Covid regulation allowing stay in country

Hi all.

A question, regarding this:

The translation I have is: "Be reminded that, still within the scope of the evolution of the epidemiological situation in the country, Order no. 12870-C/2021 was published on 31 December 2021, which determines that all foreign citizens with applications pending at the Immigration and Borders Service (SEF), whose request was submitted until 31 December 2021, are temporarily in a regular stay situation in national territory and have access to certain rights and support, including health, social support, employment and housing

Does anyone have any experience with making use of this? Specifically, if your application is submitted, but not pre-approved, how to prove this status sufficiently at the border?

Thank you

My lawyer advised us since we meet the criteria we could still enter the country to live and work while waiting for pre-approval, and they would write an invitation letter to help support our entry. However, they said once we enter under this decree, it gets dicey leaving and trying to reenter. There’s no guarantee we’d be able to return if we left before receiving our GV.

There are certain things you can do while you are waiting for the pre-approval

Health Care : You can walk into any community healthcare centre with your passport, NIF registration documents, Visa(If you have any) and the GV application submission to get a temporary UTENTE number (Healthcare Number). Most of the community healthcare centres are unaware on how to do this and it is highly likely they shall turn you away. The only way to get the temporary number is to request the temp UTENTE for a Covid Vaccine and they shall not deny the service and you are good to go. However, you shall not be able to access all the SNS services unlike the legal residents but your healthcare insurance shall complement the same. Having an Utente number shall be a big advantage.

Social Security: NISS number might not be possible with your situation, unless you have all the available documents including NIF, Resident Card, a letter from junta de freguesia to prove your residency in a parish inside portugal is required for a NISS… you can write this off at the moment

Housing: There are no restrictions for a foreign national in Portugal to buy, rent or lease any type of property.

Employment: You shall not be able to work until the residency card issued, unless you do apply for a work permit. If you are able to secure a job within Portugal and apply for a permit, you don’t really need a Golden Visa.

Thanks both, really helpful.

My lawyers are still battling to get any answer from SEF on this. Specifically whether a screenshot of the SEF portal will suffice to prove the status.

Hope you get one. I was told that yes, proof of submission (whatever that looks like) is the primary document for eligibility, and the invitation letter would support it.

If you’ve only submitted, there is no invitation letter though…

Your lawyer writes the invitation letter. In it they will explain that you have applied for your residency and are awaiting final approval and that your are eligible to enter under the laws of Portugal. In addition, they will include copies of your application (if they were the ones that submitted for you), as well as the Legal copies of your method of obtaining your visa (real estate investment, fund investment, etc.), and any other paperwork that applies to you. The “letter” package will be quite thick, not just a single piece of paper. Every piece of info in it is required. (when I traveled using it, it was scrutinized very heavily at every port of entry to/from the US and my connection countries… but this could have been due to COVID).

This worked for us just fine at the PT border, during the COVID lockdowns. However, we are from the US and getting the gate check people to understand that were were, in fact legal to get on the plane (which is where the do the checks, not once in the country), and four (yes, four) levels of management before they would actually allow me on the plane. Again, COV was in play, so that had an effect, I’m sure.

Are you from the US, UK, or other Schengen visa country? If so, no invitation letter is needed - now you can enter freely (I.e. no COV rules preventing travel) and you can come and go as you please just like you could previously, as long as you meet the Schengen time in country limitations. Note, this letter does not give you any rights outside of PT other than those allowed under the Schengen visa.

However, if you plan to stay in PT longer than a total of days in a 180 period, then you will need the letter and carry your paperwork with you. Same if you plan on obtaining a temporary UTENTE or other services that require proof of residency. You also cannot travel in other EU countries (outside of passing thru to PT at the airport, train, etc.) past 90 days of your arrival in PT using the invitation letter. Your time in PT is counted toward your total allowed 90 days in the EU, until you have your hard card.