Share status of lawsuit against SEF

I am not suing the sef sadly, but good luck!

Lawyer confirms our lawsuit has been filed.

They said if the court agrees to the urgency, it should take about 3 months to get an answer.

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What if we piss them off really bad by suing them?
Could that sort of jeopardize the whole thing?
Just wondering

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For sure this seems like a new cottage industry for the lawyers. File an application for residence and then make more money off the lawsuits to enforce the issuance of the residency permit than the original work.

It seems the best way to get your application processed in a reasonable amount of time. :person_shrugging:t2:

But if SEF processed the applications within a reasonable time-frame then there wouldn’t be any need for suing them. I don’t like the unanticipated payment I’m making for the lawsuit, but I doubt lawyers are to be blamed for this in this instance.

FWIW, I’ve seen the SEF roulette for the last couple of years. At first, it seems Faro was a “fast-track” SEF office, then it was Coimbra, then it was Lisbon, etc… I’m not clear at all how they are processing these things, but my pre-approval - to - biometrics time was 401 days, and biometrics to final card issuance was 256 days. It appears my overall time line of 721 days is the average for all those who have completed and reported it on Thomas’ database. I say all of this to say - don’t lose hope! If the average is 2 years, that means there are some whose timeline is longer (for whatever reason), but it also shows that they are getting the residence card eventually.

Very happy to share the outcome of my lawsuit against SEF which was started on 7 March 2023:

I. I hereby order the Immigration and Borders Service to:

(a) within 5 days, counted in accordance with Article 87 of the CPA2015, from the notification of this decision, to indicate to the applicants three dates within the three months following this decision for the applicants to go to a SEF service point, and

b) within 90 days, counted in accordance with Article 87 of the CPA, from the time the applicants go to a SEF service point, discounting the days in which the procedures are pending the impulse of the applicants, analyze, instruct and decide the applications and, if applicable, deliver the residence permits to the applicants.


Congrats! I’m very curious if they’ll follow the 90 days from b)

Any idea what the repercussions are for them if they don’t?

Just to note on day counts. The various SEF deadlines are 30, 60 or 90 days. The casual observer would look at “90 days” and think “ah, so three months”. In fact, it’s 90 business days, so it’s a bit over four months.


Thank you. I’ll ask my lawyer to see if he knows what to do if SEF doesn’t abide by the terms of the decision including b). My feeling is that SEF wouldn’t want to get told off (my interpretation) by the courts a second time in the same case. The problem will arise if the successor organization to SEF starts stonewalling the process claiming as a new entity 1) they’re not obligated to carry out the terms imposed on SEF or 2) as a new entity, they need more time than the 90 days allotted.

Thanks for Chris’ clarification below. Given the horrible timelines of Lisbon where I’m destined to be scheduled for the biometrics, 90 business days for the remainder of the processing will be equally welcome to me.


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Congratulations! Can I ask what was the basis of your case - I.e. simply long delays in processing, or was it missed appointments?

We were about to file a case for my husband who missed his appointment, however that’s now on hold as he’s been invited to go at the same time as our toddler.

Fantastic news! Well done!

Thanks, Selina. I had failed to schedule biometrics when a window was offered after pre-approval in June 2019. Then, I missed the appointment SEF scheduled for December 2021. SEF was not responsive to my repeated requests for rescheduling from June to December 2022. Hence the decision to sue.


Thanks so much.

Hi @taufiq.choudhury, I am curious - did the SEF comply with part (a) of the Court’s order? Did you get three dates offered to you? When is your biometric appointment?

If they subsequently carry through with part (b) of the order it would be an absolute miracle… wish you the very best. Rooting for you!

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Yes, SEF offered three alternative dates, none of which was suitable for us. Our lawyer requested a date that would work best for us and SEF immediately confirmed it. It’s for September 11th in Lisbon now.

Will have to see how part b goes. I’m afraid to hope for that to go smoothly given Lisbon’s timeline and the fact that SEF merges with the new agency soon.

Hope all goes well for everyone waiting for their residency to come through.


I wish you the best for part b.

Enjoy your trip to Lisbon for your biometrics!

Thank you.

Good work. Can I ask, what were the grounds if any for ‘urgent consideration’ ? My lawyer is referring to this route as an ‘injunction’, and suggesting that to qualify, I would need to demonstrate the urgency; namely that I was already in Portugal.