Can we put any pressure on SEF for the biometric appointment delays?

The delays are costing us time and money! We already invested a big amount of money into the Portuguese economy. But we have been treated like this. so unfair.

I believe our lawyers don’t really care about us (they are working on attracting new golden visa customers). The Portuguese media do not care about us at all. How can we put any pressure on the government?

Say, a global, coordinated protest?

Is there any Portuguese legislator who particularly supports the golden visa program?

Can we make it harder for the lawyers/real estate agents to attract new customers, many of whom are not told the delays of biometric appointment?

any international media who might be interested in reporting our situation?

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How long you’ve been waiting?

It is already on papers, but seems helpless

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SEF is not the problem. They are good, hardworking people there that try their best. They have many challenges they are working with the last year. At the root, there is not a desire of the government to put resources to solve this problem. It can be solved quickly with the right motivation. I think you are right that the solution is to make applicants aware of the massive delays and the problem and let them voice the concerns with the lawyers and real estate agents. Let those groups go the government to solve this.

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how can we inform the potential new applicants? I doubt the lawyers and real estate agents are telling the truth to them. let’s do something together. we have to help ourselves.

one solution is to have interview in the local embassy and SEF staff can join the meeting virtually. biometrics can be collected by the embassy staff.

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can we sue the Portuguese government for the delays or any other mis-handling? any other channels of complaining to the government?

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Ultimately, when the present applicants make more noise regarding the inordinate delays by SEF, and the inability of the Government to tackle a relatively minor issue, new GV applicants will get discouraged. Maybe then the Government will do something.
In my opinion, after the pre-approval, which is only made when the investment is already executed, biometrics and other due diligence tasks can be easily managed by the Portuguese Embassies around the world. It is simply mind-boggling as to why the backlog has been allowed to pile up to this extent !!

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My 2 cents:

Some of us initiated that Portugal News article above - knowing it’s not much, but it’s one minor step to “inform” others. The reach is minimal / non-existent I must admit. BUT, if all the popular media in countries where there are lots of GV applicants have an article like this, then there’s something for the new folks to put the brakes on. Maybe that’s one effort we can coordinate: find the outlets who would cover similar stories in US, Canada, China, Brazil, Turkey in local languages.

Another “strategy” (not mutual exclusive to the above) to inform the world is maybe play the SEO game, assuming we have a site (this one? Or we make a new one like goldenvisawaittime.com with everyone’s stats or something). If you google GV, random list of companies who sell GV show up and they all have NOT update the reality of biometrics appointments (as you all know). If there’s a site that returns everytime someone google “GV” on the first page, then maybe there’s more hope to reach applicants.

Finally, any other social / community groups, we need to point them here or something.

(All that said, as some of us on this forum believe, none of the above will really solve our problem…)

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I agree that there’s a need to publicize the terrible delays in the biometrics appointment. Been watching videos on YouTube about Portugal Golden Visa and nothing is ever discussed about this unfortunate situation that we all find ourselves in. Almost all says the process is finished within 1 year from submission of the GV application. Totally untrue! For the biometrics appointment alone, some have been waiting for more than 1 year already. It’s just totally unfair that we rushed to put up with the required investment amount only to end up endlessly waiting for the biometrics appointment. The Portuguese government must look into this and do something to halt this injustice.

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As i understand, They don’t want us, they just want our investment. If they like to make it faster, i am sure in year 2021 there are many ways to do that, they can finish all process in less than a month, we can apply from embassies, or do many works online, or they can begin the 5 year time process at our application etc. If they only focus on investmens, we have to go on it, i agree with you, we can start a website and share our honest opinions which will make more effect than the lawyers or GV firms.

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it is a great suggestion to create a website that carries our voice. but it is hard to make google algorithm to recommend our website to the potential investors. i suggest that we pay google to advertise our website. it is not that expensive. We can target countries where there are lots of potential customers.

our strength is money — we are relatively well-to-do people. our weakness is the following: we are small in numbers, we do not know each other, we are dispersed all over the world, many of us are busy. the golden visa industry is exploiting our weaknesses.

we need to find a way to overcome the fund raising and logistical issues. once we are united we can give the industry some pressure. it is a long way to go from Golden visa to citizenship. if we are not united, there will be more trouble waiting for us.

