One way to become a U.S. expat in Portugal is to apply for your Portuguese D7 residency visa (also known as the Portugal Schengen Residence Visa). Once it is granted, you will be approved for 4 months. When you go to the Portuguese Embassy at your US city of residence to pick up your passport with the visa sticker, the person working with you will explain that after your arrival in Portugal, as soon as you can, you need to schedule a Portuguese D7 Residency Visa Appointment to extend that visa. This can be done physically at a local SEF office or by phone. Since Portugal is becoming quite popular for expats, some appointments are quite far out. For example, we arrived in April 2016, and our appointment was set for the end of December. You are automatically “extended” until the date of your appointment, but just keep in mind that you’re only allowed a certain number of exits out of Portugal. Here’s how our first D7 Residency visa appointment went.
What to Expect at Your 1st Portuguese D7 Residency Visa Appointment
We arrived at the SEF office at 11 am, an hour before our appointment. We’ve found out that lines at most governmental offices in Portugal are long, so we figured we’d err on the side of being safe. However, there was almost no line when we arrived. We assumed this was because we were early and because this was the hour of designated appointments.
When we walked up to the reception desk, we explained that we were there for our Portugal Schengen Residence Visa extension. The woman at the desk asked for my name, birthday and nationality; pulled a number and told us to go sit in the waiting area. She also mentioned that we would be seeing three people and not to leave after seeing the first.
How Long is the Wait for your Portuguese D7 Residency Visa Appointment
This was a fairly quick wait and we became enthusiastic. The total wait for us to be seen was about 15 minutes. When we arrived at the desk, she asked for the following documents:
- US Passport
- Financial Statements
- Proof of Residence
These are the documents you need to bring to your Portuguese D7 Residency Visa Appointment. We had brought copies of all the documents but did not need to. The person at the desk took each document and scanned it. She scanned every single document we gave her and gave them back to us. Then, she explained a few things we’d need for the next appointment which was set for a year from the same date (I’ll discuss those at the end of the blog post). She then gave us back our ticket with a number and told us that we’d have to wait to see two more people and that we could sneak out for a quick lunch, but not to take too long. We decided not to risk it and stayed to wait.
Big mistake not going to grab a quick sandwich. This took a long time. It was about 2 hours. I suspect it was because many people headed to lunch, so this slowed down the process quite a bit. When we were finally called back up, we were asked for our documents once again. They were re-scanned. Once this person was satisfied with the documents, she asked that I stand in front of a machine. They took digital fingerprints, a digital signature, and a digital picture. I was given my ticket with the number back and told to wait for the treasury.
This one took quite a long time as well. When I walked up to the window of the treasury, she asked for my name and birthday. I told her and she told me the cost of the appointment. They do not take credit cards, so you need to bring cash. What is the cost of the first Portuguese D7 Residency Visa extension? The total price came to €159.70, here it is broken down by fees:
- 70.30 for the temporary title of residence
- 8.30 for shipping the permanent title of residence to your home
- 81.10 for the permanent title of residence
By the time we had both paid it was 3 pm. We had spent a total of 4 hours there and were pretty darn hungry. Lucky for us the appointment was right in our neighborhood, Avenidas Novas – so we just headed home and celebrated at night.
What to Expect on Your 2nd Portuguese D7 Residency Visa Appointment
We were told at our first meeting that proof of finances needed to be from a Portuguese banking institution and that our US bank records would not be accepted. We were also told that we need to start using our NIF in purchases and that we’d need to bring receipts with our NIFS to prove that we are in fact living in Portugal. Lastly, we were told to file taxes in March. I have just written up our experience at our second Portuguese D7 Residency Visa Extension appointment. I suggest that before you head to any of your Portugal Schengen Residence Visa appointment that you call the SEF to make sure no requirements have changed.
If you have any other questions on moving to Portugal, leave it in the comments. We love it here and think you will too!