Guidance

Living in Portugal

Official information British people moving to and living in Portugal need to know, including Brexit guidance, residency, healthcare and driving.

This page tells you what to do ahead of the UK leaving the EU. It will be updated if anything changes, including if a deal is agreed.

Brexit: what you should do

You must:

Stay up to date

To keep up to date:

Attend a citizen outreach meeting

The British Embassy regularly holds events across Portugal for UK nationals. Attend one of our citizen outreach meetings to keep up to date on working and living in Portugal after Brexit.

You can also:

Visas and residency

Check the entry requirements for Portugal.

You must register as a Portuguese resident if you want to stay in Portugal for more than 3 months. Register at your local Câmara Municipal (town hall) in order to access services such as healthcare, schools and social security. You can find more information from the European Union about registering in Portugal.

After 5 years of legal residence in Portugal, you may apply for permanent residence with the Portuguese immigration authorities (Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras or SEF).

After Brexit, you may need to change your registration document for a new card. We will update this guidance when we know how and when this will happen.

For more information:

Passports and travel

You can apply for or renew your British passport from Portugal.

Read our travel advice for Portugal and sign up to email alerts for up-to-date information on local laws and customs, safety and emergencies.

Passports and travel after Brexit

After Brexit, the rules on travel will change. Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip. You’ll need to renew your passport before travelling if you do not have enough time left on your passport.

If the UK leaves the EU with a deal, nothing will change until the end of 2020. During this time you can continue to travel freely in the Schengen area with your UK passport. What happens after 2020 will form the next part of negotiations.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, you must have at least 6 months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland).

If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months needed.

If there’s no deal, UK nationals will not need visas for short stays elsewhere in the EU. You will be able to stay up to 90 days in another EU, EEA and EFTA country, within a 180-day period. You must retain evidence of travel (for example, train and plane tickets), in case these are requested by national authorities. If you hold a residence permit from an EU, EEA and EFTA country, you will be able to transit through other EU, EEA and EFTA countries to reach your country of residence.

Healthcare

Read the NHS guidance on healthcare in Portugal and how to register.

You should ensure you are properly registered for healthcare as a resident in Portugal, as well as registering, where necessary, with a health insurer.

Once you are registered as a resident in Portugal, you are entitled to state healthcare. You need to enrol at your local health centre (centro de saúde) and get a user ID number (health number) by showing your residence certificate and your passport.

If you live in Portugal and receive an exportable UK pension, contribution-based Employment Support Allowance or another exportable benefit, you may currently be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK. You will need to apply for a certificate of entitlement known as an S1 certificate.

If you are resident in Portugal, you should not use a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from the UK to access healthcare in Portugal.

When you travel from Portugal for a temporary stay in another European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland, you can use an EHIC to access state-provided healthcare in that country. During that short stay:

If you are registered with Portuguese Social Security, you should apply for a Portuguese-issued European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for visits outside of Portugal. You won’t get a Portuguese Social Security number (NISS) unless you’re working or are the dependent of someone who’s working in Portugal. The Portuguese government has more information on how to apply (in Portuguese). Your Portuguese EHIC will be valid in the UK until Brexit.

If you are a student, read the NHS guidance on healthcare and studying abroad.

You can find an English-speaking doctor in Portugal.

You should also check your prescriptions are legal in Portugal.

Send questions about access to healthcare in Portugal to healthcare.portugal@fco.gov.uk

Healthcare after Brexit

If there is a deal, your current rights on access to healthcare in Portugal will remain the same as long as you remain a resident in Portugal.

If there’s no deal and you are registered for healthcare based on your residency, your healthcare will be protected. If there’s no deal and you are registered for healthcare in any other way, your access may change and you should review your healthcare cover.

Those receiving cover through the S1 form may need to change how they are currently registered, and register with their local health centre on the basis of residence, if there’s no deal and there is no arrangement with Portugal to continue reciprocal healthcare.

If you’re an S1 holder, your UK-issued EHIC may not be valid for travel elsewhere in Europe if there’s no deal. You should ensure you have comprehensive travel insurance for any travel

If you are registered with Portuguese Social Security, you can be issued with a Portuguese EHIC that will be valid in any EU and EEA member state. Your Portuguese EHIC may not be valid in the UK if there’s no deal. You should also buy comprehensive travel insurance to cover anything not covered by your Portuguese EHIC or for travel to countries outside the EU.

You should read the NHS guidance on healthcare for UK nationals living in Portugal and how it may change after Brexit.

Working and studying in Portugal

If you are registered as a resident in Portugal, you have the right to work in Portugal. Read our guidance on working in another EU country.

To apply for a job you may need to provide a:

Working in Portugal after Brexit

Read the guidance on providing services after Brexit if you’re planning to start a business, provide a service, or do a job in a regulated profession after the UK leaves the EU.

If there is a deal, your right to work will stay the same until the end of the implementation period.

If there’s no deal, Portugal will continue to recognise the professional qualifications of those who are legally working in Portugal on the date of Brexit.

