Freedom of movement – taken for granted
Freedom of movement within the EU is something which UK nationals have taken for granted for many years. Whilst the UK is not a member of the Schengen area, and UK nationals are required to show their passports upon entering the Portugal territory, no visa is required to enter Portugal or other EU countries. With Brexit, all of this could change.
All will depend upon the agreement which is eventually reached with the EU. Most commentators say that Brexit will take much longer to accomplish that the 2 year period envisaged in article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, in light of most trade agreements taking many years to negotiate.
The agreement which is eventually negotiated will affect the degree to which UK nationals can visit Portugal, can live in Portugal and can work in Portugal. It would also affect UK businesses in Portugal.
Freedom of movement – three main possibilities
A “Norway solution”
With a Norway type solution, very little would effectively change as the UK would remain within the European Economic Area and UK nationals could freely reside, live in and visit Portugal.
A “Swiss solution”
In these circumstances a bilateral agreement would be negotiated with the EU, which would also allow some freedom of movement.
A “Canada Solution”
In circumstances where there was no agreement reached with the EU within the terms of either of the models above, the trading arrangements would revert to World Trading Organisation Rules. A likely result would be that UK nationals would be treated as other non-EU nationals and require, for example, a visa to work in the EU, a visa to live in the EU and a visa to visit the EU.
“The oldest alliance”
Portugal and the UK have an alliance stretching back to the Treaty of Windsor signed on 9 May 1386, the oldest in the world. On the same day that the referendum result was announced the Portuguese Prime Minister, Antonio Costa, sought to reassure by reflecting and emphasing that alliance, stating that he would seek to secure the rights of British citizens residing, visiting and investing in Portugal.
Short term solutions
EU Residency Certificate
If you, as a British national living in Portugal, do not already have an EU residency certificate, we would advise you to obtain one as soon as possible.
Portuguese National Health
Once again if you as a British national living in Portugal, are not already registered with the Portuguese national health service, we would advise you to obtain one as soon as possible.
Longer term solutions
Obtaining Portuguese permanent residency
Permanent residency for non-EU citizens can be obtained after 5 years of residency in Portugal. We would argue that any period of residency as an EU resident should be taken into account in the calculation of this period.
Obtaining Portuguese nationality
Portuguese nationality can be acquired after 6 years of residency in Portugal, or through marriage to a Portuguese citizen.
Obtaining another EU nationality
This is another possibility for UK nationals who have, for example, Irish parents, to obtain an Irish passport. It is also possible that the nationality rules of other EU countries permit a non-EU national from acquiring the EU nationality of a spouse.
Obtaining a visa
If there will be a requirement for a visa to live in Portugal, one alternative would be to acquire a retirement visa. Similarly with a work visa, obtaining such as visa in the same way as other EU nationals currently do.
NDR HAS THE NECESSARY EXPERTISE TO ASSIT UK NATIONALS IN SECURING BOTH THE SHORT TERM AND THE LONG TERM SOLUTIONS. MORE INFORMATION ON THESE SOLUTIONS, AND ON OTHER BREXIT RELATED ISSUES, CAN BE OBTAINED BY CONMPLETING THE CONTACT FORM.
MORE INFORMATION WILL FOLLOW SHORTLY ON OTHER KEY CONCERNS INCLUDING SUCCESSION, REAL ESTATE, HEALTH AND EDUCATION.