Switching from a Golden Visa to a D7

I am on a GV and we moved here permanently during the 3rd year of the visa. Our current GV expired in April 2021 and we have been unable to get an appointment to renew to this day. Even once we get the appointment apparently the processing times are also delayed, so we are looking at another year or two at least before we have valid visas.

I am thinking that, since we are now living in Portugal permanently, it could be better to just rather apply for a D7 (I have seen that people get them approved within weeks of applying!). My only concern is if the 3 years of the GV (now 4 years) will count towards the time before we can apply for citizenship. Since in theory we would apply for citizenship next year, it would be a shame to wait another 5 years. I’m looking to get some legal advice, preferably a law firm that deals with all kinds of immigration and not only golden visas.

I believe the law just requires that, adding up the time you spent on legal residence cards within the last 15 years, you have at least 5 years:


3 - Para os efeitos de contagem de prazos de residência legal previstos na presente lei, considera-se a soma de todos os períodos de residência legal em território nacional, seguidos ou interpolados, desde que os mesmos tenham decorrido num intervalo máximo de 15 anos.

Google Translate:

3 - For the purposes of counting the periods of legal residence provided for in this law, the sum of all periods of legal residence in national territory, followed or interpolated, is considered, provided that they have elapsed within a maximum interval of 15 years.

I will also PM you a reference for a citizenship lawyer.

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This is very helpful! When I spoke to my current lawyer about it she just flat out said it would not count.

But then I was reading on another thread that citizenship can happen after 5 years of “legal residence” which is what got me thinking that it might be possible!

Thanks, will get on to it!

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I too was told that I cannot change between visas. Can you pm the contact for visa attorney? Thanks in advance!

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Hi. I am in a very similar situation too. GV 3 years, moved here - now can’t get a GV appointment but all the non GV holders seem to have much more success… Can you please share the contact via PM? Thank you so much.

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Similar situation – while waiting on GV we are switching to D7 so we can get to Portugal in time for our daughter to start school this fall. Our lawyer advised that for the purposes of citizenship, residency is residency.


Related question - if you get your residence card but no renewals, but still visit Portugal with a tourist visa or whatever, does getting the renewal matter in terms of applying for or getting citizenship?

My husband and I were in a similar situation with 3 years of GV and no appointments. A friend recommended Visabee and got our D7 Visas in 3 weeks :slightly_smiling_face:


That’s amazing! Did you have to apply from outside the country? Did they mention if the 3 years you already have with the GV count towards residency?

Well, in my case we were outside the country at the moment of the application. We started a new D7 visa application and the GV has pause. I’m not sure if that helps, if not I will recommend you to send an email to Visabee, they will be able to help you :slightly_smiling_face:

Regarding the residency, you start from scratch I’m afraid. I remember this debate. There is a way of getting the years back but was longer and more costly that a D7 visa

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Hi Garrett,

This blog has a lot of information about the residency, renewals and also citizenship. I hope it helps

Hi Garrett,

As far as I know (from what I have read on other threads and from my current lawyer) the delay in getting the renewal will not affect the residency application.
But for me it’s not an option to get schengen visas because I am already living in Portugal. It’s not possible to apply for a schengen tourist visa while residing in the schengen zone. So I am currently unable to travel within Europe at all and since there are no direct flights between here and South Africa I would have to avoid Europe for the layover which makes visiting friends and family at home a lot more challenging and expensive.
I am also afraid of how long the citizenship application would take, and so maybe I would be waiting an additional 1 - 2 years before being able to travel.

It’s very frustrating especially since one of the reasons I opted for the golden visa was to be able travel easily in Europe :ok_woman:

Yeah absolutely a nightmare for those that are living there and can’t easily move around.

I’m american so I could just use my american passport for moving around, I get 3 months in the EU with no paperwork. I’ll probably use this to visit portugal when I do - I plan to do a lot of traveling, but stay based out of the USA. Hence the GV instead of D7

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Please forgive me if I’m asking stupid or obvious questions here, but I’ve searched the forum and elsewhere and don’t see the answers I need. This is about the procedure and possible minefield of switching from GV to D7.

I am on the third year of my GV. I’m a US citizen who has lived for ages in Hong Kong. My GV residency card expired in January 2022. But my lawyer finagled me a biometrics appointment in early December 2021. You can read the full story of my criminal certificates fiasco in another thread. Suffice it to say that I was finally able to submit the criminal certificate from Hong Kong in mid-April 2022. Now I’m reading in this forum that it’s taking at least 6 months from biometrics appointment to receiving new residency card. Considering my paperwork was only complete in April, that means I’m looking at October at the earliest to get my official new resident card.

So what’s the problem?

