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Visa Response Timeline?

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heasley
5/7/2017 15:49 EST

Hi, our family of 4 is scheduled to move to Portugal June 18. We live in Florida so we're working through the DC consulate for residence visas. I originally sent an email inquiry and I got back a set of directions that included that we should apply "at least" 3 months early. I had everything ready so the application arrived at the consulate Feb. 1. On April 26 I got an email that they needed the official airbnb receipt for the address on the schengen visa form (the original directions only asked for an address). I sent the receipt which is for a one week stay and said if they needed a longer one I could provide that. I got a response back that said "longer is better" so I went out and reserved another rental for an additional month. I sent an inquiry this week asking if everything was OK or if they needed more documentation and didn't get a reply at all.

When I read the statute translation from the SEF website article 58 says "Without prejudice to shorter time limits established in this Act, the period to issue a decision on the application for a residence visa is 60 days." so I wasn't expecting it to take this long and our departure date is looming. Has anyone else had it take this long? Thanks.

Heather

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mondayschild
5/8/2017 02:31 EST

With the explosion in numbers of people applying for residency, time frames have been getting longer. I'm sorry about the uneasiness this is causing you and wish you the best. But this will be lesson #1 when moving to Portugal: Bring tons of patience and leave your expectations of time at home.

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craigandmicki
5/8/2017 05:41 EST

To 'heasley's post about timing to get the Temp Visa approved: Heather, the 60 days noted to get your original Visa starts when the Consul feels they have a complete and acceptable package. Therefore, the clock starts after you sent an additional rental confirmation. It should go fast now, perhaps 2 weeks. Do not hesitate to send Dina Silva a note about the timing given your departure date. It is once you are here that you'll encounter the backlog in the Permit process because the SEF staff is on a work slow down, plus volume is up. Can you please update us all when you get your Visa?

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heasley
5/8/2017 11:25 EST

Thanks for the replies, learning patience with the paperwork is definitely going to be one of my challenges. I do have an email into Dina so hopefully I will hear something this week. She had said I shouldn't by airline tickets before I had the visa approvals but I finally had to as the summer flights were getting really booked up. I haven't heard of anyone getting rejected that meets all the published criteria but is hard not think "what if we get rejected?" We'd be in quite the pickle having already quit our jobs! Anyway, trying to stay positive and look forward to a more relaxed life in Portugal once we put the move behind us. Thanks again, and I'll update when I hear back from the consulate.

Heather

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stillkicking
5/8/2017 11:40 EST

Since you already quit your jobs, I'm assuming that you won't be relying on finding employment in Portugal, which is quite challenging, especially for a non-EU individual.

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heasley
5/8/2017 11:55 EST

We weren't planning on working in Portugal. We have enough money to retire the issue would be health insurance. We turned down the retiree plan offered by my husband's employer at $1,360.57 a month so we'd have to pay COBRA or try to find something on the open market for any extra time spent in the US. It wouldn't break us but it would burn through the cash I had set aside to live the first 5 years in Portugal before we start ROTH ladder distributions. We'd also lose the airfare and Airbnb money, though I suppose we could still vacation for the summer in Portugal. Here I go overthinking again! Anyway, hopefully we'll get notice of approval soon and I can stop mulling over "plan b's."

Heather

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deangolden
5/8/2017 15:29 EST

question about the visas because I will be in the same boat. but cant we just go over to portugal on the regular passport and have someone mail the visas over when then come in???

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deangolden
5/8/2017 15:29 EST

question about the visas because I will be in the same boat. but cant we just go over to portugal on the regular passport and have someone mail the visas over when then come in???

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Countga
5/8/2017 16:44 EST

The ANSWER would be NO because the visa goes in your passport and you need the passport to travel, right? Good try but no cigar! :-)

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deangolden
5/8/2017 17:24 EST

crappers, I totally forgot about that..I feel like such an air head since I already knew that...Im just sooo ready to leave USA

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heasley
5/22/2017 10:47 EST

So as of this morning I still hadn't gotten an email from Dina so I called the consulate. She answered and said she has received a preliminary indication from SEF that our visas (me, husband and two kids) are going to be denied. SEF hasn't put the reason into the computer yet so she couldn't give any additional information until she hears from them. We were planning to fly from the US on June 17. I keep looking over our application package and I can't figure out what the reason could be except maybe the length of lodging (we have 2 airbnb's that cover the first 42 days we are in Portugal). I feel absolutely sick with stress so guess I'm just posting for sympathy. :) I'll update with the reason when I have it.

