Official information British people moving to and living in Portugal need to know, including residency, healthcare and driving.
Brexit: what you need to know
There will be no change to the rights and status of UK nationals living in Portugal while the UK remains in the EU.
While the government continues to negotiate Brexit, you should:
Before you go
See our travel advice for Portugal and sign up for up-to-date information on local laws and customs, safety and emergencies.
Visas and residency
See entry requirements for Portugal in our travel advice.
If you plan to stay in Portugal more than 3 months, you must register at your local Câmara Municipal (town hall) – see information on registering in Portugal. You must register your residency to access services such as healthcare, schools and social security.
After 5 years of legal residence in Portugal, you may apply for permanent residence with Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras (immigration authorities).
See our travel advice for Portugal.
Once you are registered as resident in Portugal (see Visas and residency), you are entitled to state healthcare. Enrol at your local health centre and get a user’s ID number by showing your residence certificate. You won’t get a NISS (social security number) unless you’re working or are the dependant of someone who’s working.
The NHS has information about healthcare for British people living in and visiting Portugal.
S1 form – healthcare paid for by the UK
You may be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK if you live in Portugal and get an exportable UK pension, contribution-based Employment Support Allowance or another exportable benefit.
You need to apply for a S1 form – contact the Department for Work and Pensions’ International Pensions Centre.
Working and studying in Portugal
Some jobs may require a:
- UK criminal records check (known as a DBS check)
- Portuguese criminal records certificate (Certificado de Registo Criminal)
- copy of your UK police record (excluding Scotland)
- copy of your Police Scotland record
If you are studying, you may need to have your British qualifications recognised in Portugal – contact:
- National Academic Recognition Information Centres – for honours, master’s and PhD degrees
- Direcção-Geral da Educação – for primary, secondary, further education or similar school certificates or diplomas
The UK Legalisation Office can certify your diploma or school report.
A local notary can authenticate the translation of your diploma or school report.
The UK has a double-taxation agreement with Portugal to ensure people do not pay tax on the same income in both countries.
If you are liable to pay tax in Portugal, you should apply for a tax number (número fiscal de contribuinte, NIF). You will also need an NIF to do things like buy or sell property, open a bank account or sign long-term rental agreements.
We recommend you get professional advice on paying tax in Portugal – see list of English-speaking lawyers.
You may be able to pay National Insurance while abroad in order to protect your State Pension and entitlement to other benefits and allowances.
If you haven’t worked in Portugal, you should claim your UK state pension by contacting the International Pension Centre.
If you live in and last worked in Portugal, you should claim your UK state pension, together with any Portuguese pension you are entitled to, from Instituto de Segurança Social.
If you’ve worked in several EU countries, see state pensions abroad.
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.
Find out which UK benefits you might be able to get while you’re abroad and how to claim them.
Many income-related benefits such as Pension Credit and Housing Benefit can’t be paid if you’re abroad for more than 4 weeks.
You may be eligible to claim some Portuguese social security benefits.
Driving in Portugal
If you are resident in Portugal and drive on a UK licence, you must register with the Instituto da Mobilidade e de Transportes (IMT) within 60 days of arrival, or face a fine.
If you are resident in Portugal, you will not be able to renew a lost, stolen or expired licence with the UK Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). It may be easier to convert your UK licence to a Portuguese one.
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.
Accommodation and buying property
We advise you to consult a lawyer who is experienced in land law and property transactions. Make sure they are registered with the law society, Ordem dos Advogados.
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.
If you’re resident in Portugal, you can vote in local municipal and European Parliamentary Elections.
See travelling with pets.
If you need urgent help, contact your nearest British embassy or consulate.
Other useful information
- English-speaking lawyers in Portugal
- Translators in Portugal
- Notarial and documentary services for Portugal
Returning to the UK
To move your pension to the UK, contact the International Pension Centre.
- tax if you return to the UK
- bringing your pet to the UK
- coming from abroad and claiming benefits
- finding a job
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.