New Brexit initiative for British nationals resident in Portugal
The Border and Immigration Service (SEF) and the British Embassy in Lisbon has launched the second phase of a joint campaign to inform UK nationals living in Portugal about the procedure to exchange their current residence document for a new permit that confirms their status as residents under the Withdrawal Agreement.
The exchange of the current document (either an EU Registration Certificate issued by the Town Hall, or an EU Permanent Residence Certificate issued by SEF) can be done on the new Brexit Portal https://brexit.sef.pt/en/ which allows UK nationals to start the process online. The new card will be issued from 1 January 2021, when UK nationals will no longer fall under EU requirements. The new card will prove that they are covered by the provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement between the EU and the UK, and that their rights are protected after the end of the transition period.
After registering online on the new Portal, UK nationals will be able to download a digital certificate with a QR code that can be used when travelling as proof of residence in Portugal.
From 1 January 2021 onwards, SEF will contact UK nationals registered on the Portal, to schedule an appointment at one of the 38 selected town halls in Portugal, where they can provide their biometric data to be included in the new card.
UK nationals can also use the dedicated telephone and e-mail address, to send enquiries connected with the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union, including the process of exchanging documents.
UK nationals can find further information on the Brexit portal.
Current EU residence documents will continue to be accepted in Portugal and at the external border after 31 December 2020 and until the new card is issued.
British Ambassador, Chris Sainty, welcomed this development: “We are very grateful to the Portuguese authorities who have worked so hard to get this Portal ready before the end of the transition period. I have no doubt this will be welcomed by the British community in Portugal.
“It is an important step that will reassure British residents of their rights under the Withdrawal Agreement. I am also very pleased that the British Embassy and SEF have been able to work so well together. This collaboration is really helping to ensure that UK nationals in Portugal have the information they need as the transition period comes to an end.”
The interim National Director of SEF, José Barão, highlighted the excellent collaboration between the institutions in delivering an outstanding public service: “SEF’s work in this Brexit Portal is part of our services’ digital transformation strategy. We were among the first European Union countries to make available a portal that allows the exchange of residence permits under the Withdrawal Agreement. The fulfilment of the Portuguese State’s commitments is fundamental to SEF, as well as the tranquillity of the British community and their families, who live in national territory. We thank the permanent availability and intense collaboration from the British Embassy in this joint endeavour.”
By Daisy Sampson, The Portugal News on 18/12/2020.