Hello all, my family is scheduled to go for our biometrics the week after Easter which is very difficult for us for a number of reasons. We considered declining the appointments and just waiting for the next batch but our lawyers informed us we would go to the end of the line and no telling when/if we’d get another.
With the news Friday about the potential changes to the law it makes it even more attractive to move our appointments hence my question, has anyone declined the offered SEF appointment and been able to get one after that? I’ve read some horror stories here about people never getting another options so want to be informed as we make a decision.
I have not been following this current round of scheduling too closely, but can’t you or your lawyer reschedule within the system itself to a different day and time that you can make? Obviously if you cannot that is not helpful, but I was under the impression that rescheduling could be done within the SEF system so long as it was within the window they had open.
I agree with others that if you have to cancel, that’s really bad, there are people on this forum who had to cancel in March/April 2020 due to the height of COVID who have not yet been given an opportunity to reschedule.
I know someone who has never gotten another opportunity to book a biometrics appointment after being unable to make the open window he was offered. I have not come across someone who has on these forums and have been paying attention on his behalf. I would also like to know if some has accomplished this.
That’s crazy, this is not meant to be a lottery.
I’m concerned now as my husband missed his appointment. It was impossible for him to make it as he had an exam a 12 hour flight away, the evening before. On the advice of our lawyer we didn’t cancel or rearrange it for him, as we were hoping to use it for our baby (who’s application was submitted 2 months later than ours). In the end that wasn’t possible anyway - SEF would have done it, but the computer system didn’t allow it.
Our lawyers are going to have some serious questions to answer if it’s now not possible for him to reschedule. Maybe we need to file a case on this particular issue immediately. Do you know if anyone who hasn’t been given an appointment yet when they should have, has done that?
My lawyers claim that they have petitioned the SEF. but to no avail. . We visited Lisbon in December and tried to get an appointment scheduled, but to no avail. Now the absurd thing is that my daughter (who was born after our pre-approval) has finally received an invitation for biometric in May, 2023; however my wife cant do the biometric with her.
My wife and I and another couple that we began the process almost during the same time, we both couples missed our Biometrics appointment early 2022 still during COVID and flight restrictions … but anyway neither of us has getting a second appointment yet.
So we were advised by the legal firm to begin a process to sue SEF so we are doing it.
I will keep you posted.
Please do. If this is the case we will begin the process immediately as we’ve made a fund investment, which has a finite term. We can’t “wait and see” for years.
However, I do know someone whose wife’s appointment was originally going to be in 2020 but it didn’t happen due to Covid. She eventually had an appointment in early 2022 - so clearly that was re-arranged.
Also, from my experience trying to get an appointment for my daughter when we were there for ours (our lawyer had advised us to try to use my husband’s slot for her - this was clearly very bad advice), I don’t think there’s any intention behind this. I think it’s simply a poorly designed IT system that doesn’t have a process for rescheduling. We were stood there in the SEF office and they said they would happily have done my daughter’s biometrics, but there was nowhere to save them on the system as no appointment had been created for her in the system. Appointments can only be created electronically by the central system - and SEF does not respond to emails and never answers the phone…
What do people mean when they say “decline” an appointment? My understanding is that they have to be proactively booked. The portal opens for specific people (it seems to be those whose applications were received by a certain date) and those people (or their reps) are able to book an appointment. That was how it was for us anyway - our lawyer was able to book appointments for 3 of our 4 family members (1 submitted later). So the problem seems to be that the system doesn’t include the option to re-book. A simple IT update would fix this…
SEF previously had an open scheduling system, i.e. anyone whose cases are pre-approved can fight for biometrics appointment slots. This resulted in some law firms monopolizing appointments (e.g. hiring someone to spam refresh, bots, etc). Some applicants with very old applications keep failing to win an appointment slot. In the old, open system, missing appointments meant you just have to fight for another appointment slot, as each new appointment released is unrestricted.
On 28 Dec 2021, in an attempt to make it fairer, SEF announced they’ll open up appointments by preapproval date. Each batch of appointments are designated for applicants whose preapproval date falls within a start and end range. For example, in late March 2023, they released a new batch of appointments only for those who were preapproved in November/December 2021.
Ever since this new system was introduced, I’ve not heard of anyone managing to reschedule a missed appointment - please correct me if you have. Those who managed to reschedule a missed 2020/2021 appointment to early 2022 likely did so before 28 Dec 2021, as there were unrestricted appointments for early 2022 released in early Dec.
On the surface, it seems like there should be multiple ways to resolve this technical issue. Unfortunately, SEF hasn’t done anything about it for almost a year despite being made aware of the issue. Perhaps a poor initial design of the ARI portal makes this more complicated than it seems. The portal may also have been built by third party contractors, and negotiating any changes may be time consuming and costly. Finally, with all the talk of ending GV, they simply might not care to invest the time and money to resolve this technical issue.
The takeaway seems to be to avoid missing the appointment at all costs, and to consider filing suit if you did.
Thanks, will definitely be looking to do this asap. It’s frustrating as our lawyer can’t have known this - otherwise they wouldn’t have booked an appointment for us without checking the dates first. I know they thought they were being helpful but it appears to have made things worse!
The only slight difference in your post to what I experienced, is that the biometric appointments seem to be opened up by application date, not pre-approval date. My baby was born after our initial application, and her app wasn’t submitted until Jan 22 (mine was Oct 21). She got her pre-approval at the same time as me and the rest of our family, however we haven’t been able to book her biometrics yet. My son and I had ours in Feb 23.