Residence permit

Portugal entry requirements: moving to Portugal from the UK

After Brexit ended, many UK citizens started looking for new ways to stay in the EU for longer than 90 days without a visa. One of the best solutions for UK citizens is the Portugal residence permit.

UK citizens can obtain a Portuguese passport within 5 years. The Portugal Golden Visa and the D7 visa for financially independent people offer a fast track to citizenship.

Moving to Portugal from UK

What are the main reasons for UK citizens moving to Portugal?

Many British people love Portugal for its nice weather, good food, and low cost of living. According to statistics, over 32,000 British citizens lived in Portugal as of June 2022. The Algarve is a popular destination for British citizens, but there are also large populations in Lisbon and Porto.

Climate in Portugal is mild subtropical, without extreme temperature variations. Each region is different: the north is colder, while the south and centre of the country have warmer, drier weather.

Summer temperatures in Lisbon and southern Portugal can reach 29 °C during the day. Cooling breezes from the Atlantic Ocean blow off the coast. Average winter temperature is 14 °C, it can rain and fog. 

Safety. Global Peace Index ranked Portugal the 4th safest country in 2021. Crime statistics, the level of respect for citizens’ rights, and firearm availability are among the parameters considered in the assessment.

Portuguese are hospitable to newcomers. The Expat Insider 2021 survey ranked Portugal as the 5th best destination for expats in the world. According to the Foreigners and Borders Office (SEF), the number of foreign residents in Portugal increased by 40% between 2011 and 2021. Foreign citizens make up 14.7% and 8.9% of the populations of the Algarve and Lisbon Metropolitan Areas, respectively.

UK travel to Portugal: buy and rent property in Lisbon

Lisbon is an Old World city full of charm. The city is famous for its colourful tiles, museums, palaces and tramways, which travel along steep, cobbled roads

UK travel to Portugal: vineyards in the Douro Valley

Vineyards of the Douro region in Portugal. The region is also called the Enchanted Valley. The region is famous for its delicious wine and local food

UK travel to Portugal: buy property in Algarve

The Algarve’s resorts are some of the most popular with tourists from other countries. Many citizens from the UK buy property in the region in order to obtain a Portugal residence permit

UK travel to Portugal: buy property on Azores

The most attractive features of life in the Azores are the unique natural landscapes, lakes, hot springs, beaches on the Atlantic Ocean and the low population density. As disadvantages, people mention the changeable weather and the higher costs of travel to the European mainland

UK travel to Portugal: Legislative Assembly of Madeira

Legislative Assembly is the highest self-governing body in Madeira

Portugal visa UK: buy property in Madeira

Madeira is an Atlantic Ocean archipelago that forms part of Portugal as an autonomous region. It is the place of choice for those who like to live surrounded by nature and enjoy the privileges of the European lifestyle

Healthcare system. Among 89 countries, Portugal ranks 17th in the CEOWORLD Health Index 2021. The Health Index measures the overall quality of the health system, such as the competence of professionals, the cost per capita per year, and the availability of quality medicines. Additionally, the environment, access to clean water, sanitation, and government policies is considered.

If a UK citizen is planning to move to Portugal, health insurance must be presented when applying for a visa.

Anyone who is registered as a resident can also register to access the Portuguese National Health Service (SNS) on the same basis as a Portuguese citizen. This is the same whether you are employed, self-employed or unemployed. Health services in Portugal are billed according to type at a fixed rate (taxas moderadoras).

Education system. Portugal is one of the cheapest EU countries for higher education. Degrees from Portugal are recognised throughout Europe. Some programs are co-designed with UK universities, so graduates earn double degrees.

Portugal’s schooling and higher education follow the Bologna System standards. It is usually required to have an A-level or International Baccalaureate (IB) qualification to apply to universities.

It is common for undergraduate programmes to include work placements in overseas companies. Students gain necessary experience in the profession, making it easier for them to pass an interview when they apply for a job.

Higher education in Portugal is free for EU citizens. Universities do not require citizenship for students to obtain degrees. In this case, a Portugal residence permit would be suitable.

Tax optimisation. Portugal provides benefits to new tax residents for 10 years if they apply for Non-habitual Resident status. For example, they do not pay tax on world income. Some new tax residents, like high-qualified specialists, pay a flat 20% income tax.

If a person is a tax resident in the UK but receives income while still in Portugal, they will have to pay income tax twice. In the UK all income will be taxed, in Portugal only that which is derived from Portuguese sources, e.g. in the form of dividends from a Portuguese company.