British qualifications

If you are studying, you may need to have your British qualifications recognised in Portugal. You will need to contact:

You can get your diploma or school report officially certified by the UK Legalisation Office.

You can get a local notary to authenticate the translation of your diploma or school report.

You can read our guidance on the certification of British qualifications.

Money and tax

The UK has a double-taxation agreement with Portugal to make sure that people do not pay tax on the same income in both countries.

If you are a Portuguese resident, you must declare your global income to the Portuguese authorities, no matter which country it came from. You can ask the relevant tax authority about double taxation relief.

If you are not a resident, you will only pay tax on income that came from Portugal.

If you are liable to pay tax in Portugal, you should apply for a tax number (Número de Identificação Fiscal or NIF). You will also need a NIF if you intend to buy or sell property, open a bank account or sign long-term rental agreements.

Read guidance about:

We recommend you get professional advice on paying tax in Portugal. You can find a financial advisor or find an English-speaking lawyer in Portugal.

National Insurance

Find out if you can pay National Insurance while living in Portugal in order to protect your State Pension and entitlement to other benefits and allowances.

If you are employed or self-employed in the EU and you have a UK-issued A1/E101 form, you will remain subject to UK legislation until the end date on the form.

If the end date on your form is after 31 October 2019, you should contact the relevant EU, EEA or Swiss authority to confirm whether you need to start paying social security contributions in that country from the end date, as well as UK National Insurance contributions.

Find out more about social security contributions after a no-deal Brexit.

Money and tax after Brexit

Brexit will not change existing double taxation arrangements for UK nationals living in Portugal. You should send your taxpayer questions about double taxation to the relevant tax authority.

If there’s no deal, it may become more expensive to use your UK bank card in the EU. Read more about using a bank card, insurance or other financial service in the EU.

Pensions

You will need to tell the UK government offices that deal with your benefits, pension and tax if you are moving or retiring abroad.

If you retire in Portugal, you can claim:

Life certificates for UK State Pensions

If you get a life certificate from the UK Pension Service, you need to respond as soon as possible. Your payments may be suspended if you don’t.

Pensions after Brexit

The UK government will continue to pay a State Pension to those eligible in the EU after Brexit. Your UK State Pension will be uprated in April 2020, 2021 and 2022 if you live in the EU, EEA or Switzerland.

If there is a deal, and you work and pay social security contributions in Portugal, you will still be able to add your UK social security contributions towards your Portuguese pension. This will happen even if you claim your pension after the end of the implementation period. Your UK state pension will also continue to be uprated as long as you are correctly registered as a resident in Portugal by the end of the implementation period.

If there’s no deal, the Portuguese government will continue to take into account periods of work in the UK before Brexit when calculating your Portuguese pension.

Read our guidance on pensions if there’s no deal.

Benefits

You may still be able to claim some UK benefits like child and disability benefits if you live in Portugal. You should:

Many income-related benefits such as pension credit and housing benefit cannot be paid to you if you’re abroad for more than 4 weeks.

You may be eligible to claim some Portuguese social security benefits.

You can request proof of the time you have worked in the UK from HMRC if you are asked for this.

Benefits after Brexit

The UK government will continue to pay the UK state pension, child benefits and disability benefits to eligible people living in the EU after Brexit.

If there is a deal and you work and pay social security contributions in Portugal, your UK social security contributions will be taken into account when applying for Portuguese contributions-based benefits. This will happen even if you claim contributions-based benefits after the end of the implementation period.

The If there’s no deal, the Portuguese government has proposed that they will continue to take periods of work in the UK before Brexit into account when claiming Portuguese contributions-based benefits. We will update this guidance when there is a formal agreement on this.

Read the guidance on benefits and pensions if there’s no deal.

Driving in Portugal

For information on driving in Portugal, read our guidance on:

Register your UK licence with the Instituto da Mobilidade e de Transportes (IMT) within 60 days of taking up residence, or face a fine.

You can exchange an expired UK licence for up to 2 years after the expiration date. After 2 years, you will have to pass a Portuguese driving test.

Alternatively, exchange your UK driving licence for a Portuguese driving licence. You can do this at any IMT office.

Use your Portuguese licence if you need to drive in the UK and other EU countries as a visitor. Exchange it for a UK licence without taking a test if you return to live in the UK, as long as you originally passed your test in the UK or in an EU country.

If you are resident in Portugal and your UK driving licence is lost, stolen or expires, you will not be able to renew it with the UK Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

Bringing a UK-registered vehicle to Portugal

Read our guidance on taking a vehicle out of the UK.

Read our guidance on how to import your vehicle into Portugal.

You can read the European Union´s guidance on car registration rules and taxes in Portugal. You may be exempt from some of these taxes. If so, you will need certificates of exemption.

Driving after Brexit

If there is a deal, driving licence rules will stay the same during the implementation period.

If there’s no deal and you are resident in Portugal on the day of Brexit, you will have until 31 December 2020 to exchange your UK driving licence for a Portuguese one.

If you move to Portugal after Brexit, you will have 90 days from the day you become a resident to exchange driving licences. If you have not done so after these 90 days, you will be required to take a Portuguese practical driving test.

