Temporary residence card validity and permanent residency

We have received information from the British Embassy in Lisbon regarding the validity of new temporary residence cards under the Withdrawal Agreement, and when you can apply for permanent residency, which we wanted to share with you.

There have been several enquiries made on this subject, and we hope this communication helps anyone feeling a little confused about what they need to do.

The advice below was provided directly from the Consular Policy Officer of the British Embassy, Lisbon, following Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras (SEF) – the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service
– guidelines.

Kind regards

The Blevins Franks Portugal Team.

If you have lived in Portugal for less than 5 years, and you have an EU certificate from the town hall (CREU), the expiry date on your new Withdrawal Agreement residence card may not be the date on which you will have been resident in Portugal for 5 years in total, and therefore on which you are eligible for permanent resident status.

For example, if you first registered as a resident in November 2019, you will be eligible to apply for your permanent residency card in November 2024, but your current Withdrawal Agreement residence card might have a later expiry date.

This is because all new temporary Withdrawal Agreement residency cards are issued for 5 years, regardless of the number of years you have already resided in Portugal. This does not affect your rights in Portugal, including applying for a permanent residency card when you complete 5 years of continuous residency.

If you are in this situation, SEF advises that you can:
Keep your current Withdrawal Agreement residence card and contact SEF once you have been resident for 5 years in total and are eligible to apply for a permanent card, even though your current card has not expired; or

Keep your current Withdrawal Agreement residence card and apply for a permanent one once it expires.
Please make sure you keep your original residence certificate (CREU) to show SEF when you apply for the permanent card.

If you need further information, or if you want to ask for a replacement card issued for the remainder of your first 5 years of residency, please contact SEF’s Regional Directorate that issued your new residence card.

For other questions regarding the residency process, please email gricrp.cc@sef.pt.

Please note, the information above only applies to those who do not already have a permanent residence card. People who already have permanent residence should automatically be issued with a new Withdrawal Agreement permanent residence card valid for 10 years.

This advice has also been shared on the Brits in Portugal Facebook page.