Post-Brexit Residency for Brits

23rd of September 2021

We look at how British Nationals can now live in Portugal post-Brexit.

For years, British nationals have been allowed to stay in Portugal for as long as they liked without any restrictions.  Since Brexit, many have been shocked to find that their time is now limited to just 90 in 180 days and this limit applies to the whole Schengen area.  Therefore, anyone that travels or has homes in more than one European country must now re-think their time abroad. 

EU nationals can continue to come and go, providing they do not exceed 183 days, or they can be deemed tax resident here. British residents wishing to stay for longer than 90 days must consider other options, which are determined by personal circumstances.

Pre-Brexit, an appointment at the local town hall to apply for a CRUE residency certificate was a straightforward process. Last year British people applied in droves, many without realising the consequences of doing so.  This certificate is a temporary document for five years of permanent residency.  It is not for temporary residence so that holders can come and go as they please like they did pre-Brexit. 

The town hall process continues for EU nationals, but British nationals must now apply for residency through a Golden Visa or D7 visa. 

The Golden Visa scheme requires an investment of 500,000€ in property or 350,000€ in funds.  From January 2022, property purchases in Lisbon, Porto, and the Coastal areas of the Algarve will be excluded from the applications. Anyone interested in buying in these areas is advised to start their application by August 2021.

Extendable to family members and with a low minimum stay requirement of seven days in the first year, the Golden Visa is an attractive option for those who do not want to live in Portugal. 

The D7 passive income visa is aimed at individuals who do wish to live here full time, staying in the country for six consecutive months or eight non-consecutive.  Applicants must have the equivalent of Portugal’s minimum wage income (7,980€ year) in the form of dividends, investments, pensions, rental income or self-employment – essentially proof of being able to support oneself. These visas are subject to renewals at the end of year one and in year three, so continued evidence of funds is required.

Both visas give holders the right to live, work and study in Portugal, visa-free travel throughout the Schengen Zone, and access to Portuguese public health and education services.

Sovereign’s Head of Business Development for Portugal, Shelley Wren, assists clients with Visa options and the best method on an individual basis to assess the correct path for entry into Portugal. She advises, “Should your residency in Portugal turn into becoming a tax resident, then it is essential to take guidance on the Non-Habitual Residency scheme. Sovereign has a service for providing a personal assessment on how best to structure existing assets to ensure tax efficiency in Portugal as a resident.   With Portugal’s high level of bureaucracy, it is easy to get things wrong, especially with the tax department.”

The town hall certificate must be registered at the tax department within sixty days of issue to change the individual’s status from non-resident to resident.  Yet, every week Sovereign receives enquiries from individuals who failed to do this. More serious are the enquiries from shocked British nationals who have received a notification for submission of four years of backdated tax returns because they are ‘unknowingly’ registered as tax residents here. Anyone who receives their IMI property tax bill directly from the tax department at their Portugal address will be registered as a tax resident liable for declaring in Portugal their worldwide income.   

Watch Sovereign’s Portugal Unlocked Webinar and contact them at serviceinfo@sovereigngroup or telephone 00351 282340480 for more info.

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