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Ask Afpop – Residency

If you decide to live in Portugal, in other words stay for more than 183 days a year and make Portugal your principal residence, you must present an application for a Residency Visa (D7).

This application must be done in the UK and the visa issued before moving to Portugal. You can contact the Portuguese Consulate in the UK for further guidance, but the application is done through a company called VFS Global, which can be contacted by email at info.schengen@vfshelpline.com or via telephone on 087 1376 2101.

There are several documents to present with your application and you must also present proof of sufficient means of living and a health insurance which covers you for the whole period of your application for residency (once you are resident, the health insurance can be cancelled if you wish).

Furthermore, you will need to have a Portuguese fiscal number (NIF – Número de Identificação Fiscal) if you do not have one already. For that, you will need a Fiscal Representative in Portugal which is usually a service that an accountant, lawyer, solicitor, or documentation agent can offer. There are also companies that deal with the entire procedure of moving to Portugal. Fiscal representation is not required once you are resident in Portugal and can be cancelled upon receipt of your Residency Card (Cartão de Residência).

Once you have your Residency Visa and you move to Portugal, you will have an appointment with the Portuguese Foreign Authorities SEF (Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras) where the Residency Visa will be changed into a Residency Card, which will be proof of your right to reside in Portugal. This is important as it counteracts the Schengen travel requirements of 90 days in every 180 for non-EU citizens when returning to your home in Portugal. Any future renewals of the Residency are done with the same authority.

It is important to know that Residency has nothing to do with nationality; Residency is a permit to live in Portugal and will not change your UK nationality.

Having said that, there are possibilities to apply for Portuguese nationality (having then dual nationality) after a certain amount of years living in Portugal.

If you become a resident in Portugal, this becomes your principal residence and the country in which you declare your income tax – even if the tax is actually payable in another jurisdiction. You are required to submit a tax return in Portugal, but that does not mean that you have to pay tax here if it is already paid elsewhere. Tax laws are well established and are not a matter of personal choice.

It is advisable to check your tax requirements with a qualified advisor in Portugal prior to your move. Upon becoming resident, Portugal also becomes the place where you are covered for state healthcare and where you must also exchange your driving licence for a Portuguese licence.

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