Pena Palace in Sintra
Why hellllooooooo. I wanted to send a shout-out and let you fine folks know that we are officially Portuguese residents!!!! Woot Woot. We had our appointment near Lisbon, about a 5-hour train ride from where we live now, so we decided to make a trip out of it. I'll run through the SEF appointment and hopefully clarify it for you.
And big news!!! I finally created some video content. You can access the videos on the Vlog section that has been added to the website and access the Youtube channel from there. I am super technologically challenged, so it took me forever and is a little choppy but bear (bare? nope, it's bear) with me, and I will get some awesome videos going before you know it. I also added a ton of pictures to the Instagram page, so please give them some love!
What in the SEF?
Pena Palace in Sintra
I decided to post photos of Lisbon as the SEF office is not as pretty haha, so I hope you enjoy it. Now let's walk through the Temporary Residency Permit process.
After you are approved for the D7 Visa that allows you to come to Portugal, you will be given 120 days to attend the Temporary Residence Permit appointment to provide you with a permit to live in Portugal for two years. After that two years, you will renew for another three years, and after five years, you are eligible for citizenship after completing a few other requirements. I again highly recommend joining the Americans & FriendsPT group on Facebook and checking the Files section for Get Your Permit, which will walk you through this in great detail.
Your D7 Visa (Residence Visa) will appear as a stamp in your passport. For most people, included on that stamp is a web address that you can go to and see your scheduled SEF Residency Permit Appointment. Each person will have their own appointment. ***If you do not have that, you will need to go online and request an appointment https://www.sef.pt/en/Pages/pre-marcacao-online.aspx.
Don't be surprised if your appointment is in another city and it may be at a different time and date than the other members of your family.
How it went down for us
Let's get into our appointment and how it went. When I checked our appointments online, it showed they were scheduled for May 2 and 3rd north of Lisbon, so about a 4-5 hour train ride from where we live in Ferragudo. Since we are new to the country, we decided to make a trip out of it. ****It was recommended not to try and switch appointments as it can mess things up. Just make whichever appointments you are given work, even if it is inconvenient.
With some confusion and help from our neighbor/friend/landlords, we made our first ever train ride to Lisbon, which went relatively smoothly. It took two trains, one that goes east to west along the Algarve coast, with a north connection to show up to Lisbon. We arrived at the Lisbon Oriente station and took an Uber to the city center where we stayed.
Although our appointment was about a 25 min drive north of Lisbon, we wanted to stay in the city and explore before and after our appointment. We had a fantastic time and saw some beautiful places (check out the Instagram and vlog section). We tried all types of restaurants and, for the most part, enjoyed all of it (I had some trouble with the crab, and Johnny wasn't a massive fan of the octopus).
Our appointments were scheduled as follows: Johnny and Jackson on May 2nd at 2:30 and 3 (the last appointments) and mine, Tiffany on May 3rd at 10 (the first appointment the following day). We were hoping that if we got there early, we might convince them to let us all go on the same day so we wouldn't have to take another Uber there.
The Day Of
View of Lisbon
In true us fashion, it's pouring rain on the day of the boys' appointments. We take an Uber about 25minutes from Lisbon to some out-of-the-way SEF office. We got there at about 1, had some food at a restaurant nearby, and arrived at the SEF appointment at about 1:30. A few people lined up in front of the office, so we waited on a bench nearby.
A woman came out and asked us to come over and questioned why we were there. It took a minute of broken Portuguese, Spanish, and English for us to all get on the same page, but once I showed her the completed application, she had us come in and sit in a waiting area. She was lovely and brought some crayons and paper for Jackson to draw with while we waited.
We explained to her as best we could about trying to have me be seen today, and she informed us she must call the main office in Lisbon and get approval from them to process my paperwork today. The woman stated that they had left a message and would have to see if they received a callback.
A man took Johnny first, and after about 5 minutes, they called for me to come over. Johnny speaks zero Portuguese, and the man spoke very little English, and I had brought so much paperwork, just in case, everyone was confused haha. Before I get into more details I think this is an excellent place to stop, and I'll explain what SEF asks you to bring on the website and what they actually took from us.
