Portugal Golden Visa is a scam - endless waits, misleading information and outright lies

I feel trapped and scammed by this process. The reason I applied for this was to be able to travel more freely and avoid issues with visas and embassies. This is the exact opposite experience. I have been stuck in Lisbon now for 9months, unable to travel out and with no end in sight on the SEF processes. I have missed important business and family commitments. Feels like I paid a bunch of money to get stuck here with endless wait and refreshing my application status daily. This is an outright scandal from SEF to law firms to investment agents telling you straight up lies and misleading you throughout the process while charging you every step of the way. I am actually thinking of suing SEF and some of the ppl involved in the process for wasted time, money and the lies. Is there anyone thinking along these lines?


I feel exactly the same like you. It has been 5 months living here without resident card. No one could tell when the card is gonna arrive. Even when the card arrives, I will start worrying about the renewal because many people are now living under expired cards without possibility to renew.

I do feel that it is a scam. PT authority is clever enough to create a program in such a way that the investors find it attractive to put down the money. The PT officials are like foxes, they created a unique program which stands out from other countries’ programs. After making comparison with other programs taking consideration of price, tax incentives, physical requirement of stay, weather, culture, food, it is difficult to resist. However, the program only looks good on paper. The government breaks the promises tentatively. They know well that once the investors have put down the money, it is extremely rare that the investors will skip the process.

I am going to talk to my lawyer to change to D7 after receiving my first card. I do not want to get stuck with the renewal process like many investors are having right now.

Thinking about the suing SEF is not what I have ever thought of. Actually, I do not think it as a realistic way. The probability that one could win over SEF is even less than 0.01%, not taking into account the money and times that one needs to follow the case. Only way is solve it is that you can quit the process and consider the loss as a lesson learnt in life. The other way is to follow until end and do not make any investment in PT so that the authority will have no chance to suck up your money. It is extremely stressful. I am on same boat with you anyway.

Enjoy the sun and all the best…


You have worded it strongly for sure. My concern about it is more so lack of communication from SEF and lawyers. No apologies, no updates , no explanation for delays … nothing.


Same here! I’ve been trapped in Portugal since April 2021. Since my passport does not allow travel in the Schengen zone and no direct flights to my family and of course with the risk and/or hassle of explaining why my visa is supposed to be valid on re-entry to Portugal. I cannot even apply for a tourist visa from Portugal because I am already in the Schengen zone.

They “raffle” out the appointment slots with an announcement banner on their Facebook page - and the slots are gone within 1 hour. People whose visa’s are only expiring in at the end of 2022 have appointments while people like me who have been waiting for more than a year are hopelessly watching the facebook page for the next exciting episode.

Aside from that, the admin fees for the visa and renewals is so high and if a GV applicant applies for Permanent Residence SEF charges 7000€ while regular Permanent Residence costs a few hundred Euros. Not to mention the lawyers… which is like a lucky packet.

Such a beautiful country tainted by this scam. If they don’t want GV investors then they shouldn’t accept our money.


I think you can still apply for the cheaper, normal PR if you are planning to live in Portugal.

The more expensive PR just gives you the ability to live outside Portugal without losing PR (similar to how GV lets you reside outside Portugal).


Could you pls tell me which “more expensive” PR you mean? You say it gives you the ability to live outside Portugal without losing PR and that that’s similar to how GV works. Is there such an option that isn’t a GV, HQA, or financial investment–all of which require a great deal of money? I’m hoping there’s some option that isn’t too expensive but that still allows the flexibility of not living in Portugal for most of the year. Thanks.


The “more expensive” is a ‘GV PR’ - an option to choose after the last GV renewal expires. The other two options are citizenship or a ‘normal’ PR. The latter requires an honest feet-on-the-ground residence :smile:


There isn’t. That is the entire point of GV, which is a very specific carve-out from the normal regimes. Sorry. TANSTAAFL.

There is a special GV permanent-residency which lets you retain residence without the minimum stay requirements. Then there is a normal permanent residency which still has boots-on-ground requirements.

Of course you can apply for citizenship after your 5 years of GV (plus however long it takes to get GV plus however long the citizenship app takes) and that is inexpensive, but of course it is quite expensive for your first 5+ years and I’m not thinking that is what you are hoping for.