Heather

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dfh4jesus
5/22/2017 21:04 EST

Sorry to hear the news, but hang in there. Maybe you will discover a way to resolve the situation before you leave or upon your arrival.

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deangolden
5/30/2017 14:56 EST

any news on why your denied yet?

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heasley
5/30/2017 22:49 EST

Thanks for the replies and encouragement. We still haven't heard anything. Dina was out of the office from last Wednesday until Tuesday for the holiday weekend. I'm in Portugal for a last minute trip for school paperwork (another fiasco). I'm flying back today, hoping there is an email when I land or I'll try calling again. The longer it takes the less chance to get it fixed before we leave. Since we have a summer full of nonrefundable reservations we'll probably still go to Portugal for the summer then come back to get the residence visas in our passports whenever they are ready. Hard to make any contingency plans when we can't find out the reason though. Sigh.

Heather

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stillkicking
5/30/2017 22:53 EST

I would make an appointment at the consulate and appear in person. These places are notorious for not returning emails and calls.

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craigandmicki
5/31/2017 04:44 EST

To Heasley family: Until the full package is received, which for you included the receipt for and extension of your accommodations, that 60 day clock does not start. Most of us here have pursued the Type 1/ D visa, for persons moving without plans to work, open a business or study. Your type must be different if you are working in PT but I haven't seen the type you're going for. Do keep us posted so we can help and learn from your situation. And YES, you can come over here for the time you've planned and correct whatever errors cause your denial while here. Just need to return to US to get the Visas inserted in your passports, but you can work around that little point, as well.

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craigandmicki
5/31/2017 04:44 EST

To Heasley family: Until the full package is received, which for you included the receipt for and extension of your accommodations, that 60 day clock does not start. Most of us here have pursued the Type 1/ D visa, for persons moving without plans to work, open a business or study. Your type must be different if you are working in PT but I haven't seen the type you're going for. Do keep us posted so we can help and learn from your situation. And YES, you can come over here for the time you've planned and correct whatever errors cause your denial while here. Just need to return to US to get the Visas inserted in your passports, but you can work around that little point, as well.

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mondayschild
5/31/2017 04:52 EST

I know that Americans have generally been welcome in Portugal, but I wonder if the days of visa approval being a "given" are over.

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heasley
6/1/2017 09:53 EST

So I'm back in the US today and called the consulate this morning and left a voice mail. We still haven't received any official denial or any reason why we are being denied. The window for being able to correct any paperwork and get the visas before we leave June 17 is dwindling. As to craigandmicki's comment, we are applying for Type 1/ D visa (we're retired) so I thought we were all set following the information I found in demystifying and what Dina sent me from the consulate.

We are going to keep our June 17 plane tickets and head on over to Portugal whether we have the visas or not it will just make it more complicated. I realized this morning that the consulate won't issue the letter to bring our possessions duty free if they aren't issuing a visa. We were planning in bringing 8 checked backs for a party of 4 plus small carry ons, should we scale back? Or just take our chances? Thanks again everyone, I'm so grateful for this forum!

Heather

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stillkicking
6/1/2017 10:56 EST

It seems like you are intent on doing things your way and "taking your chances". Good luck.

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heasley
6/1/2017 11:17 EST

Hi Stillkicking, I'm trying to do everything the official way but having trouble navigating it. I really don't like to take any chances so this is kind of killing me! Are you talking about the custom duty? After I wrote I found that there is allowance for 430 euro per adult and 150 euro per child. We have a lot of old fairly worthless stuff so I actually think we will be legitimately under the limit. The worry I have it that it will just look like too much stuff? Or that customs folks will overvalue items like a 10 year old DSLR camera, cheapo old laptop, etc. Do you have any suggestions for the best way forward to avoid taking chances? Thanks.

