Overstaying in PT

I’ve been reading through many posts but I can’t seem to find a definitive answer.

Has anyone actually overstayed in Portugal before even receiving preapproval?
Our GV application was submitted earlier this year (January 2023), we never intended on actually moving to Portugal. However due to some personal circumstances, my kid will be starting school in PT this September, which means we will be overstaying )mid-August until June). We did consult our attorney handling our GV about this, and he was extremely nonchalant and said that it is fine. However, I also belong to several other Facebook groups warning about the implications of overstaying. So I’m wondering if there is anyone with a similar situation, that has overstayed. What issues did you encounter with the customs officers? Did this affect you when re-entering Portugal?
I won’t be entering any other Schengen countries, if that helps my case.

Have a friend here in Lisbon in exact same situation…he came and wnt between other Schengen countries and back to US and never encountered any issues. Guess that’s not to say you wont but seems like eveyone is pretty lax. He’s now awaiting final approval and has been here two years. Has two separate properties, a car, the whole enchilada.

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The Portuguese law allows you to stay on Portuguese territory even after expiration of your automatic 90-day Schengen visa (if you are from U.S. or Canada) whilst your application is being considered. You should be fine. It would be best to fly in/out to non-Schengen country like U.K., Ireland, or U.S., Canada, etc.

I have overstayed my visa quite a bit by now. So far… well, so good.

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I’m also interested in experiences here as we are considering doing the same, it’s taking ages to get a biometrics appointment for my wife.

That doesn’t seem to make sense. If your application is being considered then the person is still on a tourist visa. Keeping it simple is the best always. If the pre-approval has been given that’s a different story but one would still need to go to the SEF and ask for permission to land outside of normal rules. Or flying in and out to non-Schengen but until a status change is made, it’s still a tourist visa. With biometrics and flight rosters these days, they know everything. Why risk it?


First, for Americans, there is an automatic 60-day extension due to bi-lateral agreement that existed prior to Schengen formation. That gives you additional time.
Second, once you apply, you are granted a so-called “irregular resident” status - that’s according to my lawyer. This allows you to stay in Portugal whilst awaiting decision of your application. This is not just for GV, but for all applicants under all immigration programmes. SEF recognises this status, and at least I was already allowed in and out of Portugal to/from non-Schengen U.K. with no hassles after I presented my SEF letter.
Third, the airlines typically do not enforce 90/180 rules, but rather check identity documents. British Airways didn’t care for my permission to enter Portugal. TAP did, and was quickly satisfied with the SEF letter.
Although I agree with you that this is not ideal, you still have these options. Indeed, it is a risk and unfortunately an unnecessary one due to lengthy delays in GV application processing. However, if you need to travel…, well either take the risk or stay put, depending on your tolerance level.
One thing for sure: no-one will kick you out of Portugal.


What SEF letter did you present? I don’t think I have a letter from the SEF. Would a screenshot of my GV application from their website suffice?

I can’t answer for Roman, or if a screenshot will be sufficient, but I was told to carry a screenshot from the SEF portal. I’ve never had to use it, my word has never been questioned or my passage into PT blocked these past 15 months

In our case, since we have already had our biometrics, I was presenting that letter certifying successful submission of all documents and completion of the appointment.

I would suspect a screenshot of your application showing the current status should suffice. If you are using a lawyer, have him/her draft you a letter confirming your submission status.

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Roman, where did you get this letter? Was it from SEF somehow or something your own lawyer prepared? Thanks.

This letter was a “certificate” of attending SEF biometrics. It was issued by the SEF at the conclusion of the appointment.

Good luck!