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High Commission for Migration -Information regarding rights of all foreign citizen with pending application with SEF ( Immigration and Border Service)

Posted on: April 02, 2020 | Back | Print

 High Commission for Migration -Information regarding rights of all foreign citizen with pending application with SEF ( Immigration and Border Service)

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PRACTICAL GUIDE Q&A Order No. 3863-B/2020, of March 27 (determines that the management of appointments is carried out in such a way as to unequivocally guarantee the rights of all foreign citizens with pending applications with the Immigration and Borders Service, within the scope of COVID-19).

Order No. 3863-B/2020, of March 27, determined that the permanence in Portugal of foreign citizens who have applied for documents under the Foreigners Law or the Immigration Law (Law No. 23/2007, of 4/07, in its current wording), or under the Asylum Law (Law No. 27/2008, of 30/06, amended by Law No. 27/2014, of 5/05) is considered regular, provided that these foreigners have pending processes with SEF.


1.Who benefits from this Order?

Migrant citizens who, at the date of the declaration of the State of National Emergency - 18/03/2020 - had a process pending with the Immigration and Borders Service, under the Foreigners Law or the Asylum Law.

2. Up to when will the permanence of migrant citizens in Portugal be considered legal?

Up to June 30, 2020. Until then, all documents and visas related to the stay of foreigners in Portugal, whose validity expired from March 24 onwards, are considered valid.

3. Will SEF issue migrant citizens a residence permit? Do they have to submit any request?

No. SEF will not issue any residence permit. Citizens will only have to prove that they have a process pending with SEF. From March 27 to June 30, this proof is equivalent to a residence permit, and can be presented in the various public services in order to have access to certain rights.

4. Which are the documents that prove the existence of a pending process with SEF?

·      Document proving the registration of an expression of interest or a receipt of such request (articles 88, paragraph 2, 89, paragraph 2 and 90-A);

·      Evidence of a scheduled appointment with SEF to submit an application for residence permit or extension of a residence permit, or the receipt for the said request, under the general or exceptional regime;

·      Document proving the submission of an asylum application.

5. Which rights are ensured to immigrant citizens?

The migrant citizens with pending processes with SEF are entitled to the following rights:

·      acquiring a NHS user number, access to the National Health Service or other health care rights;

·      access to social support benefits:

·      signing of lease agreements;

·      signing of employment contracts;

·      opening bank accounts;

·      contracting essential public services.

6. Considering that migrant citizens are in a regular situation in national territory, and that they have access to these rights, does it mean that SEF will not consider their expressions of interest and requests for the granting or renewal of a residence permit, subsequently issuing the residence permits, automatically?

No. From July 1, 2020 onwards, SEF will continue analysing all pending processes to decide whether to grant or renew residence permits, verifying if migrant citizens meet all the necessary conditions and have all documents legally required for such purpose.

7. Can the permanence in Portugal of relatives of Portuguese citizens who do not have the nationality of a third State, but who have a pending process, or a receipt attesting to a scheduled appointment, be considered legal and can they benefit from the same rights?

The above mentioned Order did not address the situations provided for in Law No. 37/2006, of 9 August, i.e., Resident Card issued to third-country family members of a European Union national, e.g. spouse; partner with whom the EU citizen lives in a de facto union; direct descendant under the age of 21 or dependant; direct ascendant who is dependant.

8. Does SEF continues to ensure face-to-face service?

SEF has suspended their services on March 30. However, it continues ensuring face-to-face service for requests deemed urgent:

• Citizens who need to travel or who can prove the urgent and unavoidable need to leave the national territory, for imponderable and urgent reasons;

• Citizens whose documents have been stolen or lost.

9. If a migrant citizen needs face-to-face assistance to submit an urgent request to SEF what should he/she do?

He/She should send the request to the email address ‘gricrp.cc@sef.pt’ or schedule through the SEF Contact Center, as SEF assures this service.

10. And what happens with the appointments that had already been scheduled with SEF?

The appointments provided for in the Automatic Pre-Scheduling System (SAPA) and in other systems used by SEF have been suspended. All appointments planned up to March 27 will be rescheduled to a different date from July 1, 2020, in chronological order, ensuring equal treatment between foreign citizens.