UK EU Brexit

UK citizens in Portugal

On the 1st of January 2021, the transition period for the Brexit ended, bringing to an end its former agreements with the European Union. This resulted in the suspension of many perks enjoyed so far by British nationals, such as the freedom of movement within Europe, and has forced UK citizens to explore other options in order to enjoy similar rights again.


Although a visa is still not needed when travelling for holidays, British citizens will only be allowed to spend 90 days out of every 180 in the EU. Since UK nationals no longer have the same right to live and work in the EU (and vice versa), as they are currently considered third country citizens, those who wish to move permanently to Portugal, or regularly spend long periods of time there, will have to follow immigration rules and apply for a long-stay visa.


Anyone who is interested in buying a holiday or second home and does not intend to live in Portugal full time, but wishes to stay longer than 3 months, also has options, such as the various visa programs. We will explain them more in detail below.


Source: Terry Reintke, European Parliament Member.

Why Portugal?

According to the British Embassy, there are at least 35.000 legally registered UK citizens in Portugal. They target Portugal for many reasons, such as:


  • Maintenance of travel rights across Europe, through the use of the Portuguese residency
  • Great living conditions (including, but not limited to a warmer weather, friendly people and safety), combined with a very low cost of living
  • Close proximity to the UK, facilitated by short and often cheap flights
  • A possible 10-year tax exemption/benefits on foreign income, according to the Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) tax status
  • The possibility to apply for Portuguese citizenship (while keeping the UK nationality, resulting in dual citizenship) after 5 to 6 years of being a resident and passing a ´basic Portuguese language test.

What types of visas are there?

In Portugal, long-stay visas are divided into two categories and can serve for temporary or for residency authorization purposes, depending on the duration of the stay.


Temporary stay visa

This visa allows for you to entry and stay in Portugal for a period of up to one year. It is valid during the entire stay and allows you to enter the country multiple times.


Residency visa

It is valid for a period of 4 months and two entries in Portugal only. A residency permit must be requested with the Immigration and Border Services (SEF) during that period.

If you plan on applying for either, you will find the necessary form here.

Where can you lodge a visa application?



Residency Visa

You may apply for your visa through one of the following options:

  • Study and research;
  • Professional training, internship or volunteer work;
  • Work;
  • Family reunification; and/or
  • Fixed residency.

You will find detailed information on the specific documentation needed for each stay purpose here.


Study Visa

This visa applies to anyone who intends to study, research, have a high-school student exchange, an internship or who participates in volunteer work. The duration of your activity will determine if you should apply for a Temporary Stay Visa or a Residency Visa.


Work Visa

This is the appropriate visa for subordinate or independent work purposes. For those who intend to work in an EU country, keep in mind that you will have to make sure that your professional qualifications are recognised in Portugal.

Again, the duration of your activity will determine if you should apply for a Temporary Stay Visa or a Residency Visa.


Tech Visa

This program was created to allow highly qualified workers from third countries to come live and work in Portugal. The employer must be on the list of certified companies.

You will find more information on this visa here.


StartUP Visa

If you are an entrepreneur and already have or wish to open an innovative startup business in Portugal, then this might be the visa for you. In order to be eligible, however, you will have to fulfil certain requirements.


You can apply for the StartUP Visa online.

This guide will you help guide you through the process.


D2 Visa

This visa is meant for immigrant entrepreneurs, who wish to start a company in Portugal and have a well-defined business plan, which will be evaluated by the authorities based on its relevance (technological, economic, social, etc.) for the country. It does not have to be a large company, small businesses and startups may also apply for this visa provided that all requirements are met.


SEF will be able to provide more information on further requirements.


D7 Visa

The D7 Visa is appropriate for those who have an income from their retirement fund or investments abroad. To apply for it, it is necessary to provide the authorities with certain documents, as well as proof of means.


You and your family must therefore receive a minimum of:

Adult 1: €665 in 2021 (100% of the minimum national wage) x 12 months = €7,980 per year.

Adult 2: €332,50 in 2021 (50% of the minimum national wage) x 12 months = €3,990 per year.

Other members of the family under 18 years: €199,50 in 2021 (30% of the minimum national wage) x 12 months = €2,394 per year.


These values vary based on the minimum national wage, which is recalculated every year.

