How to Move to Portugal from UK: Steps, Tips, and Requirements

Yet, the citizens of the United Kingdom are uncertain about the options available to them for relocating to Portugal as a result of Brexit
Dot
January 10, 2024
Ana Fankhauser
January 10, 2024
TABLE OF CONTENTS

Are you considering a move to Portugal from the UK? Whether it’s the warm climate, relaxed lifestyle, or the allure of new opportunities that attracts you, this guide on “How to Move to Portugal from the UK” offers the essential steps and tips to make your dream a reality. From understanding the effect of Brexit on your move to navigating visa options and setting up life in Portugal, we’ll provide the straightforward advice you need without overwhelming you with unnecessary details.

Key Takeaways

  • Brexit has transformed moving to Portugal for UK citizens, demanding visas for long-term stays, but it opens the door to new opportunities like permanent residency and citizenship after five years.
  • The Golden Visa offers UK citizens a chance to live in Portugal through investment, while the D7 Visa is ideal for those with passive income, both leading to possible permanent residency and citizenship in the long term.
  • Relocation details for UK expats include straightforward banking setup, beneficial tax regimes like NHR, accessible healthcare options, and a variety of property choices catering to diverse preferences and budgets.

Understanding the Impact of Brexit on UK Citizens Moving to Portugal

UK citizens with suitcases looking at a map

Brexit has significantly changed the landscape for UK citizens, including British citizens, planning to move to Portugal. Previously, as EU members, Britons freely relocated and lived within the European Union. However, post-Brexit, UK citizens are now considered non-EU citizens. But don’t let this deter you. In fact, this new status has opened up exciting opportunities, such as the ability to obtain a legal residency permit for stays longer than 90 days.

Yes, you read that right! It is still possible for UK citizens to acquire a permanent residence permit in Portugal. This can provide them with long-term security and stability in the country. The process now includes applying for residency permits, but after five years of legally living in Portugal, you can apply for permanent residence.

Moreover, UK citizens can secure Portuguese citizenship through naturalisation following five years of legal residence on a permit. Even with changes from the previous rights under EU membership, this still provides a positive path to citizenship.

Visa Options for UK Citizens: Golden Visa vs. D7 Passive Income Visa

Golden Visa investment options in Portugal

As you navigate these new waters, you’ll encounter two main visa options that are your tickets to living in Portugal: the Golden Visa and the D7 Passive Income Visa. Each comes with its own set of requirements and benefits, paving different paths to your dream of moving to Portugal.

Despite the application process for these visas involving certain costs, like application fees and legal charges, it also offers a chance to manage your finances effectively. It’s always a good idea to keep enough money in your bank account to cover all the costs associated with the application, ensuring a smooth and successful transition to your new life in Portugal.

Golden Visa

Often referred to as the Golden Ticket to Portugal, the Golden Visa Program lets nationals of non-European countries, which includes UK nationals, live, work, and study in Portugal by making a qualifying investment in the country, thereby securing a residency visa.

The investment options for the Golden Visa are as diverse as they are exciting. They include:

  • Portuguese investment funds
  • National heritage
  • Supporting an existing Portuguese business
  • Real estate investments

The minimum investment required can be as low as €280,000 for real estate or €350,000 for supporting existing businesses.

The perks of the Golden Visa Program include:

  • Residency in Portugal
  • Eligibility for Portuguese permanent residency and citizenship after five years
  • Freedom of movement within the Schengen Area
  • Ability to live, work, and study in Portugal

D7 Passive Income Visa

Better known as the Retirement Visa, the D7 Passive Income Visa serves as an excellent choice for individuals with a stable income from passive sources like real estate, pensions, or investments.

To qualify for the Portuguese visa, an applicant must meet the following requirements:

  • Have a stable passive income of at least €820 per month for the main applicant, with additional amounts required for each dependent.
  • Begin the application process at the Portuguese Consulate in the UK, where you will be issued a temporary, four-month visa.
  • Schedule an appointment with SEF in Portugal and provide proof of income and housing during the appointment.