Portugal and the UK have a double taxation treaty (DTA). It regulates the payment of taxes between the countries, so a person or company pays tax in the country of origin and takes a tax deduction in the country of residence. If the tax rate is higher in the country of residence, the difference has to be paid.

Cost of life in Portugal. According to Numbeo, the cost of living in Portugal, on average, is 40% lower than in the UK. You would need about €3,400 in Lisbon to support the same standard of living on €5,900 (£5,140) in London, assuming you rent. 

Comparative cost of living in the UK and Portugal

Basic accommodation costsPortugal, LisbonUK, London
Property to buy

Price per square metre for apartment in city centre
€5,240€14,280
Rent

1 bedroom apartment in city centre
€1,030€2,010
Utilities, monthly

Electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage for 85m2 apartment
€119€280
Private preschool or kindergarten, full day, for 1 child, monthly€408€1,800
International Primary School for 1 child, yearly€9,500€21,500

Why is Portugal especially attractive for the retired?

According to Living magazine’s annual Global Retirement Index ranking, Portugal is ranked 4th for retirement living in 2022. Despite its small size, Portugal has much to appeal to people of all nationalities and ages: warm climate, European lifestyle, friendly people, good ecology, safety, quality health services and low cost of living.

UK retirees living in Portugal say they like the beautiful cities, unique architectural style, local cuisine, proximity to the ocean and golden beaches, and easy transport links to the UK and other European countries.

Pensioners receiving a pension from another country who register a preferential non-resident tax (NHR) status, pay a tax of 10% instead of 20%.

How can a UK citizen get a Portugal residence permit

UK citizens after Brexit can enter and reside in Portugal for 90 days per half-year. If UK nationals want to stay longer, they need to obtain a residence permit in Portugal.

People wishing to move to Portugal on various grounds can obtain a residence permit:

  • Portugal Golden Visa by the purchase of the real estate, fund units or other investments;
  • D7 visa for persons with permanent income outside Portugal;
  • A start-up visa for qualified professionals who intend to invest in innovative projects;
  • Student visas for those intending to study in Portugal;
  • A D1 visa is for individuals who have been invited to work for a Portuguese company.

Most applicants from the UK choose between the Golden visa and the D7 visa. 

Portugal Golden Visa for UK citizens: the program overview 

The Portugal Golden visa for investment is the easiest and fastest way to obtain a Portuguese residence permit. You do not need to prove your knowledge of the Portuguese language and professional qualifications to participate in the program, unlike work and student visas.

Processing time. It takes 2 to 6 months to obtain a Golden Visa in Portugal. This time includes collection of documents, application, Due Diligence check, fulfilment of investment conditions, and submission of biometric data in Portugal.

2—6 months
It takes to obtain Portugal Golden Visa

The Portugal Golden Visa program provides investors with a choice of seven options:

  • €250,000 for the development of culture or reconstruction of national heritage;
  • €280,000+ in the property over 30 years, or located in a renovation area;
  • €400,000+ in other property objects;
  • €500,000 in investment fund units;
  • €500,000 in a business that creates at least five jobs;
  • €500,000 in research programs; or opening a company and creating at least ten jobs in Portugal.
  • €1,500,000 — Portugal's capital transfer.

Property and investment funds are the most popular options among UK citizens. Real estate or fund units can be sold after five years to recoup investments.

Who can obtain a Golden Visa in Portugal. This type of visa can be granted to investors over the age of 18, with legal income earned outside Portugal, without a criminal record.

The investor can include a spouse, children up to the age of 26, and parents in the application for a Portuguese Golden Visa. For children over the age of 18 and parents, it is necessary to prove that they are financially dependent on the investor.

The number of family members does not affect the minimum investment amount. Only the state fees for each family member will increase.

Document requirements for a Portugal Golden Visa:

  1. Application form. 
  2. Passport.
  3. Marriage, divorce and birth certificates if required.
  4. Two passport size photos.
  5. Health insurance policy.
  6. Criminal record certificate. 
  7. Investment-related documents.

It’s advisable to apply for a Golden Visa through a licensed agent. Immigrant Invest attorneys provide the investor with a list of documents required for the application. They fill out the government forms, translate and notarise the documents. If the investor chooses to purchase a property, our real estate experts a collect the documents related to the ownership of the property and verify the legal clearance of the property transaction.

