UK nationals living in Portugal: new residence permits under the Withdrawal Agreement


published on 5 January 2021 | reading time approx. 1 minute


The withdrawal Agreement sets out the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and provides for a deal on citizens’ rights. It sets out a transition period which lasts until 31 December 2020.



If you are resident in Portugal at the end of the transition period, you will be covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, and your rights will be protected for as long as you remain resident in Portugal. The Withdrawal Agreement protects nationals from the United Kingdom living in a different State from his/her nationality, as long as the requirements the EU legislation dealing with the free movement of persons connects to the right of residence are met. Essentially, nationals from the United Kingdom meet those requirements if:

    • they hold a paid or non-paid job; or
    • have enough resources; or
    • are members of someone else's family meeting those requirements.


It means that if you were resident in Portugal before the end of the transition period, you will be asked to exchange your current EU residence document for a new one that confirms your status as a resident under the withdrawal agreement. The new residence permit will be issued to UK national's residents in Portugal before 31 December 2020 and confirm their status as beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union.


This new residence permit replaces the EU residence documents previously issued (Registration Certificates issued by the town halls and Certificates of Permanent Residence issued by SEF – Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service). The registration to exchange your residence document will be open until at least the end of June 2021. Thereafter you will need to schedule an appointment directly with SEF to exchange your residence documentation.


According to the Immigration, Borders and Asylum Report (RIFA), released by SEF last June, 34,358 Britons lived in Portugal at the end of 2019, the third foreign community after citizens from Brazil and Cape Verde.


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