I share the frustration here; at least for renewals I believe the biometrics can be taken from local embassies or consolates.
In my mind if they want to solve this problem they can come up with a solution, if they want to practically halt the process (the program) there can be always an excuse; be it covid, ukraine crisis, restructuring or something else; covid in 2020 and 2021 1H was a force majeure, but I think that has passed.
In the end we are talking about getting biometrics at the digital age; there should be a solution to fix this (local consolates, outsourced agenies that are used in Schengen visas etc) and I think this option should be available to program participants.
It is a pitty that in the end I have to apply for Schengen visa - my lawyers stated that extension of residency cards by local decrees may not be recognized in other Schengen states - or at least I might face problems which I do not want to…
Given the backlog - automatic renewals might be an option - as I think this is done for other residencies.
For your note; I think there is a correlation between the amount of time you spent at customs when entering Portugal and the SEF’s ability to process the appointments & applications.
I’m sure the problem can be solved. The problem is one of priorities. GV renewals probably just aren’t the political priority when they can hand-wave with a DL and simply extend existing documents. That it doesn’t help you at another Schengen border crossing … isn’t their problem. The argument is probably “so just fly into LIS/OPO”.
I think Roger is right - it’s one thing to outsource visa issuance to VFS on foreign soil, but renewals are meant to be in-territory, just as the official application has to be made in-person-on-soil - the law says it specifically, you’re done; there’s probably limitations on how far a DL can override a law, and if it takes a full-assembly-vote override you can imagine how popular bringing up the GV topic at all is going to be at this time. But who knows.
I agree with the fact that renewals may not be among priority list items as the investment of the applicant is already captured during the initial phase. The question on renewal biometric falls more on the process integrity front. The renewal process should be easier not more difficult.
Just to let everyone know, according to my lawyers “so just fly into LIS/OPO” and travelling within the Schengen zone may not be so straight forward. You can get into Portugal without any issues with the expired residency card thanks to decrees (extensions) yet when you travel to other Schengen countries, you might be asked to provide the documentation, then the expired (but extended by decree) cards might not be accepted.
Yet I think we are on the same page with regards to renewals not being on the radar - still I believe it is something that needs to be fixed, at least new cards with a new validity period might be sent.
Just to let everyone know, renewals are very low priority to SEF as they can do the extension workaround as long as they want.
In reality your losing the GV value to travel across europe and might as well apply for a Schengen Visa. They will grant you one for sure if you include the expired card and decree. I applied and received mine within a few days.
I managed to get a renewal biometric appointment in Lisbon in November 2021 (through the portal), and did it. But until now I didn’t receive the approval. Normally it takes 3 months to get the card after biometrics (based on my last renewal in 2019).
I am traveling soon, and I honestly decided to apply for a visa instead of risking any trouble.
So there are a lot of delays even for those who did biometrics for renewal. But the process is active and according to my lawyer, some applicants have been granted a renewed card within 4 months of biometrics in Porto.
I agree we are losing the GV value to travel across Europe, but unfortunately for me - I decided after 3 years of the GV to actually move to Portugal in 2020. So I am now living in Portugal but my GV expired and I cannot actually apply for Schengen visa from within the Schengen territory.
Even if I could get an appointment to apply for a Schengen visa, how could they grant me a tourist visa while I am residing here? I cannot prove that I live anywhere outside the Schengen region because I don’t. So I cannot travel within Europe for the foreseeable future. Which could be fine - except there are no direct flights from Portugal to South Africa. Which poses a problem when I want to visit family there, since when I return I would have to go through passport control in Amsterdam or Paris which could pose a big challenge to getting back to my home in Portugal.
It is very frustrating because technically it would be faster to change to a D7 visa. I have seen people getting D7 visas within 2 weeks of applying!
But I am only 1 year away from meeting the 5 year requirement to apply for citizenship through the GV program. If I change to the D7, I would start from scratch. Not to mention all the GV fees that would have been a complete waste. So I may as well stick it out one more year.
just as a thought, you could fly, say, turkish, and change in istanbul. That would skip the issue of entering Schengen from the wrong city. but there is always tha theoretical risk of a cranky SEF officer at the border or an airline who just doesn’t know or care one way or the other.
it does suck. esp for folks like you caught in the edge cases.
A post of mine might be useful for your question. On top, my lawyers strongly advised me to get a Schengen visa when traveling within EU with expired card. No one really expects much issue when getting into Portugal with the expired card, however travelling to other Schengen countries with the expired card is seen problematic and is not advised… In theory the extension should mean a Schengen free travel but from what I hear the practice is different…
Thanks for the feedback.
I traveled last week and Turkish Airlines did check though. I even saw one of the gate staff taking picture of the permit and passport of one of the passengers. Not really legal in my opinion…
Just an update, I just received final approval for renewal, after 5.5 Months from biometrics.
It was a long process, and probably will be shorter , about 2-3 months if all your paperwork was in order from the beginning…this was not the case for me, I had to resubmit missing/incorrect documents 3 times…which probably resulted in the delay.
When you got your first renewal card, does the card’s expiration date start the 2 years from the renewal issued date?
I guess I’m wondering if you get your second renewal card, with the big delay, the expiration date will be pushed back and counted 2 years according to the new issue date? Maybe that will give you extra time to apply for citizenship too before it’s expired if that’s the case?
If I got your question right; yes it is; the expiration date starts with the issuance date of the new card.
Nowadays it is very likely that there will be a big gap between the expiration date of your first card and the issuance (effective start date) of your second card.
Still the general consensus is that the clock for 5 years legal residency - which is a prerequisite for PR or citizenship - starts from the issuance of your first card. It is always best to check these with your lawyers and I don’t have full clarity if you can apply for citizenship after 5 years of issuance of your first card, while the last card’s expiry date might be happening way later due to the current delays…