Examples of properties suitable for a Portugal residence permit by investment

Portugal visa UK: real estate in Porto

A renovated flat in a project consisting of 2 late 19th century buildings located in the Quadra Maritima in Matosinhos, Porto. The project is 31 minutes from Trindade metro station in the centre of Porto. Within walking distance is the beach of Matosinhos, a famous surfing spot and enclave. Price from €350,000

Portugal visa UK: real estate in Porto

A renovated flat in a project consisting of 2 late 19th century buildings located in the Quadra Maritima in Matosinhos, Porto. The project is 31 minutes from Trindade metro station in the centre of Porto. Within walking distance is the beach of Matosinhos, a famous surfing spot and enclave. Price from €350,000

UK travel to Portugal: buy property in Porto

A renovated flat in a project consisting of 2 late 19th century buildings located in the Quadra Maritima in Matosinhos, Porto. The project is 31 minutes from Trindade metro station in the centre of Porto. Within walking distance is the beach of Matosinhos, a famous surfing spot and enclave. Price from €350,000

Immigrant Invest's lawyers and real estate specialists provide legal and consultancy support for obtaining a Golden Visa for Portugal. We help you choose the right option and investment property, gather all the necessary documents, translate and notarise them and submit the application. 

Your first residence permit in Portugal needs to first be renewed after one year and then every two years. It is sufficient to spend seven days a year in the country to meet the condition for a permanent residence visa.

Portuguese D7 visa: best choice for UK retirees

The D7 visa can be obtained by UK citizens who have an income outside Portugal. For example, pensions, freelance work, renting out real estate or entrepreneurial activities.

Income requirements. Applicants prove that they have a regular income not lower than the minimum wage in Portugal.

The minimum income required is calculated as a percentage of the statutory minimum wage in Portugal:

  • 100% for the main applicant;
  • 50% for a spouse;
  • 30% for each child under18.

In 2022 the minimum income requirement is €705 per month, or €8,460 per year for the main applicant, €352 for a spouse and €235 for each child under the age of 18.

€8,460 per year
Minimum income to live in Portugal and obtain a D7 visa

Processing time. The time for obtaining a D7 visa is from 2 months. Once the visa is granted, the applicant can immediately apply for a Portuguese residence permit for financially independent persons.

Mandatory condition. For a D7 visa application, a home purchase or rent is required for the applicant's family.

The period of validity of a D7 visa is 4 months. As long as the D7 visa is valid, the applicant has to apply for a Portugal residence permit to the SEF office. If the applicant does not manage to obtain a residence permit in 4 months, the D7 visa can be extended by 90 days. 

A step-by-step procedure to obtain a residence permit in Portugal for those who are financially independent

  1. Register with the tax office in Portugal and obtain a tax number (NIF). Registration is available online.
  2. Open a bank account.
  3. Buy or rent a property.
  4. Prepare your D7 visa documents. 
  5. Apply in person at the consulate of your home country.
  6. Come to Portugal on a D7 visa.
  7. Apply for a residence permit for financially dependent people at the SEF of Portugal. 
  8. Obtain a residence permit card.

Permits are valid for two years on the first issuance, and three years on each subsequent issuance. To retain residency, one must spend at least 183 days a year in Portugal. 

Portugal Golden Visa and D7 visa comparison

It is probably best to consider the D7 visa for UK citizens who wish to move to Portugal without making a substantial investment. Upon obtaining a residence permit in the country, a Portuguese passport is possible after five years.

The Portugal Golden Visa program is designed for investors who intend not only to obtain a residence permit, but also make a profit. Therefore, thanks to the real estate investment option, applicants can buy a residential or commercial property and rent out the property to make money.

Some UK investors choose the Portugal Golden Visa in order to move to a country with comfortable living conditions and a lower standard of living. They rent out their properties in the UK and earn extra income. House prices in the UK continue to rise every year and demand for properties exceeds supply in many parts of the UK.

Comparison criteriaPortugal Golden VisaPortugal D7 visa
Condition€250,000+ minimum investmentProof of annual income:
  • €8,460 for the main applicant
  • €4,230 for a spouse or parent
  • €2,358 for each child
Additional cost€5,340 — the fee for a residence permit card for each family member

€533 — an application fee for each family member

Health insurance

Translation and notarisation

Home purchase taxes if required
€155 — the fee for a residence permit card for each family member

Health insurance 

Translation and notarisation

Rent or purchase property

Home purchase taxes if required
Processing time6+ months2—4 months
Obligatory residence in Portugal7 days in a year183 days in a year
Duration of residence permit1 year for the first residence permit 

2 years for subsequent permits
2 years for the first residence permit 

3 years for subsequent permits

Portugal citizenship prospects for UK citizens

The UK and Portugal allow their citizens to hold dual citizenship. In other words, a British citizen can obtain a Portuguese passport and enjoy the benefits of European citizenship, while still being a British national.

