Brexit and your life and property in Portugal
With the UK now out of the European Union, you may be worried that buying your dream home in the Portuguese sunshine, or enjoying a long and healthy retirement on the Algarve, is no long possible.
In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Brexit is not the end of your overseas property dreams.
It’s true that with the UK having left the European Union, some new rules will apply to British people moving to Portugal and other EU countries.
However, the good news is that property buyers will be completely unaffected by Brexit. It is only if you are moving permanently that new rules will apply.
Even those who will be affected – principally those planning to retire, work or study in Portugal – have until the end of 31 December 2020 to become resident abroad and keep all their current EU rights.
Here are your essential need-to-knows, covering the three crucial issues of the right to buy property, your access to healthcare, and your right to live in Portugal.
1. The right to buy and own property
You will continue to be able to buy and own property in Portugal after Brexit, just as before, even after the transition period. Property ownership comes under Portuguese, not EU control. You will also be able to rent it out, just the same as an EU citizen.
2. Access to health services
For holiday home buyers:
During transition: You can continue to use your EHIC and current reciprocal healthcare arrangements.
After transition: The EHIC may continue to operate, but if not, you will require travel health insurance
During transition: You can continue to use reciprocal healthcare arrangements by registering at your local health centre (centro de saúde) and getting a health number, and filing in an S1 form if you’re retired. You shouldn’t use your UK EHIC card if you’re a full-time resident.
After transition: The government says if you are resident by 31 December, you will have ‘life-long healthcare rights’, as long as you remain resident. It is likely that there will be further healthcare cooperation, but it remains to be announced.
3. Right to residence
If staying less than half the year:
You should not need a visa. Most non-EU citizens are allowed free access without a visa for 90 days in every 180.
If staying more than half the year:
If planning to live in Portugal full time, and you cannot move before the transition period ends, you will probably need a visa. Several types are available in different countries.
“What about me?”
Let”s put that into some real-life examples.
“I’m buying a holiday home” No problem. Nothing will change.
“I’m moving to the EU to retire/work/study, BEFORE 31 December 2020″ No problem. You will not need a visa, but remember to get a residency card (autorização de residência) as soon as you can.
“I’m moving to the EU to retire/work/study, AFTER 31 December 2020″ You may need a visa. A D7 passive income visa will let you move with an income (including pension) of roughly €580 a month. You can also work on a residence visa for either ‘subordinate’ or ‘independent’ professional activity, depending on whether you’re employed or self-employed.
If you buy a property worth €500,000 or more, you may qualify for a golden visa, giving you and your family fast-track residency, renewable for five years.