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The Phantom of Brexit: Immediate implications for UK citizens living in Portugal

The Phantom of Brexit: Immediate implications for UK citizens living in PortugalBrexit: what are the immediate implications for UK citizens living in Portugal? 

Which rights do I have as an EU national?

As EU nationals, UK citizens have the right to free movement and residence in national territory, meaning that they are entitled to enter into Portugal with the mere presentation of a valid passport, not being necessary to present any visa.

After 3 months living in Portugal, UK nationals should apply for registration at the Municipality services, which will formalize their right of residence in national territory. A Registration Certificate as an EU Resident (Certificado de Registo de Cidadão da União Europeia) is issued, valid for a period of 5 years.

After a period of 5 years holding a Registration Certificate and legally residing uninterruptedly in Portugal, UK nationals are entitled to request to the Border Agency services the issuing of a Permanent Residence Card (Cartão de Residência Permanente de Cidadão da União Europeia). The Permanent Residence Card formalizes the right of permanent residence in Portugal and must be renewed every 5 years.

After 6 years of legal residence in Portugal, UK nationals may apply for Portuguese Citizenship, by naturalization.

Which are the immediate implications of Brexit with respect to my residency rights?

In the referendum held on 23rd June 2016 (Brexit referendum), the UK voted to leave the EU. Notwithstanding the will of the majority of the British population to exit the EU, the uncertainty as to whether the UK will officially cease to be a member of the EU, when, and on what terms, is high.

Furthermore, the official exit of the UK from the EU implies that a previous negotiation period must occur, which is likely to last at least 2 years.

Given this framework, it is understandable that UK citizens are apprehensive about their future, especially those who are currently living outside the UK.

In fact, since the referendum, much has been written regarding UK nationals’ status, namely, how the UK’s exit from the EU will affect the residency rights of UK citizens living in the EU.

Unfortunately, it is too soon to say. A lot will depend on the result of the negotiations between the UK and the EU: if a single market remains, it is likely that the right to free movement and residence in the EU is maintained; if the British government decides to impose work permit restrictions, it is likely that other countries will retaliate, meaning that UK nationals will have to apply for a visa to be able to work in those countries. Notwithstanding the high complexity of this subject and the uncertainties that surround it, one thing is certain: until an exit officially takes place, no implications will occur in the residence rights of UK nationals.

As a UK national currently living in Portugal, how can I prevent being affected by Brexit with respect to my residency rights?

Given the uncertainty of whether UK nationals will still have the right to move and reside freely within the territory of the EU in the post-Brexit period, it is advisable that those that are currently living in Portugal, consider taking the following actions:

Citizens who have been in Portugal for more than 3 months - apply for a Registration Certificate;
Citizens who have been living in Portugal for 5 years or more - obtain a Permanent Residence Card; and
Citizens who have been living in Portugal for a period of at least 6 years - apply for Portuguese citizenship.
Any application to be presented by UK nationals before the competent Portuguese entities will imply that all the requirements set out by law are fulfilled. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that UK citizens are duly advised at this stage regarding their rights and the correct procedures to follow in order to ensure their residency rights and prevent them from being haunted by the phantom of Brexit.


Original article HERE


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