Whatever visa you choose to apply for, keep in mind that you will have to show proof of residency when later applying for the residence permit. A great option, that will provide you with stability and a chance for profit, is to buy a property and use it as your fixed residency, second house or holiday home, as well as an investment opportunity.


Pearls of Portugal is here to assist you through the entire purchase process, providing the support needed in the current pandemic and Brexit scenario.



Golden Visa

The trade agreement reached between the United Kingdom and the European Union at the end of December 2020 will allow the mobility of European and British citizens for short stays, however, the agreement does not cover the right of UK citizens for long stays (to work, live or stay in Europe).


For now, British citizens are subject to most immigration rules as citizens of third countries, which means that they should be eligible to apply for the Golden Visa.

This information, however, is still subject to change, considering the fact that post-Brexit negotiations will continue to happen, albeit at a slower pace thanks to the pandemic and bureaucracy. The Immigration and Border Services are responsible for updates on the subject.

Any non-EU/EEA national, who is at least 18 years old and has a clean criminal record is eligible for a golden visa in Portugal. Applicants must invest according to one of the methods listed below:

  • The purchase of a real estate property with a minimum value of 500.000 Euros. If the property is in a low-density area, the minimum investment amount is 400.000 Euros
  • The purchase of a real estate property with a minimum value of 350.000 Euros (it must be older than 30 years or be located in an urban rehabilitation area and require extensive renovation). If that kind of property is in a low-density area, the minimum investment amount is 280.000 Euros
  • Investment of at least 500.000 EUR in small and medium businesses in Portugal
  • The creation of at least 10 job positions in Portugal by founding a company
  • Investing an amount of 350.000 Euros or higher in private equity funds
  • A capital transfer of 1.000.000 Euros to Portugal
  • Investment of at least 250.000 Euros in Portuguese arts, culture and heritage
  • Investment of at least 350.000 Euros in scientific research in Portugal

This is an amazing investment opportunity, especially considering the current real estate market situation and the projections for it once the pandemic starts to slowly come to an end! You will find the complete guide on the Portuguese golden visa with all the requirements and benefits on our site.


We are experts in the Golden Visa field and have, together with our partners, helped many clients find the perfect property and use it to successfully apply for the visa. If you have any doubts, do not hesitate to contact us.


What are major differences between the D2 Visa, D7 Visa and the Golden Visa?

  • The D2 Visa and the D7 Visa are part of the long-stay visa (visa for obtaining a residence permit) and are therefore a prerequisite for applying for a residence permit. By contrast, the Golden Visa is a residence permit which does not require a prior application for a residence visa.
  • As for the D2 and D7 Visa procedure, these are presented at the Portuguese Consulate/Embassy and, once approved, the visa is affixed to the applicant's passport with a validity of 120 days, allowing up to two entries. During this period, the applicant must travel to Portugal to apply for the residence permit personally. On the contrary, the Golden Visa procedure starts at SEF (Immigration services) with the submission of the necessary documents for a pre-analysis, followed by a face-to-face interview for the residence permit application. However, the validity of the residence permit is common to the D2 and D7 Visas and the Golden Visa, being the first residence permit valid for 2 years and renewable for subsequent periods of 2 years. 
  • One of the biggest differences, lies in the minimum period of stay in Portugal, after obtaining the residence permit. Foreign citizens holding a D2 or D7 Visa should not be absent from Portugal for more than 6 consecutive months or 8 interpolated months. The foreign national holding a residence permit based on the Golden Visa must be in Portugal for 7 days in the first year and for 14 days in the following two years. 
  • The last difference is in the exercise of professional activity. The D2 Visa and Golden Visa always allow its holder to work, unlike the D7 Visa, which does not allow the holder to work during the validity of the visa. Only after obtaining residence card may a D7 Visa holder carry out a professional activity, if that is the purpose. 

How does it work?


Pearls of Portugal helps you find the ideal property. You let us know your criteria, we will build a specialized Portfolio based on them with the best correspondences available in the market and accompany you to each visit, translating and solving any doubts that might arise, providing you with the best support throughout the buying process.


Should you require legal advice, particularly needed during these uncertain post-Brexit times, we partner with experienced lawyers, who are able to provide you with trustworthy advice and support you on your visa application. They have special fees for Pearls of Portugal clients.

You will find a detailed description of our services here.
















The information in this article is merely informative and is subject to change without notice. Despite the great care, we take over no responsibility for the topicality, correctness or completeness of the information on this site.