Frequently Asked Questions

I AM A BRITISH CITIZEN LIVING IN PORTUGAL. IN ORDER TO KEEP MY RIGHTS IN THAT COUNTRY MUST I CONTINUE WORKING?

The Withdrawal Agreement protects nationals from the United Kingdom living in a different State from his/her nationality, as long as the requirements the EU legislation dealing with the free movement of persons connects to the right of residence are met. Essentially, nationals from the United Kingdom meet those requirements if:

    • they hold a paid or non-paid job; or
    • have enough resources; or
    • are members of someone else’s family meeting those requirements;

It is possible to move between these categories (for example, leave their job to start studying). In order to keep your rights, the meeting of, at least, the conditions concerning one of the abovementioned categories, is suffice.

I AM A BRITISH CITIZEN LIVING IN LONDON, BUT OFTEN TRAVELLING TO LISBON FOR WORK. MAY I CONTINUE WORKING IN PORTUGAL AFTER THE TRANSITION PERIOD ENDS?

Yes. The Withdrawal Agreement protects the so-called “cross-border workers”. The cross-border worker is someone who is employeed or selfemployed in a country and lives in another country. The cross-border worker may continue working in Lisboa and living in London, and apply for the Portuguese competent authorities to issue a document certifying to be a cross-border worker protected by the Withdrawal Agreement. This document will ease up its working trip between Portugal and the United Kingdom. For this purpose, an email should be sent by the cross-border worker who wishes to apply for this document to brexit@sef.pt.

I AM A BRITISH CITIZEN WORKING IN PORTUGAL SINCE 1995. MAY I STAY IN PORTUGAL AFTER RETIREMENT?

Yes. Because you are working in Portugal for more than five years, you already benefit from the right of permanent residence no longer subject to any conditions (as in to continue working).

I AM A BRITISH CITIZEN LIVING WITH MY FAMILY IN PORTUGAL. MY WIFE IS BRAZILIAN. I AM AWARE OF MY RIGHT TO STAY IN PORTUGAL. HOWEVER, I DO NOT KNOW WHAT WILL BECOME OF THE RIGHT OF RETURNING TO THE UNITED KINGDOM WITH MY FAMILY.

The Withdrawal Agreement protects the rights of persons exercising the right of free movement and living in a country which is not of their own nationality.
The prevailing law of the United Kingdom will determine if the members of their family may live with him/her in that country.

I AM A BRITISH CITIZEN LIVING IN PORTUGAL. HOW LONG MAY I STAY ABROAD WITHOUT LOSING MY RIGHTS?

The right of residence provided by the Withdrawal Agreement is not affected by temporary absences which do not exceed six months in a year, nor longer absences for the compliance of military obligations, or an absence of twelve consecutive months maximum for important reasons such as pregnancy or childbirth, serious illness, studying or professional training, or deployment to another Member State or third-country for professional reasons. Once obtained, the right of permanent residence shall be lost by the absence for a period exceeding five consecutive years only.

I LIVE IN PORTUGAL WITH MY SPOUSE WHO IS A UNITED KINGDOM NATIONAL, AND HOLDER OF A RESIDENCE CARD OF A FAMILY MEMBER OF A EUROPEAN UNION CITIZEN. MAY I STAY AFTER THE TRANSITIONAL PERIOD ENDS?

Yes. The Withdrawal Agreement protects every family member who legally lives in Portugal with a United Kingdom citizen before the transitional period ends.

I HAVE COME TO LIVE TO PORTUGAL WITH MY HUSBAND, A NATIONAL OF THE UNITED KINGDOM. HOWEVER, I WANT TO FILE FOR DIVORCE. DO I LOSE MY RIGHT OF RESIDENCE AFTER THE END OF THE TRANSITIONAL PERIOD?

The Withdrawal Agreement resumes the provisions of the legislation on free movement in the EU, which already protects third-countries’ national spouses who get divorced from a EU citizen. If you have lived in Portugal being married and file for divorce, you may continue living in Portugal after the transitional period. After five consecutive years of legal residence, you may obtain the right of permanent residence in Portugal.

I AM AN UNMARRIED PARTNER OF A NATIONAL OF THE UNITED KINGDOM LIVING IN PORTUGAL. MAY I JOIN MY PARTNER IN PORTUGAL EVEN AFTER THE TRANSITIONAL PERIOD?

Yes. The Withdrawal Agreement protects partners which, at the end of the transitional period, keep a long lasting relationship with a national of the United Kingdom, even if they no longer live together at the Host Member State. Therefore, you may join your partner in Portugal, with the condition that, when you do, you still keep a long lasting relationship and the other keeps the residence in Portugal.

I AM A NATIONAL OF THE UNITED KINGDOM LIVING IN PORTUGAL AND PROTECTED BY THE WITHDRAWAL AGREEMENT. MAY I BENEFIT WITH MORE RIGHTS OF FREE MOVEMENT IN THE EU AFTER THE END OF THE TRANSITIONAL PERIOD?

Nationals of the United Kingdom protected by the Withdrawal Agreement in a Member State cannot call upon it to obtain the right of free movement to another Member State, nor to get established or provide services or cross-border services to people established in another Member States. This fact does not affect any rights in as much as nationals of the United Kingdom may benefit under other legal instruments of the EU or the national law.

MAY I TRAVEL TO THE UNITED KINGDOM AFTER BREXIT (December 31st 2020)?

