Urgent Issue Brief Portugal SEF ordered to grant visa appointment within 10 days

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Portugal Golden Visa investor wins suit. SEF ordered to start setting biometrics appointments within ten days of golden visa approval.

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Portugal Golden Visa investor wins suit. SEF ordered to start setting biometrics appointments within ten days of golden visa approval.

Earlier this year, SEF, Portugal’s immigration authority, was sued by a British national seeking a golden visa because of excessive wait times for his biometrics appointment, the last step before the visa is issued. The Administrative Court of the Lisbon Circle has now ruled in the applicant’s favor and ordered the SEF to award biometrics appointment within ten days.

As we highlighted in an earlier Urgent Issue Brief in early June of this year,, golden visa Investors were unable to submit new applications using the SEF’s website for a total of nearly six months until mid June when on June 13th this issue was finally fixed The issue has since been fixed, however the length of time applicants must wait before being scheduled for an in-person appointment at the SEF’s offices to submit their final paperwork and biometric information in order for their visa to be issued has grown intolerably long.

The application process for the Portugal Golden Visa consists of the following three steps:

1. Submit the application online via the SEF’s portal (this option was essentially unavailable to all applicants during the first six and a half months of this year);

2. Await the SEF’s decision on the application, which is supposed to take no longer than three months but now may take up to eight;

3. After receiving an email from the SEF asking you to a physical meeting, go there to provide your biometric information and any remaining paperwork.

The SEF finally started scheduling biometrics appointments again last month, and even then, only for fresh applications for golden visas—not for renewals.

Even now, the earliest dates that may be booked for an appointment with the SEF (for those who are even eligible for such an invitation) are up to six months after the application has been accepted.

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Timeline of events

By way of additional background, the British investor filed a legal suit against the SEF in the Administrative Court of the Lisbon Circle. Having filed for his PGV application in December of 2021and already having invested €350,000 in a qualifying fund, once the waiting times published by SEF hit 18 months by the summer of 2022, he made the decision in April to proceed with lawsuit as he was still waiting for SEF to respond to his application five months after he submitted it online.

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