Guidance

Living in Portugal

Official information for UK nationals moving to or living in Portugal, including guidance on residency, healthcare, passports and the Withdrawal Agreement.

What you should do

You must:

Coronavirus

You should follow the advice of the Portuguese Government and your local authority. You can also read our Portugal travel advice for our latest guidance.

Stay up to date

You should:

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.

You can also:

The Withdrawal Agreement

The Withdrawal Agreement sets out the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and provides for a deal on citizens’ rights. It sets out a transition period which lasts until 31 December 2020. During this time you can continue to live, work and study in the EU broadly as you did before 31 January 2020.

If you are resident in Portugal at the end of the transition period, you will be covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, and your rights will be protected for as long as you remain resident in Portugal.

Any rights that are not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement will be the subject of future negotiations. Read this guidance page for more information.

In the meantime, make sure you are registered as a resident in Portugal. We will update this guidance as soon as more information becomes available.

You should also read our guidance on living in Europe.

Visas and residency

Check the entry requirements for Portugal.

Residency

If you are resident in Portugal before the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, you will be able to stay.

If there are changes to residency registration processes, we will update this guidance as soon as information is available.

For more information:

Healthcare

You should ensure you are properly registered for healthcare as a resident in Portugal. Private health insurance is available but is not mandatory and should not be a substitute for registering for state healthcare.

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

State healthcare: S1

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.

You can apply for an S1 certificate through the Business Services Authority.

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

If you are resident in Portugal, you must not use your EHIC from the UK to access healthcare in Portugal, unless you are a student or posted-worker.

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:

You should apply for a Portuguese-issued European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for visits outside of Portugal if you are either:

  • registered with Portuguese Social Security (if you are working or the dependent of someone working in Portugal), or
  • resident in Portugal and do not have healthcare cover from the UK or another Member State (for example if you are not entitled to an S1), but have a healthcare user number (Número de Utente de Saúde).

The Portuguese government has more information on how to apply (in Portuguese), including an application form which you should complete and hand in at your nearest Social Security office.

You can also continue to use your EHIC, as you did before, during the transition period, until 31 December 2020.

You should also read guidance on:

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

Passports and travel

The rules on travel will stay the same until the transition period ends on 31 December 2020. During this time you can continue to travel to countries in the Schengen area or elsewhere in the EU with your UK passport.

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

Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip. Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay.

You’ll need to renew your passport before travelling if you do not have enough time left on it.

We will update these pages with details of any changes to the rules as soon as information is available. You should sign up for updates to this guidance.

Driving in Portugal

Driving licence rules will stay the same until 31 December 2020.

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

Register your UK licence with the Instituto da Mobilidade e de Transportes (IMT) (in Portuguese) 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 (in Portuguese). 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.

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

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.

Working and studying in Portugal

If you are registered as a resident in Portugal on or before 31 December 2020, you will maintain your right to work in Portugal, as long as you remain resident. Read our guidance on working in an EU country.

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

Studying in Portugal

If you are resident in Portugal on or before 31 December 2020, your right to study in Portugal will stay the same, as long as you remain resident.

For more information read studying in the European Union.

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 (in Portuguese) 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 ensure you do not pay tax on the same income in both countries. Existing double taxation arrangements for UK nationals living in Portugal have not changed.

If you are a Portuguese resident, you must declare your global income to the Portuguese authorities, no matter which country it came from. 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 or EEA and you have a UK-issued A1/E101 form, you will remain subject to UK legislation until the end date on the form.

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 31 January 2020

There will be no changes before 31 December 2020 to the rules on claiming the UK State Pension in the EU, EEA or Switzerland as a result of the UK leaving the EU.

You can continue to receive your UK State Pension if you live in the EU, EEA or Switzerland and you can still claim your UK State Pension.

If you are living in the EU, EEA or Switzerland by 31 December 2020, you will get your UK State Pension uprated every year for as long as you continue to live there. This will happen even if you start claiming your pension on or after 1 January 2021, as long as you meet the qualifying conditions explained in the new State Pension guidance.

If you are living in Portugal by 31 December 2020, you will be able to count future social security contributions towards meeting the qualifying conditions for your UK State Pension.

If 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 31 December 2020.

Read our guidance on benefits and pensions in the EU.

Benefits

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

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 31 January 2020

There will be no changes before 31 December 2020 to the rules on claiming UK benefits in the EU, EEA or Switzerland as a result of the UK leaving the EU.

If you are living in the EU, EEA or Switzerland by 31 December 2020, you will continue to receive any UK benefits you already receive. This will continue for as long as you live there and meet all other eligibility requirements.

If 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 31 December 2020.

Read our guidance on benefits and pensions in the EU.

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 (in Portuguese).

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

Voting

The UK has signed a bilateral agreement with Portugal on UK nationals’ right to vote in local elections. The agreement guarantees that if you were living in Portugal before 31 January 2020 you maintain the right to vote and stand in local elections.

If you move to Portugal after 31 January 2020, you will be able to vote in local elections after 3 years of residency After 5 years of residency you will be able to stand and be elected for local office.

You cannot vote in European Parliament elections.

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

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 UK nationals in Portugal.

You may also need:

Pets

Current pet travel rules will stay the same until 31 December 2020.

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

Read guidance on bringing your pet to the UK.

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

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.

Read the guidance on returning to the UK permanently which includes information on, amongst other things, tax, access to services and bringing family members.

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 23 January 2020 + show all updates
  1. Brexit update: includes further details on passport validity, healthcare rights and State Pension uprating if the UK leaves the EU with a deal.

  2. Brexit update: healthcare section updated to reflect transitional arrangements announcement

  3. Brexit Update: Pensions section updated to include further details on State Pension uprating.

  4. EU Exit update: updated information about voting rights added to the ´Voting after the UK leaves the EU´ section.

  5. EU Exit update: announcing our new healthcare email contact

  6. We've updated the section on driving in Portugal.

  7. EU Exit update: new information about validity added to passports section

  8. EU Exit update: added in EU Exit information in healthcare, visas and residency, driving and working sections

  9. We have updated the contact details you need to apply for an S1 form.

  10. Updated information on passports: you must use the checker tool to see if your passport is still valid for your trip

  11. EU Exit update: updated information on access to healthcare

  12. EU exit update - updated information on pensions and driving

  13. EU Exit Update; The Portuguese government has produced a leaflet with more information on your residency rights after the UK leaves the EU.

  14. EU Exit update: Added in link to information about upcoming outreach meetings in Portugal.

  15. 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.

  16. Added important specific information on certifying UK educational documents and on Subject Access Request.

  17. Updated May 2018

  18. Complete revision of guidance to ensure it's up to date and accurate.

  19. Attached updated Driving Licences leaflet and added updated Car Importation Leaflet.

  20. Updated December 2017

  21. Update July 2017

  22. Updated May 2017

  23. Information updated 9 March 2017

  24. We are currently updating our information on driving licences in Portugal. Revised information will be available shortly.

  25. General information amended and property advice added

  26. Information added on changes to rules for EHIC and early retirees from July 1 2014.

  27. Instructions for signing life certificates for UK state pensions updated

  28. First published.