SEF Temporary Residence Permit Forms
Go to this website to get a list of requirements of what to bring, which I listed below https://imigrante.sef.pt/en/solicitar/residir/art77-1/
The Application which you can find here
Two recent, identical photographs, in color with a blank background, and easily identifiable (only for appointments at Odivelas, Aveiro, or Braga SEF bureau)
Passport or any other valid travel document
Valid residence visa
Evidence of sufficient means of subsistence, as per the provisions of Order number 1563/2007, of 11/12
Evidence that the applicant has adequate accommodation
Permission for SEF to check Portuguese criminal record (except for under 16 years old)
A document attesting to the existence of a family relationship, where applicable
Supporting evidence of registration within the Tax Authority
Document proving that the applicant is registered with the Social Security, where applicable
Health insurance or supporting proof he/she is covered by the National Health Service
I made sure to bring all of these things; however, most offices will use what was uploaded during your D7 appointment, and will likely not need many of the above forms. Just to be careful, make sure to bring it all.
Back to the Appointment
Castelo de São Jorge in Lisbon
Where were we? Oh yes, I had come into the office to assist. The man processing the information made me super nervous as he was not the most pleasant, so I'm sure I was a little chaotic. All they wanted from us was the completed application. Once he took Johnny's application, Johnny had his fingerprints taken, and photos were taken. He signed a form or two and paid the appointment fees. For all three of us, we paid
362 euros total. They took debit cards which was good because we didn't have any other form of payment with us.
After they finished Jackson and Johnny, we were brought back to the room, where we waited for about an hour. The man asked me to come and take the pictures, fingerprints, sign the forms, etc. They hoped Lisbon would process these forms today. We were brought back to the room and waited for another half an hour as they were closing. We were getting bummed that we would probably have to come back, but they finally told us we were good to go, had me pay my fees, and we were on our way.
Once you are done with the process, they will hand you a payment receipt and a paper receipt of your Temporary Residency Permit that has your picture on it and another number for you to memorize. Remember how I said I was pretty anxious earlier? While we were waiting for me to get done, I organized the boys' receipts and filed them away. By the time mine was done, we were in such a rush to leave as they were closing; I shoved my receipts in a part of my backpack that I thought was secure.....
Fast forward a week later, and I unpack everything, and I can't find the paper receipt of my residency permit!!!! I have the payment receipt for mine, but that is all. I have scoured everything we own a few times with some crying along the way, and I can't find it anywhere. We are supposed to receive the cards anywhere from 2-6 weeks in the mail. There is no way of tracking if they have been sent, so I must keep my fingers crossed that they arrive to us without any problems.
Overall the appointment was pretty straightforward, and we had no issues, minus me losing something, which isn't new behavior on my part. I find that all of these processes go pretty smoothly if you have a sense of humor and are willing to be flexible. Remember, we are immigrants in this country, and it is our job to work with them, not for them to work with us. If you stay humble and respectful, everyone is way more willing to help you.
The Miraculous Lady Bug cookies that Jackson was excited to find
I don't know about you all, but a lot of this process can be very confusing. One issue I have been struggling with is telling the difference between all these different ID Numbers. So far, we have our 1. NIF (personal Tax number) needed for the D7 and so many other things and should be receiving our 2. Título de Residência (Temporary Residence Permit), which allows us to stay in the country for the next two years.
My next step is to look into the 3. NISS- Portuguese Social Security Number (I believe I qualify for it as a remote worker), which will allow us to pay Portuguese Social Security and Taxes and receive public healthcare, etc.
I really don't want to write another boring blog, so I'm hoping to be writing about us possibly getting a house!!!! We found a place we like, a fixer-upper for sure, and just made an offer, which was accepted. Next up will be a lot of legal stuff and uncertainty, which will hopefully end in some good news. I can't wait to tell you all about it!!
In closing If you have any questions or want to share some love, drop me a comment! You can also subscribe to the website, Instagram, and YouTube page if you so desire. Ughhhgh social media is a pain in the ass but a necessary evil, so help the good guys win, haha, and share, share, share! Talk to you Later!!
May 21, 2022 (I know I took forever to write this one again)