by Namrata Majithia 4th February 2020
Most common questions about Brexit

All the answers below are in line with the current legislation in Portugal as well as in line with Portugal’s Immigration Service (SEF). It is important that anyone moving to Portugal seeks professional advice, as this transition phase is unprecedented.


Q. Will it still be possible to obtain residency in Portugal as a UK citizen by moving to Portugal during the Brexit transition phase (prior to December 31st 2020)?

A: Yes, it will be possible to obtain residency in Portugal during the Brexit transition phase when a UK citizen moves to Portugal, i.e. establishes residency in Portugal – for example by owning a property or having a rental agreement.


Q. Will residency allow me to remain in Portugal indefinitely and give me a potential route towards citizenship eventually?

A: If you become a legal resident in Portugal and maintain your residency, after 5 years you are eligible to apply for Portuguese citizenship, as long as you fulfil the respective requirements – such as (the rules depend on various possibilities) whether you are a minor or not, whether you are married to a Portuguese citizen, etc.


Q. In order to be safe, how long should I allow to complete all of the necessary administration/paperwork to make sure that it is definitely completed before December 2020?

A: My experience is that the length of time is more dependent on finding/choosing a place to live in Portugal, and whether to rent or to buy. This usually is what takes most time for those that wish to apply for residency in Portugal. Before finalising a place to live, the UK citizen will need to obtain a Portuguese tax number (NIF) and open a bank account, both of which are relatively straightforward, normally not taking more than a couple of weeks.


Q. What conditions should I be aware of in order to obtain residency in Portugal, as far as I’m aware I should be able to support myself without being a burden to the Portuguese state. Are there any specific numbers in terms of income or savings which would represent being self-sufficient?

A: An EU citizen will have to sign an affidavit confirming that he or she has sufficient financial capacity to be self-sufficient, but there are no minimum requirements.


Q. Are there any other conditions I should be aware of?

A) It is worth mentioning that, among the documents that will be required for applying for citizenship, an applicant will need  a certificate of basic language proficiency (A2). There are a number of language schools that provide individual tutoring or classes to prepare for this certificate.

B) If a UK citizen applies for higher education in Portugal before 31 December 2020, he or she will be allowed to maintain the same status as citizens from any EU member state for the duration of their course (i.e. the fees for the course).

C) UK citizens that are in Portugal temporarily will continue to benefit from access to the public health system, just as citizens from other EU member states, up until 31 December 2020.

Questions answered by