Awaiting SEF biometric appointment while on Schengen visa

Hi everyone! Seeking some guidance

Our family has applied for a Golden Visa. We have made the required investment, and submitted all required documents.

We received “pre-approval” end of May, and next step is Biometrics appointment with SEF. As I am sure most are aware, SEF appointments are just not easily available currently, especially for GV related appointments.

We are eager to get to Portugal ASAP and our lawyer has advised us that assuming we have the proper visitor visas (my wife will require a Schengen Visa) in place, we will have the right to enter the country and stay indefinitely with this pre-approval and await our biometrics appointment.

Does anyone have any experience with this situation? IS this ok? We do not want to enter Portugal and overstay visas if obtaining a SEF biometric appointment could take over the 3 month validity of the Schengen or visitor visa?


Your lawyer is an expert on Portugal laws and regulations. Certainly more so than almost everyone in this forum. I suggest to have the lawyer put this into writing and keep it with you in case there is any question in the future.

I live in US for long time but because of a misleading by a lawyer i couldn’t get citizenship. Sometimes laws are not clear, immigration officers and lawyers may have different perspectives. If i were you, i would go to an international airport, easily you can find immigration officers there, i would ask them too.

I dont think overstaying on a schengen visa without having an offical permission of some sort is a good idea.

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Well, that is sort of the point. The lawyer says it is not overstaying. I am not sure asking a random SEF agent at the airport is much good. Thus, my suggestion was to have the lawyer put this opinion in writing. There can be misunderstandings about verbal instructions but if the lawyer is willing to put it in writing then the lawyer must feel very confident in their opinion. If they won’t do this, then their opinion is not worth anything.

You are right , but speaking for myself, I much rather have an official document of some sort giving me permission to overstay the visa. Schegen Visas for nationals of certain countries are of a very short duration, and the dates are usually the ones you indicate on the visa application form. For example, if you indicate that you will stay in the Schengen for 8 days, the issuing embassy will often give you a single entry visa valid for 8 days only. The implications of overstaying can be somewhat serious, and i much rather err on the side of caution.
As a lawyer myself, I often qualify my opinions with the caveat that it is not definitive and outline the risks associated with following my particular interpretation of the law and regulations. I imagine that any opinion in writing that is furnished by the Portuguese lawyer will also contain this caveat.

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Sure, I totally agree with you. But what I am trying to get at is the underlying fact that the OP claims that their lawyer told them that they could stay indefinitely with ARI pre-approval. Personally speaking, that makes total sense to me but at the same time I doubt that is the case. Then again a Portuguese lawyer would certainly know better than I. So what I was getting at is …go to the lawyer and have them point to a specific provision of the law and put this in writing. I suspect the lawyer won’t do this and the issue will be moot. If the lawyer does put it in writing, then the client can make a determination whether to follow the opinion or not. I think going to SEF and asking for an official visa stamp to stay indefinitely would be great, but will just get a blank stare from the SEF officer.

Well, you mentioned that your wife will require a Schengen visa. Don’t you think this in itself is a contradiction to what your lawyer suggested?
In other words, if you wife will require a Schengen visa, then that means she will have to obtain it as a separate process irrelevant to the fact that you both have the GV pre-approval.
And obviously she will then have to abide by the terms of her Schengen visa which will be issued for a certain duration. Personally, I would not advise overstaying that duration.

Regarding the lawyers - I work with a GV lawyer currently who is, to put it mildly, not good. I even started to count, just for fun, how many times he gave me blatantly incorrect advice on the GV matters, and we are so far on the count of six :cowboy_hat_face:

Asking the lawyer to put their ‘advice’ in writing is not a good idea. If their advice is incorrect verbally, it would remain incorrect in writing just the same. And guess who will suffer the consequences of overstaying the legal term of the visa? Somehow I don’t think it would be the lawyer’s problem…

On this one, I fully agree.
The lawyer must be able to quote the relevant legislation and provide reference to the source.
If they don’t, it’s the same as having a ‘legal opinion’ from a random stranger in a pub.

Thanks for all the feedback.

I too have had multiple times in the past when I received poor legal advice (on many topics) and have never blindly followed advice without further research or a second opinion.

Thus my reason to reach out to this community, to see if anyone else had heard something similar or actually tried this approach. Should we decide to go this route, I will definitely ask for some more specifics from the lawyer regarding the legality of it.

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It may be incorrect either way, but if you can get it in writing, at least the lawyer can’t deny that he said it.

It’s a gray area. I’ve heard conflicting perspectives.

Refer to Despacho No 3863-B/2020, which is the law temporarily legalizing foreigners with applications pending.

This government page provides additional clarification:

Se tem um processo pendente no Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras (SEF) a 18 de março, são considerados válidos os seguintes documentos para aceder aos cuidados de saúde e obter um número de utente do SNS, no âmbito do Despacho n.º 3863-B/2020, aplicável como medida excecional e temporária:

  • Documento de manifestação de interesse ou pedido emitido pelas plataformas de registo em uso no SEF;
  • Documento comprovativo de agendamento no SEF ou de recibo comprovativo de pedido efetuado no âmbito da autorização de residência.

I’ll leave it as an exercise to the reader to translate and interpret that text.

[Side note: all postings are required to be in English, but I’m assuming that some slack will be granted for quoting government regulations verbatim.]

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Hi All,

We because of our nationality require visa to enter Portugal as well. I was wondering what is the approach.
Do we book an biometric appt with SEF and apply for a month of visa validity around the date or do they give several years multiple entry visa once you show that you have GV pre approval.


Just wondering, did you apply for a Tourist VIsa or another specific catagory ? I am curious as to what catagory the visa for attending biometric appointment would be ?

Yes I have a similar question, did you apply for a tourist visa or some other category. Also did you show your pre approval letter and upcoming biometrics appointment as the basis for applying for the Schengen visa?
Also did you get a letter from your lawyer giving the reason for applying for the Schengen visa?

Thanks. Do we have to go in person to the embassy to get the VISA ?

Awesome. So they have all it needs to get a biometric done right here in the USA!
I will add “Roundtrip Flight tickets for 4 to Washington to get VISA” to my fees paid list.
I am a reasonably tolerant individual coming from a third world country and honestly this is quite overwhelming for me for the amount of money spent in this pursuit.

Pardon my tirade.