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Brexit – Seizing the Opportunity

As Brexit is quickly approaching British expatriates thinking in relocating should act now to secure residency and take advantage of the Portuguese NHR regime before Brexit changes the rules from the UK side.


It was recently published in Diário da República, law No. 27-A of 28th March of 2019, with the purpose of creating contingency measures to be applied to nationals of the United Kingdom or family of these who have established residence in Portugal at the date of departure of United Kingdom from the European Union, that in the event of a United Kingdom output without a withdrawal agreement.

The citizens mentioned above may continue to live in Portugal without the need to obtain any title until 31th of December 2020.

Until the 31th of December 2020, United Kingdom national citizens and their family members have to apply for the issuance of residence permits, in the following terms:

1. Nationals of the United Kingdom and their families whom, at the date of departure of United Kingdom from the European Union, reside in the national territory in accordance with European Union law, for less than five years must apply for a temporary residence permit, in terms of article 75, item 1 of Law no. 23/2007, of July 4th, in its current version.

2. Nationals of the United Kingdom and their families whom, at the date of departure of United Kingdom from the European Union, reside in the national territory in accordance with European Union law, for at least five years before the leaving of United Kingdom must apply for a permanent residence permit or the long-term resident status, pursuant to article 76 and article 125, respectively, of Law no. 23/2007, of July 4.

The application for the issue of a residence permit depends on the submission of one of the following documents:

– certificates of registration,

– family residence cards of the European Union’s citizen or from a third-country national,

– certificates of permanent residence or

– permanent residence cards issued to United Kingdom nationals and their families.

The application for residence permit is displayed at the offices of the municipalities and at the Registry Offices, upon payment of a fee.

IMPORTANT: The application of these rules require an equivalent treatment of the British authorities towards Portuguese citizens residing in the United Kingdom, otherwise the regime described may be partially or totally suspended.

Other useful information:

· Nationals of the United Kingdom resident in Portugal at the time of departure from the United Kingdom of European Union remain beneficiaries of the National Health System (SNS).

· United Kingdom’s nationals and their families must exchange their driving licenses until 31th December of 2020.

· As provided in Article 3, item 1 of Regulation (CE) No 883/2004, for the purpose of recognizing the entitlement to social benefits required by a person who has completed periods of insurance in the United Kingdom, periods of insurance completed by that person in a compulsory social security services of that country up to the date of their departure from the European Union shall be taken into account.

United Kingdom National citizens and their families who joint a Portuguese higher education institution until 31th December of 2020 are not applicable the international student status until the end of the study cycle in which they are enrolled or in transit.

Portuguese Non-habitual regime (NHR)

However, to be eligible for NHR you need to meet Portuguese residency rules, which may change for British citizen’s post-Brexit. As such we advise that you do it whilst being an EU citizen.

Please download our guide on the NHR accessible on our website free of charge

When should you do it?

Now that the Brexit date is approaching (the 31st of January) and even if it could be even further extended by a transition agreement – you should act fast and start the residency process under current rules as soon as possible. In post-Brexit we can expect the requirements, time and expense for acquiring residency in Portugal to be much less straightforward than today.

Whatever the latest events in the UK foretells, and whatever the ultimate shape of Brexit may be, with just a few months of certainty left, this is the time to explore your residency options, estate planning, investments compliant and fiscal options. With appropriate planning from the Portuguese side, with the assistance of an experienced advisory firm, you can make sure the transaction is done smoothly and in the best possible way.

How can we help?

Horizon Consulting is an experienced advisory firm comprised of seasoned professionals having a considerable experience in the successful relocation of several expatriates and having a 100% rate with NHR applications.

Get your Portuguese EU residence certificate and apply for the Portuguese Non-Habitual Resident regime “NHR” Europe’s best tax regime!!!
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