Moving to Portugal from the United Kingdom

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Published on 06 June, 2024 • Last updated on 06 June, 2024

By Portugal Homes

Moving to Portugal from the United Kingdom

The Portuguese and the British have been friends for hundreds of years. This relationship, fruit of the world’s longest-standing alliance, going as far back as the 14th century, has long been mutually beneficial. Countless British citizens, either expats or tourists, have found Portugal to be their safe haven and summer getaway.

Though many may prefer hopping over to the neighbouring country, Spain, Portugal offers so much more than a simple, sunny holiday destination. It offers British citizens the prospect of a better, more relaxed, quality life filled with sun and relaxation all year-round.

Moving to Portugal after Brexit

Before Brexit, British nationals, as EU citizens, were able to freely move to Portugal from the United Kingdom without any issue or obstacle in the path. However, after the United Kingdom departed from the European Union, British people are considered third-country citizens.

The EU defines a third-country per the following: “a country that is not a member of the European Union as well as a country or territory whose citizens do not enjoy the European Union right to free movement, as defined in Art. 2(5) of the Regulation (EU) 2016/399 (Schengen Borders Code).”

Since Brexit took full effect in 2020, U.K. citizens have had to face obstacles previously not in the path. Most notably, adherence to the Schengen Zone’s 90-180-Day rule, and not being able to onboard EU-exclusive track lanes at airports. Other restrictions have also been put in place, including the inability to legally reside in Portugal for longer than 90 days without a Residency Visa. Extra difficulties are to be further expected when the implementation of the Smart Borders technological system, which will further restrict British citizens to freely travel to Portugal.

Despite the imposed, extra difficulties, British nationals continue to choose Portugal repeatedly. According to the defunct Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras, of which the administrative responsibilities were inherited by AIMA, in the latest 2022 Relatório de Imigração, Fronteiras e Asilo (Report for Immigration, Borders and Asylum), British citizens are the second-most common foreign nationality living in Portugal, with a reported 45.218 British people having chosen Portugal as their second home, an increase of 5,8% in comparison to 2021.

The information may be admittedly a bit outdated, and the number has likely increased since 2022, but it does serve as a general indicator of how many and how much British people have come to love Portugal. Most of all, it describes that, despite the hurdles, it is still quite easy to move to Portugal from the United Kingdom – all you need is a Residency Visa.

Residency Visas, like the Portuguese Golden Visa and the D2 Visa, are also the beginning point toward Portuguese Citizenship and all the benefits of having an EU passport. Even if Citizenship is not within the plan, it becomes an option after living 5 years in Portugal – and having dual citizenship is always something worth to consider.

Quality of Life in Portugal

The United Kingdom is famous for many things, and its weather is not one of them. The British climate is commonly depicted to be filled with swirling, dark clouds, grey skies, and rain. Lots of rain. Current predictions estimate the 2024 summer to be the wettest in memory. For the 90 days of the brightest season, it will be raining for about 50 of them.

The rare, clear and cloudless sky is reason enough to put on a comfortable shirt and shorts or a skirt. When the sun does decide to make an appearance, it is a joyous occasion, even if its shine never quite warms the skin.

With a rough estimate of around 1400 to 1600 hours of sunshine per year, lack of direct sunlight is a real health concern in the United Kingdom. Not enough exposure to the sun may lead to a weaker immune system and bones, lower energy, seasonal depression, weight gain, among several other pressing health issues.

Portugal receives virtually double the amount of sunlight. Getting around 3000 hours of sunlight every year, the sun simply shines brighter and warmer in Portugal. In the hot summer months of July and August, Portugal can easily register 350 hours of sunshine – which means wearing fresh, comfortable clothing all the time, the guarantee of getting a nice tan, and staying at the beach until later in the day and still have sun.

Portugal is also one of the safest countries on Earth, ranking 7th in the Global Peace Index a yearly report produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP). It is 30 whole positions ahead of the United Kingdom, revealing how much safer Portugal is in comparison.

Cost of Living in Portugal

While the weather and safety are truly some of Portugal’s greatest pros, it is far from the only reasons why British nationals choose to move to Portugal from the United Kingdom. The cost of living is, to simply put it, far more affordable in Portugal. On average, Portugal is 36% more affordable than the United Kingdom - across all aspects of daily life, including property prices, housing rentals, food & drink prices, groceries, healthcare, education, childcare and public transportation.

The Cost of Living in Portugal, Portugal Homes Real Estate Consultancy gives you an in-depth guide on Portugal´s cost of living, and more!


All British citizens legally residing in Portugal have access to Portugal’s Serviço Nacional de Saúde, (SNS) the country’s universal and public healthcare system, which is the equivalent of the National Health Service (NHS). SNS provides a vast array of medical services, ranging from primary, specialised and emergency care at extremely affordable rates, since the system is supported by taxes.

