Are you an EU/EEA or Swiss national moving to Portugal?
This is a complete step-by-step guide to getting residency with the Portugal CRUE (Certificado de Registo de Cidadão da União Europeia).
Residency with the CRUE route is only available to passport holders from any EU/EEA country, or Switzerland. If your passport is from any other country (including the UK), you’ll need to apply for a Portugal residency visa before arriving in-country.
What’s the CRUE?
The CRUE is short for Certificado de Registo de Cidadão da União Europeia.
It’s Portugal’s official proof of residency document for nationals of EU/EEA countries, or Switzerland, who wish to establish residency in Portugal.
Here’s what a CRUE document looks like:
As you can see, this document grants you an immediate period of five years temporary residency in Portugal.
You won’t need to renew your residency until you reach that five year mark.
I received my CRUE in January 2020, when I moved to Portugal from the UK.
Back then, the UK was still part of the EU, so the process for British nationals to get residency was far simpler than it is now (thanks Brexit… 🙄).
(Perhaps this particular CRUE should become a museum piece, due the rare and never-to-be-seen-again presence of “Britânica” written on it).
As an EU/EEA or Swiss citizen, your freedom of movement rights give you the right to establish residency in Portugal.
Unlike in the case of a residency visa, you won’t be turned down. Getting the CRUE document is more or less a formality.
You don’t need to do anything at all for the first 90 days of your stay. After that point, you’re required to register your presence in Portugal with the local authorities, which means getting the CRUE.
It may be possible to get your CRUE before the 90 days are up (I got mine within a week of arrival in Portugal, but the officials understood my urgency because of Brexit). It really depends on the individual government official and office you go to.
With all that said, let’s look at how to get your Portugal CRUE in 7 easy steps.
7 Simple Steps to Get Your Portugal CRUE (EU/EEA & Swiss Nationals)
#1. Locate your nearest town hall
You can register for residency at the Camâra Municipal (town hall) or Loja do Cididão (citizen’s shop). I did mine at one of the citizen’s shops. There are several around Lisbon and you should be able to go to any of them to get this job done.
#2. Go in person with your documents
You’ll need to bring the following documents:
- Your EU/EEA or Swiss passport
- NIF document
- Proof of address in Portugal (e.g. tenancy agreement or property deed)
- €15 in cash
Occasionally, the official may ask for proof of sufficient funds to support yourself while living in Portugal. Just in case this happens, it’s worth also taking along 3 to 6 months of bank statements, or proof of funds in a savings account.
#3. Take a ticket upon entry
You’ll probably have to wait in a queue to see the relevant government official. If you’re not sure which ticket to take, there’s normally a security guard nearby who can help you. Or look for the words “cidadão europeu” (European citizen) on the ticket machine.
#4. Fill out the form
Once your number gets called, you’ll have to fill out a form to make your request for residency. You should select the option for “first request” (primeiro pedido). Then fill out the rest of your information on the form.
#5. Hand over your documents to the official
The official at the desk will ask for your documents and make copies. In my case, they simply asked for my passport. I’d already filled out my Portuguese address on the form, but they didn’t ask me for any proof of it.
Be sure to bring proof of your address in Portugal with you, such as your tenancy agreement or property deed.
I also recommend bringing along six months’ worth of bank statements. This is just in case you need to prove you have sufficient funds to support yourself.
#6. Pay the fee
You’ll need to pay a fee of €15 for them to issue the European certificate.
You may be able to pay it directly at the desk with the same official.
Or they may send you over to a “treasury desk” to pay the fee there. In the latter case, you should return to the original desk with your receipt of payment.
#7. Collect your certificate
Once you’ve paid the fee, you can collect the certificate.
Make sure to collect it from the original official who took your documentation. They’ll have it ready and waiting for you, even if you have to go to a treasury desk to pay the fee.
And that’s it. You now have a five-year residency document in Portugal.
Being an EU citizen is certainly a great thing!