Awaiting Pre-Approval (Stage 2)

A friend went for a Residence Permit in a Balkan country. Immigration is handled by the Ministry of Police, there is no equivalent thing=“SEF” nor appointment needed. You walk into the immigration section, wait in line, applications are assessed on the spot, you pay the fee at the counter, a receipt is printed telling you to come back in 2 weeks for the residence card. Any missing documents will be raised at the counter, or answered by your lawyer. A former communist country.


Another dear friend went for a permit in a former communist, now Schengen country. Initial document gathering took one month, card issued in one week. No appointments, no “SEF”.

Which countries are those, for we maybeinterested?

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Just a reminder to be on top of your passport expiration! Mine is good for another 9 months but I just read an article that Portugal and other Schengen countries require a passport to be valid for 6 months AFTER your entry date. I can’t imagine waiting all this time for a biometrics appointment and then getting refused entry at the border and subsequently MISSING my appointment…

Schengen countries in Europe

Many European countries — 26 in all — are signers of the Schengen Agreement. As a result, they follow the 3+3 Rule, which says your passport must be valid for three months beyond your three-month entry visa or for a total of six months, regardless of how long your initial stay is. While some Schengen countries only require passports to be valid for three months beyond your intended stay, others assume you may stay the full 90 days of your visa validity — thus the six-month time period.

The signers of the Schengen Agreement are: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Yes, you’re absolutely right.
Also some countries, UK included, reissue passports before they expire.
This means they can be valid for longer than 10 years BUT the schengen zone only recognise passports for 10 years (since the issue date)
This catch can ruin a whole trip :sunglasses: see below…
The passport should have been issued within the last 10 years

Why are the names of these countries a secret? And did your friends want to physically live there? That would be fairly easy in Portugal, too, but that isn’t what the GV is about.

Countries are Serbia and Montenegro. There’s no secret there, simply no GV programs exit now. Montenegro had a CBI program which existed until 2022.

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Serbia and Montenegro.

They are not Schengen zone countries, come to Russia and take residence permit even faster :rofl:
Now you can easily refrase “you get, what you pay for” to “you get, what you wait for” :crazy_face::stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:


In all things, sometimes you pay with money, and sometimes you pay with time

Both for Portugal :grinning:



My application is from Dec22

I read your message, do you mean there is no application between Jan22 to Jun22?

Yes, I know there was a new change in GV during that time but still heard there were few applications from Mar22

If anyone can put some light on this?

Is there any forum where we can see the applications pending month-wise in 2022?


There may be some physical applications in those months, but digital submissions were closed so I think it’s unlikely there are many

This forum is the best place I know of to track PT GV applications. You’re probably looking at quite a wait

I had everything ready to submit my application in Feb 2022 but I had to wait until June 2022 for the system to re-allow new applications to be submitted.

You can check the crowdsourced database in this forum

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I applied in December 2021, its been almost 2 years and we have heard nothing. Is this normal? We invested 350,000 in a fund using MCP millenium bank.

Thanks in advance

If you applied late in December (28th or so), yes, that’s normal. They are still working through the late December flood, and gradually issuing pre-approvals.

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Pre-approved!!! :tada: Family of 4 (kids were 5 and 7 when we applied). We submitted our application on DECEMBER 27, 2021 and just got notified of approval from our attorneys today, SEPTEMBER 20, 2023…. About 21 months total. :flushed: We were told that all 4 of us have been pre-approved.

We have been in Europe since August 1st (our house was done being built and we needed to come) and had planned on going home Oct. 24. We will probably change flights and hope to stay and get a biometric appointment soon-ish instead of flying all the way back to CA then back to Portugal potentially weeks later.

Luckily we re-did appostille of kid’s birth certificates (good for a year) and our marriage certificate (good for 6 months) in July. We also paid the company that did our FBI background check to archive our prints so they can access them forever and re-run our prints without us having to physically re-do the prints each time. Our Portuguese lawyer told us about this option and it was, indeed, possible. We met with our lawyers in August with our passports and social security cards so they could be certified in Portugal. As I understand, everything else is on our lawyers now. They need to translate docs and get items showing no taxes owed etc.

Our lawyers had told us it wasn’t necessary to do any of these things back in July but we were hoping for a miracle (pre-approval) while we were here. Can’t believe it happened and can’t believe we bought dirt and built an entire house BEFORE we got our pre-approval!

Hoping for a speedy biometric appointment because I only packed homeschool supplies through October. My kids will be thrilled if we’re waiting for months with nothing to do besides eat pastel de nata and swim in the ocean. :joy:


Congratulations, Nicole to you and your family!! :confetti_ball:

Would you mind sharing the company you used for the FBI background check and apostille with the state department?

Also, curious regarding the turnaround time with the state department from submission to receipt of documents?

The last company I used screwed up and looking for competent company to assist with my husband’s FBI/ marriage certificates.

Thank you in advance for your reply!! ;<)

Some sort of magical f■■■ery is up, i signed up on this forum yesterday and mentioned that we have been waiting since dec 26th 2021, this morning i woke up and we got email from our attorney saying we are pre approved (we are a Family of 4, wife, husband, 6 year old kid and mother in law). 3 of us were approved, mother in law, they are asking for proof that we support her, so sending those docs soon.

We are born in india and now living in canada on work permit, is there anything we can do between now and biometrics (attorney said, it will be 3-6 months) to make our life easier?


Make sure you have valid documents, for me in the US I made sure I had my FBI background check apostilled ahead of time. Keep them renewed on a rolling basis - a little expensive maybe, but worth it