HomeUnited KingdomDetailed guide: Living in Portugal

Detailed guide: Living in Portugal

What you should do

You must:


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 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

If you were legally resident in Portugal before 1 January 2021, your rights will be protected by the Withdrawal Agreement.

You should check that you are correctly registered and should get a new residence document to evidence your rights.

You should also read our guidance on living in Europe.

Visas and residency

If you were legally resident in Portugal before 1 January 2021, you should exchange your EU resident document for a new biometric card using SEF’s Brexit portal.

Register on the portal and download your registration confirmation, in the form of a digital document, with a QR code. This document can be used to prove you are resident in Portugal when entering or exiting the country, until you receive your new biometric card.

Your EU residence document will continue to be accepted until the new one arrives or until the end of its validity.

If you were living in Portugal before 1 January 2021 but not yet registered, you need to keep a range of evidence that you arrived with intention to live here. The Portuguese government has not yet announced the process for these registrations. You should regularly check SEF’s website for updates and sign up for updates to this guidance.

For more information:

Additional support

UK nationals who are resident in Portugal before 1 January 2021, and who need help with their residency registration, can get support from organisations funded by the UK Nationals Support Fund.

This support is only available to people who need additional help to secure their rights under the Withdrawal Agreement. They may include pensioners, disabled people, people living in remote areas or people who have mobility difficulties. Support available includes:

  • answering questions about residence applications, such as the documents you need and how the application process works
  • guiding you through the process, if necessary
  • support if you experience language barriers or difficulty accessing online information and services

If you, or someone you know, are having difficulty completing residence paperwork or have any questions, contact The International Organisation for Migration (IOM):

Moving to Portugal

You should:


Everyone who is registered as a resident can also register to access the Portuguese national health service (SNS) on the same basis as a Portuguese citizen.

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, register at your local health centre (centro de saúde) and get a user health number (Número de Utente de Saúde) by showing your residence certificate and your passport.

Read our guidance on how you can register for healthcare in Portugal and how the healthcare system works.

If your UK employer has sent you to Portugal temporarily, your access to healthcare is different. Find out how to access healthcare as a posted worker.

State healthcare: S1

If you have a registered S1 form and were living in Portugal before 1 January 2021, your rights to access healthcare will stay the same if you are either:

  • receiving a UK State Pension
  • receiving some other ‘exportable benefits’
  • a frontier worker who lives in Portugal and commutes to work in the UK

Read our guidance on using an S1 form in Portugal to ensure you are correctly registered for healthcare.

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

If you are resident in Portugal, you must not use your UK-issued EHIC to access healthcare in Portugal, unless you are a student.

If you were living in Portugal before 1 January 2021, you may be eligible for a new UK-issued EHIC if you’re:

  • a UK student in Portugal
  • a UK State Pensioner with a registered S1
  • a frontier worker with a registered S1

Apply now for a new UK EHIC.

You should apply for a Portuguese-issued 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 health 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.

An EHIC is not a replacement for comprehensive travel insurance.

For more information read our guidance on healthcare when travelling in Europe and advice on foreign travel insurance.

You should also read guidance on:

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

Passports and travel

You should carry your residence card, as well as your valid passport when you travel. If you have applied but not yet received your card, carry your certificate of application.

If you have not yet applied for a residence card, you should carry evidence that you are resident in Portugal. This could include a tenancy agreement or a utility bill in your name, dating from 2020.

If you cannot show that you are resident in Portugal, you may be asked additional questions at the border to enter the Schengen area, and your passport may be stamped. This will not affect your rights in Portugal.


Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip. You can apply for or renew your British passport from Portugal.

You must have at least 6 months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland). This requirement does not apply if you are entering or transiting to Portugal, and you are in scope of the Withdrawal Agreement.

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.

Renew your passport before booking your travel if you do not have enough time left on your passport.

As a non-EEA national, different border checks will apply when travelling to other EU or Schengen area countries. You may have to use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing. You may also need to show a return or onward ticket.

Entry requirements

You will be able to travel to other Schengen area countries for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa for purposes such as tourism.

To stay longer than 90 days in any 180-day period, to work or study, or for business travel, you must meet the entry requirements set out by the country you are travelling to. This could mean applying for a visa or work permit.

Periods of time authorised by a visa or permit will not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit.

Different rules will apply to EU countries that are not part of the Schengen area. Check each country’s travel advice page for information on entry requirements.

Travel to the UK and Ireland has not changed.

Driving in Portugal

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

You must exchange your UK driving licence for a Portuguese one. If you were registered as resident in Portugal on 31 December 2020, you have 90 days from 1 January 2021 to start this exchange. If you are a new resident, you have 90 days from the day you registered for residency.

You can exchange your driving licence on the Instituto da Mobilidade e de Transportes (IMT) online portal. There is further information on the IMT website (in Portuguese).

You can exchange an expired UK licence for up to 2 years after the expiration date, but you will not be able to drive until you have a valid document. After 2 years, you will have to pass a Portuguese driving test.

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 in Portugal

If you were legally resident in Portugal before 1 January 2021, you have the right to work, as long as you remain legally resident.

If you are planning to come to Portugal to work, you may need a visa. Read the Border and Immigration Agency’s guidance on applying for a residence permit as a worker.

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

You can read our guidance on how to apply for a criminal record in Portugal and in the UK

Frontier workers

If you live in Portugal and were regularly commuting to work in another EU or EFTA country, before 1 January 2021 you may need a permit to prove that you are a frontier worker. We will update this guidance when more information is available.

Studying in Portugal

You will be eligible for broadly the same support as Portuguese nationals, as long as you were legally resident in Portugal before 1 January 2021.

Read our guidance on:

If you are moving to Portugal to study, read the guidance on applying for residence as a student.

Moving to Portugal to study

If you are planning to study in Portugal, make sure you meet all visa requirements before you arrive. Contact the relevant Higher Education provider in Portugal to check what fees you may have to pay.

Read the Border and Immigration Agency’s guidance on applying for residence as a student.

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 recognition of UK educational 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 need to pay National Insurance in the UK or social security contributions in Portugal.


Whether UK banks can provide services to customers living in the EEA is a matter of local law and regulation. Your bank or finance provider should contact you if they need to make any changes to your product or the way they provide it. If you have any concerns about whether you might be affected, contact your provider or seek independent financial advice.

Read the Money and Pension Service guidance on banking, insurance and financial services changes for more information on cross-border banking.


Read our guidance on entitlement to UK benefits and pensions while you are living in Portugal.

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:

Read the Money and Pension Service guidance on pension and retirement changes for more information on cross-border pensions.

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.


Read our guidance on entitlement to UK benefits and pensions while you are living in Portugal.

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

Check which UK benefits you can claim while abroad and how to claim them.

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.

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).


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 moved 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:


If you have a pet passport issued by Portugal or another EU member state, you can use it to travel with your pet to Great Britain and elsewhere in the EU.

A GB-issued EU pet passport is not valid for travel to the EU or Northern Ireland. You should speak to your vet before you travel to get the necessary pet travel documents and ensure you’re compliant with the EU Pet Travel Regulations.

Read guidance on:

Check the rules of the country you’re travelling to for any additional restrictions or requirements before you travel.


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.


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


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