Can you register for residency permit in Portugal after Brexit?

By Wednesday February 24th, 2021 January 25th, 2024 Brexit, Vistos e Residências

Can you register for a residency permit in Portugal after Brexit?

Brexit is a done deal by now. But you didn´t apply for the European residency permit before the 31st December 2020.

What can you do?

So, how can you register for a residency permit in Portugal after Brexit?

The answer to this question depends on one major factor:

  • were you in fact residing in Portugal before December 31st?

If you weren´t, well, then you will need to apply for a residency permit under general 23/2007 law.

If you were, then yes, you can apply for a residency permit in Portugal after Brexit.

Regular Visas

There are a few options in this case – Golden Visa, D7 visa, D3 visa, D2 visa, Student Visa…..

You can read about Golden Visa here.

An article about D7 is in the making.

However, please, please be aware that apart from Golden Visa and Student Visa, ALL applications start from the country of Residency NOT from Portugal.

Not anymore.

So set the idea of coming to Portugal first, and acquiring the residency permit once you are already here aside. That was before Brexit.

That is, unless, of course, you want to wait for the residency permit for 2 years or more, without being able to leave the country for the entire duration of that time… oh, and for this special procedure called Manifestação de Interesse to even be an option, you would have to either register as a sole trader or to actually get a job from a Portuguese company.

I would strongly advise you not to opt for this route.

Registration as a UK citizen after December 31st,

So, we knew before the Brexit deadline, that those who were not able to obtain a residency permit in Portugal after Brexit, would still be able to apply for a residency permit after the 1st of January 2021.

We were (still are) waiting for the proper procedure from SEF, which still does not exist.

SEF FAQ - residency permit in Portugal after Brexit

This is the only official information from SEF so far.

So it will be possible to register after January 1st, we just don´t know-how yet.


Over on the SEF´s phone line, we were able to get the following information:

Even though a procedure is not yet in place, British citizens that were residing here before the 31st December 2020, shall:

  • send an email to with the following information:
    • Copy of their passport;
    • Portuguese NIF (if existent – again, civil residency and fiscal residency are two different concepts!!);
    • Residency certificate from Junta de Freguesia
    • A brief explanation regarding why you were not able to register before December 31st.


And what if you are living here for more than 5 years, but haven´t requested any residency permits before Brexit?

Well, the same (to be defined) procedure must apply to you as well.

SEF - FAQ - permanent residency right adquired before Brexit.

In the meantime, a proper exposition to the same email should be prepared with all the legal proof of your residency (1) before the 31st December (2) for more than 5 years prior to that.

We do advise for this to be properly done by a lawyer.

Unfortunately, this is as far as we were able to get on this matter, and we will keep you posted on the subject.

An article is also on the making regarding your rights as a British citizen residing in Portugal after Brexit.

We know some “opinions” from SEF are being given, that are in breach of the agreement, and you do have ways to react to them.

Until then, please always keep in mind:

– As a UK citizen residing here before December 31st,

– regarding your right to live in Portugal; for your family to live in Portugal; per the amount of time you need to spend in Portugal not to lose residency permit right and/or application to permanent residency are concerned,

– the EU law (37/2006) is the applicable law! NEVER 23/2007 law.


If you think your rights are being violated, you can always file a formal complaint at the local entity directly (ask for livro amarelo) as well as you can present a formal complaint to the European Commission right here.

None of this exempt direct action against the Portuguese entity at fault.


Find us available for any questions.

Thank you for reading,