The D7 Visa doesn’t only cover the main applicant. Family members can also be included in the application. Once granted, the permit is valid for one year and can be renewed for two more two-year periods.

After five years, applicants can seek permanent residence or citizenship through immigration and border services and enjoy benefits such as free movement within the EU and access to healthcare and education.

Opening a Portuguese Bank Account

Opening a Portuguese bank account online

Establishing a bank account in Portugal is a pivotal step in your relocation. It offers a convenient way to manage your finances, make payments for property or rent, and avoid the transaction costs associated with using a foreign bank account.

To open a bank account, you will need a current, valid passport for proof of identity and proof of address. This address can be in Portugal if you’re opening a local account.

What’s more, you can conveniently open a Portuguese bank account online. All you need is a Portuguese Número de Identificação Fiscal (NIF) number, a valid address in Portugal, and a valid photo ID.

Taxation for UK Expats in Portugal

Switching gears to taxes, UK expats in Portugal are liable for taxation on their global income. However, Portugal’s tax regime offers some advantageous tax benefits for foreign residents, including the Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) tax regime.

Under the NHR tax regime, UK citizens who have obtained residency through the Golden Visa and have not been Portuguese tax residents in the previous 5 years can enjoy a flat tax rate of 20% on Portuguese-sourced earnings and a low 10% tax on foreign pension income, making it an attractive option for those looking to pay tax efficiently.

In addition, the Double Taxation Agreement between Portugal and the UK ensures that you’re not taxed twice on the same income in both countries, especially when considering Portugal from the UK. This provides significant relief for those receiving pensions or other forms of income originating in the UK.

Healthcare Access for UK Citizens in Portugal

Another important aspect to consider while relocating to a new country is healthcare. UK citizens with legal residency in Portugal can access the state-funded healthcare system (SNS) by registering and obtaining a Healthcare User Number. UK pensioners in Portugal can register for healthcare using the S1 form. Similarly, posted workers from the UK can complete their registration using a UK-issued S1 form and may also continue using their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) until its expiry.

While the Portuguese National Health Service (SNS) covers most healthcare services, co-payments known as ‘taxas moderadoras’ are required for some services, and prescriptions may incur additional costs. These fees are relatively low and provide an affordable option for healthcare in Portugal, but some individuals may still opt for private health insurance.

Finding Accommodation: Renting or Buying Property in Portugal

With your visa, banking, taxes, and healthcare organised, the subsequent step involves finding your new home. Portugal offers a variety of affordable property options, whether you prefer to rent or buy.

Foreigners, including UK citizens, can buy real estate in Portugal without any restrictions. What’s more, local banks may even offer loans for up to 80% of the property value.

If you prefer to rent, you’ll find a variety of options to suit different budgets and lifestyle preferences. Whether you fancy a city apartment, a beachfront villa, or a country cottage, Portugal has something for everyone.

Moving Your Belongings from the UK to Portugal

Planning becomes crucial while shifting your belongings from the UK to Portugal. Consulting a relocation company can make the process smoother and more efficient. These companies have expertise and experience in international moves, ensuring your belongings reach your new home safely and securely.

One crucial document you’ll need is the baggage certificate. This document enables the duty-free import of your personal belongings to Portugal, saving you from paying import taxes on your personal items.

Obtaining the baggage certificate is straightforward. You just need to request it in advance of your move, ensuring that it states that the items being moved are used and have been in your possession for over six months.

Education and International Schools in Portugal

If you are relocating to Portugal with your family, education naturally becomes a priority. Portugal boasts a selection of excellent international schools that offer British and international curricula, providing a multicultural education experience for your children.

There are international schools specifically catering to British expats, including:

  • British School of Lisbon
  • IPS Cascais
  • Nobel International School Algarve
  • Oporto British School in Porto
  • St. Julian’s School

Admission to these schools usually requires the completed enrollment form, a passport copy and/or birth certificate of the child, and a passport copy of the child’s parent or legal guardian. With these requirements met, your child can enjoy a high-quality education in Portugal.

