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December 2020 3 minutes

Brexit: What should British citizens living in Portugal know?

An overview of the steps British citizen must take before December 31st 2020

On January 31st 2020 Great Britain left the European Union after the settlement of the Withdrawal Agreement. At the moment we are in the transition period, which ends on December 31st 2020. Until that day British citizens are still granted the right to freedom of movement within the EU and, thus, continue to be able to travel, settle and live in EU countries. Nevertheless, since the end of the transition period is drawing closer, it’s crucial you act now to ensure you can legally stay in the EU. 

British citizens in Portugal: what steps do you need to take?

We know this time can be stressful for British citizens living in Portugal. With this article, we aim to give you an overview of the situation in Portugal and provide you with a precise list of steps to tick off on your To-Do list. In this way you get all the administrative tasks done quickly and effectively. With the bureaucratic hassle out of the way you can fully enjoy the Christmas period and look forward to a - hopefully much better - year of 2021 in Portugal.

The first steps: what do you need to do right now?

Registration as a resident: 

As long as you are lawfully registered as a resident in Portugal before January 1st 2020, you continue to hold the right to stay.  When staying in Portugal for longer than 3 months you must register as a Portuguese resident. To do so, go to your local Town Hall (Câmara Municipal) and bring your proof of address, your passport, and proof of earnings / sufficient means. You will receive a Registration Certificate (Certificado de Registo; €15 for adults, €7.50 for children), which is valid for 5 years.

Life in Portugal post-Brexit

The following sections will summarise the regulations and laws governing life as a British citizen in Portugal after December 31st 2020. 


You maintain your right to work in Portugal, as long as you are registered as a Portuguese resident before December 31st 2020, given you remain resident. Depending on your employer, you may need a UK police certificate, a Portuguese criminal record certificate (Certificado de Registo Criminal), a copy of your UK police record (excluding Scotland), and/or a copy of your Police Scotland record.


Since Great Britain has a double taxation agreement with Portugal you do not pay tax on the same income in both countries. Every Portuguese resident has to declare their income to the Portuguese authorities, even when it does not come from Portugal. 

Banking arrangements should stay the same after the end of the transition period on December 31st 2020. If your finance provider needs to make any alterations to one of your products, they will contact you directly.


Exchange your UK driving license for a Portuguese license before December 30th 2020. You will be sentenced with a fine if you do not exchange your license within 60 days of taking residence. Until the end of the transition period on December 31st 2020, the legislation on driving license exchanges will remain the same. You must register your UK driving license with the Instituto da Mobilidade e de Transportes (IMT) within 60 days of taking residence, otherwise you will have to pay a fine. Alternatively, you can exchange your UK license for a Portuguese one at the IMT office.

Do you still have doubts about what you must do to legally stay in Portugal or other EU-member states post-Brexit?

We have created a comprehensive guide on how British citizens can remain compliant with the new regulations in Portugal and other EU-member states. In case you still have further questions that are not answered in this article nor by the guide, please send us a message or schedule a free consultation - we will be happy to help you!

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