Moving to Portugal before GV residency cards are issued

What are the possibilities? Obviously 3 months is OK on the regular tourist entry. But what if it takes longer? Any ideas/examples?

We probably should have just done the D7, since we do play to stay in PT full time, but wanted the flexibility in case we had to move back for any emergencies, etc.

We wanted to move before the school year starts, so our daughter could have an easy transition.

1 Like

Have a friend who is doing this. Has come and gone from EU a few times, after three months expiration. So far no issue. His lawyer told him he may have to pay a small fine if caught.

Same situation. We are now applying for D7 as well, and will switch to GV once our biometrics come through.

I received preliminary approval on October 12,2021. My attornies told me that I could move to Portugal and I did so in March. I was concerned about the 90 day Schengen limit, but they insisted that Portugal’s policy was to extend temporary residency for people waiting for the SEF to schedule their biometric appointments. They also assured me that I could return to the US as needed and re-enter Portugal; and that when I needed to return they would issue a letter with copies of the visa preliminary approval and should have no difficulty returning to Portugal. However, I will not be able to travel to other Schengen countries until my residency visa is approved. Given the number of refugees from Ukraine whose paperwork must be processed by the SEF, that approval may take a very long time. Processing Golden Visa applications and scheduling biometric appointments for GV applicants , I am told, has been given lowest priority by the SEF. People I know who applied for D7 visas have had them processed in a matter of a few months.


Hi Maxine,
What exact documents do you carry with you to present at the PT border, or for any other purposes where a residence card would otherwise be required?
I am facing a bit of a problem with importing my car into PT as the customs broker says I need a proper residence card before I can do that. Otherwise I will be treated as a ‘tourist’ and pay full IVA+ISV taxes on the car to the tune of EUR 25k…
Like you, I only have my preliminary approval by the way of the SEF website status change to ‘Candidatura Aceite’.

I believe that is correct that you need to have a residence and at least intent to live in Portugal full time. According to consulate: certificate is issued based on the obligation of establishing legal residence in Portugal.

You would get a baggage certificate / “Certificado de Bagagem, which would exempt you from VAT/IVA. I havent done this so I don’t know all the particulars. In fact, it may not even be applicable to vehicles. I think not because there is a seperate process and form for the vehicle.
see here:
Consulate of Portugal in New Bedford - Certificate for Importation of Automobile (

1 Like

thanks for the links, very useful.
However none of the listed documents mention a residence card as a requirement.
I may only assume that my customs broker knows his stuff and the actual card is indeed required…

I wonder if obtaining an Intra-Company Transfer visa/permit would qualify for the car import? Apparently this must be issued by SEF within 90 days:

Hi Maxine,

I’m just curious as to why you would want to switch the GV once you have a D7 and are living in Portugal?
I am on a GV and we moved here permanently during the 3rd year of the visa. Our current GV expired in April 2021 and we have been unable to get an appointment to renew to this day. Even once we get the appointment apparently the processing times are also delayed, so we are looking at another year or two at least before we have valid visas.

I am thinking that it could be better to just rather apply for a D7 (I have seen that people get them approved within weeks of applying!). My only concern is if the 3 years of the GV (now 4 years) will count towards the time before we can apply for citizenship. Since in theory we would apply for citizenship next year, it would be a shame to wait another 5 years. I’m looking to get some legal advice, would you recommend the law firm that you are using?

We moved to Portugal 6 years ago from the US under the GV plan. We shipped all our stuff, got a tourist visa for my non-US wife, and flew to Europe, travelling around while our household goods were en route. We moved into our house, our goods arrived at the port BUT until we got our residence cards the Portuguese embassy in Washington wouldn’t give us the paper we needed to legally import our stuff duty free. We had a lawyer call them explaining everything had been approved, but until SEF actually issued the cards we would’ve had to pay ~42% (including on shipping) to get it released. You all know how fast SEF is. It took a couple of months and we paid around $1000 storage to keep our container in the port.We love Portugal but the GV is way over priced and we are often wondering if we dare leave the country with our not yet renewed residence cards.

1 Like