Over the past few days many British citizens living in the Algarve have been sent a request by SEF to make their appointment to replace their Residence permit card, since the withdrawal of the UK from Europe, however only appointments in Lisbon were available.
Now clarification on the situation has been given by both SEF and the Association of Foreign Property Owners in Portugal (afpop) about this situation.
In emails sent to British citizens, they have been informed that “the appointment schedule concerning BREXIT - Residence permit card replacement is available”. They are then told to: “choose any Date/Hour online at Portal Brexit ( https://brexit.sef.pt ) on the scheduling page for the available SEF branch or town hall service desk. Attendance at the service locations should only be made after scheduling on the online platform. Please be informed that, if you wish, you can book your appointment outside your area of residence so that you can attend the service as soon as possible”.
Problems have arisen because upon entering the site, only appointments in Lisbon have been available, despite claims from SEF that there are other places where people can go to complete this process.
Appointments to become available in the Algarve
After claims of SEF informing people by phone that appointments will become available in the Algarve, both SEF and afpop have now clarified the situation.
In a post on Facebook, SEF states: “If you are a UK national living in Portugal and have already been notified by SEF to provide your biometric data, know that the attendance has been decentralized in order to speed up the process.
“Altogether, there are 23 bureau services available, from north to south of the country and islands, with previous booking.
“If you can’t or you don’t wish to move outside your residence area, SEF will notify you again”.
CEO of afpop, Michael Reeve told The Portugal News: “Further to the extraordinary mailing we sent to UK Members earlier this week, we now have an update and some potentially good news. Whatever has caused the glitch in the booking system that has been so widely reported now, has not yet been rectified and still the only option for most UK citizens outside of Loulé or Lagos is to choose Lisbon and I know that some of you have done that and decided to just have a day in the capital. Of course that also doesn’t help those who can’t travel for any reason.
“We’ve also had it confirmed by a Member who visited Lagos and spoke to staff there that there are now no slots available until the end of the year and they will be getting new slots available after Christmas. So Members who want to use that facility in the Espaço de Cidadão in Lagos will be receiving a new invitation from SEF.
“It's now been confirmed by SEF, in a meeting with the Ambassador and British Consul yesterday, that those people who can’t, or who don’t want to, travel to Lisbon simply have to ignore the e-mail and wait for a new invitation to be sent by SEF. One of the doubts that I had was whether missing the appointment meant that you were then removed from the process and had to start again, but this is not the case and SEF has confirmed it in a video on their Facebook page”.
What to do if you have already made an appointment?
Michael Reeve also shared other important information about the situation with members of afpop: ““But what if I’ve made an appointment already?” I hear you cry. Well then you have two options: of course you can just attend as scheduled or you can cancel. To cancel you send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and say that you can’t now make the appointed time and wish to cancel the appointment and re-apply and SEF will contact you again with a new invitation.
He adds: “In the email from SEF it asks you to check your details (passport number, address etc.) and then implies that you can edit them if required. However, the fields are locked and there is no facility to edit. We’ve been advised that this was just a poorly worded instruction and what they want people to do is check their details and then take documents to verify and alterations that need to be made when they go for their appointment. The details will then be amended by the staff when you attend for your appointment”.
To register for new residency documentation as a British citizen, please visit https://brexit.sef.pt/en/ where further information is available.
Sort yourselves out SEF
I live in the Algarve and will not spend a day travelling to and from Lisbon due to incompetence or malice
By James from Algarve on 28 Oct 2022, 15:31
Not so long ago we were reading articles on how Portugal has "leapt to the forefront of innovation, IT and digital technology". Glitches can happen but very often it is the limited resources (personnel and/or equipment) that cannot cope with the sheer volume of demand.
By Annie from Algarve on 28 Oct 2022, 15:41
not happy go home....Moan moan ???? moan....
By Tom allan from Beiras on 28 Oct 2022, 21:56
The obvious reason everyone is paranoid about missing or delaying an appointment is that we have been waiting for the SEF to get their act together for nearly 2 years, and as everyone who has ever tried to call them knows... They NEVER answer the phone. They sure know how to make you feel unwelcome, so don't be surprised to see lots of foreigners giving up on the dream that has become a nightmare.
By Richard Purdom from Lisbon on 28 Oct 2022, 22:02
So people like Tom think that we should all just suffer in silence?
That was the case during the near 50 years Portugal was a dictatorship.
Anyone that criticized the government was "disappeared" in the middle of the night,in many cases never to be seen again.
Since that time Portugal has become somewhat of a democracy,although the libel and defamation laws brings question whether there is actually free speech here.
As for the don't moan or go home statement. That is the typical statement of people who are happy with the status quo. Usually because they benefit from it.
This is our home and we have every right to want to try to make it better for everyone.We have every right to call out what we see as wrong,inefficient or injustices.
That is how societies involve and improve.
Portugal not a dictatorship.
By James from Algarve on 29 Oct 2022, 07:35
We need SEF to answer the phone and stop sending automated email responses telling you to call them when they don't answer it. Can't book an appointment because the drop down menu doesn't load properly. Works for one of us but not the other. Very frustrating.
