Virginia, US

Feb 13 2019

No-Deal Brexit Plans for UK Nationals Published


The situation

The Portuguese government has published plans for the treatment of UK nationals residing in Portugal prior to Brexit, to take effect after March 29, 2019 in case of a no-deal Brexit scenario.

A closer look

The published plans include the following details:

  • Grace period. There would be a 21-month grace period, commencing on March 29, 2019, during which time UK nationals registered in Portugal would be required to apply for a national residence permit.
    • EU Registration Certificate. The beneficial regime would only apply to UK nationals who applied for or obtained an EU Registration Certificate from their local town hall of residence, a mandatory step for EU nationals staying in Portugal for more than 90 days. Applicants must submit proof of address, birth and/or marriage certificates. An alternative solution for UK residents without such a Certificate has not yet been confirmed.
  • Continued work and stay. UK nationals currently residing in Portugal as of March 29, 2019 would be able to continue working and staying in Portugal during this period.
  • Residents for over five years. UK nationals residing in Portugal for five years or longer as of March 29, 2019 would be able to apply for a permanent residence permit under the same requirements as for qualifying EU nationals.
  • Residence for under five years. UK nationals residing in Portugal for a period shorter than five years as of March 29, 2019 would be able to apply for a special national permit type. Further details on this permit type have yet to be published.  
  • New arrivals. UK nationals arriving in Portugal after March 29, 2019 will immediately be required to obtain work and residence authorization under the same eligibility criteria as non-EU nationals.  
  • Non-EU family members. Non-EU family members of UK nationals holding a corresponding residence permit as of March 29, 2019 would similarly be able to continue staying in Portugal until December 31, 2020, and must apply for an EU Family Member Card before that date.
  • Practical measures. The Portuguese government is also taking practical steps to ease the transition in anticipation of Brexit day, such as improving technical tools at UK consular posts, opening a special Brexit phone line and sending additional immigration staff to assist with registration in Portuguese areas with high numbers of UK residents.



UK nationals who will continue to work and reside in Portugal past March 29, 2019 are urged to apply for an EU Registration Certificate, if not yet completed, as the favorable permit conditions will only apply to those who applied for or obtained this certificate from their local town hall of residence before Brexit day.

Additionally, UK nationals should ensure that they take the necessary steps to obtain any documents required to apply for the appropriate immigration status. UK nationals should also contact their local immigration offices to see if they are able to register or apply for their proper immigration status prior to Brexit Day.


The proposal is a part of the government’s contingency planning in case of a no-deal Brexit.

Many other EU countries have published contingency plans for UK nationals in case of a no-deal Brexit, with more expected soon. Fragomen will provide updates on the situation as they become available.

Looking ahead

Further details of the government plans have yet to be announced; all plans must receive final approval from the Portuguese parliament. Fragomen will provide updates on the situation as they become available.

Please contact a Fragomen immigration professional for assistance in planning contingency arrangements in a single project.

For more information, please visit Fragomen's dedicated Brexit site, which contains news, FAQs, and analysis/commentary in the form of blogs, videos, webcasts and events.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to [email protected].