Heather

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Countga
6/1/2017 12:04 EST

Hello,
As far as I know you don't need a letter for baggage you are bringing with you on an airplane. The so called Baggage Certificate is for shipping goods over to Portugal within 1 year of your arrival in Portugal. As far as I know there is no limit nor a reason to declare anything that you brought on the airplane with you. That is, unless you are bringing many of the same things, say more than 1 laptop & 1 tablet per person. There are no customs forms to fill out on arrival. Anyone correct me if they know otherwise. Thank you. countga

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Yesitisme
6/1/2017 13:44 EST

You said you're retired, you also have 2-3 children you'd like to enroll for school.
What's your age? Perhaps the problem is (I don't know) is if you're retired without guaranteed income, as in social security, ira's, they may believe your finances won't last long, with raising your children?
Can you enroll children into schools if they and you don't have a visa?
countga gave good info, remember, entering as a tourist, you will need round trip tickets for all of you.
You seem to be flying blind, to not know what you can check at the airlines. You'll need to declare smokes, booze, and money (cash) if over a certain amount.
I wish you luck, and as others have mentioned, would like to know why (if) your application is declined.

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Yesitisme
6/1/2017 14:02 EST

Sorry Heather, I just read one of your posts, it's you, hubby abd children.
You both quit your jobs?
You are a brave one.

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heasley
6/1/2017 14:28 EST

Thanks again for the replies. I think we will be OK on the baggage, I guess my worry was just if we stood out as looking like we had a suspicious amount of luggage. But thinking back as to how much luggage I saw families traveling with yesterday in the Lisbon airport we probably won't stand out at all! After so much bad luck planning this move at this point I'm starting to just expect the worst at every turn.

It does raise eyebrows to be mid-40s and retired so I did avoid using the term "retired" in our paperwork. I used this statement in our visa application letter:
"Please find enclosed our applications and supporting documentation for a Residency Visa. We would like to spend a year or two living in the western Algarve with our two young daughters. We want to learn the Portuguese language as well as the culture and history. We believe the experience will be enriching for the whole family.

Our plan is to resign from our jobs in May and arrive in Portugal on 18 June, 2017. We intend to use Airbnb rentals for the summer then procure a long term let for the off-season months, assuming we are approved for Residence Permits. We will not be pursuing any employment while in Portugal. We will live off of our savings and retirement accounts, we have attached recent account statements."

I attached brokerage statements for around $700k in IRA's plus something like $20k in a checking account. To me that seems like way, way more than someone would need to prove financial independence for a 1 year residence permit. There are additional scattered accounts that I didn't send though so if that ends up being the problem I can forward those on too.

As for school we've done the pre-enrollment process and nobody has mentioned visa status as yet. They are private schools and I've let them know of our bureaucratic woes and they didn't seem alarmed or surprised. School doesn't start until September so even if we have to start completely over from scratch with a new 60 day visa process we should still be done by then.

I also reached out to a lawyer from the AFPOP list today as it seems the normal process is not working for us for some reason. I just really wish I could find out the reason, I spent countless hours pouring over the rules and every forum post I could find so that we wouldn't end up in this situation. I'm so bummed that something still managed to get messed up. :(

Heather

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Alekos
6/1/2017 14:35 EST

Very good observations by Yesitisme, especially regarding guaranteed income.

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Alekos
6/1/2017 20:34 EST

Heather, this is extremely useful, as we are starting a very similar process.

If not "retired" under which visa did you apply?

Thank you for your generosity.

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heasley
6/2/2017 09:27 EST

The visa process for retired or just "not working" is same one, basically you have to prove you have your own money to live off of. I just avoided the word "retired" in my paperwork because the mental image of someone retired is someone over 60 which we are not. The definitive guide to applying for this type of visa is http://www.expatexchange.com/ctryguide/4216/92/Portugal/United-States-Citizens-Moving-to-Portugal-Demystifying-the-Paper-Trail though I would also encourage you reach out to your geographically assigned consulates as each consulate has their own requirements.

Of course my approach of not saying "retired" outright may not have been a good one as our visas have not been granted. :) Once I get it all sorted out I'll update with pointers of how early retirees can best present their situation.

