SEF Scheduling Update

Dear all, my wife and I managed to get a biometric appointment at SEF in early February. Is there anyone knows when we will get the residency cards? 3 months? 6 months?

Dear All, I just did my biometrics. Does anyone have an idea what’s the expected time for receiving the residence card after biometrics?

I want to stay in Portugal after my biometrics until my residence card is issued. Is it ok to stay here until the residence card is issued even if my Schengen visa has expired?


For me it was 3 months from biometrics to approval of the application and issuance of an ID number; this is from an October appointment. Then figure another 4 weeks for someone to go to the printer and print the card. (Doing biometrics does not mean your application has been approved, it’s merely a precondition to the actual approval and issuance of your ID number.)

it seems that most visas have been extended to the end of march per 110-A/2021 on the basis that they are not issuing appointments for you to be able to apply for visa renewals. However if you overstay it behooves you to exit Schengen via a Portuguese point of entry as if you use a connecting flight and exit via another country, the other country may not be aware of 110-A/2021 or necessarily even honor it (since it only applies to Portugal); the whole thing is somewhat unclear. I realize that legally if you have the permit it shouldn’t matter any more but you will have entered on a Schengen visa and you probably want that entry cleared correctly; there is “what is and isn’t legal” but that is not the same as “what will or won’t actually happen” and I think that, where practical to do so, the wise nomad works with the system in such a way as to minimize any potential noise or friction that may come back to you someday.

Since your permit has not actually been approved, you can’t I don’t think realistically stay on a presumption of approval, you’re staying on an overstay of your schengen visa, but that’s a question for a lawyer.

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I did my biometrics in September and am still waiting for approval. From what I’ve read, anywhere from 3-8 months is considered normal. My lawyers don’t seem at all fussed by this, only by my emailing them monthly to ask if anything has changed.

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This is a good analysis. I would only add that what you also want to read is Despacho n.º 4473-A/2021 . It seems the intent is to allow persons to stay in the national territory indefinitely under an expired visa after December 31, 2021 provided that the holder can prove that they have scheduled a renewal.

This order specifically mentions applications pending under Law 23/2007 of 4 July and Article 90-A and seems to state that if you have an application pending as of April 2021 under that law your status is regular in the national territory.

I am not a lawyer so I would confirm this with your lawyer. The wording is vague enough that it would make me nervous to rely on it, even though it seems obvious in its intent.

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Where was your biometric taken ?

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Which SEF office is that ?

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My biometrics were taken in Faro.

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Mine was in Lisbon.

You just have to continually update your criminal records so they’re never older than 3 months. That’s what we did.

Just a question for those of you getting Criminal records.

Is there a request letter you get from SEF or the Portuguese Embassy to use for the purpose of issuing the certificate.

I know that Australia and Canada have an online form that you just download, but I couldn’t find such a document for Portugal.

Appreciate some advice as I was requested to provide a 2nd Criminal record in the country I’m residing in and they need some sort of request from the Portuguese authorities to issue the certificate.

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Your lawyer in Portugal maybe able to help you. Countries such as UK/Australia/Canada does not require a request, they can apply a certificate online.

What happens is this: at your biometrics appointment, if you do not have the Criminal Records Certificate, the SEF will issue a letter stating that the following documents are missing, and the Criminal Records will be ticked. You will likely need to have this translated into English, or the language of your home country, by a certified translator (many law firms have someone in house). You then present that to your country of residence.

Depending on your residence country’s policy, they may insist on sending the document direct to the SEF, not to you, in which case you have to hope and pray that SEF will accept it being not in Portuguese. I went through this situation twice, since my residence is in Hong Kong, and the HK Police absolutely will not give the requester (me) the certificate. They sent the certificates for me and my wife straight to SEF. Both times there was no problem, and it was accepted.

Alternatively, many Portuguese embassies and consulates provide a service (paid for) in which you can request the Criminal Records before you have your biometrics appointment. The embassy or consulate will then produce the request letter that you bring to your local authority. The authority will then send the Criminal Records certificate back to the embassy or consulate (not to you). The embassy or consulate will then translate it into Portuguese and certify it, and you can then retrieve this to give to the SEF. I’ve been advised that this process is estimated to take three months. I’ve never tried it myself, even though my lawyer recommends it.


Thank you @Lourenco ,

I had no problems getting the Criminal record from my home country, the issue is the country I’m residing/working in.

The solution in my case is getting the embassy request letter…
Unfortunately, I could not get in touch with the Portuguese embassy in UAE which has jurisdictions over my residing country, and they don’t answer emails. I have tried for weeks!

What I managed was to get the SEF request email translated and will try using it…if this doesn’t work I will attempt to contact a different Portuguese embassy for the request letter.


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