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I looked at the available data carefully and it seems that the long delays were a problem way before the Corona era. As a matter of fact, the “efficiency” of the SEF was reduced by only 25% since the Corona time, according to SEF official published numbers.

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Indeed, I don’t think SEF can blame the pandemic for the bulk of the current wait times.

In case anyone finds it useful, I think the pandemic has made it easier to get last minute appointments at various SEF locations around the country (Azores seems to be the easiest one). I’ve heard from several people lately who recently received their pre-approvals and decided to make a 1-2 week trip to Portugal and their lawyers were able to get them last minute biometrics appointments. The ones I heard from were primarily Mercan investors and using the law firm recommended by them, but I don’t see a reason why any lawyer who has their client’s back can’t manage to make the same thing happen.

Of course I realize that this isn’t practical for everyone, but it’s a path that I don’t think have received enough attention.

Anyway, I’d be happy to support any initiatives that tries to measure and display the current wait times for getting an appointment. I think we’d need to capture some additional data points, such as:

  • whether someone got a last-minute appointment, first ordinarily available one, or whether they waited longer since the available appointments didn’t fit with their schedule,
  • whether they only searched for appointments in larger cities or also a bit harder-to-reach locations such as the Azores and more rural locations in mainland Portugal

Any other data points you think should be included to make this a better resource?

I guess it could be valuable to measure not just the wait time for biometrics appointments, but also all the other steps, such as pre-approval and issuing of residency card. Especially for pre-approval times I think type of investment would be relevant, too (e.g. regular vs 350K/280K RE, funds, etc).

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Thank you, Thomas!

Hi Thomas, I think it would be a good idea to have such a survey, however, there may be some individuals that have an interest in faking success stories, as there is a whole industry now around the GV investments. Also, it would be interesting to know if anyone actually received a permanent residency or Portuguese visa and how long it took since applying until the grant.

I am also quite keen to know about this. Our pre-approval just came through and I was told that the calendar for appointments would only open again later but the lawyer could not tell me when. Basically if I am lucky then we would be able to go and do our biometrics by the end of this year but nothing is confirmed. I was told that the calendar was only open for 24 hours last time which was in the beginning of the year some time. This is really concerning as my money is in Portugal tied up in a development and I have no answers. It seem like they are completely understaffed to say the least!

What recourse do we have? If I dont get an appointment then I may have to wait till next year sometime to try again. It sounds like the appointment calendar only opens twice a year for 24 hours each time. Thats crazy!!!

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Hi Pieter,
When many people here applied and were pre-approval in late 2020 many of the delays were not known. However, for at least the last six months the delays and problems have been well documented on this forum and otherwise. Anyone doing due diligence would know about the severe delays and inability to obtain biometric appointments. This also means that the lawyers know about the same issues. Therefore, I suggest that you discuss with your lawyer and have a candid conversation if you did not discover this and your lawyer did not advise you of this.

Yeah, I was not aware of this and also was not made aware by anyone upfront… Its basically now a waiting game and fight to get a booking… :unamused:

It was announced today that the process is changing for work visa applicants, so hopefully SEF will come up with something better for GV applicants, too, in the not too distant future.

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Agreed, except the challenges were evident in 2017. That’s when SEF changed the D7 proof of accommodations requirement from a paid for month in a hotel or Airbnb to either a 6 month lease or proof you’d purchased a place to live. Since then they’ve kept adding requirements, none of which exist in law, that make it more difficult, time consuming, and expensive to get a visa. Consensus among those I’ve talked to about this is SEF is trying to slow the flow of visa requests because they aren’t staffed to handle the demand, and the Assembly of the Republic isn’t going to allocate SEF any more funds.