SEF Document Proving 5 Years Residency for Citizenship

After completing the 5 years Golden Visa, we are now ready to apply for citizenship. Our lawyer has given us a list of required documents one of which is a document from SEF proving 5 years of residency in Portugal. It is taking a lot of time to issue and our apostilled documents are on the verge of being expired. Checking this website Como obter a nacionalidade portuguesa there is no mention of this document.

Does anyone have information whether this document is necessary or not? Just for info, our temporary residence cards are still valid.


Congratulations on coming this far!
Proof of 5 years’ residence is a requirement for many applications for citizenship (although there are exceptions - eg when the applicant is a direct Portuguese descendant or has acquired the right to apply via marriage, or is a refugee etc.). The website asks the applicant to fill out a request to the Minister of Justice: with information on 10 points (name, date of birth, marital status, nationality, parents name(s), profession, address, country(ies) where you lived, full name and address of your legal representatives/ attorneys, AND the number, date and entity that issued your residence permit).
A certificate of residence is issued by the Freguesia of the applicant for EU nationals, and for third party nationals it is/would be a SEF card (eg the card you now have for ARI plus the previous ones issued - to give a beginning and end-dates). The dates on the various cards issued would/should constitute proof of residence for ARI.
However, reading the webpage (which necessarily applies to many different types of applications for citizenship and gives minimum info) cannot substitute for legal experience. Consequently, if your current lawyers do not specialize in citizenship applications, speaking to lawyers that do specialize in such applications, would be appropriate to confirm what is required and reduce any last-minute risks! I do not remember reading any post of somebody who has come this far yet!


I have some friends who went through this procedure. What they told me is that the document was necessary to cover the periods when your residence cards were invalid. Eg you have a card valid for 2 years, then it expires, it takes you another year to get a new residence card, followed another two years with a valid card, etc. The time spent waiting for a renewed card can be counted towards citizenship if you get the appropriate letter from SEF. Otherwise, you can use the cards themselves as proof, but only for the times when they were valid, not while you were waiting for renewals.
It sounds like this may be what your lawyer is advising you as well.

Congratulations on making it this far!


As has been stated, congratulations on making it to this point!

Unfortunately I can’t provide any guidance, but please post details of your progress. It will be of great interest to many of us.


Great to have that info. Husband lived in Italy for 13 years so will need to figure out how to get a verification of lack of criminal record from Italy.


The freguesia issues these for non EU citizens as well - this also the quickest way to get a bank account btw - your purchase contract should work for this otherwise get two neighbours who live in the same freguesia to sign a form given by the freguesia and copies of their ID cards and it takes 2 days max.

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I believe you are referring to Atestado de Residencia which is indeed issued by freguesia, but I am afraid it’d be no good for the topic of this thread. I got my Atestado even without having my first GV card.

Thank you everyone for your replies. We managed to get the document just a few days before our documents expired. FYI this document takes around 1-1.5 months to be issued, so I would advise to issue your required documents a little later. Our lawyers have applied end of November and have mentioned that they would receive and send us a link to track our progress, but we’re still waiting for it.


Hi @2bcb21c800144f23f132. Thanks for the update. Could you specify what document you got for this purpose? Is it the one from the freguesia or is it something from SEF? For those who have Golden Visa, they may not be living in Portugal thus won’t have something from the freguesia.

According to the emails from my lawyers, it is called ‘ contagem do tempo’ and it is from SEF. And as previous replies in the thread have mentioned, it is important in order to cover the periods where your card was invalid.