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:
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.
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?
- 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.