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).