When you exchange your driving licence, Instituto da Mobilidade e de Transportes (IMT) will issue a temporary permit (guia) as a replacement until your new Portuguese driving licence arrives. You can only drive in Portugal with this temporary permit (guia).

If you are visiting Portugal and you stay less than 185 consecutive days, you will not need an International Driving Permit (IDP) to be able to drive here. You may need to hold an IDP to drive through other EU member states.

Find more information on recognition and exchange of driving licences in the Instituto da Mobilidade e de Transportes (IMT) guidance on the Brexit (available in Portuguese and English).

Accommodation and buying property

Read guidance on how to buy a property abroad.

If you are buying property in Portugal, you should ask a lawyer who is experienced in land law and property transactions. Make sure that they are registered with the law society, Ordem dos Advogados (in Portuguese).

Some notaries, who are trained lawyers in Portugal, offer an independent property purchasing service known as Casa Simples, Casa Segura (in Portuguese).

If you are thinking of buying a coastal, river or lakeside property, ensure it’s not affected by the 2005 water resources law.

If you buy rural property, make sure you comply with the law on preventing forest fires (in Portuguese).

Voting

You may be able to vote in some UK elections. You can:

If you’re resident in Portugal, you can vote in local municipal Portuguese elections and European parliamentary elections.

Voting after Brexit

The UK has signed a bilateral agreement with Portugal on UK nationals’ right to vote in local elections. The agreement guarantees that UK nationals who are living in Portugal on the day of Brexit will maintain the right to vote in local elections and hold office in the future, whether there is a deal or there’s no deal. It also recognises the right of UK residents who move to Portugal after Brexit to vote in local elections after 3 years of residency, and to stand and be elected for local office after 5 years of residency.

UK nationals resident in Portugal will no longer be eligible to vote in European elections after Brexit.

Births, deaths and getting married

If your child is born in Portugal, you will need to register a birth abroad.

If someone dies in Portugal you can:

Find out how you can get married abroad.

Find out about notarial and documentary services for British nationals in Portugal.

You may also need:

Pets

You will still be able to travel to and from the UK with a cat, dog or ferret after Brexit, but the rules will change. Read guidance on pet travel to Europe.

While the UK is still an EU Member State you’ll be able to travel with your pet to the EU under the current pet travel rules using your current EU pet passport.

If you’re travelling with your pet for the first time, you must visit your vet to get a pet passport.

Read guidance on returning your cat, dog or ferret to the UK.

For moving pet horses and other equines read guidance on export horses and ponies: special rules.

Emergencies

You can dial the European emergency number 112. This is the only emergency number in Portugal.

If you’re the victim of crime, have been arrested, or are affected by a crisis abroad, contact your nearest British embassy or consulate.

Returning to the UK

You should read our guidance on:

Tell the UK and Portuguese authorities if you are returning to the UK permanently.

To move your pension to the UK, contact the International Pension Centre.

If you get healthcare in Portugal through the S1 form, you must contact the Overseas Healthcare Team on +44 (0)191 218 1999 and your local social insurance organisation to make sure your S1 is cancelled at the right time.

Disclaimer

Please note that this information is provided as a guide only. Definitive information should be obtained from the Portuguese authorities. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information.

Published 22 March 2013
Last updated 3 September 2019 + show all updates
  1. Brexit Update: Pensions section updated to include further details on State Pension uprating.
  2. EU Exit update: updated information about voting rights added to the ´Voting after the UK leaves the EU´ section.
  3. EU Exit update: announcing our new healthcare email contact
  4. We've updated the section on driving in Portugal.
  5. EU Exit update: new information about validity added to passports section
  6. EU Exit update: added in EU Exit information in healthcare, visas and residency, driving and working sections
  7. We have updated the contact details you need to apply for an S1 form.
  8. Updated information on passports: you must use the checker tool to see if your passport is still valid for your trip
  9. EU Exit update: updated information on access to healthcare
  10. EU exit update - updated information on pensions and driving
  11. EU Exit Update; The Portuguese government has produced a leaflet with more information on your residency rights after the UK leaves the EU.
  12. EU Exit update: Added in link to information about upcoming outreach meetings in Portugal.
  13. EU Exit update: New information in residency and visa section on draft withdrawal agreement in principle between the UK and EU. Plus information on travelling with pets in Europe in Pets section. In addition: Updated information on subject access request - amended website links.
  14. Added important specific information on certifying UK educational documents and on Subject Access Request.
  15. Updated May 2018
  16. Complete revision of guidance to ensure it's up to date and accurate.
  17. Attached updated Driving Licences leaflet and added updated Car Importation Leaflet.
  18. Updated December 2017
  19. Update July 2017
  20. Updated May 2017
  21. Information updated 9 March 2017
  22. We are currently updating our information on driving licences in Portugal. Revised information will be available shortly.
  23. General information amended and property advice added
  24. Information added on changes to rules for EHIC and early retirees from July 1 2014.
  25. Instructions for signing life certificates for UK state pensions updated
  26. First published.