Moving to the United Kingdom
The UK is currently home to over 250,000 citizens from Portugal who make up a significant proportion of the UK’s immigrant population. Portuguese citizens choose to move to Britain for many reasons, including to study as world-class education institutions, to pursue the many career options available in the country or to join partners or family members who are already residing in the country.
It can be easy for citizens from Portugal to settle into the UK, thanks to the many Portuguese communities across the country. Including the popular Little Portugal in London, home to an estimated 27,000 Portuguese nationals, the area brings a little bit of Portugal to the United Kingdom so you won’t feel too far from home.
Can Portuguese citizens still move to the UK after Brexit?
Following the end of the Brexit transition period and the UK’s departure from the European Union, immigration between Portugal and the United Kingdom has changed drastically. The main change is that freedom of movement between the UK and the EU countries officially ended on the 31 December 2020. This means that to move to Britain, Portuguese citizens must now secure a UK visa that grants them entry into the country.
Although it is more difficult for Portuguese citizens to make the United Kingdom their home now, it is still very possible and there is a wide range of visas that citizens from Portugal could be eligible for.
EU citizens who were already living in the United Kingdom before the 1 January 2021 however, may not be affected by the immigration changes. The Withdrawal Agreement ensures that the rights of Portuguese citizens, alongside other EU citizens living in the UK, are protected. If you were resident in the UK before this date, then you could be eligible for the EU settlement scheme.
If you are granted leave to remain under the EU settlement scheme, you will not need a visa to continue living in the country. EU citizens can apply for pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme on the gov.uk website. Settled status will usually be granted to those who have lived in the UK for more than 5 years, pre-settled will be granted to those who have lived in the UK for less than 5 years. Those with pre-settled status will later be able to apply for settled status after they have met the 5 year requirement.
UK visas for Portuguese citizens
Citizens of Portugal must now apply for a visa to come to the country under the new points-based immigration system recently introduced by the UK government. If you are planning to visit as a tourist for no more than 90 days, you do not need to apply for a visa.
The points-based system requires you to score a specific number of points depending on the type of visa you are applying for. These points can usually be achieved by meeting requirements such as understanding the English language or proving that you can support yourself financially whilst in the country.
Many visas are open to citizens of Portugal, the one you will need will depend on why you want to come to the United Kingdom and how long you intend to stay. Some of the most common visas include:
- The Skilled Worker Visa – for those who have a job offer at the appropriate skill level in the UK
- The Spouse Visa – for those who would like to join a British partner in the country
- The Student Visa – for those with an offer to study on a course in the UK
- The Fiance Visa – for those planning to marry their British partner in the UK
- The Temporary Workers Visa – for those planning to work in the UK temporarily, such as a seasonal worker
These visas are used to work, study and join partners in the UK. There are also visa options for those intending to start a business in the UK, such as the Startup Visa, Innovator Visa and Investor Visa.
Permanent residency and settled status for citizens of Portugal
Portuguese nationals can usually become permanent residents in Britain after living in the country on a valid visa for at least 5 years. To be able to live in the country permanently you will need to apply for settled status under Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). Many routes lead to ILR, just a few of these include:
- The Spouse Visa
- The Skilled Worker Visa
- The Ancestry Visa
As well as meeting the residency requirement, there are a few other requirements that you will need to meet to be granted ILR, these include:
- Passing the Life in the UK test
- Demonstrating your knowledge of the English language
Indefinite Leave to Remain is also a key step for Portuguese nationals who are hoping to become a British citizen. Once you have held ILR for at least 12 months, you could be eligible to apply for British citizenship via naturalisation. Having British citizenship will give you the freedom to live, study and work in the UK free of immigration restrictions. As well as this, you will have the rights of anyone else with British citizenship, including the right to a British passport and the right to vote in all UK elections.
