If you’re a British citizen who is considering moving to Portugal after Brexit, then you’ve come to the right place!
Let’s discuss the different residency permits available in Portugal, the benefits of moving to Portugal after Brexit, and some of the best places to live in the country.
So whether you’re just starting to think about moving to Portugal after Brexit, or you’re already in the process of doing so, this post has everything you need!
Why move to Portugal after Brexit?
If you’re moving to Portugal after Brexit then there’s a good chance you already have family or friends in the country. There are many benefits of moving to Portugal, including:
- Better quality of life. Imagine living somewhere where the sun shines almost every day and it’s warm enough to go swimming all year round! In the Algarve and Madeira, with their fantastic beaches, you can even escape winter altogether!
- Excellent food. Portugal is known for its delicious seafood and wine. Pastel de nata, a Portuguese custard tart, is also world-famous and definitely worth a try.
- Vibrant history and culture. Portugal is one of the oldest European countries and its culture is heavily influenced by both Africa and Europe. There are plenty of historical sights and cultural events to enjoy here.
- Great place to raise a family. Portugal is a safe and welcoming country with excellent schools and healthcare.
- Low cost of living. Portugal has some of Western Europe’s lowest living costs, especially outside the major cities.
- Affordable property prices. You can buy a detached house in Portugal for as little as 60,000 euros in smaller and more rural areas! However, prices are much higher in the big cities such as Lisbon, Porto and Funchal.
- Great place to retire. If you’re moving to Portugal after Brexit, then there’s a good chance that you’re retiring in the country. Portugal is a great place to retire because it’s one of the safest countries in the world. The crime rate is very low and there are no dangerous animals or insects to worry about.
- Fast pathway back to EU citizenship. Portugal has one of the shortest citizenship timelines in the EU – you can apply after just five years of residency.
Where to live in Portugal?
Confused about where to live in Portugal? Here are our top picks.
Bear in mind that Portugal is well-connected by road and railway, and it’s a small country, so it’s very easy to travel around.
If you move to Madeira, the only way to the mainland is by air, but Funchal is very well connected with many flights every day, both to mainland Portugal and around Europe.
There’s even a direct flight to New York!
Lisbon is the capital city of Portugal and also its largest. It’s famous for its history, culture, gastronomy and architecture.
Lisbon has a mild climate all year round with temperatures ranging from lows in winter to highs during summer. The best time to visit Lisbon is between May-September when you can enjoy warm weather without the heat of July and August.
The best places to live in Lisbon are the historic centre and its surrounding neighbourhoods, such as Principe Real, Lapa, or Graça. These areas have everything you need, including supermarkets, shops, restaurants and cafes all within walking distance of each other!
The cost of living is relatively low compared to other cities like London or Paris so moving here could be an affordable option if you’re looking for somewhere to call home after Brexit.
However, buying or renting property in central Lisbon can be pricey. If you’re looking for more affordable options, you should consider searching outside the city centre.
If you’re looking for a city with a more relaxed atmosphere than Lisbon, then Porto may be the perfect place for you.
Porto is Portugal’s second-largest city and home to the country’s most famous export – port wine. Porto is located in the north of Portugal and is known as the “City of Bridges” due to its many bridges crossing the Douro River.
The centre of Porto was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996 due to its historic significance as a trading post during medieval times.
The cost of living in Porto is relatively low, but the weather can be cold and wet during winter – not necessarily appealing for Brits looking to escape the typical UK climate!
The best neighbourhoods in Porto are Ribeiro and Boavista, which offer a range of amenities including shops, restaurants or cafes. There’s also plenty to do here if you like exploring new places on foot!
The historic centre is another good choice if you want somewhere lively where you can meet other people moving from around the world.
Moving to the Algarve is another option if you’re looking for a quieter place with warm weather all year round.
The Algarve is a popular tourist destination and has many beautiful beaches to explore as well as plenty of historical sites such as Roman ruins or Moorish castles.
