Moving to Portugal from UK in 2023: The Complete Guide for UK Citizens

Moving to Portugal from the UK? The most comprehensive guide to show you how to obtain a Portugal Visa for you and your family in 2023 if you are a UK citizen.
July 10, 2023
Ana Fankhauser
July 10, 2023

Are you considering a move to sunnier shores? Moving to Portugal from the UK offers a fantastic blend of warm weather, beautiful landscapes, and a high-quality lifestyle that attracts thousands of UK citizens every year. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the benefits of moving to Portugal, the essential steps to take in preparation, and the various aspects of life in this charming European country. So buckle up and get ready to embark on an exciting journey to your dream life in Portugal.

Short Summary

  • Move to Portugal and enjoy a comfortable lifestyle with stunning landscapes, vibrant culture, and superb healthcare and education systems.
  • Reap economic benefits such as lower cost of living, tax-free income for up to 10 years, and access to the Golden Visa program.
  • Take advantage of job and study opportunities in Portugal or obtain Portuguese citizenship after 5 years of legal residence!

Why UK Citizens Choose Portugal

beach, people, on foot

When it comes to relocating, Portugal stands out as a top choice for UK citizens. The delightful climate, economical cost of living, security, and welcoming locals are just a few reasons that make this European gem a popular destination. Furthermore, the Portuguese National Health Service provides excellent healthcare, adding another layer of appeal for British expats seeking a comfortable and stress-free lifestyle.

Portugal’s economic advantages also play a significant role in attracting UK citizens. The Portugal Golden Visa program is a great prospect for non-EU citizens. By investing in the country, they will be able to obtain residency rights. In addition, Portugal ranks 4th in the 2022 Global Retirement Index, making it an ideal country for retirees to enjoy their golden years. So, without a doubt, Portugal has plenty to offer anyone seeking a new and fulfilling life abroad.

Lifestyle Benefits

The lifestyle benefits of living in Portugal are truly unmatched. Portugal offers:

  • Stunning landscapes
  • Vibrant culture
  • Superb healthcare and education systems
  • Pleasant subtropical climate, with warm summers and mild winters

These factors provide the perfect setting for outdoor activities and relaxation all year.

Safety is also a top priority in Portugal, with the country ranked 4th on the 2021 Global Peace Index. For UK nationals seeking support, the UK Nationals Support Fund is available to provide assistance during their stay in Portugal. With the added bonus of the Portuguese Golden Visa program, which grants residency through investment, there’s no doubt that Portugal is a dream destination for UK citizens looking to embrace a new way of life.

Economic Advantages

Aside from its idyllic lifestyle, Portugal also offers several economic advantages for UK citizens. The cost of living is significantly lower compared to the UK, which means that your money can go further in Portugal. Moreover, the Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) regime is an incredibly beneficial tax scheme that allows new foreign residents with foreign-sourced income, including pensions, to take their income free of Portuguese income tax for up to ten years.

The Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) between the UK and Portugal ensures that you can remain tax-efficient when living in Portugal. You don’t have to pay tax on the same income in both countries.

The Golden Visa program, D8 and D7 visas are three excellent options for UK citizens seeking residency in Portugal, providing the right to:

  • live
  • work
  • access public healthcare
  • other benefits.

Overall, the economic advantages of moving to Portugal make it a financially sound choice for UK citizens looking to relocate.

Preparing for the Move: Essential Steps

beach, nature, cliff

With the decision to move to Portugal comes the responsibility of preparing for the transition. Here are some essential steps to ensure a smooth and successful move.

  1. Research locations in Portugal to find the best fit for you.
  2. Understand visa requirements and gather all necessary documents.
  3. Learn about the Portuguese language and culture to help you integrate into your new community.
  4. Manage your finances efficiently, as you may benefit from lower fees and taxes in Portugal compared to the UK.

One vital aspect of moving to Portugal is completing the necessary paperwork. UK citizens can easily complete HMRC’s P85 ‘Leaving the UK’ form to ensure a smooth transition. Additionally, it’s essential to adhere to regulations for possessions entering Portugal, as well as seek professional advice on property purchase, visas and residency, healthcare, and insurance through resources like Portugal Property Guides.

