Timing of Portugal Golden Visa in COVID-era 2022

Updated 2022.03.12 : I am updating the timeline below based on anecdotal data from applicants periodically.

The current timing:

Day 0. Submit your application to SEF via online Portal.
+4-5 months. Obtain Pre-Approval from SEF. (Was 3 months, but now taking 4-5 months)
+11-12 months (11-12 months from pre-approval). Have in-person biometric visit with SEF and submit app) . This is really just a guess at this point.
+4-6 months. (4-6 months from in-person appointment). Get Approval (varies by SEF office)
+30-60 days (30-60 days after approval/payment of fees). Residence card is Issued.

*There are a lot of variables that make predicting future timing very difficult, so you can only go based on prior experience at this point plus factor in current demand trends. Demand was very high at end of Dec 2021 so for the next year SEF will need to absorb this.


Just to share my recent experience, I purchased an apartment in Lisbon start of March 2020, and due to Covid lockdowns etc, my required paperwork wasn’t completed till end of July 2020, and finally my SEF application was submitted around 18th August 2020. I received the initial SEF acceptance on 4th November 2020 and now the first available slot for bio-metrics is July 2021. So yes, incredibly time consuming and the upcoming changes to the rules regarding purchase of real estate in Lisbon and Porto will add incredible uncertainty to potential applicants.

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everything has slowed down due to covid. But if you submit your application in locations other than Lisbon or Porto. You may get an approval and appointment a few months ahead!!!

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The deadline of end Dec 2021 should apply for online SEF application submission, not the approval.

Yep. I am in the same boat. I wonder if the Portuguese Government can be a little pro-active and flexible and dispense with the bio-metric requirement or perhaps defer it until after the resident permit is approved and issued. Surely, they have taken other emergency measures such as extending all expiring resident permits in the pandemic.

SEF should proceed with biometric interviews as all government services continue to work (if you have an appointment). My concern is what happens before you get the biometric appointment…would they still process the applications or put everything on hold… :man_shrugging:t2:

Yes, all government service is still open, and you can still do the biometric with appointments. Appointment in Lisbon and Porto is very tight. If your lawyer is flexible enough, you can ask he/ her to submit your application/ book your appointments in less popular city. I changed my lawyer, and cut the time by 3 months and did mine in Coimbra instead of Lisbon (before covid). some people even go to Madeira, Braga…However, many lawyers won’t do that for you as it cost them time.

we have written something about the timeline. Sorry, can’t post the excel table here. The main issue is the the deadline is for online application submission, not approval. This is specifically for property in Lisbon, Porto, and coastal areas.

How to Catch the Timeline to Submit Your Golden Visa Application Before July 1st, 2021

  1. Is there still enough time if I am starting from ground zero?
    The short answer is yes, there is still enough time.
    The deadline of June 30th, 2021 is the time for submitting your Golden Visa application online, not getting your approval from the SEF (immigration office).

  2. What are the steps and procedures to get the golden visa?

We can separate the process into 3 different areas

Step 1 - Initial set up
This includes opening a bank account, getting your NIF (tax payer ID) and a tax representative. This basic set up is essential for all types of visas in Portugal. Getting a NIF doesn’t mean you are liable for paying tax in Portugal. You can get your NIF months, even years, before you actually submit your visa application. It is recommended to get this as soon as possible.

If you travel in person to Portugal, the setting up of bank account, applying for NIF/ tax representation can be done within 1-2 day.

If you choose to do so remotely, you would need professional help.

Step 2 - Buying your property
Ideally you would have already been looking into the real estates market; narrowed down your search to certain areas and criteria; seen some eligible properties and short list some of them.

If you travel in person to Portugal, viewing of your short-listed properties and choosing the property can typically be done in 2-3 days. You would need to get a lawyer for the purchase of the property. With a power of attorney, all other process can be handled by the lawyer, so you do not need to be physically in Portugal during the purchase process.

It is crucial to shortlist your properties and pre-arrange with viewing date and time with your agent ahead of time before your trip to Portugal.

You can also choose to view properties remotely. If it is an off-plan development, you can get all the necessary information to make the decisions. Or you can arrange a virtual property viewing.

Step 1 & 2 can be combined into a single trip to Portugal. And 3-4 days is all it needs for you to be in Portugal. You do not need to be back until the appointment with SEF is set up to take your biometrics (after initial approval).