Best of luck!
Heather

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Yesitisme
6/2/2017 10:09 EST

I'm sorry to read your visa application has been denied.
I know you expended moey and energy and of course, your hope to experience a new life in Portugal.
You said it was denied, were you given a reason?
When you start again, you'll have a better perspective of what is needed and in what order. It's not so easy is it?
Best wishes to you and your family and your next adventure into the visa application process.
I'm positive next time it will be positive.

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LtsDoIt
6/2/2017 14:02 EST

Yesitisme: You send best wishes to the family who had their visas denied. Do you exactly know what they are going thru? Do you understand the emotional burden these family live with since weeks because if the absurdity and inefficiency of the immigration department in Portugal? Do you think that's correct? Do you call that fair? I don't wish you the same fate of those poor people who are currently going thru hell, same of those families in Ireland who were given a handful of days to pick up their belonging and get the hell out of there for no reason whatsoever. In this case customs in Portugal, immigration in Portugal and Ireland is to blame and you know very well that "I don't mean the people of Portugal" in general. Ok??

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LtsDoIt
6/2/2017 14:02 EST

Yesitisme: You send best wishes to the family who had their visas denied. Do you exactly know what they are going thru? Do you understand the emotional burden these family live with since weeks because if the absurdity and inefficiency of the immigration department in Portugal? Do you think that's correct? Do you call that fair? I don't wish you the same fate of those poor people who are currently going thru hell, same of those families in Ireland who were given a handful of days to pick up their belonging and get the hell out of there for no reason whatsoever. In this case customs in Portugal, immigration in Portugal and Ireland is to blame and you know very well that "I don't mean the people of Portugal" in general. Ok??

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LtsDoIt
6/2/2017 14:02 EST

Yesitisme: You send best wishes to the family who had their visas denied. Do you exactly know what they are going thru? Do you understand the emotional burden these family live with since weeks because if the absurdity and inefficiency of the immigration department in Portugal? Do you think that's correct? Do you call that fair? I don't wish you the same fate of those poor people who are currently going thru hell, same of those families in Ireland who were given a handful of days to pick up their belonging and get the hell out of there for no reason whatsoever. In this case customs in Portugal, immigration in Portugal and Ireland is to blame and you know very well that "I don't mean the people of Portugal" in general. Ok??

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mondayschild
6/2/2017 14:43 EST

Lts I'm not sure whether you are for real or putting us on. But I am guessing that English is not your first language. "Best wishes" is a polite term that you use when you wish someone the best outcome. It is completely appropriate in this situation.

Having said that, the issuance of a visa and residency in Portugal is a privilege, not a right. While I also wish the OP the best, let's be honest here, her timeline of events has been rather reckless.

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unitedwego
6/2/2017 17:24 EST

I've been a long time 'lurker' on this forum, and joined today to be able to contribute and ask questions. My wife and I will be (hopefully) moving to Portugal early next year.

That said, I read this particular thread and never read anything posted by yesitisme to be rude in any shape or form towards the original poster.
I also wish Heasley best wishes in her next attempt to be approved for her most wished for visas.

If you have links to back up your mentioning of Ireland and being told to leave, please post the links.

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unitedwego
6/2/2017 17:49 EST

lsdolt,
I've read through this thread and never read where yesitisme has been rude or offensive to the original poster.
To wish some one best wishes isn't an insult.
I also offer best wishes to Heasley in her next application for long stay visas for her and her family.
Your rambling on about people being told to pack up and leave , please post a link, I'm sure some of us would like to read them.
Something else, to suggest one should be able to read your mind, is somewhat ridiculous. We read what is posted.

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portobound
6/2/2017 18:50 EST

ltsdolt,
Financial requirements are made by the host country, not by us. Ireland has nothing to do with what Portugal requires.
Your ramblings are just that.
I also send best wishes to the Heather Heasley and her family in their visa request.
To suggest one is too read your mind as to what you mean, is crazy.
We read what is posted, not second guess.
Best Wishes to the Heather Heasley and her family, there I said it again.

