Deciphering a message from SEF

Does anyone know what a “Despacho Superior” indicates?

The story in brief: in November 2021 I had my second renewal biometrics appointment in Faro. My wife had hers the next day in Porto (the only appointments available). My renewal was finally approved on 1 May 2022, and I received the new card on 23 May. My wife, officially the dependent, is still waiting over two months later. My lawyer has written a few e-mails to the Porto office, including a scan of my new residency card, to try to prompt them to approve her renewal.

My lawyer is on holiday but her assistant forwarded to me this latest e-mail from SEF in Porto:

Informamos que o processo relativo àrequerente identificada encontra-se a aguardar Despacho Superior, o qual deve ser proferido com a brevidade possível.

My Portuguese is good enough to understand every word, but I have no idea what is meant by “Despacho Superior”. I wonder if you have any experience with this. Does this imply that they’re treating my wife like some special case that needs top level attention? Or are they simply waiting for the office supervisor to declare that it’s time for the 30 minutes per year that they devote to processing ARI applications?

If anyone has any insight or experience with this bit of jargon, I’m interested to know. Many thanks.


I think it means pending final approval by the SEF Porto Regional Director.

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Which is just normal. they all have be approved by the director. My wife’s was sitting on his/her desk apparently and my lawyer had to go nudge.