If you’re considering moving to the Algarve, then Albufeira is one of the best places in the region to live. It’s a lively town with plenty of bars, restaurants and shops. The beaches here are also some of the best in Portugal!
However, property prices in Albufeira can be expensive, so you’ll need to budget well if moving here.
If you’re looking for an island paradise, then moving to Funchal is a great option.
The capital of Madeira Island, Funchal is known for its mild climate and stunning views out over the ocean.
The city centre has plenty to offer including shops, restaurants and cafes – if moving to Portugal after Brexit makes you want something more than just lounging on one of the Algarve’s many beaches all day long!
Mind you, Madeira has some spectacular beaches as well. And there’s plenty to do all around the island.
Madeira is great for hiking too, so moving here could be an ideal location if you’re looking for a quieter way to spend your days. Nature lovers will also adore all the different types of flora and fauna that can be found on this beautiful island.
Property prices in Funchal are relatively high (and rising fast!) but worth it for all the amazing experiences you’ll have here! The weather is great all year round, so you can be sure to enjoy plenty of sunshine no matter what time of year you move!
Residency in Portugal after Brexit
Before Brexit, moving to Portugal was easy for Brits. With EU freedom of movement, you could simply arrive in Portugal and register as a resident without any need for a visa.
Things are a little more complicated now. But the good news is that there are still several residency permits available to British citizens moving to Portugal after Brexit.
Portugal wants to encourage more immigration and has designed its residency permit system accordingly.
The route you choose will depend on your personal circumstances and financial means. Let’s take a look at the two most popular options.
The Golden Visa
If you have a minimum of €500,000 to invest in Portugal, then you can apply for a Golden Visa.
There are several different ways to get the Golden Visa, including property, investment funds, capital transfer, or creating jobs in Portugal.
Note: There are several lower investment thresholds available, such as rehabilitation property for €350,000. But these routes are more complicated. €500,000 is the standard for the more straightforward Golden Visa routes.
The Golden Visa residency permit allows you to live and work in Portugal and gives you access to all the benefits of being a Portuguese resident, including the right to travel throughout the European Union.
But it doesn’t restore your EU freedom of movement; only Portuguese citizenship will do that.
You’ll be able to apply after five years of residency with your Golden Visa.
If you want maximum flexibility when moving to Portugal after Brexit, then the Golden Visa could be your best option.
The Portugal HQA (Startup) Visa
Another investment-based route to Portugal residency is the Highly Qualified Activity (HQA) Visa.
You can get it with an investment of just €175,000.
This program was introduced in 2019 and is designed for entrepreneurial investors who wish to undertake a research project in Portugal.
The HQA program combines two key components: 1) setting up a business in Portugal, and 2) making an investment in high-value research and development activities at one of Portugal’s universities.
The Portugal HQA visa offers a number of benefits over the Golden Visa:
- Faster processing timeline. Applications are normally approved in around 30 days. This means you’ll get your residence permit in hand faster and start the clock ticking to citizenship more quickly.
- Lower overall cost. The HQA visa requires an investment of just €175,000. That’s significantly cheaper than the lowest threshold for the Golden Visa.
- No-risk refund policy. If your HQA Visa application fails, your entire investment will be refunded in full. That means there’s no risk whatsoever!
- Build a flourishing start-up and establish an EU business presence. Depending on the success of your business idea, you could generate intellectual property which could be patented and become a valuable asset. Your business could make great returns for you in the future.
For more information about the Portugal HQA Visa, contact our HQA visa specialists here.
D7 ‘Passive Income’ Visa
If you want Portugal residency without making an investment, then the D7 visa may be more suitable for you.
Many Brits choose the D7 option for moving to Portugal after Brexit.
You can apply for the D7 visa in the UK (or wherever you’re legally a permanent resident) by visiting a Portuguese consulate and providing supporting documents.
The basic D7 visa requirements are:
- Monthly income of at least the equivalent of Portuguese minimum wage (currently €705). However, we recommend having at least €1000 for the first applicant, plus 50% more for a dependent spouse, and 30% more for each dependent child under 18.
