Portugal has always been a favorite of British people, thanks to the climate, good food, low cost of living, and many other highlights. As the UK was a part of the European Union, British citizens could easily access and live in Portugal. If you’re a British citizen who is worried if you can still enjoy Portugal post-Brexit, the good news is you can.
According to official statements, there are more than 30,000 British citizens living in Portugal, as of April 2021. The majority chooses Algarve as their second home, but there’s also a big community of British nationals both in Lisbon and Porto. If you dream of being a part of the British community in Portugal, here’s our guide for you.
Why Live in Portugal as a British Citizen
Portugal has a rich history. It has a vibrant culture where you can enjoy yourself almost any time of the year. Wondering how life in Portugal compares to that in the UK? See it for yourself below.
One significant difference between the UK and Portugal is the climate. Mediterranean climate is one of the main reasons why British citizens are moving to Portugal. When compared to the rainy UK weather, Portugal offers sunshine during most of the year. If you love a temperate climate, you’re going to enjoy hot summers, warm springs, and not-so-cold winters in Portugal.
Cheaper Than the UK
Cost of living in Portugal is much less than that of the UK. Food and groceries, rents, transportation, and utilities are more affordable in Portugal. On average, rent is anywhere from 20 to 50 percent cheaper in Portugal than in the UK. If you have regular income from the UK, it’s going to be very easy for you to live in Portugal without lowering your standards. You can even save money!
English Is Very Common
As there are many expats living in Portugal, English is very commonly spoken. Most locals speak English, too, so you can easily communicate in Portugal. Thanks to the large British community, it’s easy to make friends and feel at home.
If you want to buy a house, it’s significantly cheaper in Portugal than in the UK. There are also many types of houses available. You can buy a small apartment, a beach house, or a holiday villa depending on your preferences.
To learn more about the Portuguese property acquisition process, check out our guide on buying real estate in Portugal.
Where To Live in Portugal
Portugal is home to many cities, small towns, and villages. Each has their own unique character and most still preserve their charm. Depending on the lifestyle you’re searching for, you can choose any of the cities to relocate to. Thanks to the good transportation system, you can also easily explore the rest of the country.
The Portuguese capital is a charming city and preserves its charm despite the rising popularity. It’s a city where you can find everything Portugal promises: Delicious food, nice weather, city life, and the beach! Today, many young expats, as well as retirees from all around the world, prefer Lisbon over other European capitals.
If you’re planning to buy a house in Lisbon city center, you’ll pay anywhere between €4,000 to €8,000 per square meter. If you’re looking for a house outside the city center, the price will drop significantly.
With its unique architecture, Porto is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. It’s smaller than Lisbon but still has a lot to offer. If you’re a foodie and wine lover, you’re going to enjoy yourself in Porto. With the wine cellars, nearby Douro Valley, and festivals Porto is a gem. Thanks to its proximity to the ocean, it also offers quick escapes from city life.
House prices per square meter in the city center of Porto are between €2,500 and €5,500.
The Algarve is the most popular destination among British expats for many years now. The region offers beaches, good weather, unique food, and a relaxed way of life. The Algarve also offers more than 30 golf courses which make it a great destination for British citizens. With the Faro airport nearby, it’s very easy to reach the region.
If you’re looking for a property in the Algarve region, the below table will give you an idea on house prices in different cities.
|Average Price per m²|
Living in Portugal as a British Citizen
British citizens have the right to stay in Portugal for 90 days in any six-month period even after Brexit. However, if you have long-term residency plans for Portugal, you’re going to need a visa. The country offers different types of visas which you can benefit from.
The Golden Visa Option
Portugal Golden Visa has been a popular program for non-EU nationals for many years. Before Brexit, UK citizens didn’t qualify for a Portuguese Golden Visa. Now that the circumstances have changed, you can apply for a Golden Visa in Portugal, live in the country without any visa restrictions, and even become a Portuguese Citizen at the end of five years. The program requires you to stay in Portugal only for seven days in a year. This is a huge benefit for individuals who have business interests outside Portugal and travel frequently. With a Portuguese Golden Visa, you can also benefit from education, healthcare, social security rights during your stay in the country.
If your plans to live in Portugal include property acquisition, Portugal Golden Visa might be ideal for you. If you buy a house worth €500,000, you can apply for the program. The good news is there are discount options depending on the house’s situation and location.
Here’s the important bit: As of January 2022, properties bought in Lisbon, Porto, the Algarve, and some coastal locations won’t qualify investors for a Golden Visa. So if you’re eager to buy a property in Portugal, now’s the right time to start your search.
Check our Portugal Golden Visa Definitive Guide for further reading.
D7 Visa Option
If you have an income of a minimum €1,000 per month, you can also apply for a D7 visa. This visa also gives you the right to live in Portugal. However, you’ll be required to stay at least 16 months in the country during the first 2-year period.
You’re required to apply for a D7 Visa while you’re in the UK. You’ll also need to provide proof of your long-term accommodation along with basic documents.
The Non-Habitual Residence (NHR)
One other benefit Portugal offers to its foreign residents is the non habitual residency (NHR) status. It allows most of your foreign income to be exempt from the Portuguese taxation system for 10 years. For example, if you rent out your house in the UK before you move to Portugal, you don’t pay taxes on this income in Portugal.
You can qualify as a NHR if,
- You’re a tax resident under Portugal legislation,
- You’ve not been taxed as a Portuguese resident for the past five years.
Being a tax resident means that you stay in Portugal for more than 183 days in Portugal during the relevant fiscal year. It also implies that you have a residence in the country on the 31st of December of that year with the intention to hold it as your habitual residence.
Under NHR, UK pensions are taxable at 10 percent for the first 10 years in the country.
Appointing a Fiscal Representative in Portugal
As the UK is no longer a part of the EU, there are some changes on the taxing procedures for British citizens. Now, if you have a house, open a bank account, run any business in Portugal, you’re required to appoint a fiscal representative.
If you’re planning to be a non-resident who earns income subject to income tax, this step is mandatory for you, including your children.
You can appoint any individual or collective person with fiscal address or head office in Portugal as a tax representative.
If you plan to reside in Portugal, appointing a fiscal representative is optional.