Step 3 - Getting your application documents ready
You need to gather your documents for the online application to the SEF website. The critical one is the criminal record. Countries differ in how they issue the criminal record for their citizen. Some countries even require a request letter from the Portugal Consulate to in order to process the issuance of the criminal record, so a trip to the nearest Portugal Consulate to where you live is an extra steps.

Do also take into consideration the time to get the documents. It is not the sooner the better, as a lot of the documents have only a 3-month validity period (from the issuance date to the online submission date). In between this 3 months, you would also need to get those documents apostilled in your home country, and then translated in Portuguese and certified. We recommend you to research on the time needed to get the documents, and for them to be apostilled in your home country. The translation in Portuguese and getting it certified is not difficult, and usually take less than 1 week.

Refer to the below table to the validity period of the documents and requirements for apostilled.

Note: This is not the full list of documents, as other documents may be needed for your dependents

Other than documents from your original country, you would also need to get documents in Portugal. With a power of attorney, your lawyer should be able to prepare the documents for you here. The validity of the documents is usually 2 months.

Applicant’s permission for the authorities to access his/her Portuguese criminal record.
Certificate of no debts from the Portuguese tax and national insurance offices.
Signed statement by the applicant that he/she will fulfil the investment requirements.
Evidence that the minimum investment has been made (this consists of a certificate issued by the appropriate registry office and, where applicable, a letter from a local bank confirming the transfer of the required funds)

  1. How long does a typical property purchase takes?

There are 2 steps to the purchase of a property - the promissory contract and final deed. Usually we need to wait around 15 days between both, to allow the City Council to exercise the rights of purchases preference (just as a standard procedures) and if the property has a current mortgage, it takes around 10-15 days for the bank to prepare the mortgage distract. So the quickest timeline would be 15 days.

  1. How long does the whole process takes?
    Let’s take a look of at the timeline of the whole process. This is an example for someone who would be coming to Portugal to do the initial set up and the property viewing. If you wish to do the whole process remotely, it is advisable to do the initial set up as soon as possible.

The whole process, from start to finish, can be done in 3 around months as with the below timeline.


No response from your lawyer? Sounds like not a bank issue, but rather lawyer is MIA.

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Banks can take time to reply.

On the SEF website it states that

"Order n. º 10944/2020 of 8 November provides that every foreign national with applications pending before SEF, submitted between March 18 and October 15, is deemed temporarily regular in national territory. Foreign nationals in that situation have guaranteed access to every public service, specifically with regards obtaining the National Health Service user’s number and access to the NHS, as well as access to social benefits, rental contracts, employment contracts, opening of bank accounts and hiring of essential public services.

It is not an automatic legalisation. The procedure remains suspended, during its appreciation and processing period, ensuring an equal treatment for foreign nationals."

The above i guess is mainly for purposes of letting those who are in Portugal access services while processing on their applications is slow / suspended. However, in the context of ARI /Golden Visa, shouldnt this apply too, and if so, shouldnt some sort of accommodation be given to such applicants ?

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Order No 5793-A/2020

Summary: Implementation of a simplified procedure for the investigation of applications for the granting of residence permits.

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Hi, this is not true .
The presumption is only for some administrative decisions but not for residence permit such as ARI ( GV)

We have applied on the 9th of December and today got a notice that our application was accepted (March 2nd). But there are no dates available for doing the biometrics as of today. We’ll see how it goes from here, will post updates.


We applied in late December and were also approved this week. About 11 weeks total.

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Any idea when they’ll make dates for biometrics available?

Thanks for the update. It appears that 3 months is the magic number,

Can anyone share their recent experience trying to obtain bio metric appointments after initial SEF acceptance ? I have been informed by my lawyers that the latest available appointments can only be in July 2021, and they haven’t opened up for bookings.

My lawyers said pretty much the same: Realistically speaking, we don’t expect SEF’s calendar to reopen with vacancy dates for biometrics appointments before beginning summer.

The calendar has been closed for several months now and just open two or three time for short-notice dates (a slot open today for an appointment tomorrow, which can only be suitable for applicants living in PT and nevertheless are hastily taken in minutes). The last time it has fully reopened the available dates were for after June.

my application pre approve after 3 month .Dont know when i will get appointment . my lawyer one ans they trying their best to get it