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Step 2 : Residence Permit Application Process

Step 2 : Residence Permit Application Process

Residence Permit Application Process

How Long is a Residence Permit for Portugal Valid? The first residence permit is usually valid for a year. You have to renew your permit yearly, and after the first year, your permit may be extended to a two-year permit. After five years of temporary residence permits, you can switch to a permanent residence permit.

Key Benefits

The Type 1/Type D/D7 Visa is considerably faster and less costly to obtain than a Golden Visa* and entitles you to several benefits of Portugal residency:

  • Opportunity to apply for citizenship after five years of residence. 
  • Permanent free entry and circulation in the Schengen Area, comprising 26 European countries (with certain time restrictions for travel outside of Portugal and within other countries).
  • Freedom to live in Portugal and, if you wish, to have a professional activity in this country.
  • Option to become a “Non-Habitual Resident” of Portugal for tax purposes (Portuguese taxes are capped for 10 years).
  • Access to other Portugal residents’ rights, such as education, recognition of diplomas and qualifications, healthcare, the law and the courts of law.


How Easy Relocate could help you ?

It is important to understand that we are a private company based in Lisbon not a avocate cabinet or a Government faction. We are under Portuguese laws and must be respects the process. 

Beside of that, working with us would indefinably increase your benefits. Throughout our journey in Portugal  we've make a severals important partnerships that you can beneficed. For this specific part, you would have access to a privileged network of avocates with financials benefits with included free fees that you won’t be able to get anywhere. 

Easy Relocate will assist you in all steps of your project and get you any updates regarding the processes as soon as possible. support@easyrelocatept.com


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Step 2 : Residence Permit Application in Portugal

You’ll travel to Portugal on your visa and apply for your first Temporary Residence Permit. 

Residence Permits are issued by the Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras (SEF), and called a Título de Residência.  Your first Residence Permit is valid for two years from the date it is issued and can be renewed for successive periods of three years. These renewals are followed by the option to apply for Permanent Residence at the 6th year if you have a certificate of A2 level language proficiency. 

Scheduling Your Appointment

 Visa applicants in the US who inform SEF of their travel date have their initial SEF appointment set for them. This appears on the visa sticker in your passport as a URL.  Enter the entire URL into your computer browser to access your appointment details.


The appointment URL is found here: 

Your SEF appointment may also be printed on a separate 

sheet of paper when your passport is returned to you.


Your appointment should be at the SEF bureau closest to your residence. Don't be alarmed if your appointment is set in a different city from where you're residing, as SEF is trying to level out the volume of appointments across offices. SEF will let you select the location of your appointment; during COVID, however, this isn't happening. Some applicants specifically choose other SEF bureaus to get their appointment sooner. A list of all SEF bureaus is here: https://imigrante.sef.pt/en/balcoes-atendimento/

Making an Appointment

If you don’t have a pre-set appointment noted on your visa, make an appointment with your local Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras (SEF) office to complete the process.

SEF wants you to use the ‘Personal Area’ on their website to access the online scheduler.  At the SEF website’s personal area, you may manage your booking and schedule and reschedule or cancel a meeting with SEF.  Also be certain to keep your phone number and email address current with SEF as this is how they reach you should a scheduling issue arise.  Email SEF at gricrp.cc@sef.pt to provide a new phone or email contact. 

If you can’t use the online scheduler, call SEF (see https://imigrante.sef.pt/en/deslocacao-sef/).  Call center hours are Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.  These numbers can only be called from within Portugal.  Calls made before and after office hours, at about 8-9 a.m. and 6-7 p.m., usually get through while at other times you get a busy signal.

The automated message is in Portuguese so either wait until the end of the message, when an English-speaking person will come on the line, or hand your phone to a Portuguese friend to navigate the menu for you.

If you have a valid residence permit, residence card, short stay visa or temporary stay visa, you should use the online scheduler to do any of the following:

  • Renew your Residence Permit
  • Renew your Residence Card (applicable to EU citizens)
  • Extend your period of permanence (applicable to holders of short stay visa or temporary stay visa), named "prorrogacão permanência”

The appointments that are requested personally (not the ones pre-set by SEF) are often set well past the date your temporary visa expires. Always request an appointment confirmation email from SEF. This confirmation email essentially extends your visa to the date of your appointment, so print it out and keep it with your passport to prove your visa didn't expire.  Your travel allowances remain in effect until the date of your SEF appointment.