By Nigel Judd from Algarve on 29 Oct 2022, 07:51
Our local Camera in Lagos informed me that the lack of biometric kits mean that no appointments are available and won’t be until December or January. An email from
SEF informed me that I should wait for another invitation to apply…!
By Barbara Debenham from Algarve on 29 Oct 2022, 08:12
I got my email last week, I live near Fundao, booked in Castelo Branco fast friendly and efficient service. Paid after two days when notification arrived
By Chris from Other on 29 Oct 2022, 09:50
Like many people I have been waiting a long time so was very glad to get the email saying I could now make an appointment. I had been led to believe that local offices would be available for us to attend so was disappointed when I found that only Lisbon was available but I booked an appointment anyway for the beginning of December. I live some 25km away from the city but am taking this because I just want to see this sorted out at long last. I don't want to risk cancelling and starting again. I just want to get my new residency card.
By Steve Andrews from Other on 29 Oct 2022, 12:22
It's ridiculous that those of us living in Albufeira should have to provide biometric data in Lisbon when it can be done in various locations across the Algarve. Not only that, just supposing we arrive in Lisbon only to discover that the machine is not working!
By Jill Warnes from Algarve on 29 Oct 2022, 16:55
I don't have a problem with a day trip to Lisbon. Nice day out with lunch and dinner. And the train fare for a senior like me is extremely good value.
By Martyn from Algarve on 29 Oct 2022, 18:26
Still no list of what documents we need to take. Seems to vary as usual. What do we need to take, a definitively list would be appreciated
By Peter Forcey from Lisbon on 31 Oct 2022, 10:23
Our local camara in Lagos informed us that it is the lack of biometric kits which is causing the back log. Supply and demand. Lagos camara does not expect more kits until January 2023…
By Barbara Debenham from Algarve on 31 Oct 2022, 10:44
And the carbon footprint of this nonsence, Martyn.......? We´re being told that the world is dying.
By Stephen Hawczak from Algarve on 31 Oct 2022, 10:47
It’s the same in the North with only Porto available which is some distance from us. It is a pain but I will have a day out. Portugal has so many wonderful things to offer and the people are so welcoming, it’s a small price to pay.
By Linda from Other on 31 Oct 2022, 11:01
All the brouhaha concerning the difficulties British residents are having obtaining an appointment at a local SEF office ignores the real inequity here: that a class of people, Based solely on their national origin, are receiving preferentiall treatment by the Portuguese government over EU and non EU citizens who are equally qualified and eligible, and also seek to renew their visas, and have received no notice at all, and continue to wait for a renewal appointment anywhere! This is grossly prejudicial and unconstitutional, and myself and others have a class action suit in the ready for SEF to cease offering any appointments until a fair system is put in place. Typical British entitlement- Not!
By Patrick Oh! from Lisbon on 31 Oct 2022, 12:28
Oh well a day off from work and a train ticket are already booked so might as well play along.I remember 20 years ago when I used to pop into my local SEF office in Albufeira with the correct paperwork and passport photos and after €6 payment it was done and dusted in less than 1 hour including queueing ...it used to be all so simple...
By Dave from Algarve on 01 Nov 2022, 19:36
Poor Patrick Oh!. He must be really upset to write something as confused and garbled as that. The " entitled" British in Portugal, have been waiting for over 5 years to have their fate settled since the Brexit referendum happened! A decision that probably most of the "people" living in Portugal voted against. Perhaps Patrick should divert his nationalistic and egalitarian ire, towards the people who think closing down the SEF without a plan is clever, or fair to those who spent their careers working there?
By Peter from Alentejo on 02 Nov 2022, 10:29
All these mustn't grumbles and just do as told must have no live's and too much time on their hands.
The system is broken in Portugal because people don't stand up to it and demand better.
A very sad state of affairs.
Now you can see how collaborators happily charge sides in times of conflict.
I would also question whether some of the do Golders are actually SEF officers trying to guilt people into acceptance
By James from Algarve on 02 Nov 2022, 21:16
You voted out of Europe, suffer the consequences. Like Tom Allan said, not happy just go back home and stop moaning
By James Shipley from Algarve on 03 Nov 2022, 16:13
Received our notifications on Sunday evening.
By Tuesday midday we had 'exchanged' our residence card which should theoretically arrive in the post soon.
Mixed emotions about now having a Brexit residence card though ironically we got to hold on to our European ones which still have 8 years to run.
Blame the UK gammon bexiteers for this not the Portuguese institutions who have done a reasonable job in trying to welcome Brits here. I imagine a Portuguese national won't have it so easy trying to now get residence in the UK.
By Rick from Algarve on 04 Nov 2022, 13:53
Very frustrating process. We can't go to our local Câmara to have our biometrics done (as has been suggested) - only Lisbon? I spent an entire morning trying to call SEF - no one answers the phone or it is engaged. I have also sent several emails and received generic automatic responses but have had no further correspondence from them since!
By Beverley from Algarve on 10 Nov 2022, 07:26