Awaiting Biometrics (Stage 3)

Just got back from my biometrics appointment in Porto last week. This is an all-in-one office that has 10-15 other departments. Waiting room was full with people with some standing outside.

Lawyer got in and took our token. Our number came up on a screen an hour later.
Initially the lawyer went in alone with the SEF agent. He took my passport.

I was instructed by the law firm to bring a full photocopy of my passport. Of all pages, including empty ones. I had one with me.

Reach out to your law firm reminding them of the no-debt declaration from social security at least 30 days before your appointment. In my case, they didn’t get an appointment at social security until later so we will be submitting this a few days after my appointment.

Lawyer then came out and asked for my passport photocopy.

The SEF agent looked up my Airbnb stay registration through my passport details. Good idea to have your hotel or Airbnb do this well in advance of your appointment.

Next the lawyer called me, I went in and sat in front of the SEF agent with my lawyer. They had me sign two pieces of paperwork. One was another power of attorney. They then took my fingerprints, photo and signature using an automated machine. After this was completed they issued a paper notice saying I had to submit my no-debt declaration from social security. They then issued a receipt confirming completion of the appointment which the lawyer kept for their file.

Lawyer told me that they only provide documentation that SEF requests. Keep things like your boarding passes, hotel reservation copies with you, but only provide what the lawyer/SEF agent requests during the appointment. The SEF employee was very relaxed, friendly and wasn’t being picky. Depending on the agent you get, they can request more documentation.


Hi,thanks for this info,
But in my case, i wish to ask if we can travel to Portugal with just the expired card.
In my case, i do not have an appointment yet, as neither my lawyer or me could manage to get one yet (since jun 2021 as my card expires by dec 2021). And i dont think there is any appointment to book.
I wish to come back to Portugal for the winter stay (plus to fulfill the 14 days stay requirement).

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SEF lines remained clogged - The Portugal News


Enter Lisbon from non EU country and you should be OK till Dec 31 (unless extended again). Emirates is aware of the issue.


thank you for the info

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Our family attended biometrics appointments in January this year and I see now in the ari sef portal that the status has changed from pre-approved to “transferred” (“Transferido SIISEF”). Can anyone tell me what that means and if this means our cards are any closer? Many thanks!


Received the below email from my lawyers regarding appointments and legislation changes:

Following our prior communications on your golden visa procedure we are writing to you to provide an update on the status of your application and the efforts that we have been developing to speed up the process.
Kindly note that on the present date, and for reasons that fall beyond our control, despite already having your pre-approval issued we have not yet been able to arrange a date to book your biometrics appointment. The reason for this is due to the fact that SEF’s agenda is still closed since it last opened in June 2022.
*Kindly note that we have been able to obtain (unofficially) the information that the biometrics appointments should open again soon. The initial information we had was that the opening would occur on the end of September and then on the end of October. Although nothing has happened so far, we hope that the appointments will reopen (at least) until the end of the year and that we will be able to book your biometrics by then. *
We would like to remark that SEF is currently undergoing an internal restructuring (which has been ongoing for more than a year) and as far as we are aware a major part of these delays are related with this restructuring (besides all reasons already mentioned in past e-mails). There is a lot of contradictory information at this stage regarding SEF. As stated above, our expectation is that your biometrics should be scheduled until the end of the year (as there is no objective reason why they should not be).
Furthermore, and looking to the future, the information that we have (although not officially) is that the internal changes in SEF will be completed until the end of the present year and that a new service will start working from 2023. This would mean that with the new entity in place the process should progress much quicker post biometrics.
We would also like to inform you that we have been trying by all means possible to expedite these processes. In terms of actions and besides all those mentioned above, I have requested a hearing to the Ministry of Economy and to the Ministry of Internal affairs to try to obtain answers and a clear position from the Portuguese Government regarding these delays.
We have also joined forces with other high profile law firms in Portugal (that have their clients in the same position as you) to define a joint position and strategy moving forward.
In any case, I would like to assure you that we will continue to do everything in our power to expedite things and we remain available to meet and discuss potential strategies moving forward.
A final note just to address the statement of the Portuguese Prime minister where he mentioned the golden visa program and the fact that the Portuguese Government is currently evaluating the same. On this matter, we would like to clearly state that any changes or amendments that are done to the program will not in any way affect you as these will only be valid and applicable for the future. All the rules that were applicable to your golden visa application will remain valid until the end of your application.


Hello, please when did you receive your pre-approval?

Application filed - 29 November 2021
Preapproval - 11 August 2022


My understanding is that pre-approvals up to Q3 2021 were invited to book biometric appointments during June 2022 SEF agenda opening. SEF sent an email to my lawyer on 24 June 2022 informing the same. She had 10 day window to book my biometric appointment. FYI, I was pre-approved on 29 July 2021.

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could a lot of problems be avoided if SEF posts a page on its website such as -

If your preapproval was before this date: {date}
You should have been issued an email to schedule your biometric appointment.

If you have not received this email, send us a message through the portal and we will respond to issue an appointment.


Thank for sharing… the last point of your post was also conveyed to me regarding the timing of my application in regards to potential future changes ie like if you got in before 2022 rule changes they are not retroactive as long as the application was made prior to the rule change…

I got pre-approved on 3 February 2021 but received no email to schedule my biometric appointment during June 2022. As far as I know from the messages in this thread, SEF “missed” sending the invitation to some cases got pre-approval from the beginning of 2021 to the mid 2021. It simply did not follow the chronicle order.


I read from quite a few earlier posts that some applicants cancelled prior biometric appointments and therefore were gone “missing ” in SEF biometric appointment queue.


Yep. My wife missed her’s scheduled in March 2022. Havent been able to get another slot for her since.

I have seen enough examples of this same problem. Most likely there is some database issue such as, when you get an appointment it sets a boolean of “is_appointment_scheduled = 1”. If the appointment is cancelled, it never resets this boolean so that SEF believes you have already had appointment and does not invite for another appointment. In this case, a backend web developer has more power to solve this problem than the chief of SEF.


November 9 —

SEF appointment at the Lisbon office just concluded. The lawyer went in, took a number, and waited. I went for a coffee and some pastel de nata. She texted me when it’s my turn. I went in for photo, fingerprints, and signature. Barely five minutes, it’s done.

Now we wait again.


My GV expired in October and my Lawyer told me that SEF does not allow schedule biometrics for renewal.

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That’s right. They released some appointments in July but nothing since. Mine expired in April 2021, been trying to get an appointment for almost 2 years.
You can see more from others in the same boat on this thread:


Could you share details of your lawyer if you’re happy to recommend? Sounds like they’re better at communication than mine!