The appointment itself takes about 20 minutes due to them re-using your scanned visa application documents, and your appointment start time is rigid, due to COVID safety conditions. 

If you’re at a smaller town SEF office or working with a less experienced agent, this is when all your extra copies and application forms will be required.  Be overly prepared and do not paperclip, staple or otherwise attach documents together.

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What to Bring with You

SEF’s website lists documents to bring to your SEF appointment. That list is copied below, in the left-hand column, along with “notes” in the right-hand column, if further explanation is helpful.  Bring originals with you to your appointment.  SEF agents scan these documents into their system and return all documents except your application. 

ANOTHER SPECIAL NOTE: SEF streamlined the Temporary Residence Permit process by re-using documentation you submitted with your visa application, as all those documents were scanned into SEF’s main computer system.  As a result, some SEF locations and some SEF agents might not ask for your proof of accommodations, of financial means or of medical coverage.  I mention this to reassure you that if this happens, all is well, but we can’t rely on this as an across-the-board change in the process.  Be prepared; have these documents. 

ARTICLEs 77, PARAGRAPH 1 and article 78, paragraph 2




SEF’s List of Documents

  1. Application delivered personally (on a standard form) signed by the applicant (where the applicant is either a minor or legally disabled person the form shall be signed by his/her legal representative)
    1. The application is here:  https://imigrante.sef.pt/wp-content/uploads/RequerimentoAR_2018.pdf 
    2. For your first Residence Permit, select the box for “Concessão de A.R. TEMPORÁRIA / PERMANENTE nos termos do art. º 77 da Lei 23/2007, de 4 de julho, na sua atual versão” 
    3. For Renewals, select the box for “Renovação de A.R. TEMPORÁRIA / PERMANENTE nos termos do art. º 78 da Lei 23/2007, de 4 de julho, na sua atual versão”
    4. Note that you will insert the number “77” or “78” in the blank 
  2. Two recent, identical photographs, in color with blank background and easily identifiable, except in SIGAP Service Bureaus.
    1. Most of the SEF bureaus are SIGAP, meaning they have photographing facilities and won’t accept nor need your photo.  Photos are needed only for appointments at Odivelas, Aveiro or Braga SEF bureau
  3. Passport or any other valid travel document
    1. Bring your passport
  4. Valid residence visa
    1. If you are applying for your first permit, this is the visa (‘visto’) that was inserted into your passport.  For a renewal, it is Título de Residência card and must be no more than 6 months past the date of expiration.
  5. Evidence of sufficient means of subsistence, as per the provisions of Order number 1563/2007, of 11/12
    1. “Sufficient” means that you have funds equaling at least: 1st adult (applicant) 8460€/year; 2nd or more adult(s): €4230; Children and young people under 18 and over-dependent children 2538€/year.
    2. SEF wants the most recent 3 months of bank statements and prefers these to be from your Portuguese bank account, especially if this is a renewal appointment. If you are a couple applying together, the bank statements can be for a shared account but must show both of your names. If the statements don’t show both names, the person whose name is on the account will need to provide a Terms of Responsibility letter for the legal partner/spouse or the legal partner/spouse can request a bank statement in his/her name. If using pension or social security income, the pension / social security income letters should be dated for the current year. 
  6. Evidence that the applicant has adequate accommodation
  1. For your first residence permit, provide your rental contract, letter of invitation (if you are staying with someone) or home purchase contract. It doesn’t matter if you have moved from your initial place of residence in Portugal. 
  2. For renewals, SEF requests one of the following:  declaration of residence issued by the Parish Council (Junta da Freguesia) of the area of residence; or a lease contract registered at the Tax Authority and the last receipt for rent payment; or a contract of purchase and sale or the title deed of the estate. 
  3. In either case, these are the requirements: 
    1. The duration of a lease or hotel stay needs to be 6 months or longer.  As of June 2021, a one year lease is becoming the norm, although neither the websites nor the legal requirements state this.  
    2. The address on the document used to prove accommodations at this appointment will be the address used on your Permit. 
    3. If/when you move again, you'll need to update your address at your local Junta da Freguesia (essentially a parish or city town hall) for a fee, taking their validation letter within 30 days to your SEF and paying a fee for a new permit card. 
    4. If you fail to update your address at SEF within 60 days of a change you will be charged a late fee.
    5. If your move occurred close to the date of a renewal, SEF usually asks you to simply wait until that renewal appointment and change your address then.