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heasley
6/3/2017 07:09 EST

Thanks to those who weighed in with support. My feelings were a bit hurt by being called reckless in the thread though. We've been planning this move for about a year, had a scouting trip in November 2016, had the visa application complete and at the consulate on Feb 1 for the June 18 arrival in Portugal. The receipt for lodging was not part of the requirements that the consulate requested originally (I actually had it printed out ready to send then removed it when I realized it was not requested to be part of the package in the instructions Dina sent). When they requested the receipt on April 26 I provided it within 30 minutes, when Dina suggested a longer stay would be better I immediately booked another month and sent that receipt. I know I shouldn't be so sensitive but I really feel that I have been thorough in my research and preparation.

Anyway I did finally hear back from the consulate at end of business yesterday with the reason for denial, drumroll please:

"Attached please find the NOTIFICATION received from the Portuguese Immigration. It seems that there wasn’t sufficient evidence (supporting documents) regarding the reason to live there as well as a place to stay.
According to them, you have 10 days to present additional supporting documents for the visa to be approved. Failing to do that, the visa will be denied."

I posted our original letter further up in the thread, at the time I thought it was best to keep it short and to the point but it will be easy enough to write up a detailed account of why we are moving. The question I have for the group is how much lodging should be good enough? We currently have our first 42 nights reserved. Do you think another 21 nights to bring it up over 60 should be adequate? I'll do whatever they want but is so hard to tell what they want! :) We'd like to get a long term lease or maybe even buy a place but that isn't something I can arrange until we are on the ground. I'll also contact Dina on Monday to see if she'll give any guidance but
wondered if you folks have any thoughts? Thanks all.

Heather

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heasley
6/3/2017 07:15 EST

Thanks to those who weighed in with support. My feelings were a bit hurt by being called reckless in the thread though. We've been planning this move for about a year, had a scouting trip in November 2016, had the visa application complete and at the consulate on Feb 1 for the June 18 arrival in Portugal. The receipt for lodging was not part of the requirements that the consulate requested originally (I actually had it printed out ready to send then removed it when I realized it was not requested to be part of the package in the instructions Dina sent). When they requested the receipt on April 26 I provided it within 30 minutes, when Dina suggested a longer stay would be better I immediately booked another month and sent that receipt. I know I shouldn't be so sensitive but I really feel that I have been thorough in my research and preparation.

Anyway I did finally hear back from the consulate at end of business yesterday with the reason for denial, drumroll please:

"Attached please find the NOTIFICATION received from the Portuguese Immigration. It seems that there wasn’t sufficient evidence (supporting documents) regarding the reason to live there as well as a place to stay.
According to them, you have 10 days to present additional supporting documents for the visa to be approved. Failing to do that, the visa will be denied."

I posted our original letter further up in the thread, at the time I thought it was best to keep it short and to the point but it will be easy enough to write up a detailed account of why we are moving. The question I have for the group is how much lodging should be good enough? We currently have our first 42 nights reserved. Do you think another 21 nights to bring it up over 60 should be adequate? I'll do whatever they want but is so hard to tell what they want! :) We'd like to get a long term lease or maybe even buy a place but that isn't something I can arrange until we are on the ground. I'll also contact Dina on Monday to see if she'll give any guidance but
wondered if you folks have any thoughts? Thanks all.

Heather

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Ylb888
6/3/2017 08:07 EST

Hi Heather,
The visa you are applying for is for 4 month, so lodging for 120 days makes sense. That is what we provided.

Good luck,

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heasley
6/3/2017 09:04 EST

Thanks Ylb888, how did you find the longer term rental? I've been using airbnb but when they are over 28 days they are nonrefundable which is a little scary when the visa hasn't been approved. I looked at the long term function of bookings.com figuring hotels usually allow cancellations but they didn't have anything in the algarve for summer. Thanks much!
Heather

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Yesitisme
6/3/2017 09:13 EST

Heather, since you're applying for a long stay visa D1, right? Is there anyway you can get a lease for a year? Instead of adding a few weeks here and there, that may be the best approach.
As you mentioned, you can write the reasoning letter, which for many may be the most difficult in being creative.
Best wishes to you and your family.

