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

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.

you wonder how well that’s working in practice though. pushing back on supply doesn’t necessarily affect demand.

I understand what you are saying and it makes some sense but I agree with JB4422 that demand is actually increasing rather than decreasing for D7 (at least if you look at Americans and friends forum on facebook).

In the case of ARI visas, SEF charges 5,000 euros for what is essentially 2-3 hours of actual work for SEF. So the current approach is illogical since processing these types of ARI visas is more than self-sustaining from a financial standpoint for SEF. SEF would do much better to offer the agents a 200 euro bonus for working overtime to process the ARI visas and clear the backlog. Would be a win-win for everyone.

It does affect the speed that demand can flow through the necessary steps. The D7 visa includes an appointment date for you to apply in person for your residence permit. There is no shortage of people whose appointment didn’t happen until months later. They find the odds of SEF answering the phone is somewhere between improbable and ‘why should I keep trying?’

I guess eventually it may deter some people. Eventually. I guess it will serve to ensure the people that make it through are more… economically desirable, for lack of a better term.

I think it will take 10 years, if not longer, for us to get the passports. every step is sooo bureaucratic and unresponsive. bottlenecks follow bottlenecks. GV renewal and new applicant appointments will soon add up. We are all screwed.

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You’d think the obvious answer to the backlog would be to drop any requirements for renewals of biometrics until the pandemic is over or auto extend Visas, etc. by 2 years.

Much like how in California they just said “Everyone’s Drivers License is Valid 1 more year, don’t come into the DMV Office”

Or get the biometric done here in the Portuguese embassy.


Honestly, this is the best solution and the simplest. If they manage the biometric from their Embassies at various countries, and after scrutiny of documents issue the ARI Card with the additional requirement of another biometric once the applicant uses his ARI card to enter into Portugal for the first time as a Golden Visa Resident, it would solve a lot of problems. Frankly, after pumping approx 600,000 EUR into the country, I do feel I deserve a little more consideration.

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Agree, I would urge everyone here to talk to your lawyer about the possibility of doing biometrics in Portuguese embassies. And ask them to bring it up in any forum that exists between the legal community and SEF. So they can think about making changes to this inefficient process or find solutions.

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Perhaps every law firm should go on strike until this situation is resolved.
It seems to be normal for workers in Europe, but not very common approach in North America.

seems like a good way for them to not get paid. not thinking that’s going to happen.

our lawyers are not on our side at all. they just want to hide the bad news and attract new GV clients. nobody in Portugal will go on strike to help us. the real estate agents want to hide the bad news too.


We have 10 active clients- applicants (including myself, which finally processed) on file. The recent appointment was done last September.
8 applicants from our side invested from September to February and no one got the appointment. Mine was rescheduled from last October to August.
From my own experience this summer i can conclude that these applications are low priority for Portugal. We use local lawyers and they are good enough.
During the whole workday in August only 5 applications were processed - these guys from SEF don’t overwork and don’t care about the investors - appointments issue is not about overload, it looks a deliberate policy to cut the quantity of GV- holders, probably because of the USA political pressure on EU.
And that’s the reason why i stopped recommending Portugal Golden visa to my clients.
Needless to say that complaints to the web site never received a response.
Moreover, Portuguese consulate in my country refused to issue any d-visas to my family even when they had biometrics appointments. They just stopped to answer at some point. So overall it’s more an African experience.