Moving to Portugal before Brexit’s the only completely certain way to guarantee the current EU rights you hold – residency, healthcare, right to work and pension issues. The press has dubbed this week ‘hell week’, and continuing stumbling blocks are cropping up as he UK attempts to get the EU to budge on its core ‘four freedoms’. Every time it looks like a deal could be close, more issues arise. It’s no wonder that many would-be expats are accelerating their preparation to move to Portugal before the Brexit deadline of 29 March 2019. If you wish to join them, the biggest thing is to establish residency before 29 March. That proves definitively that you moved to Portugal before Brexit. Here’s how.

1. Get home-hunting

Although you don’t need to own a home to get residency in Portugal, you do at the very least need to be renting. However, whichever you do, you’ll need to start your property hunt as early as possible. Our area guides will be your first port of call to help narrow down your search.

It’s no wonder that many would-be expats are accelerating their preparation to move to Portugal before the Brexit deadline of 29 March 2019.

Once you’ve chosen one or two areas, head over to our dedicated property portal to start the hunt for your dream home. Of course, if you don’t know Portugal well yet – or you simply have any questions – your Portugal property specialists can give you free advice. Simply give them a ring in the Resource Centre on 020 7898 0549 or email them at portugal@propertyguides.com.

Get your copy of our free Emigration Guide 2018, to find out everything you need to know about moving overseas.

As soon as you’ve found several properties you like the look of, speak to agents to arrange to see them. A single viewing trip to see several properties is much easier than going out to see them in drifts and drabs. Plus, time is of the essence here. Fortunately, we’re entering prime viewing trip season, as the tourist crowds are largely gone.

Moving to Portugal before Brexit is the best way to guarantee your rights.

Moving to Portugal before Brexit is the best way to guarantee your rights.

2. Arrange your finances

As we said, time is of the essence. Don’t miss out on the perfect property because you weren’t in a place to put in an offer on it. With so much Brexit volatility going on, the pound is rising and falling every second of the day. We can put you in touch with Smart Currency Exchange – the UK’s only property specialist currency company. They’ve helped thousands of our readers protect their budget through a ‘forward contact’, which locks in a single exchange rate for one year. That way, if the pound suddenly plunges, as it did on 17th September, you won’t lose your money.

Time is of the essence. Don’t miss out on the perfect property because you weren’t in a place to put in an offer on it.

3. Start the purchase process

Next step is to start the purchase process. Even before you put in an offer, you’ll have to go to the town hall (câmara) to get an NIF (fiscal number, like a National Insurance number in the UK). Then, you’ll reserve the property by making a small deposit of around €5,000, to take it off the market. Afterwards, once you’re happy, your lawyer with prepare the Promissory Contract (Contrato de Promessa de Compra e Venda). You’ll put down a 10-30% deposit.

Don’t pay any more than you have to for your dream home. Brush up your tactics with our guide, How to Negotiate Abroad.

In the presence of the notary – a neutral public official who must be involved in the process – you and the vendor will sign the final deed, or escritura. You’ll pay Purchase Tax at this point. And with that, you’re well on your way to moving to Portugal before Brexit!

4. Apply for residency

As soon as you’re in place in Portugal, get applying for residency. You’ll find out more in our dedicated article on residency, but the essential steps are as below. You’ll go to your local town hall, or câmara, to start the process.

If you’re a retiree, you’ll need:

  • A valid ID document, such as your passport.
  • A declaration on oath that you have sufficient sums to support you and your family.

If you’re working, you’ll need:

  • Your passport or another valid ID document.
  • A declaration on oath that you are employed or self-employed within Portugal.

You may well need to show proof of anything you’ve declared on oath. This could be three months’ bank statements, proof of private healthcare or proof of lack of debts. You may be well served by an atestado. This is a document from your local junta, cosigned with two residents of your village or town, to say that you live where you say you do.

How does a potential transition deal impact moving to Portugal before Brexit?

It could well be that the upcoming EU summit will eventually produce a deal. It culd be that the transition deal will be implemented, which will delay the final deadline until December 2020. However, no-one knows – there’s simply no way to know. As such, we strongly advise getting in place before 29th March if you can.

For more information on purchasing property and moving to Portugal before Brexit, download your free buying guide. And, if you have any questions about the process, just call the Resource Centre on 020 7898 0549 or email portugal@propertyguides.

Download your free Portugal Buying Guide

The Portugal Buying Guide is designed to support you through each stage of buying property in Portugal, providing relevant, up-to-date information and tips from Portugal property experts and expats who have been through the process themselves. It helps you to:


  Ask the right questions
  Avoid losing money
  Avoid the legal pitfalls
  Move in successfully

Download your free guide to buying abroad

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