SEF Appointment: Sharing Status (?)

Alex, thanks for sharing! How often do these appear and how much time did you actually spend in front of your display refreshing the page? Also, do you remember whether all such slots are really for next 1-2-3 days, or there’s something appearing for more distant period of time once in a while? I’m asking because we only got 3 of 4 appointments scheduled (mid November), and my daughter is still not having her slot. I’m not sure whether it makes sense to push the lawyers to work harder, or it’s really a matter of time and we’ll catch something closer to the scheduled date…

When he says “difficult to catch” there should be more emphasis on the word difficult. Sure it is factually true that you can find appointments here and there but generally if you do find them, they are not logistically possible to do anything with. There has to be a better way than devoting your life to a computer screen and still not finding an appointment after days and days of clicking the mouse. It is creating serious RSI.
I would not wish this on anyone.
Please SEF, do something to rectify this situation.

They are. They are limiting appointments to discourage applicants. Eventually enough people will give up that the program will only have the trickle of applicants they feel should be allowed.

Hi Everyone,

As most are waiting for slots for initial Biometrics, I would like show another side…

I noticed most people here are new applicants, I have had my GV for 3 years, I did my last renewal just before COVID and honestly it was very smooth.

Now, for my final (hopefully) renewal , I have been struggling to find an appointment. Even when I have access to my Ari account along with my lawyer.
I have been trying since July, and check 2 or 3 times daily.

It’s really frustrating knowing that there is no other solution other than trying to get an appointment by luck…

Although I don’t regret applying, but honestly I expected this program to be much more streamlined.

Is there anyone renewing having the same issue?

The other issue is that you are still required to spend the minimum stay… shouldn’t this be waived in light of current circumstances?


To continue my previous note where I told that I managed to catch several slots during the last week just a few things to add following the latests messages. Indeed, the slots appearing are normally for the nearest days, sometimes for the next day even. Quite rare when you can get a slot for certain period in future, like 2-3 weeks ahead. However, still possible. Checking and clicking 2-3 times a day is not enough, 24/7 is needed. That’s how I got approx. 20 slots during the last two months.

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Thank you for this information @sef-app. When you say you “…got approx. 20 slots during the last two months”, does this mean you saw the 20 slots in the portal or you actually were able to secure one or more of them? I ask because I do not know if you are an applicant or a lawyer working with applicants.

Hi all,

I would appreciate any opinions on my case :slight_smile:

My pre-approval application was submitted to SEF by my lawyer on Sep 23rd and according to what I’m reading, I should get my approval by around the 18th of November (8 weeks after). I was also planning on going to Portugal that day and stay until the 28th of November. Does anyone think there’s a chance I could get my approval during that time and catch a next-day cancellation for a biometric appointment (I noticed on another thread that there are a lot of next 1-2 day cancellations)? (my friend also has a car there so I could go anywhere to do the biometrics).

I wanted to plan to go in advance so I don’t have to pay for a last minute ticket (since I live in Toronto, Canada) so let me know if you guys think this might be at all doable.


I have been told by my lawyer that the pre-approvals are taking longer than the normal 8 weeks. When I spoke with her about 3 weeks ago, she said the last two pre-approvals she had done took 12 and 10 weeks respectively and that was considered an “improved” result.

Sorry to hear that – also, It sucks for the rest of us “after you” to soon have to accept that this “thread” is part of our lives for the next 5-7 years :cry: (even though I created it…)

If they could just fix one thing: have all family members do everything in one slot, then the world will be a 10X better place.

Yes it is doable. I did it. You are a CS student, which gives you a leg up. Consider doing something clever. Think about element #34 on the periodic table.

The situation changes from week to week but you can probably find an opening once or twice a week, often next day in the Azores. Once a month, a whole big block of openings appears for a future month. Law firms that have hoarded appointments seem to shuffle them around mid-morning during the work week, Portugal time, and dump unusable appointments between 11 PM and midnight Portugal time Sun-Thu.

I would not attempt to time that pre-approval so tightly. Maybe it’ll happen, or maybe you’ll be there for two weeks for absolutely no good reason. I thought I’d given myself enough time, but my pre-approval took longer than normal and I was merely fortunate that it came through the day I arrived.

Are you really in that much of a hurry that adding another 2 or 4 weeks as a cushion really matters?

I’d also note that, last I looked anyway, last minute flights just weren’t all that expensive anyway. Even if you ignore covid, oct- nov is always a dirt-cheap time of year to travel to Europe.

So, all the questions that are being asked here about “can this work” or “is this possible” they have already been answered here. please read the thread. Yes, it is possible. Will it be easy? No, definitely not.

It is physically impossible to check 24/7. Do you use automated bots to automatically secure appointments? How can you help make it easier? Please explain.

It is quite likely possible to monitor 24/7, but I would actually prefer if Alex does not share his method publicly on this thread, otherwise we will all be stuffed and no one will get any appointment ever :slight_smile:
Sapienti sat.

I continue to wish there were a way to get my case into an account on the SEF site that I control, rather than my lawyer. This would allow me to spend my days searching for appointments.

Has anyone in this thread switched law firms? I don’t want to do that, but I am interested in understanding how cases that are in progress are transferred to a new or existing account on the SEF site and this, of course, happens in such a situation. If you have any experience with something like this, details would be greatly appreciated.

the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.
keep in mind that things have changed quite a bit over the last few weeks for the worse.
just because you have a login does not mean you will get an appointment, notwithstanding what some people are posting on here. What may have been the case a few weeks ago may not be true today.
switching lawyers may be a good move, but it could also delay things more for you. Its hard to say. I suppose you need to talk to a lawyer you want to switch to and see what they say.
dont give up hope. It will get better in a few months I surmise.

Just an update:

Today SEF opened slots for October and November.
I was checking randomly and managed to snag a slot in November.

The slots were all out in 1 minute.
Sorry couldn’t post earlier.

@mmtravelguy I think you missed my point. I don’t want to change lawyers. Not at all! What I’m trying to do is understand the process by which cases can be moved between accounts on the SEF web site. I mentioned people who have changed lawyers, as obviously there is some procedure for migrating cases between accounts, and I’m looking to understand how that works. I would like to get my case into a separate account so I can unload the appointment search from my lawyer to me.

I’ve been waiting 5+ months for the appointment and have plenty of patience. :slight_smile:

Well , just talk to your lawyer about it. They would need to facilitate. If switching lawyers wasn’t your point then I was confused because you bolded that question. But my same point applies. Even if you could manage yourself it won’t magically solve your issue

I would recommend you speak to your current lawyer and ask them to either:

  • share the creds to your case (I’m afraid they won’t if they use the same creds for all their clients); or,
  • offload your case to a separate set of creds that they can then share with you.

I honestly don’t know if the latter ‘offloading’ is technically possible, but again I am not a lawyer, they must know.