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Countga
6/3/2017 09:48 EST

Hello. Perhaps the rules have changed but I came here as a retired person at the end of 2015 on the D1 visa. I had 2 weeks reserved at a residential hotel in Lagos. That is in the western part of the Algarve. Due to a lack of long term rentals there I ended up in eastern Algarve. When I went to SEF I then had a rental contract for 1 year. I think it is best to ask Dina what is required to get the visa & not try to get ahead of the game. I believe one needs some flexibility when they first come to PT. It seems to me you just need to do the minimum needed to get your visa so that you have the ability to seek out where you want to be. Just my 2 cents. Good luck! countga

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craigandmicki
6/3/2017 11:16 EST

To Heather, re your denial and trying to reverse it: I've been helping people for 6 years, hundreds of people. If that is valuable to you, I'd say two things: (1) get proof of accommodations for 120 days; easiest is a hotel booking that you then CANCEL FOR FREE the minute that the Consul issues your visa, but keep your AirBnB reservations as that's what you'll actually use. (2) say LESS in your letter. The letter is for one purpose: "to judge the likelihood of your success". So take out all the falderal about loving Portugal. You want 'to provide your children a safe, international living experience and you have sufficient financial means to do so for several years without working'. Dearest Heather, we are ALL pulling for you!

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heasley
6/3/2017 13:27 EST

Thanks again everyone, I'll need to travel Portugal buying you all drinks once we arrive!

I've spent the last several hours trying to book a hotel for the entire 120 days and am coming up empty. I have some inquiries still open with the long term bookings sections of hotels.com but I'm not optimistic. My husband has some calls into the big chains "special reservations" numbers as well. The issue seems to be twofold, many online reservations systems have limits of 30, 60, 0r 90 days and the ones that don't limits simply don't have rooms because it is high season in the algarve.

Craigandmicki - do you think we can cobble together shorter reservations? Or should is really just be one?

Thanks!

Heather

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craigandmicki
6/3/2017 13:33 EST

Heather, for your hotel reservations, definitely cobble together a couple or a few hotel stays to stretch the time. As you're dealing with Dina, I'd suggest you have these hotels in the same area so that you can say "we are moving to XX area and have confirmed, reserved lodging in these hotels. We had to select several hotels because each one limits the number of days that can be reserved. We will look into long term rentals in XX area immediately to get a permanent address here."

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mondayschild
6/3/2017 13:56 EST

I would like to apologize for my use of the term reckless. It wasn't meant to be a personal insult, I was commenting on your timeline of planning to relocate to Portugal before you even received approval. It was not a good choice of words and I'm sorry. Clearly you have the means to live in Portugal, and it seems to be much more than a lot of other people who have been approved. Hopefully it is a strange glitch at SEF that will be resolved with your resubmittal.

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Mikeywaz
6/4/2017 19:38 EST

craigandmicki,
Thanks for that advice. We have reserved an apartment for our first month in November and hoped to find a long-term place when we get there. But now I will make sure we have at least 120 days booked before we submit our visa app. Thanks!

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heasley
6/13/2017 11:16 EST

Hi all, Just an update for anyone still following. On Monday June 5 we sent Dina hotel reservations so that we had all 120 days of the initial visa accounted for. We also updated our declaration. "Our aim is to provide our children a safe, international living experience and we have sufficient financial means to do so without working."


We then called/emailed her on the 5/6/7 to get confirmation that she received it. We didn't get any response until Thursday June 8 when we were able to catch her on the phone, she said she had NOT gotten the email but then found it unopened in her inbox (ugh). She emailed us back an hour or so later that our declaration was too brief and similar to our original declaration. We were really perplexed as to what she meant. The only guidance she would give was that it was short and should refer to having already sent financial documentation. We still can't tell if this was more about the hotel reservations or more about the declaration. We edited again to: "Having reached financial independence and retired from our professions, our new goals are to spend more time with our children and provide them a safe, international living experience. The financial documentation we previously sent supports our ability to provide for our family while living in Portugal. Please let us know if any further information is required."

We asked if we should go ahead and cancel our travel arrangements for the 17/18 but she said she thought since was just reviewing the new information that immigration should turn it around pretty quickly. Our last contact was Monday June 12 when she emailed that she hadn't heard back yet.

