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

As appealing as it sounds to let go of quality, responsibility, professionalism , efficiency, accountability, innovation, and pride of ownership (though in the US these have also slipped badly), for any new or recent PGV applicants, we don’t even have that luxury, because it will be years (or never?) before we receive our residence cards.


I completely understand people who have not gotten initial approval that are in a much different position. With US passport keep in mind you can at least always leave!

Portugal overall is not a bad place to live and it still should be given consideration while having full awareness of this bureaucratic component that is horrendous. Being here a while, I would add that hostility of locals against Bougie foreigners is shocking, borderline xenophobic. @Hippopotamousse

I kind of wonder, for people whose stamp hasn’t expired yet - if you were to go to another schengen country, leave, get the exit stamp, then return directly into portugal carrying your expired card… could you get in on the expired card without being stamped? Probably. Then you would have an unstamped passport. then, if you wanted to go elsewhere, you could fly out of LIS to some third country, then fly back in to a schengen country without the card…then leave to that third country then back into portugal…

it’s all super convoluted of course.

This is super off-topic.

Has anyone tried just going to the SEF people at the border (as in, literally, just go to the office at the airport - or go to the Global Blue desk which by definition has to have a SEF border guard at it), explaining, and seeing if they’d just stamp it and reset it? I’m fairly sure a border guard could very well just fix it if they wanted to; if you read the SBC, a border guard has quite a lot of discretion in these matters. I mean really, they can chalk it up as “some other idiot forgot to stamp it, we’re fixing it”. Once you get the errant stamp reset, you’re back to normal, then you just manage the situation carefully as above.

This is quite an issue anyway. THERE IS NO AGREEMENT on whether the passport of a third-country-national residence-permit holder SHOULD be stamped in the first place. The law says one thing but practice has proven quite, quite different across the entire Schengen Zone. A lot of passports have gone unstamped, leading to various forms of confusion. I have first hand experience of this. So border guards must have to fix this kind of shit all the time.

AFAICT, all you have to do is manage the stamp. That IS the visa. Don’t assume anything about “OMG there is this huge tracking database and they’ll know”. As far as I can tell, based on my experience, there isn’t, and they don’t. There is a system for tracking ACTUAL Schengen visas (the VIS), and ACTUAL residence permits (IIRC also VIS), and VIOLATIONS of Schengen (SIS)… but not visa-waiver. I think that is why they want to do this ETIAS thing in the first place. Sure it’s a response to ESTA or whatever, but they don’t have the data structures to track visa-waiver people cross-zone, so it has to be built.

I’m sure any number of you are rolling your eyes and saying “you’re trying to tell me that that scan of your passport isn’t getting logged in Huge Database In The Sky? that’s so trivial a thing to do, that can’t possibly be true?” Bwahahahaha. C’mon, this is Europe. 27 countries would have to agree on what that database looked like and what data was in it and how data got logged in it and and and . You’d have to have consultations on the format of the database and what columns are in it and how long you keep the data and which languages do you support and a legal framework to allow it all since you’re consolidating national databases. There’d have to be committees, a new office in Brussels. Who hosts the data? Procurement of equipment, hiring staff. Etc. All of which would take … how many years? How long has the ETIAS project taken? Nuff said.

In the more innocent world of even a decade ago, I’m sure no one in Europe thought they needed anything this complex.

As an aside:

Surprisingly, the SBC itself, and stuff around it, is quite acknowledging of the fact that resident permit holders can just randomly wander around the zone and it’s difficult-to-impossible to police their activities in practice, and by and large, as I remember the language, the residence holder is legally given the benefit of the doubt. Thus if a situation comes up that is blatantly obviously bad - say you bought a house elsewhere and can’t prove an address in your home country any more etc - then sure you’re in trouble, but you’re going to get waved through a random border crossing check as long as you have some reasonable excuse.

That is… if your permit is not expired, of course. Not helpful in your case.

YMMV and just one person’s reading of the regs.

If someone has first-hand experience disproving any of this, I’d love to hear it.


@blanusa Just wonder if you have a first-hand experience of Albania to compare with?
I have traveled there but not anywhere long enough to draw any conclusions.


Good plan - make the most of the situation!

Who you calling bougie?!

They dislike any foreigner with money, or just people who are obnoxious about it?

What do you mean the need to move? If one move their money and invest in funds or property with the end goal of moving there, wouldn’t that imply they need to move? I am waiting (nearly a year) for approval and then biometrics. I have invested in real estate verses investments. At the moment, I do not “need” to be there, but in the future I will need to be there as a large chunk of my retirement savings is invested there. Regardless of the reason why someone has invested in the GV, the government needs to their job. I totally give them a break in being behind with Covid and the Ukrainian movement, but beyond that…they need to step it up. Honestly, the 5 years should start once the investment is made and the application is submitted unless there is a valid reason why you are denied.


Never met a single rude person. But then we have our labrador with us most times.


Next week will be the one-year anniversary of my investment. Still no closer to pre-approval. Many others are also far away…

13 months and still nothing, yet the “news” is posting rubbish like this:

Seriously, don’t waste your time or money on Portugal.


What other options are there for obtaining a EU passport (without moving now)?


Presumably you applied in the last working week (20-24 Dec) of 2021, with a multitude of others… ?
Pre-approvals for Dec 14 2021 trickled in yesterday.

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If a passport is your goal, your window to obtaining it within this decade from Portugal is already closed, so unless you have a nearly unlimited time horizon, save your money for something else.

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Applied earlier, but processing issues with the bank caused the final payment to SEF to be delayed far past the original plan.

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You are justifiably frustrated, but posts like this aren’t very helpful. And may not even be true! You certainly don’t know what the next 5 years will bring.

You applied during the time of presumably the highest volume of applications ever, but SEF seems to be working through December '21. Progress is progress.