7) Permission for checking criminal records (see standard form)- (except people under 16 years old)

  1. Your signature on the Application form is permission for checking with the Portuguese Police to ensure your criminal record is clean since arriving in Portugal. There is no separate form and it does not refer to any US records, such as the FBI report.



8) A document attesting to the existence of a family relationship, where applicable

  1. This is only applicable for persons moving to Portugal under a “Family Reunification” visa.  Birth and/or marriage certificates are required and they should be apostilled.

9) Document proving the applicant's tax situation, where applicable [often appears as “Supporting evidence of registration within Tax Authority” on newer lists]

  1. This has nothing to do with your home country’s tax authority…it's your Número de Identificação Fiscal (NIF) to prove you’re registered with Finanças.  SEF enters your NIF into the system to detect any fines or unpaid fees.

10) Document proving that the applicant is registered with the Social Security

  1. If you are not working in nor earning income from Portugal, you do not and will not register with the Portuguese Social Security.

11) Health insurance or supporting evidence he/she is covered by the National Health Service

  1. Third country nationals are required under Schengen Area regulations to always have private health insurance coverage. SEF doesn’t consistently recognize this and will accept your registration with the national service, called SNS.  Registration is documented in a one-page Número do Utente, obtained at your nearest Centre de Saúde. If you have private coverage, provide proof of coverage. This is usually a one-page document with your name, dates the policy is effective and policy coverage amounts or proof of your paid invoice with names and dates of coverage. 

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Sticky Points

Be prepared for someone to ask you for more documentation than are officially required. Respectfully providing what you can, respectfully declining what isn't necessary--so therefore you don't have it--are appropriate responses. I recommend taking a print-out of the SEF Required Documentation from their website to indicate that you've come prepared according to their specific requirements.

  • Some first-time applicants have been told by other applicants or even by their SEF official that a new FBI report is required. It isn’t. Perhaps the applicants misunderstand what is meant by ‘permission for checking criminal records’. At this stage, the FBI report has done what it needed to do, which is get you your Schengen Area / National Visa. You can bring a copy of that original FBI report with you as a pre-emptive measure but don't let this false request or the date your FBI report was issued derail your success at this appointment.  If you are undergoing Family Reunification, the FBI report is required.
  • Some applicants have been asked for birth certificates, marriage certificates and/or IRS reports. You can have your birth and marriage certificates with you.  However, "IRS" doesn't mean the United States’ 1040 filing unless you are applying as a remote worker. In this use, "IRS" refers to the Portuguese Finanças agency and means your NIF number.  

You should be able to complete the process and be told you are approved at this appointment. If  you fail to bring any required documentation, you will make another appointment and return. This rarely happens, usually only to applicants who aren't clear, firm and convinced of what they are doing or who don't bring all the required documents. You can pay your fees in cash or with a Portuguese bank card (Multibanco) but not with a credit card.

Your Titulo de Residência card is sent to your address, or your post office might send you a notice to come pick it up, and it arrives within a couple of weeks. 

Further Renewals 

You will renew your Título de Residência 30 days prior to each expiration. The first Título de Residência expires after two years, followed by a three-year renewal and a final renewal that can be a Permanent Residence card if you meet the language requirements. Otherwise, you continue to renew the Temporary Residence for three-year periods.


In-country Requirements

You are limited as to how much time you can be away from Portugal during your temporary residence cycles. You must reside in Portugal for 16 of the first 24 month residency period, with no absence greater than 6 months, and not to exceed 8 months combined in any validity period. Specific exceptions are provided for by national law (i.e., military service, secondment authorizations for work purposes, serious illness, maternity, research or studies) and will be regarded as not interrupting the period of residence.  


