The Portugal Golden Visa Biometrics Appointment

The Portuguese Golden Visa has become one of the most popular residency-by-investment programs in the world since it was launched in October 2012. The program allows investors to secure Portuguese residency in return for a qualifying investment. There is a range of investment options on the table to qualify for the Portuguese Golden Visa, including real estate, investment funds, and job creation. Indeed, if you are looking for a house for sale in Portugal, you may qualify for the program if the property is above a certain minimum threshold. As part of the process, you will be required to make a Portugal Golden Visa biometrics appointment. In this article, we’ll provide you with a complete overview of the Golden Visa process, focusing in particular on the biometrics appointment.

We’ll cover:

  • Portugal’s Golden Visa program
  • The Portugal Golden Visa: Requirements
  • The Portugal Golden Visa: Process
  • The Portugal Golden Visa biometrics appointment
  • After the Portugal Golden Visa biometrics appointment
  • How can you score a biometrics appointment without delay?
  • Further information

The Portugal Golden Visa Program

There are many Golden Visas now available, and the Portuguese investment program has established itself as one of the most popular in the world, with relatively affordable investment options. Portugal’s Golden Visa scheme has gone from strength to strength. To qualify, you will need to make a qualifying investment into the county, with the minimum investment requirements starting at €250,000 (an investment into artistic production or a donation into national heritage).

There are an array of Portugal Golden Visa investment options on the table, including real estate, fund investment, capital transfer, and investing in a Portuguese business. Real estate acquisition has proved the most popular, with more than 90 percent of foreign investors opting for this investment route. The real estate market is thriving, which is one of the major reasons why Golden Visa investors opt for this pathway.

Also, the fund investment option is proving popular, particularly with Americans. For this option, you will need to make an investment in a qualifying Portuguese investment fund. The capital transfer option is also an easy way to qualify, although the investment is higher than other options. Indeed, the array of Golden Visa investment options is one of the main Portugal Golden Visa benefits.

The Portuguese Golden Visa cost will depend on which investment pathway you opt for, as the minimum investment amount varies depending on the chosen route. You can learn more about the different options and a step-by-step guide to the Portugal Golden Visa program in our article here: Portugal Golden Visa: Complete Step-by-Step Guide 2023.

Note that changes to the Portugal Golden Visa program came into play on 1 January 2022, which included location restrictions to the residential real estate investment pathway and many other investment options increasing in price. Note that under the Portugal Golden Visa changes, commercial property investments stayed the same and have no location restrictions. You can see our article on the Portuguese Golden Visa changes, updates, and new rules here.

The Portugal Golden Visa has many advantages, including providing improved travel freedoms, greater financial security, tax benefits, and the ability to live in a European Union (EU) country with a high quality of life. What’s more, family members can be included in the Portugal Golden Visa application, meaning that you can safeguard your family’s future.

After five years, you can apply for permanent residency and Portuguese citizenship, provided you meet all the requirements under Portuguese nationality law, such as having a clean criminal record and passing a basic Portuguese language test. As a Portuguese citizen, you can enjoy a range of benefits, including increased travel freedoms and access to live, work, and study in the EU.

Golden Visa Portugal Requirements

To be eligible for the Portuguese Golden Visa program, you must fulfill the following:

  • Be a non-EU, non-EEA, or non-Swiss national
  • Minimum investment of €250,000, with a range of investment routes to choose from, including real estate investments and the investment fund option
  • Hold a clean criminal record
  • Stay requirement: Spend a minimum of seven days in Portugal in the first year, then a minimum of 14 days for each subsequent two-year period.

 

The Portugal Golden Visa: Process

To begin with, we’ll provide you with a brief overview of the Portuguese Golden Visa process. These are the steps that you will have to complete before you can book your biometrics appointment.

  1. Onboarding: Firstly, you will need to decide on the Golden Visa investment option and collect the paperwork for yourself and any dependents that you want to include in the Portugal Golden Visa application. We can make sure that you have all the correct documents in place, and we can submit them for review on your behalf.
  2. Set up your Bank account and NIF: To obtain your personal tax identification number (NIF) in Portugal, we will appoint a fiscal representative to you. When you have secured your NIF, we can then help you to open a Portuguese bank account. This can be done remotely before you even come to Portugal.
  3. Make the investment: We begin securing your investment and can guide you through the paperwork that will be required to ensure a successful investment for the Golden Visa.
  4. Online Golden Visa application: You will then need to lodge your application online.
  5. Pre-approval: Your Portuguese Golden Visa application will be pre-approved on the basis that you fulfill all the requirements. After your Golden Visa approval, you can then schedule your biometrics appointment.
Portugal-Golden-Visa-requirements

The Portugal Golden Visa Biometrics Appointment

You will need to attend the biometrics appointment for your Golden Visa application to be processed.