(If you aren’t going to be there most of the time, why not just apply for a long-term schengen visa?)


I see. Thank you.


Interesting, re a long-term Schengen visa option. I hadn’t realized that was directly doable. I’ll look into it. Thanks so much.

TIL TANSTAAFL :sweat_smile: ha!

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I’d be interested in a class action or even explore taking it to the European Courts. SEF are funded by the EU so that must give them some influence I’ve the total breakdown and toxic failure it’s become. How can Portugal justify receiving the funding if it’s not functioning?
It seems Portugal is good at taking peoples money and then not delivering their end of the deal.
Personally my story is much the same but I’ve reached a tipping point so I’ll be withdrawing my investment funds and moving it to another golden visa scheme before they’re all closed down.
Much like another contributor I don’t trust Portugal to not mess up the renewals and I find a repeat of the current debacle.
Anyone investigating GV options don’t consider Portugal until they can offer cast iron assurances on processing times and that’s not the same as passing laws limiting SEF to under 90 days and then not doing anything about it when they blow way passed that.
Portugal will trash the good GV reputation it built up on the back of allowing the last 12 months political wrangling to continue unchecked.
I’m in on any legal action

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Hi, everybody! I created a YouTube channel to disseminate information about the Portugal golden visa from the investors’ perspective. I had two purposes in my mind. First, I want to help future investors make better decisions. Second, I want everybody to know how horrible the Portuguese government treated the golden visa investors.
I am happy to join a class suit against the government. Yet the easiest thing we can do is to subscribe to my channel, share my videos EVERYDAY in your spare time, like and comment on my videos, send me/publish your own videos telling your own stories, etc. If one day our channel becomes a top channel when someone searches Portugal golden visa online, our voices will gain more influence. I hope that our problem can be solved this way. If not, at least we will leave a permanent bad record about the SEF on YouTube.
I managed to get around 1000 views of my videos entirely through sharing it somewhere online in my spare time. It is easy to do. Please join me. Do you have better ideas of promoting our message?

Do not buy Portugal golden visa fund! - YouTube
Get Portugal passport in 5 years? - YouTube


this is my post that was censored. did my efforts/post sound offensive to you? or did you find the behavior of SEF offensive? or maybe both :rofl:

Get rid of the AI voice on your videos please. It makes them unwatchable


It probably got censored because you posted the exact same post multiple times on multiple threads.


Probably not because of duplication. My original post was fine for two days. You can see that people replied to my post like normal. Then it got censored suddenly.

I would love to use human voice. but I am not a native speaker. Anybody can help me? I have a regular job unrelated to media or YouTube. I learned to create these videos in my spare time. Sorry if they do not look professional.

I wasn’t trying to be mean. There are threads about how the AI voice actually pushes people away from channels on youtube. Hopefully someone will narrate for you.

A lot of people agree with your general sentiments… at least I do

A few perspectives that I’ve heard, though I would doubt helpful to you

  1. PT, while benefiting from its location within Europe and access to the EU, is a poor country (remember the havoc that the PIGS caused in 2013 in the financial markets - with P an ostensible leader in poor finances?)
  2. The Ukraine conflagration seems to have EU authorities (including PT) scrutinizing anyone for whether they have fealty to Russia regardless of whether they are a migrant, refugee, or for their personal circumstance (see here: CNBC)
  3. PT’s neighbors are virtually all in better financial shape and charge more, but I cannot imagine there is not bureaucracy and opaqueness around their programs either
  4. Historically, PT is quite notorious for mismanagement of its finances. Think about history where PT plundered both the new world and orient of their riches and have squandered them away over time (Norway is a great example of how to manage super-wealth for the benefit of society and longevity!)
  5. In the USA, legal migration is almost impossible today (NB: not trying to get into the politics of illegal border jumpers), so are we surprised that most nations are clamping down on immigration programs when the bastion among immigrant nations (and many others) is doing so as well? (see here: Lady Liberty)
  6. A great hypothetical debate about PT: now that the first vintage of GV graduates are eligible for citizenship, will it rewrite the rules to prevent citizenship grants? Yes, some have been granted, but like most, will PT want to have their cake and eat it too :question:

Nevertheless, FWIW, a Brit managed to sue the SEF and won! (see here: Brit sues the SEF)