The Withdrawal Agreement provides for citizens’ rights upon the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. The following are some FAQs based on policy set by SEF (Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras).
Conditions for Residence covered by the Withdrawal Agreement
1. I am a British citizen, living and working in Portugal. To maintain my rights in Portugal, do I have to continue working?
The Withdrawal Agreement protects UK nationals who reside in a state other than that of their nationality, provided that the conditions that EU legislation on free movement associates with the right of residence are respected. Essentially, UK nationals fulfil these conditions if:
▪ you are engaged in paid or self-employed activities; or
▪ you have sufficient resources; or
▪ you are a member of another person’s family who fulfil these conditions;
It is possible to move between these categories (for example, leaving your job to start studying). To maintain your rights, you just need to fulfil at least the conditions of one of the categories mentioned above.
2. I am a British citizen living in London, travelling regularly to Lisbon as part of my work. Will I be able to continue working in Portugal after the transition period ends?
Yes. The Withdrawal Agreement also protects “cross-border” workers. A “cross-border” worker is someone who works for someone else or is self-employed in one country and resides in another country. You can continue to work in Lisbon and live in London.
You can ask the Portuguese authorities to issue a new document stating that you are a cross-border worker protected by the Withdrawal Agreement. This document will facilitate your travels to Portugal, the continuation of work in this country and the return to the UK.
3. I am a British citizen and have been working in Portugal since 1995. I intend to retire in two years and would like to know if I can stay in Portugal after retiring.
Yes. Since you have worked in Portugal for at least five years, you should have already obtained a permanent right of residence that is not subject to any conditions.
4. I am British and my wife is Brazilian. We live with my family in Portugal. I am aware of my right to stay in Portugal. What will happen to my family’s right to return to the UK?
The Withdrawal Agreement protects the rights of persons who have exercised the right to free movement and reside in a country other than that of their nationality. The relevant UK law will determine whether your family members can reside with you in that country.
Rules applicable to absences covered by the Withdrawal Agreement
5. I am a British citizen and I came to Portugal two years ago to study. Last year, I was studying in Italy, under the Erasmus Programme and then I returned to my university in Lisbon. Does this exchange have any negative effects on my residence in Portugal?
It will have no effect on your rights in Portugal. EU legislation on free movement currently in force provides that periods of absence of less than six months per year do not affect continuity of residence (in the case of study, periods of absence of less than 12 consecutive months). These guarantees are also provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement.
Part one of a two-part series.
By Dennis Swing Greene
Dennis Swing Greene is Chairman and International Tax Consultant for euroFINESCO s.a.