So we might be able to pull this off if we get approved by tomorrow but really confused by why this has dragged on so long what about us has drawn the additional scrutiny. Beginning to wonder if they've just decided for some reason that we aren't going to be allowed to move to Portugal no matter what we provide. :(

Heather

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deangolden
6/13/2017 12:22 EST

hey thanks for that. Dina was quick to give initial paperwork. but since i have given all my completed info and now cant contact her and she doesnt answer the emails i keep sending. i leave july 31 and going to different countries for a month at a time but starting in Portugal and 3 months later back to Portugal. now scared

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stillkicking
6/13/2017 12:38 EST

I doubt that this is just a paperwork omission or error, sounds like they have an issue with your financial statements. Generally, they are looking for guaranteed income such as pension, etc. that can be documented. Also, if you are under the age of 62, European countries tend to look askance at those claiming to be retired, especially with children to bring along. Since you appear to have money to burn, I do wish you well with your travels.

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heasley
6/13/2017 12:52 EST

Deangolden - sorry to scare you, Dina is is really nice and tries to help when we can reach her. I think she just has a lot of applications to process and she doesn't have any control of what happens once the paperwork goes to Portugal. Hope everything goes smoothly for you!

stillkicking - I too wonder if there is an unwritten prejudice against early retirees (even the US I get some looks). However the denial form had a box for the denial reason being due to finances and they curiously did NOT use that one. They only checked the one for reason for travel/place to stay. We asked Dina if they needed more financial information and she said they would have checked that on the form if they wanted it. I do wish I could find out the real reason so I could figure out how to better address it!

Heather

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dfh4jesus
6/13/2017 17:12 EST

Hang in there! You're closer than you were the day before.

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Mikeywaz
6/13/2017 23:59 EST

Sounds promising. Let us know how it goes!

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deangolden
6/14/2017 10:01 EST

Im kind of confused because if you leave on the 18th and you still have to send your passports in to get the visas applied, correct, How in the heck do they think that is going to happen so quickly and you get them returned in time to get on the plane. And curious, where in Florida are ya'll. I live in Orlando near Belle Isle. Hope to see you over there in August. Robin

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deangolden
6/14/2017 10:07 EST

Its funny because I think Dina might be on this page, LOL. I posted on here and this morning I get an email from her. It didnt give me any information because she just asked full names, kind of visa and date submitted, so still have to find out. I cant get longer places to stay because at the beginning I want to travel. I already have paid for Lisbon in August, Germany in September, Croatia in October and then Lagos, Portugal in November. I would rather travel while I'm waiting on information from the SEC. But I did send in all of the following documents that I stated above and paid travel as well, hope that works.

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heasley
6/14/2017 13:10 EST

deangolden - you are right the timing is crazy. The plan was if we got approval I'd fly to DC with the passports Thursday and Dina would affix the visas Friday. Then I would fly back to Florida and head to the airport for a Saturday overnight flight to Lisbon.

I talked to Dina today though and she still hasn't seen any sign of approval. She suggested we just head to Portugal as tourists and go see immigration there. Since we started the process properly in the US they should be able to pull up our file there and figure it out. So we are going to go ahead and travel to Lagos this weekend!

Since I don't speak Portuguese yet I'm going to try to find a lawyer (so far my emails to the AFPOP lawyer that was recommended to me have gone unanswered) before I try to tackle a meeting with SEF. While I've always been a do-it-your-selfer when it comes to taxes, accounting, finance, and general bureaucracy, I have to admit that I've failed miserably in negotiating the Portuguese visa process and look forward to handing over the reins to a professional. I hope at some point someone can give me a post-mortem on where I went wrong as I really thought I had all my bases covered.

With any luck my next post will be from Portugal! Thanks everyone!

Heather

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deangolden
6/14/2017 13:12 EST

well ill be in lisbon in August and Lagos in November

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kawazaki
6/15/2017 02:11 EST

Timing is very critical in attempting to move to Portugal. I used the S.F consulate guidelines but I still had to decide when to apply for the FBI, SEF appointment, air ticket, etc. I was fortunate to have a citizen here in Portugal help me. I had a SEF appointment 3 days after I came here on a 2 month trip to evaluate living here and get my first year residency. Then I went home to pack and arrange for a shipping company. If you do not speak Portuguese like me, SEF will be very difficult. I saw a few foreigners with "attorneys" at SEF.