Adapting to Life in Portugal: Language, Culture, and Lifestyle

Relocating to a new country entails not only logistical aspects but also acclimatising to a new culture and lifestyle. Despite English being widely spoken in Portugal, understanding Portuguese is essential for formal matters and for integrating into the local community.

With dedication, an English speaker can learn Portuguese in around 24 weeks or 575–600 hours. While it may seem daunting, knowing the language will enrich your living experience in Portugal.

Portuguese culture is fascinating and offers a sense of community, tradition, and warmth that might differ from the UK’s more informal and open culture. Embracing these cultural nuances will enhance your experience and make you feel at home in your new surroundings.

Family Reunification for UK Citizens in Portugal

If you intend to move your whole family to Portugal, it’s notable that UK citizens can incorporate dependent family members into their visa applications. The process of family reunification involves:

  • presenting a family reunification visa application in person in your country of residence
  • the visa is valid for two years for successful applicants
  • typically takes around 60 days to process

The required documents for a family reunification visa application include the Portugal visa application form, a passport with a validity of at least 6 months, and identity documents of the foreign family member. Once granted, family members are eligible for residency and can enjoy the same benefits as the main applicant.

Driving in Portugal: Converting Your UK Driving License

If you envision driving in Portugal, it’s necessary to switch your UK driving license to a Portuguese one. This should be done within 90 days of becoming a resident.

The process is straightforward and involves filling out and submitting an online form and paying a fee of €30 for the exchange.

To apply, you’ll need the original, valid full UK driving license, an identification document, and proof of residence in Portugal. And the best part? You won’t need to take a driving test when converting your UK driving license to a Portuguese one.

Employment Opportunities for UK Citizens in Portugal

If your relocation to Portugal is work-oriented, a spectrum of opportunities in diverse sectors awaits you. The job market in Portugal offers opportunities in:

  • tourism
  • hospitality
  • electronics
  • transportation
  • IT
  • healthcare

The tech industry in Portugal is particularly booming, offering competitive salaries. A mid-level blockchain engineer, for instance, can earn between €60,000 and €80,000 per year, while entry-level web developers start at €20,000 to €30,000.

For those looking to teach English in Portugal, having a bachelor’s degree, a TEFL/TESOL certification, and prior teaching experience can increase your eligibility. Being a native English speaker is advantageous, but highly proficient non-native speakers can also meet the requirements.

Summary

In conclusion, moving to Portugal from the UK involves several key steps, from understanding the impact of Brexit on your move to sorting out visas, banking, taxes, and healthcare. Whether you plan to rent or buy a home, bring your family, or convert your UK driving license, Portugal offers excellent opportunities for UK citizens seeking a fresh start. Embrace the vibrant culture, the warm climate, and the rich culinary heritage, and start your Portuguese journey today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a UK citizen move to Portugal?

Yes, UK citizens can move to Portugal, but they may need to apply for a visa and adhere to specific residency requirements. The process might take longer and involve additional steps due to Brexit.

How much money do I need to immigrate to Portugal?

You will need to budget around $2,500 to $3,000 per month for a couple immigrating to Portugal, with a higher cost of living in the city center. This amount will cover your living expenses.

Can I claim UK benefits if I move to Portugal?

Yes, you may be entitled to some UK benefits if you move to Portugal, such as state healthcare coverage and certain exportable benefits, like an exportable UK pension or contribution-based Employment Support Allowance. To explore your options, you can apply for a S1 form through the Department for Work and Pensions' International Pensions Centre.

What is the easiest way to immigrate to Portugal?

The easiest way to immigrate to Portugal is through the Golden Visa Program, which offers a residence permit in exchange for substantial financial investments. Other options include securing a job, studying, or having family ties in Portugal.

What are the main visa options for UK citizens moving to Portugal?

The main visa options for UK citizens moving to Portugal are the Golden Visa and the D7 Passive Income Visa. Both visas offer different benefits and requirements.

Written by
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Ana Fankhauser

Ana has worked in many startups and moved to a few countries, which led her to create MovingTo. She believes that remote work is a growing trend that is here to stay and that digital nomads will move to countries that have more to offer than the ones you were born into. She mostly writes opinion pieces for MovingTo.

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