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Consulates, areas of jurisdiction and special requirements


Chancery: 31 St. James Ave., 3rd Floor - Suite 350 Boston, Massachusetts 02116

Phone: 617 536 8740

Website: www.cgportugalboston.com

E-mail: boston@mne.pt

Consul General: José Rui Velez Caroço

Chancellor: Ivona Moreira


AREAS OF JURISDICTION:  States of: Maine, Massachusetts (except the area covered by New Bedford), New Hampshire and Vermont


  • Using Ministry of Foreign Affairs website for applications and information (https://www.vistos.mne.pt/pt/)
  • Requires documentation in duplicate (highly subject to change)
  • Requires all applicants appear in person; during COVID, requires application package to be mailed in followed by the personal appointment
  • Requires applications submitted no earlier than 6 months and no later than 15 days from intended arrival in Portugal
  • Requires proof of travel to Portugal (entering Portugal as your first Schengen Area country)



Chancery: 628 Pleasant Street, Room 204 New Bedford, Massachusetts 02740

Phone (1): 508 993 5741   /   Phone(2): 508 997 6151

Website: www.consulateportugalnewbedford.org

E-mail: newbedford@mne.pt

Consul: Shelley Pires

Chancellor: Teresa Borges


AREAS OF JURISDICTION:  Counties of: Barnstable, Bristol, Dukes, Nantucket and Plymouth

Cities of: Acushnet, Dartmouth, New Bedford and Fall River


  • Using Ministry of Foreign Affairs website for applications and information (https://www.vistos.mne.pt/pt/)
  • Requires that all applicants appear in person
  • Requires applications submitted no earlier than 6 months and no later than 15 days of intended arrival in Portugal



Now using VFS Global for Visa Applications: https://visa.vfsglobal.com/usa/en/prt/attend-centre/New-York

Interview Location:

Schengen Visa Application Center

145 W 45th Street, 4th FL

New York, NY 10036

Chancery: 866 Second Avenue, 8th Floor New York - NY 10017

Phone:646 845 0042

E-mail: consulado.newyork@mne.pt

Consul General: Maria de Fátima Mendes

Executive Assistant: Teresa Costa

AREAS OF JURISDICTION:  States of: Connecticut, Michigan and New York; Territories of American Virgin Islands, Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Bermuda and Puerto Rico


  • Requires use of online application using VFS Global.  Inconsistent regarding filling out the application first, to trigger an appointment, versus selecting an appointment and then completing the application.
  • Requires that all applicants appear in person
  • Permission for Portuguese Criminal Records Check (form in the AFIP files)
  • Requests marriage and birth certificates 50% of the time
  • Correct Consular fee must be paid via Money Order/Banker/Postal/Cashier check payable to "VFS Services USA Inc.”Check the website as these details and the fees are updated monthly. 



Chancery: The Legal Center at One Riverfront Plaza, Suite 40, Newark, New Jersey 07102

Phone (1): 973 643 4200  /   Phone(2): 973 643 2156/58

E-mail: consulado.consulado.newark@mne.pt

Consul General: Pedro Soares de Oliveira

AREAS OF JURISDICTION: States of: Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania




Chancery: 56 Pine Street, Hanley Building, 6th floor Providence, Rhode Island 02903

Phone: 401 272 2003/4

E-mail: mail@cnpro.dgaccp.pt

Conselheiro de Embaixada: José Macedo Leão

AREAS OF JURISDICTION:  State of: Rhode Island


  • Requires that all applicants appear in person 
  • Requires documentation in duplicate (highly subject to change)



Now using VFS Global for Visa Applications: https://visa.vfsglobal.com/usa/en/prt/attend-centre/San-Francisco

Interview Location:

Schengen Visa Application Center

110 Sutter Street, Floor 05

San Francisco, CA 94104


Chancery: 3298 Washington Street San Francisco, California 94115

Phone: 415 346 3400/1   /   Fax: 415 346 1400

E-mail: consulado.sfrancisco@mne.pt

Consul General: Maria João Lopes Cardoso

AREAS OF JURISDICTION:  States of: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming


