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SEF out of appointmet slots for the rest of this year

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framar2
8/18/2019 12:00 EST

I just ran across a discussion on "Americans Living In The Algarve". It is being reported that SEF has just announced they have no more appointments available for the rest of this year and there is not schedule posted for next year as of now.

Can anyone confirm if this is actually true. Iif it is what does that mean to those of us who are getting ready to apply for our visa in the US and then move to PT trying to get an appointment with SEF. Our visas are only good for 120 days, then what happens to us? Will we still be legal until they open up more appointment slots?

If our visas expire and we don't have at least a letter showing we are scheduled for an appointment and in the mean time our initial 6 month rental expires for instance will we be able to negotiate an extension of the lease or get a new lease?

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craigandmicki
8/18/2019 13:53 EST

This is correct and I found the article posted at the FB group "Americans & Friends in Portugal", a resource-research group for immigration to Portugal. This is the link: https://www.tsf.pt/portugal/sociedade/interior/sef-suspende-marcacoes-para-atendimento-de-imigrantes-por-tempo-indeterminado-11215904.html?fbclid=IwAR2dZQrnGVHDsrZCMV24exvHwxnbMz-JSBzXnsNwbrIZwMFnVgCHO1EU6PY

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framar2
8/18/2019 14:51 EST

So if it is indeed true, do you or anyone know what the impact/consequences are to those of us just starting the immigration process and need a SEF appointment? How will that affect us in terms of living and functioning in the country till we get an appointment?

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tspring0204
8/19/2019 13:15 EST

We rented an apartment and bought a house before we had our Temporary Residence permit from SEF. All you need to transact business is your NIF, which has no requirements, except that you need a local person to "sponsor" you.

So here's our experience with SEF.

We got our original Temporary Residence permit from SEF in late December 2017, about three days from the expiration of our 4 month Tourist Visa. We asked the attorney who helped us with our house purchase if he would help us with the SEF appointment. Even though that was about 45 days before our tourist VISA expired, he got us the appointment. He said he had to make a couple of phone calls to get us in, but we made it.

So for 2018 our renewal date was late December. In October 2018 I went online to schedule an appointment, and there were no slots available until March, 2019. This concerned us, so we decided to just pop into the SEF office in Leiria where we had our first SEF appointment. After some confusion about why we were there, a nice SEF person who spoke a little English, kind of laughed and told us not to worry, just go online and schedule your appointment as soon as time is available. She said it won't be a problem because it isn't your fault that spots aren't available before your Temporary Residence Permits expire.

So, we scheduled an appointment for March 2019, about three months after our permits expired. We kept a document handy whenever we went out showing we had an appointment scheduled.

We made a trip to the US in February 2019, and when we returned, as we were checking through customs I mentioned that our temporary permits expired but we had appointments scheduled. The woman behind the counter said "I see that here on my computer. Have a nice day".

So my advice is not to panic. There seems to be a little wiggle room with SEF. As soon as their 2020 appointments are available go online and schedule yours.

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framar2
8/20/2019 00:53 EST

Tspring0204 Thank for such a thorough response. I feel much better about the situation and not as concerned.

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craigandmicki
8/20/2019 06:00 EST

SEF announced some additional details about appointments: 1) They are holding slots / attempting to schedule appointments for persons RENEWING their residence permit; for FAMILY REUNIFICATIONS; for WORK PERMITS. Note: This shouldn't affect your decision about which permit to pursue, as it is as difficult to get any of these appointments as it is to get your first Residence Permit appointment.) 2) This is a national problem because inspectors have been shifted to airport passport control duties due to heavy activity at airports. (Note: the inspectors at the airports are not the same personnel who work at SEF offices on permits...this is inexplicable). 3) People are getting appointments at less-busy SEF offices so there remains an effort to smooth out the work. 4) An email sent to confirm an appointment essentially extends your current visa or permit until the date of the appointment. 5) How this affects how much you can travel within the EU and to/from your home country isn't clear, but thus far using the appointment confirmation email has allowed exit/entry direct between Portugal and the US.

