We are long term Residents (20 years) and, as required, we undertook the internet process, back in January, to obtain the new cards. It was not as straightforward as the Embassy would suggest. There are issues with the application process software. I believe that they have been mentioned by other correspondents to The Portugal News, earlier in the year. An initial problem, is the creation of a password. The system does does provide any guidance about how it should be constructed ie. the number of digits; letters/numbers; caps etc. It is therefore guesswork and time consuming to pass this hurdle. I gave up after 30 minutes and got a neighbour to help who had already gone through the process for his wife and himself. He said it was easy but, belatedly, admitted that he had spent 30 mins trying various substitutions. The other issue (which the system does not tell you) is that a separate email account is needed for each person – total lunacy ! My neighbour spent around 2 hours trying to set up an additional one for us – eventually successful and we have our printed forms. Incidentally, our local Freguesia did not know what they were ! Incidentally, I discussed this with David Thomas who had the same problem. The Embassy would be more useful if they provided this guidance and got it published in your paper. I am getting the impression that the Embassy’s communication efforts are more focused on Facebook or Twitter which we do not use.

Driving Licenses

We had to renew our Driving Licenses at the beginning of 2020 – it was not straightforward. Personal callers could not get in to the office in Faro – an appointment had to be made, apparently, by phone but nobody answered. It was the same problem with emails. We were, therefore, forced to use Almancil Services in Almancil, Algarve as our agent. This was neither quick nor cheap – it cost 100 Euros each. Almancil Services seem to have some sort of `back door’ access but they admitted that even for them it was not easy.

Incidentally, I made both of these points to the Embassy back in Jan 2020 and asked for comment – I have never had a reply.

Postal Service

There have been issues/problems for many years pre. BREXIT. A friend tried to sent us a clock (10-12 years ago). It had the correct name/address but never got further than Lisbon. The tracking record showed that it shuttled back and forth between the UK and Portugal a number of times. We eventually had to collect it ourselves on a trip to London. There was a similar problem with contact lenses – a 1-2 oz. letter post, bubble wrap packet. They never arrived and the shop in London said that this was a normal problem with Portugal. We had to organise delivery from the shop to Algarve Freight’s UK base and then they brought the packet out successfully.

Incidentally, I feel that your new `OPINION’ pieces are a very good development, particularly some of those which you have written.
John Hunt, Paderne