On 29 March 2019, at 11h00 pm, the United Kingdom will cease to be a European Union Member State. The Withdrawal Agreement – still under discussion – will ensure the status and rights of EU citizens living in the UK and of UK nationals living in EU Member States, also establishing a transition period from the withdrawal date until 31 December 2020.
Portugal has decided to implement a contingency plan as follows, assuring that Nationals of the United Kingdom and their family members residing in Portugal will have their rights guaranteed by the Portuguese Government, who continues to welcoming them to Portugal:
- UK CITIZENS WHO ALREADY HAVE PERMANENT RESIDENCE IN PORTUGAL: Will enjoy exactly the same rights and obligations, framed by the same administrative procedures regardless a hard or a soft Brexit. Expired residence permits will be renewed under the same requirements already foreseen in national legislation and the current fees will also continue to apply;
- UK CITIZENS WHO DO NOT YET HAVE A PERMANENT RESIDENCE IN PORTUGAL:
- IF THEY HAVE NEVER REGISTERED BUT ARE ALREADY LIVING IN PORTUGAL: Will be necessary to do a registration at the City Council (Câmara Municipal) of the area of residence to have a registration certificate, valid for 5 years – this rule will continue to be applicable until the end of the transition period (31/12/2020;
- IF THEY ALREADY HOLD A REGISTRATION CERTIFICATE BUT HAVE NOT YET COMPLETED THE FIVE-YEAR RESIDENCE PERIOD: The UK citizens may continue to live in Portugal under the same rights and obligations and after completing the five-year residence period, they can apply for a permanent residence card;
- IF THEY ALREADY HOLD A FIVE-YEAR REGISTRATION CERTIFICATE: After holding a registration certificate for five years, the UK citizens should submit an application to SEF for a permanent residence card.
- IN CASE OF A NO-DEAL SCENARIO: No transition period will exist. Notwithstanding, Portugal will grant to UK citizens the right to acquire the legal residency status if they can proof that they were in Portugal by 29 March 2019. In this case, all UK citizens and their family members who are already in Portugal by that date, and can prove it, would have until 31 December 2020 to apply for a registration certificate.
By 2019 a set of 35 consular presences are scheduled in 16 different destinations, mobilizing human resources over 93 days: Great Yarmouth, Thetford, Plymouth, Hamilton-Bermuda, St. Helier-Jersey, Peterborough, all dependent on the Consulate General In London; and Portadown (Northern Ireland), Cardiff and Wrecsam (Wales), Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Glasgow (Scotland), Grantham, Leicester, Newcastle and the Isle of Man, within the framework of the Consulate General in Manchester, to discuss issues related to Brexit.
In what regards to companies, Portugal has also defined some measures of contingency like:
- CREATION OF A SPECIFIC FINANCIAL LINE OF SUPPORT FOR COMPANIES with exposure to Brexit, with an overall amount of 50 million Euros – which can be strengthened in line with the effective demand – which will aim to close the market failures identified in the financing operations to companies, preferably SMEs, with exposure to the UK market, and which demonstrate financing needs;
Creation of a FINANCIAL INCENTIVE to provide Portuguese companies with support in the elaboration of a diagnosis and in the definition of a plan of action to respond to the challenges and opportunities of Brexit;
- In the last two years actions have been taken to support the internationalization of the Portuguese economy, ATTRACT INVESTMENT AND PROMOTE PORTUGAL IN THE BRITISH MARKET;
- Creation of the “Brexit Counter” in Business Spaces in Portugal for UK COMPANIES WISHING TO RELOCATE THEIR HEADQUARTERS OR OPEN A BRANCH IN PORTUGAL, with acceptance of English documents and integrated processing of the company formation process, as well as, access to tax benefits and incentive programs.
The company incorporation process only requires 24h to be completed, is economic and non-bureaucratic.