U.K. nationals also have the option to subscribe to private healthcare insurance plans, which provide an additional array of services, quicker access to medical appointments through paid consultations not subject to waiting times. These plans are also typically more affordable than healthcare plans available in the United Kingdom.


British expats moving to Portugal with their families ought to consider the country’s top-of-the line & affordable education quality as one of the main reasons to choose Portugal. With the rising costs of schooling supplies, fees and tuition in the United Kingdom, Portugal presents an extremely affordable alternative.

Portugal boasts some of the best international schools in Europe, most of which offer the British curriculum. British expats can rest assured their children will remain in touch with their roots and culture when enrolling them in such schools. Portugal is also the proud home of some of the best universities in Europe.

British and English-Speaking Expat Communities in Portugal

Even though Portugal only recognises Portuguese as its official language, English has become a sort-of unofficial second language. It is widely spoken across the entire country, especially in the larger cities of Lisbon and Porto, and in the Algarve region.  

The local Portuguese natives are some of the most proficient English speakers in the world, usually begin learning English as a Second Language in school as early as 8 years old. There is also a widespread consumption of subtitled American and British popular media, which has effectively contributed to the Portuguese’s ability to understand the language.  

With this factor being only one of many British people have flocked over to Portugal to carve out their little piece of paradise – where can the largest British and English-Speaking expat communities in Portugal be found?


It should come as no surprise that Lisbon is in this list. As the Portuguese capital and largest city, it is where most people naturally flock to, and where some of the largest and most vivid British expat communities can be found. Lisbon also has everything within a short distance. Beaches and parks are 30 minutes away by car, letting you remain in contact with nature. Lisbon also has a wide variety of properties available for sale, so British expats should have no concern in finding their home in Lisbon.


Porto, Portugal’s largest northern city, is also a famous choice among British expats. Admittedly, Porto is not as sunny as Lisbon or the Algarve, but the sun is always shining with clear, cloudless skies. Portugal’s second-largest city stands out to its prevalent wine culture – a must for any enology enthusiasts, with the sweet, tasty Port wine being the defining characteristic of the region.

The Algarve

Consisting of several sunny cities with boundless beaches along the southern Portuguese coastline, like Portimão, Faro, Lagos, Quarteira or Albufeira, the Algarve is the eternal sunshine paradise for many British expats. The Golden Triangle, in particular, is the Algarve’s most desirable zone and where English can sometimes be heard more often than Portuguese. During the summer, the Golden Triangle comes truly alive, with the golf resorts open, the streets are bustling, and there is entertainment to be found at every corner.

Buying Property in Portugal as a British Citizen

There are many things to consider when moving abroad. One of the most important is to find a property, whether to rent or own, if your goal is to move to Portugal. The lower cost of living is definitely reflected across the Real Estate sector, and regardless of your choice, far more affordable than the United Kingdom.

Despite no longer being in the European Union, British citizens continue to have no restrictions when it comes to purchasing property in Portugal due to the excellent international relations between Portugal and the United Kingdom. Portugal Homes further streamlines the entire process for you, with our broad selection of properties for sale,  and guiding you through every step of the way.

As part of Portugal Homes’ core belief in prioritising our clients, our dedicated After Sales team continues to take care of you and your needs, even after the purchase has been concluded. With services like Tax Representation and Property Management, you can rest assured that your all the bureaucratic side is taken care of – leaving you with nothing but time to enjoy your life in Portugal.

Move to Portugal from the United Kingdom with Portugal Homes

Much can be said and described about great Portugal truly is for the British. It can be an alternative solution for many, to either settle down with the family or for retirement, but there is nothing quite like travelling the country for yourself, or listening to the experience of those who know, work and live in Portugal.

Knowing this, Portugal Homes has decided to come to the United Kingdom during the 2024 summer. Our CEOs, David Poston and Gary Harland, alongside their Investment Advisory team, are coming to various cities in England, Scotland and Wales to meet with prospective expats, investors for consultations on everything there is to know about moving to Portugal from the United Kingdom.

Born and raised in the United Kingdom, our CEOs have found in Portugal the ideal location and country to start their joint company: The Harland & Poston Group, and its most famous brand: Portugal Homes – a dedicated Real Estate & Residency by Investment company, which offers the best properties for sales in Portugal, Residency Visa investment solutions, like the Golden Visa and the D2 Visa – which pave the path for Portuguese Citizenship.

If you are interested in moving to Portugal, book your consultation with us as soon as possible while there is availability. Otherwise, fill out our query forms and one of our representatives will contact you to best advise you how to move to Portugal from the United Kingdom.


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