foto: british council english school reception

What is the British Council?

The British Council was founded in 1934 and incorporated by Royal Charter in 1940. We are a public corporation, a charity and an executive non-departmental public body with operational independence from the UK government. Our Patron is HM Queen Elizabeth II and HRH The Prince of Wales is our Vice-Patron.

The Royal Charter, which governs our work, sets out the objects for which we exist. These are:

"[to] advance [....] any purpose which is exclusively charitable and which shall

 (a) promote cultural relationships and the understanding of different cultures between people and peoples of the United Kingdom and other countries;

 (b) promote a wider knowledge of the United Kingdom;

 (c) develop a wider knowledge of the English language;

 (d) encourage cultural, scientific, technological and other educational cooperation between the United Kingdom and other countries; or 

 (e) otherwise promote the advancement of education."

Visit the UK British Council pages.

 In Portugal

We are registered as "British Council – Representação Permanente em Portugal". 

We operate under activity codes

  • CAE 94991 (Cultural and Recreational Association – Associações Culturais e Recreativas)
  • CAE/S – 85592 (Language Schools – Escolas de Línguas

Our registration number and fiscal number is 980430836.

What is the difference between the British Embassy, the British Consulate, and the British Council?

The British Embassy: the British Government in Portugal

The British Embassy in Lisbon is part of the UK  Foreign & Commonwealth Office and is the voice of the British Government in Portugal. Its work is to promote Britain’s enlightened national interest in a changing world. 

The British Consulate: looking after British nationals

The British Consul and her team members located throughout Portugal, are here to help British Nationals visiting, or living in Portugal, Madeira and the Azores. They help British Nationals who have had serious accidents or problems.

The British Council: making friends for Britain through cultural exchange

The British Council's mission is to create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide. By creating more opportunity and trust, it develops stronger long-term relationships for the UK. In Portugal, the work of the British Council includes: teaching English to adults and young learners; teacher development and corporate training; administering IELTS and other exams; and demonstrating the innovation, creativity and excellence of British arts, literature and design.