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Moving to Portugal post Brexit | Visa options for UK nationals

By Mark Quinn
This article is published on: 28th March 2022

Whether you are ‘for’ or ‘against’, Brexit has had a wide-ranging impact on our daily lives.

A major consequence has been to the rights of British nationals to move freely around Europe to travel, live and work; especially so for those with holiday homes who now find themselves limited to 90 days in every 180.

To be clear, if you are an EU citizen, you have the right to freedom of movement and can therefore come and go as you please. So, what are the options for those Brits lucky enough to be able to commit to a permanent move to Portugal? You will have to apply for a visa.

Portugal has made it fairly easy to qualify for a visa by offering several options, obviously wanting to continue to attract foreigners to boost investment in the country. The most common are the Golden Visa (residency by investment) and the D7 visa (residency by passive income).

Both visas allow non-EU/EEA or Swiss citizens and their families to live, study and work in Portugal and ultimately apply for permanent residence or Portuguese citizenship. They also allow access to the Portuguese healthcare and education system, as well as free access to the Schengen area, and are a gateway into the advantageous Non-Habitual Residence (NHR) tax scheme.

The key difference between the two programs comes down to one of cost versus flexibility.

Moving to Portugal

The Golden Visa (GV) is initially valid for 2 years. This can be renewed, and the renewal permits are valid for 3 years. After 5 years, you can apply for permanent residency or citizenship, or you can continue to renew the GV every 3 years. Your family can also obtain permits and the same benefits.

The D7 visa is valid for a stay of 4 months. After this, you apply for a D7 residence permit that will allow a stay of up to 2 years and this can be renewed for a further 3 years. After 5 years you can apply for permanent residence or citizenship. Your family can also obtain permits and the same benefits, assuming minimum criteria are met.

Minimum financial commitment
The GV has one of the lowest ‘residency by investment’ thresholds in Europe. There are many investment options, but the most commonly used is investment in real estate of at least €500,000. Changes at the start of 2022 restricted the location of the property purchase to low-density areas, excluding metropolitan and coastal areas such as Lisbon, Porto and much of the Algarve.

The D7 visa only requires the applicant to prove a minimum level of income equal to the Portuguese minimum wage. This can be in the form of dividends, rent, interest or pensions. If they are also supporting family, an additional 50% for a spouse and 30% for each child is required.

Minimum stay & tax dimension
The GV has a short minimum stay period in Portugal of only 7 days in the first year and 14 days in subsequent years. This is ideal for those who might not wish to trigger tax residency.

The D7 has a minimum stay of 6 months, therefore triggering tax residency.

If tax residency is triggered, you can apply for the NHR scheme which can result in substantial tax savings.

Cost of applications
Excluding 3rd party fees, the GV is approximately €5,900 for the main applicant and €5,400 per additional family member. Renewal is approximately €2,668 per person.

The D7 fees are much lower at approximately €255 per applicant and family member. Renewal is approximately €165 per applicant and family member.

Article by Mark Quinn

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