Travelling on expired golden visa residence permit

Hi everyone,

I have a residence permit via the golden visa scheme. I obtained by first biometric card in November 2019 which expired in November 2020.
As everyone knows SEF has not been open since then due to COVID etc. My lawyer informed me that SEF opened in April, however I am unsure if they are open for renewal appointments.

As you are all also aware that the Portuguese government keeps issuing decrees to extend the validity of expired residence cards. My question is am I safe to travel to Schengen countries using this expired card ? Has anyone tried this and what has their experience been?
Just to note I live in London and do not have a passport that allows visa free travel to Schengen zone.

Would it make a difference if I entered and exited the Schengen zone from Portugal ? I’m wanting to travel to Italy.

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This has been addressed in other discussions, below post of mine might be useful.

Getting into Schengen area from Portugal and then travelling within Schengen with an expired-card should be doable in theory but is not 100% bullet-proof. Especially with Covid some border controls were re-introduced though I expect much of this to be removed.

I asked this question to my lawyers, they told me that as a holder of an expired card, with the extensions (decrees) I am a legal resident in Portugal, but it is not as straightforward when it comes to travelling within Schengen with the expired card.

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If you get stopped by officials in another Schengen country, you are at their mercy. Forget the legalities. You are showing an official an expired card. If they query official databases, it will show expired. How do you think they are going to react? Showing them a Portugal decree-law seems unlikely to be persuasive.

The text of the DL says “the public authorities will accept” not “we are extending the validity” and that’s not the same thing at all - it’s a statement of how Portuguese public officials are to act in the face of an expired permit, not an extension of the permit (which they probably can’t do legally within the framework of EU immigration law). It’s definitely not going to be binding on the officials of another country one way or the other. So even if you show them the law, so what?

It’s likely you won’t be stopped. It’s a tail risk. But a pretty significant one.

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Hi, may i explore the topic question further by asking if i could travel to portugal directly (and not going outside Portugal) with expired ARI card?

I’ve been told that is should be ok, but it’s really at the whim of the border agent. So I probably wouldn’t risk it if you’ve already used up your 180 allowable tourist days in the EU. However, if you haven’t used all your days, you just enter as a tourist.

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You have been told it should be OK. Who is going to take responsibility if something happens? The person who told you that or just you - the only one that will have to absorb all damages ?
Unless you have been told by SEF via an official written format, you will be in big trouble with the expired card when you are out of Portuguese territory.

Right?!? It was my attorney who said it was ok, so she’d get a desperate call from the airport if something happened. Though during the pandemic I came and went multiple times with an expired visa - but I hadn’t exceeded 180 days here so it didn’t matter.

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The matter of one could travel under expired GV or not has been intensively discussed in this forum. As I remember correctly, there was one GV holder travelling to Germany with his/her expired GV. He was caught and penaltied heavily by the German custom officers. It was even on the newspaper. I am sure that he is now blacklisted in the Schengen Database. No one knows exactly how serious it is and the impact of this on your citizenship application. But for sure it is not good at all. It might even damage your entire GV process.
If you fly directly from US to PT (i assume that you are US passport holder), then it could be OK because portuguese custom officers know and understand their own laws. However, if you fly from US to Germany and go to German Custom Control with the expired card, it it highly likely that they will stop you right away. I know it sucks :sweat:. It is horrible. But it is what it is.

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The question is with the latest extension in place (Decree Law no. 42-A/2022 i believe), do we need an appointment letter WITH the expired card or just the expired card to enter PT directly? this is the part that got me very confused

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Yes no problem to go direct to Portugal. Was told that by the German border guards who tried to give me a pilice report for overstaying - luckily I also always keep a 5 year Schengen visa so was not a problem. Emirates airlines are clued up on this.

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My experience in travelling by expired GV permit: I was in Spain , I made booking on Tap air from Madrid to lisbon. During check in, When I show the person in charge my expired GV permit and sef appointment, she refused to do chech in for me because the sef appointment without stamp! I explained her that is an online appointment and there is no stamp but she refused that and did not allow me to travel.

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I do also have an expired card, but sought for Schengen visa to avoid these kind of issues and whenever possible I would suggest getting a Schengen visa when the cards expire - though I am aware that this is not as easy as it is written.

In the meanwhile, I would also print out the decree that spells out the extension - in theory with that decree even the expired cards should be valid - but it is all in theory.

I’ve previously written here that Turkish airlines let people get on planes with SEF appointments, but of course, that was just one reflection from the Istanbul airport. Expired cards can always become a headache especially with an officer who is unwilling to listen to you or spend time understanding the issue.

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Thank you Mr.E and the rest for your answers, very informative.
Anyone traveled recently to Portugal specifically with Turkish Airlines transiting through Istanbul while holding an expired título can also confirm the above? Just trying to make travel plans here…

Not Turkish in this instance. But two other posts refer to Emirates being clued in: Biometrics for Renewals - #57 by anand and Travelling on expired golden visa residence permit - #10 by bharat
And the homepage of SEF appears to have changed to make it clear that expired visas are valid until the end of 2023: Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras

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For amusement - entered EU in FRA on Schengen visa and was asked for my (expired) residence card. So there is now a link to the immigration system - probably because the new immigation system that will track entry/exit EU wide has been activated.

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