IAS (Immigration and Advisory Services) also offers an exciting emigration package to help clients explore their emigration options and make applications with ease, including assistance with the Portuguese embassy. By taking these essential steps, you’ll be well on your way to a successful move to Portugal and an exciting new chapter in your life.

Finding the Right Location

city, building, cityscape

Choosing the perfect location to settle in Portugal is a crucial step in your journey. Factors such as climate, amenities, and proximity to the UK should all be taken into account when making your decision. Whether you prefer the bustling city life of Lisbon, the stunning coastline of the Algarve, or the tranquil countryside of the North, Portugal has a diverse range of locations to suit your preferences.

To facilitate various transactions, including property purchases and bill payments, it’s essential to obtain a Portuguese fiscal number (NIF). This number is a useful tool for anyone moving to Portugal and can be obtained easily. With the right location and necessary documentation in place, you’ll be one step closer to enjoying your new life in Portugal.

Visa Requirements

For UK citizens planning to stay in Portugal for more than 90 days, obtaining a residence permit is necessary. There are several options available, such as the Golden Visa, D8 or D7 visa programs. The Portugal Golden Visa program grants residence permits to non-EU citizens who make a qualifying investment in the country, allowing them to live, work, and access the public healthcare system in Portugal, as well as travel freely within the Schengen Zone.

Alternatively, UK citizens have several visa options for traveling to Portugal, including:

  • The D7 visa program offers non-EU nationals the opportunity to apply for Portuguese residency with a reasonable and stable passive income and the ability to sustain themselves during their stay in the country.
  • The D8 visa program know as digital Nomad visa offers non-EU nationals the opportunity to apply for Portuguese residency if they can proof they earn three times the portuguese minumin salary.
  • National visas for temporary stay and residency.
  • The ETIAS for short-term travel to Portugal.

It’s crucial to understand the visa requirements and select the most suitable option based on your needs and circumstances. With the appropriate visa in hand, you’ll be well-prepared to embark on your exciting adventure in Portugal.

Language and Cultural Adaptation

Integrating into Portuguese society is essential for a smooth transition when moving to Portugal. Learning the language and understanding local customs will not only help you communicate effectively, but will also allow you to form connections and truly appreciate the beauty of Portuguese culture.

There are various ways to learn Portuguese, such as using language learning apps, taking classes, and immersing yourself in the language by watching Portuguese films and TV shows. To gain a better understanding of local customs, research the culture, talk to locals, and observe how people interact in different situations.

With a solid foundation in language and culture, you’ll be well-equipped to fully embrace your new life in Portugal.

Healthcare in Portugal for UK Citizens

yoga, strength, woman

Healthcare is an important consideration for anyone planning to move to Portugal. Fortunately, the country offers a high-quality healthcare system, with both public and private options available to UK citizens. While the Portuguese National Health Service provides excellent care, many expats also choose to supplement their coverage with private health insurance. UK-issued EHIC and GHIC cards can be used for temporary healthcare access in Portugal, but they are not a substitute for comprehensive health insurance.

As a UK citizen, you’ll need to consider the following healthcare options in Portugal:

  1. Register with the Portuguese National Health Service to access public healthcare.
  2. Consider additional coverage options, such as private health insurance, to ensure you have the best possible care during your time in Portugal.
  3. Familiarize yourself with EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) and GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card) cards and how they can be used for healthcare services in Portugal.

In the following sections, we’ll delve deeper into each of these healthcare options available to UK citizens in Portugal.

Registering for State Healthcare

To access public healthcare in Portugal, UK citizens must follow these steps:

  1. Register with the Portuguese national health service.
  2. Provide necessary documents and obtain a health number.
  3. Use your health number to access the healthcare system.
  4. Once registered, you’ll be eligible to receive state healthcare services, including primary care, secondary care, and emergency treatment.

It’s essential to ensure that you’re registered with the Portuguese national health service to fully benefit from the country’s healthcare system. With your health number in hand, you can confidently access the high-quality healthcare services available to residents in Portugal.

Private Health Insurance

For those seeking additional coverage or faster access to medical services, private health insurance can be a valuable option in Portugal. Private healthcare policies often provide extra costs and services not available through the public healthcare system, as well as shorter waiting times for treatment.

