No deal and the options for British expats in Portugal

The likelihood of a no-deal Brexit is probably making the long-term dreams of some British citizens look a touch on the grey side, especially if their hopes were pinned on moving to the sunny climes of Portugal. If you are currently already residing in Portugal but have concerns about what Brexit means for you right now, this article should explain some of the most important issues.

What are my options for becoming a resident in Portugal if No Deal goes ahead?
A no-deal Brexit could make it more difficult to settle abroad, however Portugal’s golden visa residence permit programme (officially known as ARI or Autorização de Residência para Actividade de Investimento) offers an opportunity for non-EU, non-EEA and non-Swiss citizens to gain residency through investment in Portugal.

To apply for ARI, at least one of the following investment criteria must be met:
■ You create at least 10 jobs in Portugal.
■ You transfer capital of at least €1,000,000.
■ You invest at least €350,000 in research carried out by scientific research institutions under the umbrella of the national scientific and technological system.
■ You invest at least €250,000 in artistic production or in the preservation of national cultural heritage.
■ You invest at least €350,000 in investment or venture capital funds invested in qualifying Portuguese companies.
■ You invest at least €350,000, to incorporate or increase the share capital of a Portuguese-registered company, in the process creating at least five permanent jobs, for a period of three years.
■ You acquire real estate with a value of at least €500,000.
■ You invest at least €350,000 to acquire real estate with construction completed at least 30 years ago or located in an urban rehabilitation area.*

Sadly, if No Deal goes ahead, the ease of transition for British citizens wishing to become resident in Portugal (and across Europe as a whole) is likely to become far more difficult than it is today. If you intend to apply for a golden visa, international financial advice in Portugal is going to be essential.

What British expats in Portugal should do in the short-term
If you are currently resident in Portugal and wish to stay for more than three months, it is important that you register at your local Câmara Municipal (town hall). Doing this will ensure you receive access to healthcare, schools and social security.
If you have been in Portugal for five years or more, you may be eligible for permanent legal residence; you should apply through the Portuguese immigration authorities (Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras, or SEF)

Post-Brexit travel
If the UK leaves the EU with a deal, travel requirements are likely to remain the same until the end of 2020 and you will have freedom of movement in the Schengen area with your UK passport. What happens beyond this date will form part of Brexit negotiations. In the event of a No Deal, you will not need visas for stays of up to 90 days within any 180-day period in another EU, EEA and EFTA country. For longer stays, or for work or study, you may need to apply for a visa.
As a matter of urgency, you should check that your UK passport is still valid and has sufficient time left on it before its expiry date. The government is advising anyone intending to travel in and out of Europe after October 31 to have at least six months left on their passport on the date they intend to travel.

Post-Brexit Healthcare
If there is a Brexit deal, your healthcare rights in Portugal will remain the same. In the event of No Deal, if you are already resident in Portugal and receive healthcare on that basis, you will remain protected. However, those who receive their healthcare on another basis – for example, an S1 form holder – may have to review their healthcare options.

Your finances after Brexit
Existing UK-Portugal double taxation arrangements are unlikely to change regardless of the outcome of Brexit negotiations. However, in the event of a no deal, it may become more expensive to use some UK-based financial services.
Qualifying individuals will continue to receive a State Pension and this will be uprated in April 2020, 2021 and 2022, although whether this will continue after 2022 is not certain.**

Blacktower Financial Management in Portugal
Blacktower FM provides clients in Portugal with financial advice and wealth management services that take full account of their cross-border situation.
The specialists in our Algarve office can help you take steps towards a better and more confident financial future, while helping you confidently negotiate the uncertainties and challenges inherent in the Brexit process.

* – accessed September 23, 2019
** – accessed September 23, 2019

Disclaimer: The provision of information in this communication is not based on your individual circumstances and does not constitute investment advice. Blacktower makes no recommendation as to the suitability of any of the products or transactions mentioned.

By Manuela Robinson

Manuela Robinson is the Joint-Country Manager of Blacktower in Portugal. With offices in Quinta do Lago and Cascais.
[email protected] | 289 355 685
Blacktower Financial Management (International) Limited is licensed by the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission. Licence 00805B. Blacktower Financial Management Limited is authorised and regulated in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority.