9-11-19 UPDATE: The SEF has opened up 11,000 appointments.
Hi all, the SEF announced on Facebook that they opened up 11 thousand spots for residence permit renewals under articles 88 (2) and 89 No 2, renewal of residence permit and family reunion.
The schedule is open until the end of the year. If you need to make an appointment, the time is now. ***
I posted on Facebook about this the other day and people have been asking, so I will keep updating this post as I hear new things.
What’s Going on With the SEF Not Taking Appointments?
Basically, the SEF in Portugal (yup – not just Lisbon – all of Portugal) is understaffed. This, combined with the increase of people who are making the move to Portugal (24% increase at an average of 2,000 people per day has resulted in the SEF is not accepting service appointments for immigrants.
Just how many foreigners are there in Portugal?
Here’s the 2018 breakdown:
- 10.2 people in TOTAL in Portugal (for comparison, in NY State there are 19.5 million and in NYC 8.4 million.
- 480,300 foreigners in the country of Portugal
- 213,065 foreigners in the Greater Lisbon Region
- 79,700 foreigners in Lisbon alone.
- The Portugal numbers came directly from the SEF
- The Sheet below will show you the breakdown of foreigners in Lisbon by country.
Currently, there are 141,000 appointments scheduled. Whatever appointments were still available for 2019 were prioritized for residence permits and renewal or family reunification.
The SEF currently has no appointment dates open for 2020 and it is rumored that it does not know when it will open up the calendar for 2020 appointments. It is said the reasons are:
- Not enough staff.
- Technology issues.
- Increased immigration.
Besides the fact that getting assistance at the SEF is only possible by appointment which needs to be scheduled either by telephone (we all know how long it takes to get through), at the SEF centers, or via the SEF website (which requires that you are registered – no biggie), this could be an issue for all those who need to get their residency visas extended and residence permit renewals.
I’m planning on heading over to the SEF this week to find out what the best way to deal with this is. Normally, if you can’t get an appointment, you can get a paper that says you have an appointment in the future…but I’m not so sure how fiscally doable this is for the SEF since the main issue is understaffing.
***I plan to head to the SEF in a few days to ask them directly what they recommend we do in case of a visa renewal or extension, etc.
UPDATE: Went to the SEF to find out about the 2019 and 2020 appointment issue. We were told those who have appointments in 2020 should not panic. They should begin to make their appointment requests online 2 months before their residency visa expires.
However…we still recommend that if you ask in person maybe 3-4 months in advance. IANAL, so my advice comes with a grain of salt. As more news comes out, I will be sure to update this post.
If you have heard anything about this, please leave a comment & let us know. I’ll keep you posted as I hear more.