The cost of private health insurance in Portugal varies based on factors such as age and pre-existing conditions, but is generally affordable. By carefully considering your healthcare needs and preferences, you can choose the most suitable insurance plan to ensure a healthy and worry-free life in Portugal.

EHIC and GHIC Cards

If you’re a UK citizen with a UK-issued EHIC or GHIC card, you can use these cards for temporary healthcare access in Portugal. It’s important to note, however, that these cards are not a substitute for comprehensive health insurance and should be used in conjunction with other coverage options.

For UK citizens living in Portugal, it may be necessary to apply for a new UK-issued EHIC or GHIC depending on when you moved to the country. By ensuring that you have the appropriate healthcare coverage in place, you can enjoy peace of mind and focus on enjoying your new life in Portugal.

Banking and Finances in Portugal

calculator, calculation, insurance

When moving to Portugal, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the local banking and financial landscape. Opening a local bank account, managing currency exchange, and understanding taxation are all crucial aspects of your financial life in Portugal.

In the following sections, we will provide more detailed information and guidance on each of these aspects, helping you navigate your finances with ease. By taking the time to understand the nuances of the Portuguese financial system, you’ll be well-prepared to manage your money effectively and enjoy a prosperous life in Portugal.

Opening a Portuguese Bank Account

Opening a Portuguese bank account is an important step for UK citizens moving to Portugal. A local bank account allows you to perform various transactions, including property purchases and bill payments, with ease. The process of opening a bank account in Portugal is relatively straightforward, and the requirements typically include providing proof of identity, address, and income.

Once your account is open, you can manage your finances more efficiently and minimize the transaction costs associated with international transactions. By establishing a solid financial foundation in Portugal, you can confidently navigate your new life abroad.

Money Transfers and Currency Exchange

Managing currency exchange is another essential aspect of your financial life in Portugal. Transferring funds between the UK and Portugal can be simplified by using a reputable currency exchange service, such as Smart Currency Exchange. These services help you set the exchange rate for up to a year on regular payments from the UK, ensuring that you don’t run into any issues with your UK-based pension or income from investments.

By taking advantage of the tools and assistance offered by currency exchange specialists, you can minimize the impact of exchange rate fluctuations and make the most of your financial resources.

Taxation in Portugal

Understanding Portuguese tax laws is crucial for UK citizens moving to the country. You’ll need to declare your total income to the Portuguese authorities, regardless of which country it comes from. The Double Taxation Agreement between the UK and Portugal is highly beneficial. It ensures that you won’t have to pay tax on the same income in both countries when living in Portugal.

The Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) regime is an incredibly beneficial tax scheme that allows new foreign residents with foreign-sourced income, including pensions, to take their income free of Portuguese income tax for up to ten years. By understanding the tax implications of moving to Portugal and taking advantage of the NHR regime, you can optimize your tax situation and enjoy a more financially secure life in your new home.

Property Purchase and Rental

architecture, real estate, property

Whether you’re planning to buy or rent property in Portugal, it’s essential to understand the various options available and the factors to consider in making your decision. In the following sections, we’ll explore the processes involved in both property purchase and rental, providing helpful tips and guidance to ensure that you find the perfect home in Portugal.

By carefully considering your preferences and needs, you can make an informed decision about your property options and create a comfortable and enjoyable living environment in Portugal.

Buying Property

Purchasing property in Portugal is an exciting and potentially rewarding investment. The process involves three main steps: Reservation, Promissory Contract of Sale and Purchase, and Final Deed. With your legal and financial matters in order, and a Portuguese tax number, the end-to-end process can be completed in as little as one to six months.

When buying property in Portugal, it’s important to consider factors such as location, budget, and property type. Researching the local market and seeking professional advice can help you make the best possible decision for your unique circumstances.

The timeline for buying property in Portugal can vary, but the end-to-end process is usually completed in a timely manner, ranging from one to six months. By following the appropriate steps and working with knowledgeable professionals, you can successfully purchase your dream property in Portugal and start enjoying your new life.

