Permanent Residency application, switching from GV

I will soon approach the magical 5-year mark at which time I can apply for permanent residency and citizenship. I moved to Portugal full-time late last year, so although I am here on the ARI visa, under the rules as I understand them, I can apply for PR as a regular resident. The advantage being that it is extremely less expensive than the ARI permanent residency. There is no question that I will meet the 5 year residency requirement, since I had 4 years as ARI and 1 year in Portugal (by the time I apply), and I’ve done all the proper registrations with Finanças, the health system, gotten my Atestado de Residência from the local town council, and so on.

The question is what type of PR I can apply for and whether it’s even possible at this time. Here is what my lawyer just told me in an e-mail:

Please note that currently the calendar is closed for permanent residency applications. Moreover, SEF has only been accepting the special permanent GV residency for GV applicants.

I am often doubtful about her advice, as she seems to be quite extreme in her interpretations of many issues. I wonder if anyone here has any knowledge about the current situation regarding PR applications, both for ARI and non-ARI visa holders. Any advice or pointing me to credible resources will be appreciated.

Congratulations on completing the 5 years mark, your lawyer is partially correct in her statement as the online system doesn’t have an option to schedule a regular PR application for an ARI participant. However, you can still call the SEF and schedule an appointment in your area of Residence. Unlike ARI, you do need to apply in the local SEF office for a regular PR corresponding to your address. Tons of immigration lawyers are out there who can assist you in this application.

Thanks for the information. I wonder what your interpretation would be of my situation. My SEF record and residence card still use my lawyer’s Lisbon address, though I now live in Setúbal. I didn’t change my address with them because, for one, around 80 attempts to phone for an address change appointment failed; and, second, the cost of changing the address for an ARI visa is absurd compared to address changes for every other type of visa. But I have every other proof of living in Setúbal, including a registered letter I sent to SEF to inform them of my address change (which was replied to with instructions to phone for an appointment). So, what would SEF consider the office corresponding to my address? Clearly, Setúbal will be less busy and more accessible than Lisbon.

Of course I will ask my lawyer, but I predict her reply will be the same as what I quoted above.

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The only address which matters is the one corresponding to your Fiscal (NIF) registration. If you are under NHR Regime, it is suggested to contact a subject matter expert.

Dear Lourenca,
How much is the fee to SEF for address change in the ARI visa category.
If you are living in Portugal, you would be taxed a resident. Have you changed the address in the NIF record to the Portugal address.

Lourenço - You may want to read this thread: SEF documentation for residency extensions counting towards 5-year citizenship timeline
To get a PR card in any country in the EU the laws are common in that all countries (except Denmark and Ireland) require that you have been a resident in the country for a minimum of 5 years to get PR. In Portugal, you or your lawyer will need to obtain from SEF “Certidão da contagem do tempo de residência ” as certification that you achieved 5 years’ residency. This document (which also covers the periods in which your card was invalid) allows you to either get the PR residency card or make an application for citizenship, or both after 5 years’ residency. Apparently the process of getting this letter from SEF takes a couple of months - (see a recent post of a member here: SEF documentation for residency extensions counting towards 5-year citizenship timeline - #8 by 2bcb21c800144f23f132) who needed it for the citizenship route. For Portugal there are some Youtube videos on getting the Certidão (in portuguese).
The exact address where you live /on the card is immaterial (as long as in Portugal). The right to the PR is common to the EU after completion of the minimum 5 years’ residence and according to the EU the PR should be issued with minimum delay once you get the SEF document. It may be helpful to look at the EU website on the transition from 5 years’ residence to permanent residency in the EU… Look up Certidão on this forum also.

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What reasons are there to prefer permanent residency over citizenship?

Citizenship can take two years to approve. Meanwhile, I need a proper visa, so the common wisdom I’ve seen is to apply for both.


Thanks for the information. I understand that the address is immaterial…except in terms of which SEF office I go to. In this case, my NIF file shows my actual Setubal address, while my residency card shows my lawyer’s Lisbon address.

As for your other information, much appreciated. I’m trying to organize myself for proper applications in October, which is also when I take the language exam, which my tutor claims I will pass with flying colors.

Some countries don’t allow dual citizenship, so someone might need to surrender their original passport.

I have been quoted by the lawyer the cost to change address for ARI is 2000E and this is just the cost of SEF. On top of this, there should be couple of hundreds euros for lawyer’s fee.

I was recommended to change the address at the renewal where it has the option to update the address.

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I was told by a Portuguese friend that she has similar problems to update her citizen card address: impossible to get an appointment, interminable waits for processing, and so on. She hasn’t bothered to update it in over 5 years, even though she’s moved twice during that time. She is someone involved in helping new arrivals apply for documents, and even she said that I should wait until the next renewal to register the address change.

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I was quoted a little over 1500 E for an address change, so that is mostly consistent.