HOWTO: SEF Account setup to allow your lawyer AND you to access the account

Step 1
Call your lawyer and get the email address they use to login to the ARI portal - you only need the email address they use (NOT the password) - this email is “registered” with the SEF as the one associated with their law firm - unless it is a single lawyer firm, usually they have a special email they use for their SEF portal login, not their actual email.

Step 2
Create an account for yourself with your email at SEF ARI portal at ari.sef.pt. In the sign up flow, there is a place to put in legal representative. Use the email from Step 1 there - the screen will update immediately with the name of the law firm if the email is recognized (before you even submit the form). If that does not happen, you do not have the right email address.

Step 3
You MAY have to do this - I did, but not sure if this is necessary. I entered by US social security number, and my US passport number. DO NOT SUBMIT any documents (as the lawyers usually don’t like that, as they want to control what exactly gets submitted)

Step 4
Now ask your lawyer to login to their portal and see if they can see your account. My lawyer was able to. From here, they were able to submit documentation via their portal, and I am able to continue to see their progress on my account from my login.

Basically we both have access to my account now - they have it through their portal, and I do through mine. And we are both able to edit or submit stuff.

For those that have not yet submitted, please give this a try and share your outcomes here as well. I do not know how to enable this kind of access AFTER the submission has already been done by the lawyer from their account however - I wonder if you signed up after the lawyer and followed the same process, if you would still get access to your file.

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Many thanks for this. Two questions:

Under the “Address” section it asks for “Commencement of residence period”. I can’t tell if this refers to the residence period in my Country of Residence, or the commencement of my initial Portugal residence visa.

Second question: What if my lawyer is uncooperative? I just returned from Portugal back to my home residence. I was there for various reasons, but had a courtesy visit with my lawyer. When she mentioned the fact that the whole firm is refreshing the appointment portal around the clock, I mentioned that I should become part of the team. She immediately went on the defensive. She made it sound as though it would be impossible to set up a “duplicate account”. I wonder whether this is correct.

As much as I personally like my lawyer, and feel supported when things are going more smoothly, I get the feeling that since 2017 when I first became her client, I have dropped to the bottom of their priority list when it comes to rare biometrics slots.

I suspect that she will be rather reluctant to release the information about her address registered on the SEF portal. She does have an account registered for me. Would it make a mess for me to simply set up a duplicate account without a legal representative listed?

I don’t know how my lawyer did this, but she registered an account under my email address. I can login to the account and watch my case status.
So I guess the lawyer should be able to take care of it for you.

on your first question, I just put in how long I have been in my country of residence, since the latter is unknown in my case.

on your second question, you can register an account for yourself without a legal representative, but then you would have to manage your entire case yourself (upload all the documents and possibly even deal with the SEF), if your lawyer will not use that account to manage it for you. However, you are NOT asking her to use a different account, you simply need her email that she uses with SEF to set her up as legal representative, and she can continue doing whatever she does. Caveat: I only know this works BEFORE the application is submitted. Don’t know if it would work if you did it AFTER the application is submitted.

The steps above allow the lawyer to use their account, and for you to use your account and BOTH can manage your account within their own workflows.

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The plot thickens. Here is my lawyer’s reply:

With regards to the Immigration Authorities’ website, kindly note that we have created a profile for you in said website and that only we can access such profile (as it bears all the information regarding all of our clients). Moreover, please bear in mind that it is not possible to create/register two or more profiles for the same person/family as the website does not allow duplicate information.

I don’t see how this is possible. She showed me a quick glimpse of the site on her phone during my recent visit, and it looked identical to the ARI portal referred to in Jim’s original post, which of course is registered to a single name. I don’t want to get in an argument with her, because I think she already considers me a bit of a nervous wreck. At least on this last point she’s correct.

This whole situation makes me feel so helpless. Most of her other clients are mega-wealthy Chinese and Middle Easterners mainly investing in property and getting a new residency as a Plan B side perk. But I am one of the rare GV applicants who intends to actually move to Portugal permanently within the next 18 months. So this situation directly affects my plans.

My law firm has one account for all its ARI clients and my application is part of that. As I did not request for separated account during initial submission, I will not have my own access to ARI Portal.

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Thank you, Roger. At least I now know that my lawyer is being straightfoward with me.

I believe she is referring to a scenario where a lawyer registers themselves on the portal first, then they start adding their client accounts as child records under their own ‘lawyer’ login. In this case, you won’t have no access to your record because their is no separate login.

I discussed this scenario with one of the prospective lawyers when I did my selection and she explained to me that indeed this is their ‘normal’ scenario. When I told her that I want to have my own access, she said it would be possible if I (i.e. the GV applicant) create my own account first, and then grant her access to it - i.e. exactly as Jim described in his detailed post above.

I can definitely confirm, with my own eyes and hands-on:

If you create your own account on ari.sef.pt, then enter your lawyer’s registered email address on your application, both the client and the lawyer will have shared access to the file for submission, payment, scheduling, etc. I recommend this approach for motivated applicants who want to help things along.

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did you try this AFTER submission or before submission?