There are also other routes to becoming a British citizen. These include:
- Citizenship by marriage – for those who are married to or in a civil partnership with a British citizen or someone with settled status in the UK
- Citizenship by Descent -For those who have British parents of grandparents
- Citizenship by Birth – Those who were born in the UK may be able to register as a British citizen
Goan residents in the UK
Over the past few years thousands of Goans have moved to the UK using their Portuguese nationality. Portuguese immigration law states that those born before Goa’s liberation in December 1961 and two generations following this can opt for Portuguese nationality and be granted Portuguese passports. Many Goans have taken advantage of this law, which makes it much easier for them to settle in the UK.
The Withdrawal Agreement protects the rights of all Portuguese citizens in the UK, including those of Goan-origin. So, those living in the UK prior to the 1 January 2021, will be able to remain in the UK under the EU settlement scheme. Goan-origin Portuguese nationals will either be granted pre-settled or settled status, depending on how long they have resided in the UK. The deadline for applying is the 30 June 2021. As well as this, Goans that hold Portuguese passports will be able to move to the UK in the same way that Portuguese citizens can, by applying for one of the many UK visas.
How can IAS help?
Moving to the UK from Portugal is an exciting and life-changing event, but with the UK’s recent departure from the EU, it can be particularly complex to make the move at the moment. This is why it is highly recommended that you seek the assistance of a reliable immigration lawyer to assist you on your immigration journey.
Our lawyers here at IAS are well versed in UK immigration law, and they are trained in all the lasted changes to the UK’s immigration rules. With their help, moving to the UK can be simple despite the changes that Brexit has brought. One of our lawyers can advise you about the best visa option for you, depending on your plans for life here and will also assess your eligibility for the vast amount of British visas.
Here at IAS, we offer a range of services to assist with immigration applications. Once you have decided on the visa you would like to apply for, our lawyers will be there for you throughout the entire application process. They can fill in the application on your behalf, help you meet all of the requirements and to gather all of the documents that you will need and will take the stress out of your visa application completely by communicating with the Home Office on your behalf.
Whether you want to live, study, join family, or work in the UK, our immigration solicitors will help you to achieve your dream of making the country your home. To find out more about your immigration options, contact us today on 0333 305 9375.
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To move to the UK from Portugal, you will first need to apply for a visa under the new points-based immigration system. They type of visa you need will depend on why you are moving to the UK. There are UK visas available to people who want to work, study or join family members in the UK. You can apply for visas online at the gov.uk website.
Once you have been successfully granted a UK visa you can move to the UK, you will usually need to pick up your biometric residence permit upon your arrival in the country. This residence document can be used to show your immigration rights in the UK. The Home Office will inform you about where to get your residence card from.
When moving to the UK you will usually need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge, this gives you access to the UK’s healthcare system, the NHS. The fee is usually £624 per year, but NHS workers are now exempt and some people are entitled to reductions.
For more information about moving to Britain, get in touch now on 0333 305 9375.
No, you don’t need a job to move to the UK. Although several work visas allow citizens of Portugal to move to the UK to work, there are various other visa options available that will also give you the right to live in the United Kingdom.
If you would like to study here, then a Student Visa would allow you to live in the UK for the duration of your studies, this can later be switched to a work visa after you have completed your studies.
If your partner is in the UK then the Spouse Visa or Unmarried partner visa will allow you to live and work in the UK. They are valid for up to 30 months, can be extended and are also a route to Indefinite Leave to Remain.
If you have family members living in the UK, then you may also be able to join them here on a dependent visa or another type of family visa such as the Ancestry Visa.
For more information about UK visas, contact us now on 0333 305 9375.
Many of the UK visas allow you to bring family members with you to live in the UK. This usually includes partners, children under the age of 18 and children over the age of 18 in some circumstances. Some of the visas that allow you to bring family with you to the UK include the:
- Skilled Worker Visa
- Innovator Visa
- Spouse Visa
It’s important to note that some visas do not allow you to bring family members with you and that if you do plan to bring family, you will usually need to meet additional maintenance requirements and pay additional application fees.
If you’re considering bringing family members with you to the UK, speak to one of our lawyers today, they can answer any questions that you may have and will let know whether you are eligible to bring family with you.