive a Portuguese residence permit and can later apply for full Portuguese citizenship.
You will have to invest a minimum of 350,000 euros in Portugal under one of the qualifying routes, but in return your Golden Visa will allow you to live and work in Portugal and move freely within the Schengen countries. You will need to be in Portugal 7 days a year. So it may suit you if you are in a hurry to secure your residency in Portugal, have significant business and family interests in Europe and need the freedom to travel around.
However, if you are planning to move to Portugal to retire, or live permanently there, or work there, there are several other visa options available, which do not involve the same investment costs as the Golden Visa.
Non-EU/EFTA nationals moving to Portugal for more than three months will first need a long-term Portuguese residence visa to allow them to later apply for a Portuguese residence permit from the SEF in your area, Usually, a permit (Autorização de Residência) is granted to allow Portuguese residency for one year. This can be renewed every two years for a total of five years. After this, you can also apply for a permanent residence permit.
All non-EU citizens applying for a Portuguese residence permit will need to demonstrate evidence of sufficient funds and accommodation. There are additional documents and requirements, depending on the reason given for requesting a Portuguese residence permit.
The Portuguese Immigration Service (SEF) deals with all issues relating to residence permits for non-EU/EFTA nationals.
Residents who are from non-EU/EFTA countries can apply for Portuguese permanent residence after having lived in Portugal for five years if they have a valid temporary residence permit and can prove that they have had a legal and uninterrupted residence in Portugal for the five year period.
Foreign residents can apply for full Portuguese citizenship after six years of residence, although exceptions apply; for example, it’s only three years for spouses of Portuguese citizens and considerably easier for children born to at least one Portuguese citizen or a foreign permanent resident holder.
Meanwhile, Matthew Lane at Property Investor Today explains more about Portugal’s Golden Visa option.
Countdown – Brits have 6 months to secure EU residency with PT Golden Visa
While Brussels and Westminster finally agreed an eleventh-hour trade and security deal before the end of the Brexit transition period – after months of drama, claims and counter-claims – a new clock is now ticking as the deadline for Brits to secure one of Portugal’s coveted Golden Visas through investment in bricks and mortar is set for July 1 2021.
Christina Hippisley, general manager of the Portuguese Chamber of Commerce in the UK, says Brits keen on investing in Portuguese properties and moving to Portugal in 2021 still have a wide range of attractive options to choose from. “But some of the rules are changing as a result of the UK’s Brexit agreement so make sure you are getting the most up to date advice,” she advises.
Rob Jenner, chief executive of Vilamoura World, located in the central Algarve and leading members of the Portuguese Chamber, explains more.
“It is, of course, positive news that an agreement has been reached between the UK and Europe and here in Portugal we look forward to continuing our long-standing strong relationship with the UK,” he said.
“Vilamoura World is home to many British residents already, our door is open and we look forward to welcoming many more in 2021, especially those seeking to secure EU residency through the Golden Visa programme.”
Jenner says nearly 9,000 Golden Visas have been issued since its launch in 2012 – as a way of boosting investment in the country following the global financial crisis and Portugal’s economic struggles – but as of late December 2020, the Portuguese government passed a proposal to exclude qualifying properties in Lisbon, Porto and the coastal areas including the Algarve from July 1 2021.
“With the benefits of Portuguese, and thus EU, residency appealing to many post-Brexit, especially those operating businesses or within the financial services sector, we expect interest in our properties for sale which meet the Golden Visa thresholds to rise in the first half of this year,” Jenner continues.
“We have a range of Golden Visa eligible homes nearing completion featuring 1GB broadband pre-installed and free for the first year. These homes enjoy access to our new Covid-secure business centre as well as the first-class on-site amenities here at Vilamoura World including an 825 berth marina, 170 hectares of environmental park, 1.5 km of beachfront, five golf courses and an international school.”
One of Vilamoura World’s Golden Visa-eligible properties for sale is Central Vilamoura – a luxury gated condominium of 41 homes in the centre of Vilamoura, only a five-minute walk from the ‘internationally acclaimed’ marina and beaches.
The homes are available in four, three and two-bedroom layouts, with the two-bedroom homes featuring living rooms with double-height windows and gallery.
Central Vilamoura is said to strike ‘the perfect balance between private and common spaces’ – all the while ‘maintaining a sense of exclusivity in a prime location’.
Two-bedroom townhouses are available from €640,000.
What is Vilamoura World?
Vilamoura World (VW) is the master-planner of the highly touristic town of Vilamoura – a popular and attractive destination in the Algarve which appeals particularly to expats and overseas investors.
VW is responsible for the promotion of residential, touristic and hotel plots within the Vilamoura estate of 1,700 hectares.
It aims to offer unique turnkey residential units for sale, with a land bank available for development comprising of a total buildable (Gross Construction Area) of 569,000 square metres of residential, touristic, hotel and retail accommodation.
It also owns the centrepiece of Vilamoura – the iconic 825-berth marina which has a ‘multi-international award-winning track record’ – as well as owning one of Europe’s leading equestrian (show jumping) facilities covering 25 hectares.
Working in partnership with the local infrastructure company Inframoura and the local council of Loule, VW aims to deliver a comprehensive, long-term focused management of the town of Vilamoura.
The Portuguese Chamber of Commerce in the UK, meanwhile, runs regular online and live events in the UK all year round to advise Brits who want to move to Portugal or buy a second home there on how they can sort out their tax, residency, property, insurance and lifestyle issues.
More than 6,000 Brits have attended its events so far with the demand ‘growing exponentially’ now that Brexit is finally done.