- Savings for 12 months sufficient to cover each applicant to the levels described above.
- NIF (tax number), and a Portuguese bank account. (Bordr offers a convenient online service for getting your NIF and bank account)
- 12-month rental contract in Portugal. This is a recently introduced requirement.
- Criminal record check from previous country of residence.
Tax benefits of moving to Portugal
Another advantage in moving to Portugal after Brexit is Portugal’s non-habitual residency scheme (NHR).
For 10 years, having NHR status can give you access to preferential tax treatment on most types of foreign income. For example, if you rent out your UK home before moving to Portugal, you won’t have to pay taxes on it in Portugal.
You can qualify for NHR status if:
- You’re a new Portugal tax resident,
- You haven’t been taxed in Portugal for the previous five years.
Being a tax resident means that you must have resided in Portugal for more than 183 days of the year. You must also register your Portuguese address with the tax authorities.
Under NHR, UK pensions are taxable at 10% for the first 10 years in the country.
If you’re a freelancer working in one of Portugal’s high value-added activities, such as journalism or computer programming, you may be eligible for a flat rate of 20% tax on your Portugal-sourced income.
However, the NHR program is more complicated than it looks. It’s certainly not the magic 0% tax opportunity that some websites claim.
We recommend seeking advice from a qualified tax advisor before moving forward. Contact us for a recommendation.
How to get a Portuguese passport
If you’re moving to Portugal after Brexit, then you’re probably interested in acquiring EU citizenship.
Good news – Portugal offers a fast pathway to citizenship for those who get residency with the Golden Visa, HQA Visa or D7 Visa.
You need to be a resident in Portugal for five years, as a holder of a valid residency permit (such as the Golden Visa or D7 visa). You must also have adequate knowledge of Portuguese and meet certain other requirements.
If you can fulfil these conditions, you’ll be eligible to apply for citizenship and rejoin the EU – this time as a Portuguese national!
FAQs: Moving to Portugal after Brexit
Is moving to Portugal a good idea?
Absolutely! If you want a lower cost of living, better weather and a better quality of life, while also working towards regaining your EU citizenship, then Portugal is one of the best choices in the EU. And don’t just take our word for it – statistics show that more Brits are moving to Portugal than ever before!
Will I need a visa for Portugal after Brexit?
As a British passport holder, you can still travel to Portugal visa-free and stay for up to 90 days. If you want to stay longer, you’ll now have to apply for a visa, typically the D7 visa, HQA Visa, or Golden Visa.
Is there free healthcare in Portugal?
Yes. Portugal has a publicly-funded state health care system – the National Health Service (SNS)– similar to the UK’s NHS. Once you become a resident, you’ll be eligible to get a health number and access SNS services. In general, SNS services are free, but there are some fees for certain aspects of healthcare – just as with the NHS.
Can I move to Portugal without a job?
You don’t need to have a job that’s physically in Portugal in order to move here. But it’s essential to have a source of income, either to be eligible for the D7 Visa, or to invest capital for the Golden Visa. In particular, Portugal is an excellent fit for remote workers – such as software developers or writers – who make money from abroad.
What are property taxes like in Portugal?
Portugal has high property taxes, especially on rental income and the transfer of property. Rental income from property within Portugal is taxed at 28%. When buying a property, you’ll have to pay the transfer tax (known as IMT) upon signing the deed. IMT is calculated based on the value of your property and can range from 2% to 8%. Here’s a handy calculator (in Portuguese) to figure out IMT for a specific property. When selling a property in Portugal, you may also be liable for Portuguese capital gains tax of 28%.
How long can you live in Portugal without residency?
90 days. As a British citizen, you have the right to enter the Schengen zone as a tourist for up to 90 days in every 180. So you can spend the full 90 days in Portugal if you want to. After that, you’ll either have to leave the country for another 90 days before returning, or apply for temporary residency using a residency pathway such as the Golden Visa, HQA Visa or D7 visa.