  • Requires printing out and bringing their visa application form
  • Requires printing out and bringing the appointment verification
  • Requires that all applicants appear in person no more than 15 minutes prior to the appointment
  • Visa application form brought to the in-person interview must have your signature notarized unless you sign it in front of the agent
  • Reference in Portugal
  • Requests you complete a Release of Liability for Passport Mailing that they provide at the appointment.  It specifies where you want your passport and visa sent, unless you wish to pick it up or aren’t leaving your passport
  • Requesting and sometimes requiring that you leave your passport with them until it is stamped
  • The full application package cannot exceed 50 pages
  • Often pressures couples to have one person apply, the other follow Family Reunification in Portugal, to reduce their workload.  Family reunification is a slightly more complicated process due to expiration of the FBI report and reprinting financial statements. 
  • Correct Consular fee must be paid via Money Order/Banker/Postal/Cashier check. Applications submitted to the VFS Center in San Francisco need these check payable to "Consulate General of Portugal” or “Embassy of Portugal”.  Check the website as these details and the fees are updated monthly. 



Now using VFS Global for Visa Applications and appointments: https://visa.vfsglobal.com/usa/en/prt/attend-centre/Washington-DC

Interview Location:

Schengen Visa Application Centre

1025 Vermont Ave NW, St# 200

Washington DC 20005


+1 305 704 2172

April 2019: If you are a resident of the State of Illinois and need a Schengen Visa to Portugal, you can apply with the Consulate-General of Lithuania in Chicago: https://chicago.mfa.lt/cikaga/en/travel-and-residence/coming-to-lithuania/visas/schengen-visas DC.

Chancery: 2012 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036 (ENTRANCE FROM “P” STREET); This is the address where you would mail your passport, if sending by mail

Phone: 202 332 3007   /   Fax: 202 223 3926   /   Emergency line: (+351) 96 170 64 72

E-mail: mail@scwas.dgaccp.pt

Head of Consular Section: Hugo Palma

AREAS OF JURISDICTION:  States of: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin, District of Columbia.


  • Requires use of VFS online application that triggers their scheduling your appointment
  • People living 150 miles (sometimes stated as 200 miles, sometimes 2-hour drive) from the Consulate may mail their full Application Package in lieu of an in-person interview.  Send 1 email that lists the following info for each person in the family who is applying: Full name, date of birth, address with zip code, phone number and type of visa requested: email to: portugalpostalusa@vfsglobal.com.  They will send you (1 or 1 per person) pre-addressed envelope(s) to mail in the application and documentation.  
  • Mailed application packages require notarization of your signature on your visa application form
  • Correct Consular fee must be paid via Money Order/Banker/Cashier check.  For applications submitted to the VFS Center in Washington DC, the Money order/Banker or Cashier check must be payable to “Embassy of Portugal"


Reference Section

This document contains links to informational websites. They are repeated here in the event that a link is broken. 

Hyperlinks in order of use in the article: 

Regulations cited in this article: 



Visa Document Checklist


  • Application for a National Visa (if submitting by mail, signature notarized). 
  • Passport that is valid for at least 6 months after the expiration of your 120-day visa and two recent passport-size color photos; copy of main passport page (page notarized)
  • If not a US citizen, proof of legal status (VFS GLOBAL)
  • Personal statement declaring the reasons why you are seeking residency in Portugal
  • Proof of financial means / proof of sufficient funds
  • Proof of a funded bank account in Portugal & NIF (Imposed 4 November 2020) 
  • FBI criminal record certificate (or, if you’ve lived outside the US in the last year, a police record report from that country) (report apostilled or unopened) 
  • Release / request for a Portuguese criminal record check by the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) (VFS Global)
  • Proof of private health insurance coverage or travel insurance with medical benefits 
  • Proof of accommodation in Portugal (property title deed, rental agreement, letter of invitation / terms of responsibility form or property loan agreement; for VFS Global, hotel and short-term stay (i.e., Airbnb) confirmations are accepted.
  • Copy of marriage certificate and children’s birth certificates when children are also applying (VFS Global) (apostilled if being used in Portugal for Family Reunification or school registrations)

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