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deangolden
6/22/2017 11:01 EST

Hey, its the 22nd of June, what is going on with your Visa. You must already be in Portugal. Any updates?

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heasley
6/22/2017 11:10 EST

Yes we are finally here in Lagos! We went to SEF in Portimao yesterday and they were rather perplexed. The officer basically said residency permits from US are always granted as long as you have money, a place to live and aren't a criminal. To which I said "that's what we thought too!" His only guess was maybe not having a permanent enough address but he really seemed puzzled as to why we weren't granted a visa sooner. He said the last thing in his computer was the letter issued June 2 that gave us 10 days to respond with more lodging information and reason for travel, we responded June 5 but he said that isn't in the computer. He told me to call Ministry of Foreign affairs (Ministerio dos Nogocios Estrangeiros), I've been trying that but so far just keep getting transferred. Just now they gave me a new number that can only be called from 9:30am-12:30pm, the visa "Blue Line," so I'll try that tomorrow. The saga continues...

Heather

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croonerjim
6/22/2017 11:40 EST

Just about to file it...our target is Oct 1 to PT

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craigandmicki
6/22/2017 12:10 EST

To heasley's post about reaching the Ministerio....Heather, have you simply called Rita Avelar to have her cut thru the process for you? ritaquintinoavelar.advogada@sapo.pt / 961 614 883

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heasley
6/23/2017 05:35 EST

craigandmicki - Right after I posted my update I got back on the phone with my afpop group and unfortunately didn't see your suggestion until later. I ended up speaking to Veronica Pisco whose offices are here in the Algarve and set an appointment with her for next week. She was super nice on the phone and I know she has helped another American family whose blog I follow. She can also be our fiscal representative for NIF's. But I'll definitely keep Rita's number as my fall back.

Since SEF and Financas are on the same block in Portimao I tried to get an NIF on Wednesday. I thought maybe I'd get lucky but as soon as I opened my mouth they said "fiscal representative" as expected.

Thanks for your ongoing support!

Heather

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craigandmicki
6/23/2017 06:22 EST

NIF: Need for Fiscal Representative. I'm trying to get Financias to explain the requirement for a Fiscal Representative, recently (2017)made into a hard and fast rule. What are the duties / liabilities of the Financial Rep? Are these the same as the Financial Rep required for the initial Visa when going thru the San Fran consul? Is there a ceiling to the liabilities? It isn't easy to get typical citizens to stand as a 'guarantor' under the mysterious liabilities. It's giving attorneys a LOT of business, at 50 to 150 euros each time. If you can, please ask and let's formulate an understanding that we can share.

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jm27746
6/23/2017 06:31 EST

From what I understand. The fiscal representative serves as 1. an address to send your tax bill if a non eu citizen flees the country and leaves an outstanding bill. 2. Also, I think this leave the person liable for the bill so that is why it is hard to get a typical citizen to agree to signing. Just my understanding from visiting the finance office 3 times now trying to get ours without a fiscal representative. Hope this helps. I also think that it doesn't have to be a citizen, we asked one time and the person at the counter just said they had to have a residence permit. I know these can all change based off the person you get at the office, when you go to the finance office and what town you live in but this information was from the Lisbon Saldanha office and the office in Rato, Lisboa. Best, Julia

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jm27746
6/23/2017 06:31 EST

From what I understand. The fiscal representative serves as 1. an address to send your tax bill if a non eu citizen flees the country and leaves an outstanding bill. 2. Also, I think this leave the person liable for the bill so that is why it is hard to get a typical citizen to agree to signing. Just my understanding from visiting the finance office 3 times now trying to get ours without a fiscal representative. Hope this helps. I also think that it doesn't have to be a citizen, we asked one time and the person at the counter just said they had to have a residence permit. I know these can all change based off the person you get at the office, when you go to the finance office and what town you live in but this information was from the Lisbon Saldanha office and the office in Rato, Lisboa. Best, Julia

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