But Covid-19 and the associated flight restrictions, plus quarantine, have made it difficult for some to return to the UK.

The Portugal News has contacted the British Embassy in Lisbon, to find out what to do if you are ‘stuck’ in Portugal.

“As per the information recently posted on our Facebook page – the Portuguese immigration service SEF have confirmed to the British Embassy that if people arrived in Portugal before 31 December 2020, and are not resident or don’t intend to become resident, and are still in Portugal due to Covid-19 travel restrictions, they do not need a visa or further authorisation to stay in Portugal longer than 90 days.

“SEF said this is because they were exercising their right to free movement when they arrived and so they are not subject to immigration control. If people require any further information about this we recommend that they contact SEF and be prepared to provide any supporting documentation that may be required.

“For those who arrived after 31 December 2020, Schengen rules apply. This means people can stay in the Schengen Area visa-free for up to 90 days in any 180-day period, but any stays beyond that will be dependent on rules applied by the Portuguese authorities. For more information about visas and extending stays, they should check SEF’s website. You can also find information on the EU’s website about travelling and stays in Europe affected by the Covid restrictions.

“Although we understand that the present travel restrictions pose difficulties for British citizens currently in Portugal, they can still find alternative ways to return to the UK using a non-direct route. Rules for entering the UK are set out here https://www.gov.uk/uk-border-control”.

The Embassy continued: “We should underline that the current restrictions for entering the UK are in place for the protection of the UK population. The reality is that the level of risk associated with the emergence of new variants has increased globally, requiring more stringent measures to block all potential avenues through which new strains of the virus could enter the UK.

“As we are combating the Covid virus through our vaccination programme, it is important that the government takes action to protect the progress achieved so far, to protect people and save lives” concluded the statement from the official source from the British Embassy in Lisbon.