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Luned
8/20/2019 19:56 EST

This is good to know, tspring. Thank you.

When they say you are allowed two entries into Portugal while you wait, does an entry mean from any country outside of Portugal, or is it outside the EU?

Does anyone know?

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Luned
8/20/2019 19:59 EST

framar2,

I just made an appointment five minutes ago. I am going to the SEF in Coimbra in the second week in December. There were quite a few open slots in December. I also checked Aveiro, and there are appointments there. I suggest going into the SEF website and checking periodically. They may be getting cancellations or adding appointments.

https://www.sef.pt/en

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Luned
8/22/2019 07:03 EST

tspring, was the document you kept handy just the email from SEF?

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tspring0204
8/22/2019 10:15 EST

What we kept with us was a screen shot from the SEF website page

https://www.sef.pt/en/mySEF/Pages/consultar-agendamentos.aspx

That has your name, Service (in our case Renewal Title Residence), Service Desk (Leiria for us), and Scheduled date and time.

Of course, you must have an account on the website, and then login to get to this page.

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craigandmicki
8/24/2019 05:57 EST

The news article that started the furor over 'no more appointments' wasn't thorough. Appointments for 2019, for first-time applicants, renewals, family reunification are being made daily; these appointments are often more than 120 days out but that is typical; appointments might be some kilometers away from your residence as they are trying to level-load the offices; the 2020 calendar is being published.

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dalai
8/25/2019 06:57 EST

I renewed my residency inCascais which had been scheduled months before.
Having read some posts i made sure to ask the clerk who spoke excellent English if new
appointments are being scheduled from here on and he said no and he said indefinitely because the system was overloaded due to-a rise demands . He said it will be a wait and see period. He could give me no definite answer
Perhaps going directly to a SEF Office near you, you will get precise i formation
But this is definitely not a rumour

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Juliya24
8/27/2019 03:31 EST

Any idea what can be done to make an appointment? My card expires in 1 month. I've been going to the SEF website every day for 4 days now looking for appointments in EVERY LISTED LOCATION, one by one and nothing is available... not near nor far... Calling is impossible as the calls get dropped and I"ve tried emailing numerous times and never got a response. I have a trip comming up in 1 month and I"m nervous about traveling with an outdated Titulo card WITHOUS and appointment confirmation letter.

Any help in this matter would be much appreciated.

Juliya

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craigandmicki
8/28/2019 05:48 EST

To Juliya: SEF is making appointments but getting through to them is very, very difficult, as you well know. If you are traveling within the Schengen Area, you will be OK as (a) you have a 6 month window to renew your Residence Permit before you are considered out of compliance and (b) the passport control in Portugal knows that SEF is backlogged. I know of about 15 to 20 people who, within the last week, have gotten appointments at SEF for October and November. I read of 3 people who traveled within the EU and were allowed thru passport control at both ends of their trips despite having Residence Permits that were expired by a week to three months. I felt that this confirmed what I read about the 6 months' liberty on an expired Permit.

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Luned
8/28/2019 06:08 EST

craigandmicki, thank you. That's good to know. I have one further wrinkle to add to that. My visa expires in October. My SEF appointment is in December. I know I'll be fine until then. But during the wait from December to whenever I get my card, I will be beyond that 6-month window. Do you know if that will be a problem? And if I haven't used up my second entry, will I be able to leave and come back outside of that 6-month mark?

Sheeeesh.

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Juliya24
8/28/2019 11:32 EST

Thank you so much for the feedback.
Any idea if it's more effective to try via calling or via SEF website?

I literally go to the drop down menu every day and seek appointment in ANY location... near and far... and havent found anything....

Juliya

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Juliya24
9/10/2019 03:30 EST

Wanted to let everyone know that SEF just posted new appointments but they are getting filled up fast.

Juliya

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