With Article 50 being triggered, the countdown officially begins to the UK’s exit from the European Union. We don’t know what will be the result of the Brexit negotiations over the next two years. Will the British have a special status, or will we have the same rules as the other non-EU nations?

We don’t know, so this guide runs through a most extreme scenario, where the British have no more right to live and work in Portugal than the citizens of any other non-EU country, such as the USA or Australia. We don’t believe Brexit will be as “hard” as this, but if you can work within these rules to live in Portugal, when negotiations are complete and we know the reality it will probably be even easier to live there. Download this free guide using the short form below.

Update: 24 September 2018, “No deal” advice through from government on pet travel and car insurance.

The UK government’s provided information on what we can expect in the case of a “no deal” Brexit for pet transport and car insurance.

UK nationals would need proof of third-party car insurance

If we leave the European Union without a deal, the UK will no longer be part of the ‘Green Card-free circulation area’. This means motorists will need to carry a Green Card to show proof of having car insurance. Normally, you should be able to request one from your insurance provider for free.

Motorists should expect documentation checks to take place upon entry to the Green Card-free area.

This is subject to agreements being reached between the UK Motor Insurers’ Bureau and those of other relevant countries.

“No deal” means live animals will require an EHC

Unless other rules are negotiated, anyone bringing a live animal from the UK – which will be outside the EU – into the EU will have to have an Export Health Certificate, signed by a vet or other authorising authority. They will have to go through an inspection process by Border Inspection Post and, after the inspection, the EHC would need to be signed by an ‘Official Veterinarian’.

For animals to be allowed to be exported to the EU, the UK would need to achieve ‘third-country’ status. If not, all exports would cease. However, other countries such as Australia have this status, so it seems likely.

Update: September 2018, Government offers “no deal” advice on passports, driving and roaming charges.

The UK government has announced what we can expect when travelling, driving and using mobiles in the EU after Brexit if the UK and EU don’t agree to a deal.

UK nationals may need at least three months’ validity on passports

UK citizens after Brexit will be considered as third-country nationals, ie as non-EU citizens. UK nationals entering a Schengen country (any EU country apart from Cyprus, Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia) will need to check their passports meet these conditions:

  • Have an issue date no more than ten years before the date of entering a Schengen country
  • Have at least three months before the passport expires

Third-country nationals can stay in a Schengen country for three months. As such, the government advises that the second requirement may in fact be for six months, to cover those three months within the Schengen area.

Roaming charges will fall to commercial decision-makers

If the UK exits the EU without a deal, it’ll be outside of the ‘Roam like at home’ rules. These allow EU citizens to use their data in any other EU country the same as in their home country.

UK operators will no longer be under the EU regulations if there’s no deal. This means they’ll be free to set their own surcharges – so it’ll come down to a commercial decision. However, Vodafone, EE, 3 and O2 have all confirmed they don’t have any intention to increase surcharges. Other operators have yet to commit.

UK licences may no longer be valid in the EU

The UK government has confirmed that UK driving licences may no longer be valid in the EU, if there is no deal agreed. In this case, the rules would default to International Driving Permits (IDP). The same as when UK citizens drive outside the EU, they’d have to apply for one of these before being able to drive.

There are two types of IDP.

The 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic governs the first type. After the UK exits the EU, they would be valid in Ireland, Malta, Spain and Cyprus. They last for 12 months.

The second type is governed by the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic. The IDPs from this convention are valid for three years in all EU countries apart from those listed above. It’d also be valid in Norway and Switzerland.

Currently, the first type is available from the Post Office or directly from private companies. By the time the UK leaves the EU, both will be taken over by the UK government and available from the Post Office. When UK nationals travel to the EU, they’ll need their UK driving licence and IDP.

Download your free Portugal After Brexit Guide

The After Brexit Guide will help you plot your way through a possible post-Brexit scenario, to ensure you can fulfil that dream of a wonderful lifestyle combining the best of our two cultures. The guide will help you to answer:


  How does a non-EU person access state healthcare?

  Will I be able to buy residential property in Portugal?

  Could I take Portuguese citizenship?

And many more important questions.

Download your free After Brexit guide

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How can the Portugal Property Guide help you?

The Portugal Property Guide is designed to support you through every stage of the Portuguese property buying process. From how to get started, to finding an estate agent, to covering all the important legal and financial considerations, our experts are here to share valuable advice and to help you every step of the way.

We have created the Portugal Property Guide to help highlight the many pitfalls of buying in Portugal and to ensure that our readers can buy their dream home in Portugal safely, without wasting time and money like many would-be homebuyers before them.

Over the last ten years, we have built up a network of trusted experts to provide independent, factual guidance on all aspects of buying property in and moving to Portugal. Our Portugal Property Guide country specialist, Laura Richards, has been talking to homebuyers in Portugal and helping them to buy their property in Portugal safely for a number of years. She is at the other end of the telephone at our Resource Centre to answer any questions and support our readers throughout the property buying process.

Our experts are trusted by well-known media such as Rightmove Overseas and the Radio Times to provide information and guidance about buying overseas property. They are regularly quoted in the media on the issues that really matter to people buying property and starting a new life overseas.

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