After five years of legal residence in Portugal on a residence permit, a British citizen can apply for a permanent residence permit or apply directly for Portuguese citizenship by naturalisation.

5 years
It’s necessary to live in Portugal
to obtain citizenship

Processing time. It usually takes 7-12 months to obtain Portuguese nationality. Citizenship applications may be submitted online in person or by post to the Central Registry Office. If any additional documents are required, the applicant will be notified. Additional documents must be submitted within 20 days. 

Documents required to apply for citizenship in Portugal:

  1. An application form in Portuguese.
  2. Two passport photographs taken no later than 6 months old.
  3. Passport or its notarised copy.
  4. Proof of a permanent income sufficient to live in Portugal without state subsidies.
  5. Proof of residence in Portugal.
  6. Proof of no criminal record from the UK and other countries where the applicant has been residing continuously for more than one year.
  7. Proof of residence permit for at least five years.
  8. Proof of knowledge of Portuguese at A2 level or higher. 

Underage children can also obtain Portuguese nationality if their parents have maintained a residence permit in the country for five years. Children under the age of 12 do not need to take a language test. 

How long does it take to obtain Portugal citizenship
for Golden Visa holders 

1
4—8 months
Getting a Portugal residence permit
2
+1 year
The 1th residence permit renewal
3
+2 years
The 2th residence permit renewal
4
+2 years
The 3th residence permit renewal
5
+7—12 months
Citizenship obtaining

Frequently asked questions

Can UK citizens apply for Portugal Golden Visa?

Yes, they can. The Portugal Golden Visa is available for UK citizens over 18 without a criminal record and with legal income earned outside of Portugal.

A residence permit card can be obtained by investing in one of seven options. The purchase of investment fund units and real estate investments are among them. 

Can a UK citizen get residency in Portugal?

UK citizens after Brexit can enter and reside in Portugal for 90 days per half-year. If UK nationals want to stay longer, they need to obtain a residence permit in Portugal.

People wishing to move to Portugal on various grounds can obtain a residence permit. For example, Portugal Golden Visa, a D7 visa, a start-up visa, or a student visa. Most applicants from the UK choose either the Gold visa or the D7 visa.

Who qualifies for Golden Visa in Portugal?

The Portugal Golden Visa is available to UK citizens over 18 without a criminal record and with legal income earned outside of Portugal.

An investor can apply for a Portugal Golden Visa with a spouse, children up to the age of 26, and parents. In the case of children over 18 and parents, it is necessary to prove their financial dependence on the investor.

Minimum investment amounts do not depend on the number of family members. For each family member, only the state fees will increase.

How long can I stay in Portugal with a Golden Visa?

Your first residence permit in Portugal by investment needs to first be renewed after one year and then every two years. It is sufficient to spend seven days a year in the country to meet the condition for a permanent residence visa.

What do I need to travel to Portugal from the UK?

British citizens can remain in Portugal for 90 days per half-year after Brexit. UK citizens who wish to stay in Portugal longer must obtain a residence permit.

How to move to Portugal from the UK?

Following Brexit, British citizens can reside in Portugal for 90 days without a visa every six months. In order to stay longer in Portugal, they must obtain a residence permit.

Portugal offers residence permits for the following reasons:

  • Portugal Golden Visa by investment;
  • D7 visa for those with permanent income or savings;
  • Start-up visa for innovative projects;
  • Student visas;
  • D1 visa for those invited to work in a Portuguese company.

The Golden Visa and the D7 visa are UK applicants’ most popular visa options. 

How easy is it to move to Portugal from the UK?

If UK citizens were legal residents in Portugal before January 1, 2021, their rights are protected by the EU Withdrawal Agreement. They still have virtually the same rights to live, work, study and access benefits and services as before Brexit. If you and your family members were living in an EU country before 1 January 2021, you might need to apply for new residence status. 

For UK citizens who are not residents of an EU country, visa-free travel within the Schengen area is limited to 90 days within 180 days. Passports, residence permits, or work permits are required when traveling for UK nationals.

How to apply for a Portugal visa from the UK?

If you are a UK resident, you should apply through the relevant Portuguese Embassy or Consulate in the UK if:

  • Portugal is the only Schengen country you plan to visit;
  • you will be in Portugal for the longest time;
  • Portugal is the first country you plan to visit.

UK citizens do not need to apply for a visa to Portugal if their stay does not exceed 90 days within 180 days. Over 90-day stays in Portugal require the application of a residence permit, not a Schengen visa.

Portugal entry requirements: moving to Portugal from the UK