Unmarried British/Chinese Couple Hoping to Live in Portugal

Is there anyone out there who can help, I wonder.

This is a rather long post, so please be patient if you’re interested:

I have watched a number of the videos/zooms which Nomad has deployed, and, as a result, am interested in pursuing the opportunity to live in Portugal.

I am a British national, having been born to British parents, in the UK, and lived here until I left for the Arabian Gulf in 2011 for work. I remained there until the end of March 2021, at which point I returned to the UK. I own a flat in Birmingham on which there is a mortgage, have a small QROPS, a state pension, and various cryptocurrencies.

My partner is a Chinese national. She owns a flat with no mortgage in China. She also worked abroad, but is now back in China. I am married to a woman I lost touch with several years ago, but my partner is unmarried.

Against the desires of us both, and despite having lived together in the Gulf for an extended period, we were obliged to return to our home countries due to COVID restrictions in 2021. Fortunately, through WeChat, we are able to maintain contact but that’s not the same as sharing a kitchen, as I’m sure you agree!

As things stand today, I am able to travel to Portugal (subject to COVID controls), but I am not able to stay for more than 90 days at a stretch due to the post-Brexit visa complications. My partner, equally, is not permitted to stay within the Schengen Area for more than 90 days. Thus, we both need, I think, D7 visas for Portugal, specifically.

It is our intention to establish our permanent home together in Portugal as soon as circumstances permit, but given our individual situations, this is not straightforward.

Regarding financing this move, we plan to rent a small flat initially, until we find a place we both like, and then I will sell my UK flat, and buy a home in Portugal, thus making Portugal our primary residence.

If you feel that you are able to help us fulfil our aims, please let me know. I appreciate that our situation is complicated, so any suggestions would be most welcome.

As a bystander, I’ll observe that you’ve described the facts of your case well. Your plan seems sound. What kind of assistance are you looking for? I am not a provider of immigration assistance; just curious.

We would like to know the best route to gaining Portuguese residence from both our home countries, as a couple, despite us not currently living together, not being married, and my not being able to arrange a divorce having lost touch with my wife and her family (we had no children).

It would seem that, given that you are not married to each other or otherwise usefully related - and can’t be because of your existing marriage - you each would need to pursue the visa individually. Pretty much from what I have been able to tell, this would be the case anyway. Your shared lease for an apartment should be suffice for your respective applications. You might need to show financial viability separately but I’m guessing that isn’t a significant issue since you already are maintaining separate households/lives.

In other words, the complexity of your situation sort of in the end doesn’t matter - you just apply as two individuals separately, which is a well-worn path for a Brit certainly, dunno about China but would guess so.

There are probably a bunch of blogger/youtube/FB resources for applying for D7 from each of your respective countries. There isn’t a lot about D7 generally here on NG that I’ve noticed.

That’s great info, and pretty much along the lines I was thinking.

I’ve also noticed that there’s not much D7 info here. That’s a shame - I could do with more!

I like your term “usefully related” - made me laugh!

Thanks for the feedback. Great to read such positive thoughts. Thank you.

It is possible to get a girlfriend/partner/etc as a family member next to your main application - I did that being not married to my partner. But that would require statements of non-marriage from both countries. So you can’t really do one application in that sense, and you will have to pursue two separate visas.

Thank you for that. The general view seems to be that we need to apply separately.

I’m tempted to get myself sorted out first, ensuring that the accommodation I cite in my application is suitable for two, and then, having gained residence, arrange for my partner to apply as just that - my partner. In the meantime, we could, COVID rules permitting, meet up on a visitor visa basis for extended periods at ‘my’ place.

Would this be a reasonable approach?

I would be more than happy to visit China and the UK for less than 182 days a year combined, and stay in Portugal for the majority of my time.

Just as an example of the timescale here, I’ve gathered and submitted online all the documents in February 2020, since then I didn’t have to do anything but wait. Got the permit in September 2021. There are no notions like “processing time” in this country and forcing something to get done is close to impossible.

Hi when you had your biometrics done?

November 2020

10 months to issue the permit! Your permit dated Sept 21?

Exactly! That’s yet another example of how things work in Portugal.

Hi. I am a Chinese national living in Portugal for almost 7 years. It is a quiet and cosy country for living. And there is a big community of both British and Chinese citizens in Portugal. And this year will be the last that you can get a permanent residence through golden visa in big cities like Lisbon and Porto. If you and your partner has some questions, I am very glad to help you.