I know before submission works - I wonder if you can make this work after submission - or more appropriately I think it is who creates the immigrant record first - the lawyer or you. If you create the record, it will automatically show up in the lawyer portal. I am less sure if your record gets connected to the one in the lawyer portal if the lawyer has already created a record for you in their portal.

I do not believe that you can easily create a personal login after the application has been created through the lawyer’s portal. I know that you can grant access to your lawyer from your personal portal by updating the “lawyer email” field. It is a controlled vocabulary of email addresses for lawyers registered on the SEF ARI site; it will not accept any old email address.

I don’t see any indication that the business logic cares whether you add the lawyer before or after you submit the application, but I haven’t explored it in detail and I am not likely to do so.

Keeping to the HOW TO theme.
BEFORE an application is set up, you should ask your lawyer to set it up so that you can see the status of the application and, importantly, make SEF appointments for biometrics. Thus on the Original Poster’s list of Steps, your lawyer does what the OP did, as follows:
Step 1 Your lawyer registers you as the applicant /requerente (with your email address). Below that are identification, fiscal identification, current address, and “legal representative/representante legal”. Under legal representative, the lawyer puts in their email address OR the SEF registered email address for the legal firm. The address is where you live currently (later linked to the apostilled police records that will be uploaded).
Step 2 to 4 ** are completed by your lawyer. When the screen is set up - which is achieved BEFORE it is populated with any documents, SEF will send you an email stating: " Your registration as applicant for Authorization of Residence as Investor (ARI) was accepted. To conclude the process you should access the site xxx using your e-mail as identification and the user password xxxxxxx / O seu registo como requerente de Autorização de Residência de Investidor (ARI) foi aceite. Para concluir o processo deverá aceder usando o seu e-mail como identificação de utilizador e a senha xxxxxx". Follow the instruction which takes you to the SEF/ARI portal and access to the application. You will see a € Euro sign, a people icon, a QR code, none of which are active until the application is populated and payment made first for you and then for others (if any).
Step 5 The documents required by SEF are uploaded by your lawyer. When correctly uploaded and sent to SEF, your lawyer will receive a DUC (Documento único de Cobranca- a bill) which is sent to you to pay the first fee. Once the fee is paid, the status changes to “Em análise”.
Step 5 is repeated for each additional member in your application.
So it is important to ask your lawyer to do Step 1 BEFORE registration, and in a way that you can see what occurs.

@M-n-G, Not to overly confuse things, but what you list as your Step 1 is also the same as my step 2 - you don’t need your lawyer to do that for you - you can do that yourself as long as you have the email for the lawyer.

The issue with asking your lawyer to do it is that most lawyers are telling their clients, that they don’t want to create a separate account for their client as they don’t seem to understand that doing it the way I have laid out above does not require them to use this separate account and that they can continue to use the their account and still see it.

Your Step 5 still stands :slight_smile:

I wish I could convince my lawyer to let me set up a separate account with her listed as legal representative. But she is adamant that this is impossible. I keep pointing out that I live 8 time zones away, so that I can do the checking and refreshing in the wee hours (Portugal time) when, according to others on this forum, cancelled appointments become available on the system. I wish there were a simple step-by-step instruction I could send her, but by this point in this thread, I am confused about what to suggest to her. Note that I am waiting for my appointment for my second renewal.

It is not clear to me that after they have already created your record in the SEF system, there is any way to then create a record for yourself to get access. So you may be out of luck unfortunately. This was only to set it up before a record is created for you in the SEF system - if you create it, it also shows up in the lawyers portal. If they create it, there does not seem to be a way to associate your personal login with that record.

The only thing you could try to create a login with the steps above and put it the lawyers SEF registered email and see if it works to associate your account with the record for you that the lawyer already created.

@ jjmz Agreed. Did not mean to confuse. Step 1 is either the applicant doing the Set up (as you did) or the lawyer doing the set up in a way that enables access for the applicant. This appears to be required at the beginning of the process. My intent was to make this clear (give information/ammunition) to new applicants vetting lawyers – that this IS possible AND can be done by their lawyer. Thus if the lawyer does not agree, the applicant can decide to choose another lawyer who agrees, or initiate the process themselves.

A GV seeker who is just getting started can simply create an account and begin the process at ari.sef.pt. Once the lawyer is chosen, add the lawyer’s registered email address to the application and the lawyer will immediately gain shared access to the application file. That allows both the applicant and the lawyer to fill in the forms, add required documents, make payments, and schedule appointments.

I have directly confirmed all of this firsthand.

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Dumb question but does the SEF portal have both READ and READ/EDIT access? My lawyer set me up with an account so I can see my application, but I tried to edit my address but wasn’t able to. Wondering if it was user error or if I somehow am only able to view but not edit my application.

I was able to edit the details along with my lawyers. I have not tried to edit since the application has been submitted - maybe that has something to do with it?

I logged in to my SEF account while my lawyers were still collecting all the docs to submit, and got reprimanded for trying to change things - apparently if I had submitted it it would’ve thrown everything off because you can only do that once per account or something.

Definitely talk with your lawyer