Portugal’s plan for a hard Brexit

Taking in the consideration the current situation that may lead UK for a hard Brexit, leaving the European Union without an agreement, the Portuguese Parliament approved a contingency plan applicable to all UK citizens with verifiable residence in Portugal, under the spirit of the four freedoms enjoyed by EU citizens.

Keeping in mind the guidelines of the European Commission, Portugal will continue to consider as legal residents the UK citizens and their family members (even the non-European citizens) that fixed their residence in Portugal until the official exit date of UK, without further diligences or requirements of visas, at least until December 31st of 2020.

Portuguese Parliament decided to maintain all the existing rights and obligations for UK citizens residing in Portugal subject to the guarantee of reciprocity by the UK Government regarding Portuguese nationals living in the UK. In case of no equivalent treatment, this plan foresees its total or partial suspension.

For UK citizens that desire to keep living in Portugal after 2020 new residence documents must be requested, subject to the approval of the immigration authority (SEF). This request can be filled starting from the exit date of the UK until December 31st of 2020 together with the proof of residency in Portugal. Also from December 31st of 2020 UK citizens will need to request the change of their driving license in Portugal.

For UK citizens with residence in Portugal for less than 5 years, a Temporary Residence Card will be issued. For the ones with more time of residence, a Permanente Residency card or the status of Long Term Resident will be granted.

In what regards to UK students, the ones currently studying at a Portuguese University and the ones that apply until the 31st of December of 2020, will not be subject to the status of international students until the end of their cycle of studies.

Concerning Social Security contributions and the effects that a hard Brexit may have on future pensions it is established that all contributions paid to a mandatory system until the exit date according to the UK legislation shall be considered.

Finally, UK citizens that hold an administrative permit for the exercise of a work activity in Portugal will preserve that right after the exit date. In the same way, all the professionals already working in Portugal will keep the recognition of their university degrees and qualifications.

The content of this information does not constitute any specific legal advice; the latter can only be given when faced with a specific case. Please contact us for any further clarification or information deemed necessary in what concerns the application of the law.