For the Golden Visa Portugal biometrics visit, you will need to book your appointment in advance with SEF (the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service). From the time you book your biometrics appointment, it normally takes around two months until you can attend the biometrics collection session in person.

On the day of your Golden Visa Portugal biometrics appointment, we recommend that you aim to arrive around 30 minutes before your scheduled time slot. You should be aware of the following:

  • It goes without saying that you must attend the appointment yourself and you cannot send someone in your stead
  • Only Golden Visa applicants, their dependent parents and dependent children, and caregivers can attend the appointment
  • Bring all the requested documents. We can help you ensure that you bring all the required documentation, which will include a printed copy of your application, a valid passport, and supporting documents (originals and copies).

At the Golden Visa Portugal biometrics appointment, you will provide your biometric data. You will be required to submit a fingerprint, and a photograph will be taken. Your photograph must be taken with the full face showing. This is referred to as biometrics information collection.

Also, try not to miss your scheduled appointment, as it can take quite a bit of time to schedule a new appointment. Recently, there have been delays with SEF, including a Portugal Golden Visa backlog, so it may take some time to reschedule your appointment.

 

After the Portugal Golden Visa Biometrics Appointment

After you have attended the biometrics appointment, it can take around four months for your Golden Visa to be approved by SEF. You will need to pay the Portuguese government permit issue fee, and then we can collect the Golden Visa residence cards for you on your behalf and send them your way.

Once your Golden Visa is issued, you will have Golden Visa residency status, and your Golden Visa residence permit will be valid for two years. Following this, you will need to renew your Golden Visa until you can apply for permanent residency or Portuguese citizenship, should you so desire. The renewal process for your residence permit is quite straightforward, although you will need to present your documents for each Golden Visa renewal. You will then get a new Golden Visa residence card.

A Portuguese passport is one of the most powerful in the world and can unlock visa-free travel to 172 countries. As a Portuguese citizen, you can also travel, live, and work in any EU or Schengen country without needing a Schengen Visa.

How can you score a biometrics appointment without delay?

As we mentioned, it can take quite some time to schedule (or reschedule) a biometrics appointment with SEF. While getting an appointment is largely outside of your control, there are some strategies that you can put in place to speed up the process.

  • If you are working with a lawyer, they can book an appointment on your behalf. Be sure to ask about their strategy for getting their client’s appointments so that you’re aware of how long you can expect to wait. We highly recommend having a legal representative in your corner to ensure that everything runs smoothly.
  • If you are traveling to Portugal for a few days or just a couple of weeks, let your lawyer know. Your lawyer can then be on the lookout for last-minute cancellations. As these are often just for the next day or two, you may be able to benefit from this if you are in the country.
  • If you are lucky enough to find multiple appointments at different branches of SEF, we recommend avoiding appointments in Lisbon. This is because the processing time for getting your residence card is noticeably longer, and it will take longer to obtain your residency permit.

 

Golden Visa Delays Causing Applicants to Take SEF to Court to Speed Up the Process

As part of the Golden Visa process, applicants need to attend an appointment at SEF to provide the required legal documents and for SEF to collect their biometric data. Once the Golden Visa application is analyzed by SEF and receives the go-ahead, SEF then indicates the dates available to schedule the appointment. The legal provision (Article 105) states that SEF has three months to inform the applicant of their decision and indicate the dates available for the applicant to make an appointment (this can be extended to a further three months in exceptional circumstances).

The SEF Procedure Manual (in Portuguese) foresees a deadline of 10 to 60 days for the scheduling of the biometrics collection. However, it is unclear as to whether this refers to making the appointment or whether the appointment itself should occur within this time frame. This process of scheduling an appointment is taking much longer, up to 18 months, due to the pandemic, the war in Ukraine (SEF had to process over 60,000 residences in the first half of 2023 for Ukrainian citizens), and the high number of applications for the program.

Many investors have taken cases relating to delays in obtaining a Golden Visa to court to speed up the process, with reports stating that, to date, SEF has lost 18 cases. It is this deadline provided in the law for appointments that the courts have made favorable decisions for foreign investors, whereby the delays in the process are not legal.

You can read more in our article: Portugal Golden Visa Delays Causing Applicants to Take SEF to Court to Speed Up the Process.

 

Further Information

You can find out more in the following articles: