Travelling to Portugal this summer? British passport holders will now enjoy a speedier route from border control to the country’s golden beaches, golf courses and sun-kissed cities thanks to fast-track e-gates on arrival.
Last month Portugal became the first country in mainland Europe to introduce dedicated e-gates for UK citizens, simplifying the entry rules introduced after Brexit. Cyprus and Ireland also provide e-gates for British travellers.
Since the end of the Brexit transition period in December 2020, a manual passport check has been required for British passport holders, along with separate queues from EU passport holders. At peak travel times, this has led to longer waiting times at airports across Europe.
British passport holders have access to dedicated e-gates at four Portuguese airports – Lisbon, Porto, Faro in the Algarve and Funchal in Madeira.
Passports will still be stamped in order to verify length of stay within the EU, according to Brexit rules. However, the new e-gates and the removal of the need to complete a Passenger Locator Form will simplify travel between Portugal and the UK.
Our Overseas Insights Expert Rachel Beaton says the move to make it easier and quicker for Britons to enter Portugal will give further confidence to British buyers who are interested in buying a home abroad, but are perhaps still hesitant about different travel regulations that are still in place since the pandemic or post-Brexit.
“We’re seeing strong demand from British buyers for properties in Portugal, and this will only make it easier for these potential buyers to get over there to view properties for sale,” she says.
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The announcement has coincided with the start of the busy summer season. In the past year, we’ve seen a significant spike in interest for homes for sale in Portugal, with searches up by as much as 267% year-on-year in the top search hotspot of Porto Santo.
The UK Government puts the number of Britons visiting Portugal annually at 2.5 million, while figures from the Portuguese Chamber of Commerce in the UK show that a total of 714,000 Britons were resident in Portugal in 2021, making them second only to Brazilians as the single largest group of foreign nationals.
Robert Green, founder of Sphere Estates, says more than 50% of holiday homes in the Algarve are reportedly British owned.
“Brexit hasn’t dampened the appetite for home ownership with people attracted by the climate, friendly people, wonderful food, golf and beaches and relative low density living,” he says
“In addition, buyers can see the benefits of the Portuguese golden visas which are still available in projects such as Ombria Resort and Wyndham Grand Algarve, and tax advantages afforded by the non-habitual residency programme. The latter is particularly interesting to those looking to relocate,” he adds.