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.

1 Like

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.

1 Like

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.

1 Like

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.


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

Hello! I am in the same boat - have lived in Portugal for 3 years and had a valid GV for 3 years - so I also want to apply for the non GV Permanent Residence. Have you done it yet? Do you know if we need any documents like birth certificates etc? Or is that only for citizenship applications?

Ask your lawyer. My lawyer told me that applying for a non-GV permanent residence was a covid era arrangement, and that it’s no longer possible. I heard the same from another lawyer, so maybe my lawyer isn’t exaggerating for once. Though she did recommend that I shouldn’t bother with permanent residence, especially because for us GV holders, the cost is of course astronomical. So I’m applying for another two-year renewal and citizenship at the same time. Since citizenship takes normally two years, the timing should work out.

For citizenship, you need the language certificate, criminal records, and birth certificate. I don’t think you need the birth certificate for permanent residence.

1 Like

My lawyer takes so long to reply to me and then her answers are not as straightforward as this - so thank you for the quick reply! I guess I should just resign to the fact that I will have to pay for another expensive GV visa renewal while I wait for the citizenship application process.

I am South African and getting the documents from South Africa for the citizenship application while they are all within the 3 month validity is a massive challenge. Was hoping to avoid the fee of renewing the GV but alas!

I too am South African, we’ve had our GVs for more than 5 years, we’ve lived in Portugal since 2019 and we now have to renew our present visas which run out at the end of this year. We would really like to get citizenship but I do t think I’ll pass the exam - have no problem with the reading and comprehension part but the listening part sounds nearly impossible! And I know that my husband isn’t nearly at that stage, although he is doing his driver’s licence in Portuguese (thanks to South Africa for messing up his validation!). I’ve read that the 5 year permanent residency visa costs about €7000 each which we don’t want to have to pay. Is there any other option available?

Check the various threads on the language requirements for citizenship. I think you can take a course that doesn’t require an exam pass, and you get a certification that you’ve done the required number of hours.


Permanent residency also requires the language exam. So if you’re living full time in Portugal, PR makes no sense. Go straight to citizenship. As Chris said, above, you can take a government course, which takes 6 to 9 months of classroom attendance (no, there are no online version). As long as you show up for class and don’t snore too loudly, you get a certificate which satisfies the language requirement. But it MUST be a course that is approved for this purpose. Such courses are offered through many public schools.

I took the language exam last October. As everyone says, the listening part is deliberately unfair. Purposely distorted recordings to simulate a bad phone connection, or loud background noise, and the grammar and vocabulary levels were more B2 than A2. Add to that the fact that the Lisbon testing centre is so close to the airport that every three minutes, landing jets drown out the sound of the listening test for around 20 seconds. At the end of the listening test, the test administrator looked as shocked as us test takers. and apologized, saying that this year’s test was the most difficult she’d ever witnessed. I made educated guesses on most answers. Yet somehow, I got a 72, with 55 being the minimum passing grade. If I could pass it with my ancient ears, I’m sure you can.

1 Like

Have a look at this thread: