Timing of Portugal Golden Visa in COVID-era 2020 (and risks)

I don’t really follow here. Can you or anyone explain to me what the difference is between the PR via ARI vs just ARI is?

ARI is simply the GV program, no? And I assume PR just means permanent residency. (PR being what one gets after five years, whether one does it via the GV program or via actually residing in PT, with a D7 for instance. Of course one has to actually reside in PT for 183 days a year, rather than 7 days/yr, for a D7.)

Thanks in advance for educating me!

I don’t see it’s any more discriminative than the GV itself. D7 and normal PR have low fees but a high residency requirement. GV and PR via ARI have high fees, but a special low residency requirement. In either case you are paying extra to maintain a legal status in Portugal without actually living there.


Does anyone knows here the followings;
1- how long does it take to get citizenship after 5 years ARI (someone says 2 years which doesn’t seem true -i hope) if it is true, 1.5 years process before the golden visa + 5 years ARI + 2 years naturalization = almost 9 years.
2- if it is really 2 years, should we renew our golden visa (because me or many of us here can not stay in Portugal in that 2 years so can not change it to another type of residence permit)

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In theory you can apply for citizenship shortly at the 5 year mark. But of course it takes a while.

ARI has to be renewed at two year mark. I believe you then renew at the 5 year mark, or apply for citizenship, there isn’t a second renewal before the 5 year mark.

I think in practice the answer is that you don’t know the whole time line. That’s all a long ways off and a lot can change between now and then. You might not even be able to get citizenship by then - maybe your provider or lawyer promised you but the government sure didn’t promise it won’t change the citizenship requirements, and all ARI really promises you is residency. But ok, let’s assume that the path doesn’t change. SEF might drag feet forever, or maybe it all gets computerized and everything’s processed in 15 minutes.

Also, 1.5yr for ARI is is just the far end of the range of projections. It’s fairly clear that a determined someone who gets the lucky lawyer draw (someone aggressive on finding appointments) and is willing to sink the cash into being in-country for long periods or forking for last-minute flights can get processed a lot faster - but that’s just not feasible for any number of people. Being single vs a family of 5 is yet another monkey wrench - it’s so much harder to get large blocks of appointments, versus onesies-twosies - which adds a multiplier to that cash cost of last minute appointments or spending time in country. One person I know who submitted same time as I got pre-approval already, whereas me plus wife, we’re still waiting weeks later.

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Definitely worth reading. I hope Portugal figures this mess out soon but otherwise, caveat emptor. And although this article claims 12 month average processing time for GV, My own anecdotal information suggests that is incorrect, and in reality closer to 12-18 months currently.

Are Surging Portugal Golden Visa Backlogs Imperiling the Fund Investment Route? - Investment Migration Insider (imidaily.com)

Here is a 2018 article from the same IMI daily that undermines their own statement of 12 month processing times. SEF has been effectively closed since April 2021. GV backlog is probably at 6,000 if not higher right now and I would estimate 90% of the applicants have no appointment scheduled. SEF has signaled that they would start taking appointments again in November. If you push that date out 6 months, you are at June 2022. But even now there is still a COVID situation and SEF has not given any indication they are staffing up as they did in 2018. Based on this rudimentary analysis, the average GV applicant will not get their appointment before July 2022. Sorry, its just the reality unless something drastically changes. (and keep in mind I am talking about people who applied first in 2020 or prior. There are still many people who applied in March 2020 without appointments. Those who are just applying now, who knows?)

Portugal Virtually Wipes Out Golden Visa Application Backlog in Just Six Months - Investment Migration Insider (imidaily.com)


Yeah, thanks for sharing and that was the one piece of data that makes the article less legit than it could be… Apparently they haven’t surveyed some of the folks on this forum…

More likely just an isolated sample size and irrelevant sampling period. They sampled 200 applicants over 2 years, which could include those who applied in August 2019 (pre-pandemic).


I think this article referred to the back log that started in 2016 (that was in the youtube video you posted here some time ago). So, it is still very discouraging to me that they cleared the back log in 2018 — 2 years after the back log started. I hope they don’t take that long this time, otherwise we are looking at 2023.

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Pre-approved in May 2021. Still waiting for the appointment.

mdusanic Hello, could you please recommend your lawyer?

Does anyone have any up-to-date information on the last-minute biometric appointments? We plan to go and stay in Portugal for couple of weeks in late October, and our lawyers say it still makes sense, but I would really appreciate if you could share your latest experience too…

Good luck with that. It is possible, but it’s very, very slim pickings and you are subject to the same vagaries of lawyers banging away trying to get the cancellations. Some people have had limited success but I suspect that, the topic having been discussed, a few people are starting to do it, and it doesn’t take very many people to fill up the cancellation spots. I got an appointment immediately - at 27 hours from preapproval to appointment (since my preapproval came in the day after we landed), I suspect I’ve set a record - but I am still sitting here on week three waiting for an appointment for my wife, losing hope, and highly unlikely to stay for week 4 because life continues back at home and we’re bleeding cash staying here. Praying daily. Clearly it is YMMV.

Do I understand correctly that a single SEF appointment slot is only covering one person, so you cannot get a ‘family’ appointment? Even though the ‘family’ will have just a couple of documents to bring with them to SEF as opposed to the main GV applicant?


Lawyer even tried to get my wife in when we showed up for my appointment because we were just visiting for a short period. Just a big fat immediate nope. One appointment per person. Period. We were fortunate she was even allowed in the waiting room with us, it seems, the lawyer had to talk her in because her name was Not On The List.

This has been a topic of discussion elsewhere, it’s a RPITA for families in this circumstance because how the heck do you get 4-5 appointments at all, much less in some contiguous block.

The stack of documents for the spouse is not exactly a ton shorter. It doesn’t have the funds documentation. It has most of the rest.

Is that so? I thought it would be just her passport, marriage cert and the police cert (both apostilled of course).

Nope. It’s basically the full stack minus the investment info.