I’ve been planning for ages to move permanently to Portugal this summer, as early as July. I put my house for sale, today I’m pretty sure I found a buyer. I have my GV-purchase apartment waiting in Portugal. Next week I’m meeting a moving company to discuss the move.

What happens if I attempt to move before my residency card is issued? Without a valid residence visa, I can’t go to the local camara to get a Certificado de Residente. Without a Certificado de Residente I can’t get the Certificado de Bagagem, without which I can’t move my household stuff duty free. Not to mention that I have to enter as a tourist and thus can’t officially live there for more than 90 days.

I don’t want to wait for the residency card. People here are saying six months after the biometrics. Heck, when I first applied for my GV, I was told 3 months until I get my biometrics appointment. It took 15 months, and this was pre-covid, when SEF was operating “normally”. Add to that the coming change in the SEF, which I predict will lead to chaos on a spectacular scale. All things considered, I’m not confident in seeing my new residency card until late 2023. I can’t just sit around waiting. I just want to go there, settle down, get on with my life, and battle other irritating Portuguese bureaucracies instead (oh, how I look forward to trading in my driver’s licence for a Portuguese one).

So, with a few weeks or months to go before I have to move out and ship my essentials, I’m considering changing to a D7 which, by all accounts, is a much faster process. I meet the requirements: have the property and savings account in Portugal, my main income is passive income (book royalties) comfortably above their minimum.

What I don’t know is:

  1. Am I nuts for considering this? Seriously, I need to know. Yes, maybe I’m being hasty now, but I’m thinking ahead to future renewals and biometrics appointments, and I am sick to the gills of the low priority, long waits, enormous fees, and humiliation doled out to GV applicants and holders.
  2. Can someone point me to the actual process of applying for a D7 for someone in my situation? As a US citizen, must I apply through a Portuguese consulate in the USA (God, I hope not)? Or, as a full-time Hong Kong resident, do I apply through my nearest consulate, which is in Macau, and which all Hong Kong residents are currently forbidden to visit thanks to China’s nonsense zero-covid policy? Or can I just go to Portugal, entering obviously as a tourist at this point, and then apply for the D7?
  3. Is there a compelling reason that I should not do this?

Please note that I’ve asked my lawyer, whose vested interest in maintaining me as a client leads her to advise me to hang on to the GV through thick and thin.


Hi Lourenço. I thought you were over the worst after the April saga on fingerprints!

Others will chip in on D7 rules, but it appears certain that you have to apply from the nearest Portuguese consulate in the country where you are currently resident. I understand that one CANNOT apply once in Portugal. I note that the link to the Portugal embassy in HK goes to Macau, and note your point about not being able to travel there in the current lockdown.

The shipping issue might be easier to sort out – a recent poster had a similar issue and their solution was to have their household effects stored in port - see [Moving to Portugal before GV residency cards are issued - #9 by WuhanBatVirus]. Worth getting in touch directly on potential solutions? Thinking out of the box — if D7-Macau application is out of the question for now, and storage in port is an option (although at a cost), would storage enable you to wait it out until card receipt?
Alternatively, has the potential buyer stated that a date later than July is out of the question?

Depending on the books you write… there’s material here!!

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@Lourenco join the Americans and Friends PT Facebook group, there are many people going through the D7 process who will give you unbiased info (unlike your lawyer).

Second the AFIP thing, much more experience there.

I don’t think you’re crazy at all. I have my regrets now too and I’m far farther along than you are - I’m just waiting for my wife’s card, but she wants to move NOW (literally), so you think “WTF did I ever do this / why not just a D7 it’s so easy by comparison”. But it’s going to be complicated, and you probably end up needing an immigration lawyer who doesn’t have a GV bias.

(Well I know why, we might not stay forever and/or we may need to go back etc etc. Where I am in the process, well, whatever, it’s fine, and the investments seem ok if you assume EUR/USD will oscillate over time, so not end-of-world stuff there. But if I had to start over now knowing what I know, no, I wouldn’t even consider it.)

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The dystopian novel forming in my mind, in which the SEF becomes the world government, would likely get me thrown out of the country. Wait until I have the full citizenship.

Hi Lourenco, I’m not sure if the issue was solved for you. We have an overview on our website of all the 4-5 current visa in Portugal that most looked for : https://www.pearlsofportugal.com/visa-portugal/. We also described the main features. I hope this helps. If there is something missing please let me know

Hi Frederik. You might want to update your spreadsheet. Showing 6-8 months for Golden visa isn’t accurate. That is close to what some people are waiting for pre-approval right now. I think total approval is closer to 16-18 months or more but it depends on some variables that are hard to individualize.

Also, i see that you have property listings on your site. I have heard of your company before as a good source to find properties. Do you act as seller’s agent or what do you recommend to help buyers?

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