585 days for SEF to open our file - now another headache

Anyone else had to jump through a million hoops regarding a child under your main application? 585 days it took SEF to open our application file. My child was 16 when application was submitted and has since turned 18 years old in that ridiculous waiting period. SEF have given me pre-approval and a biometrics date but my kid’s file is apparently now ‘blocked’ according to my lawyer and I must jump around providing documents that she is unmarried and still dependent on me while studying at university. Have done all that with documentation coming out of the wazooo but now cannot even upload those documents because SEF has blocked her particular file! This is insane. I cannot get my head around how biased and prejudicial this process has all been. Sorry for the rant!

Hi Leanne , it is normal to require documentation over 18. But your case of waiting so long and having the file blocked is unacceptable . They should allow files to be uploaded and issue your card . It is ridiculous! Can you detail which documentation exactly they require for your child so we can be prepared for this?

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You’ve been meaningfully harmed by the SEF failing to do their job. File a lawsuit


I fear we will have a similar situation. We applied in August 2022 shortly after my son turned 16. He turned 17 this summer. And at this rate, it is highly possible that we won’t get pre-aproval before he turns 18 next summer (or that if we do get pre-approval before his birthday, that we won’t be able to schedule the biometrics until after his birthday and that will somehow cause a delay).

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Hi Garbonzo - you have to prove that she is single (unmarried) so for us it meant a certificate of Non Marriage from the Registrar of Marriages (it then needs to be authenticated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, then translated into Portuguese then apostilled or certified by the Portuguese Embassy in your country - as an aside the Portuguese Embassy here took 15 days to put a stamp on that piece of paper grrrr!) Proof of her being a student, so a letter of enrolment from her University and then financial documentation showing payments made for/to her and her University to show she is still financially dependent on us. Now another snag from my lawyer telling me the financial stuff isn’t sufficient because the payments have come from my husband’s bank account and not an account with my name on it! I’m about to lose my marbles, I tell you. :woozy_face:

I hear you Garrett. It just feels like we have constantly being throwing good money after bad in this process.
I’ll speak to my lawyer about it though.

If your lawyer isn’t able to communicate properly with SEF, in your case I think I’d file a suit. It will force them to look at it and sort it out. Otherwise you risk months and months of getting nowhere.

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I’m in a similar situation - I managed to get my biometrics done in October 2021, but both my daughters’ files have been blocked since about that time and it seems impossible to be able to move forward with their applications - and the eldest is also approaching 18years! So frustrating, and lawyer seems unable to help.

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And when you write to SEF directly, what do they reply to you? That the files are blocked for no reason?

My lawyers have written, have not had any response and in their words, “who knows if they’ll ever get one.” Apparently there was a 10 day window given to upload all new documentation for the now 18 year old (i.e. a new police clearance certificate, a certificate of ‘non marriage’ proving she is still single, letters from her university confirming her enrollment, financial records proving her continued financial dependence on us etc All needed to be applied for, then officially translated into Portuguese, then taken to our country’s ministry of foreign affairs for legalising (appointments for that have to be made in advance and you can’t negotiate because you are special and need it done urgently, you take the first appointment you can get) then taken to the Portuguese Embassy for authorisation. The Portuguese Embassy where I live will only accept paperwork for this purpose once a week, to be dropped off while you sit in your car on the road outside their gates, handed to a locally employed security guard with cash payment in the envelope, US$23 a page. None of this is a 7 to 10 day process (take out week ends) anywhere in the world I would think! The Portuguese Embassy alone takes a full 7 days to stamp those documents and you are only allowed to collect them once they email you to say you can. Collection is done the same way. Sit in your car on the road outside, honk the horn for the security guard to come out the gate and you are given your envelope with doc’s inside. Obviously it was impossible for those documents to be ready for uploading within 10 days. So now her file is blocked/locked and none of those updated and new documents they have requested can be uploaded to her file (note that some of them only have a 3 month or 6 month validity, so I might have the joy of having to do them all over again one day!) You would think that once your files have been finally opened, your file would be allocated to a certain SEF officer and communication would be open between that officer and your legal representative. That would make sense. I however suffer from that incurable disease of logic and fairness. My bad.

Honestly, I’d file a suit as soon as you can. SEF’s processes are just not set up to deal with this type of issue it seems, and it may be the only way you can get their attention. If your child is 18 I would not delay.

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