Following the end of the transition period, nationals from the United Kingdom living in Portugal before the end of the transition period may exit and return to Portugal, showing their passport, as long as they have supporting evidence in which they are residents. They may submit their certificate of registration at the City Hall and the supporting evidence of the application for the new residence document held at Portal do SEF for Brexit. The digital form of the supporting evidence of exchange of residence, read by QR Code, may be printed and used whenever travelling, as supporting evidence of your residence in Portugal. Family members which are not citizens of the European Union have the same rights by submitting a valid passport and their residence card.

AS A BRITISH CITIZEN LIVING IN PORTUGAL, AM I SUBJECT TO THE OBLIGATION OF A VISA IN THE FUTURE?

No. With the condition that you hold a valid document issued by Portugal supporting your residence status under the Withdrawal Agreement.

WHEN DID THE TRANSITION PERIOD END?

The transition period started February 1st 2020 and ended December 31st 2020.

WHO IS PROTECTED BY THE WITHDRAWAL AGREEMENT?

The Withdrawal Agreement protects those EU citizens residing in the United Kingdom, and UK nationals residing in one of the 27 EU Member States at the end of the transition period, where such residence is in accordance with EU law on free movement. The Withdrawal Agreement also protects the family members that are granted rights under EU law (current spouses and registered partners, parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren and a person in an existing durable relationship), who do not yet live in the same host state as the Union citizen or the UK national, to join them in the future.

Children will be protected by the Withdrawal Agreement, wherever they are born before or after the United Kingdom’s withdrawal, or whether they are born inside or outside the host state where the EU citizen or the UK national resides. The only exception foreseen concerns children born after the United Kingdom’s withdrawal and for which a parent not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement has sole custody under the applicable family law.

HOW CAN I APPLY FOR THE CERTIFICATE OF REGISTRATION?

Considering that the transition period ended December 31st, it is no longer possible to apply for the certificate of registration at the City Hall. You should now request the issuance of a new document. Please send an email to brexit@sef.pt, attaching your identity documents and proof of your stay in the country before December 31st 2020.

I'VE BEEN LIVING FOR MORE THAN FIVE YEARS IN PORTUGAL, BUT HAVEN'T GOT THE PERMANENT RESIDENCE CERTIFICATE. WHAT SHALL I DO?

If you live in Portugal for more than five years, but haven’t got the permanent residence certificate, you may apply for the replacement of your certificate of registration with a permanent residence document. For such, you might have to submit supporting documents in which you are living in Portugal for more than five consecutive years as provided in Law 37/2006, and during that period you have been employed or self-employed or have had means of subsistence.

MY PERMANENT RESIDENCE CERTIFICATE HAS EXPIRED. WHAT CAN I DO?

As a national from the United Kingdom living in Portugal, after the end of the transition period on December 31st 2020, it is now necessary to exchange your current residence document as a citizen of the European Union by the new residence permit which confirms your resident status under the Withdrawal Agreement. You should register again at Portal do SEF for Brexit, to apply for your new residence permit.

UNDER THE WITHDRAWAL AGREEMENT, WAS IT NECESSARY TO REGISTER AS A RESIDENT BEFORE APPLYING FOR THE NEW CARD FOR NATIONALS OF THE UNITED KINGDOM LIVING IN PORTUGAL?

In case you did not apply for the certificate of registration at the City Hall before the end of the transition period, you should now request the issuance of a new document. Please send an email to brexit@sef.pt, attaching your identity documents and proof of your stay in the country before December 31st 2020.

I LIVE IN PORTUGAL AND I AM UNDER THE WITHDRAWAL AGREEMENT BUT I DO NOT HAVE A CERTIFICATE OF REGISTRATION ISSUED BY THE CITY HALL. WHAT SHALL I DO?

You should request the issuance of a new document. Please send an email to brexit@sef.pt, attaching your identity documents and proof of your stay in the country before December 31st 2020.

DO I HAVE TO BE SUBJECT TO A PORTUGUESE LANGUAGE EXAM TO OBTAIN THE PERMANENT RESIDENCE DOCUMENT?

As in the EU Law, the right of residence under the withdrawal agreement is not dependent on the knowledge of the Portuguese language.

I AM AN UK NATIONAL AND I ARRIVED IN PORTUGAL BEFORE THE END OF THE TRANSITION PERIOD (31ST DECEMBER 2020). I DO NOT INTEND TO LIVE HERE, BUT SO FAR I HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO RETURN TO THE UNITED KINGDOM DUE TO TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS IN FORCE. DO I NEED TO GO TO A SEF’S BUREAU TO EXTEND MY STAY, SINCE I HAVE BEEN HERE FOR MORE THAN 90 DAYS?

If you arrived in Portugal before 31st December 2020, and you are not resident or don’t intent to become resident, and you are still in Portugal due to Covid-19 travel restrictions, you do not need a visa or further authorisation to stay in Portugal longer than 90 days, once you were exercising your right to free movement under European Union law when you arrived here before the end of the transition period. It should be considered as a regular stay under the Withdrawal Agreement. You should consider flying back as soon as the restrictive measures are lifted.

I AM A NATIONAL OF THE UNITED KINGDOM MARRIED TO A PORTUGUESE NATIONAL BOTH LIVING IN PORTUGAL. DO I HAVE TO REPLACE THE RESIDENCE DOCUMENT?

British citizens living in Portugal who are also family members of EU citizens benefit both from the statuses. You may apply for the new residence document as a beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement, or for the residence document of a family member of a EU citizen. The Withdrawal Agreement ensures you the right of residence in Portugal only, however as a familiy member of a EU citizen you have the right of free movement and residence in all EU.