Renting Property

Renting a property in Portugal can be a more flexible option for UK citizens, with various rental agreements and property types available. Long-term rental agreements typically last for a minimum of one year and can be renewed after the initial period, while short-term agreements are usually for a period of up to three months and are not renewable.

When considering rental properties, it’s important to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each option in relation to your specific needs and preferences. By taking the time to research and explore the rental market in Portugal, you can find the perfect property to suit your lifestyle and budget.

Working and Studying in Portugal

meeting, brainstorming, business

For UK citizens looking to work or study in Portugal, understanding the visa requirements and available opportunities is essential. In the following sections, we’ll discuss the various employment sectors in which UK citizens may find work, as well as the process for obtaining a student visa to study in Portugal.

By familiarizing yourself with the opportunities and requirements for working and studying in Portugal, you can make the most of your time in this beautiful country and create a fulfilling and rewarding life abroad.

Employment Opportunities

The job market in Portugal offers a diverse range of opportunities for UK citizens, with sectors such as:

  • tourism
  • hospitality
  • retail
  • customer service
  • IT
  • call centers

Experiencing growth and demand for skilled workers, Portugal from the UK is an attractive destination for job seekers. To work in Portugal, UK citizens will need to obtain the appropriate visa and, in many cases, a job offer.

Understanding the employment landscape and the necessary visa requirements will help you navigate your career options in Portugal. With the right permits in place, you can embark on an exciting new professional path and enjoy the numerous benefits of working in this vibrant European country.

Studying in Portugal

For UK students interested in pursuing an education in Portugal, obtaining a student visa is a necessary step if you plan to study for more than three months. Portugal boasts a range of universities and courses, including internationally recognized institutions such as the University of Porto, the University of Lisbon, and the University of Coimbra.

By understanding the visa requirements and exploring the diverse range of educational opportunities available in Portugal, you can:

  • Further your academic pursuits
  • Enhance your personal and professional growth
  • Immerse yourself in the inspiring and culturally rich environment of the country.

Obtaining Portuguese Citizenship

buffer, passport, travel

After five years of legal residence in Portugal, UK citizens, also known as British citizens, can apply for Portuguese citizenship, allowing them to hold dual nationality and enjoy the benefits of EU citizenship in an EU country. This milestone offers a range of advantages, including the right to live, work, and travel freely within the European Union, as well as access to various social benefits and services.

By meeting the residency requirements and successfully applying for Portuguese citizenship, you can further enhance your life in Portugal and enjoy the numerous advantages that come with being a Portuguese citizen in this beautiful and welcoming country.


In conclusion, moving to Portugal offers a wealth of opportunities and benefits for UK citizens seeking a new life abroad. From the exceptional quality of life and economic advantages to the diverse range of property options and employment opportunities, Portugal is an ideal destination for those looking to embrace a new and exciting chapter in their lives. With the right preparation, knowledge, and determination, you too can make the most of your move to Portugal and enjoy the countless rewards that come with living in this captivating European country.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a UK citizen move to Portugal?

Yes, UK citizens can move to Portugal following Brexit. They have the right to stay for 90 days in a 180-day period. To stay longer, they must obtain a Portuguese residence permit or visa such as the Golden Visa or D7 Visa.

Speak to an immigration lawyer to learn more about your emigration options.

How much money will I need to move to Portugal?

To move to Portugal and live comfortably, you would need an estimated €1,200 as a single person or around €2,000-€2,500 for a couple.

In the capital city, rent is particularly expensive.

What are the main reasons UK citizens move to Portugal?

UK citizens are drawn to Portugal for its appealing climate, lower cost of living, safety, friendly locals, and excellent healthcare system.

The climate is mild and sunny, with temperatures rarely dropping below 10°C in the winter and rarely rising above 30°C in the summer. The cost of living is much lower than in the UK, making it much cheaper.

How long does it take to obtain Portuguese citizenship?

UK citizens can apply for Portuguese citizenship after five years of legal residence, making obtaining Portuguese citizenship a relatively achievable goal.

Can UK citizens work and study in Portugal?

UK citizens can work and study in Portugal, provided they have the correct documentation, such as a visa.

However, there are certain restrictions and requirements that must be met in order to be eligible for a visa. For example, applicants must demonstrate that they have sufficient funds to support themselves during their studies.

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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