In a statement, the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) states that around 25,000 foreigners can automatically renew their residence permits (AR) using the Automatic Renewal feature, available in the "Personal Area" of the portal.

SEF states that the Automatic Renewal functionality is part of the simplification of procedures and there is no need to visit a service desk in person, ensuring “compliance with safety rules and mitigation of the consequences that resulted from the situation of health emergency”.

This measure of automatically renewing residence permits, which lasts for two years, came about in July 2020 due to the covid-19 pandemic, with more than 200,000 automatic renewals having been carried out.

“The service has been adopting exceptional measures, with a view to recovering pending issues and ensuring efficiency in the document management of foreign citizens, following Order No. 5793-A/2020 of May 22, 2020, which determined the implementation of a procedure simplified processing of applications for granting a residence permit”.

SEF also indicates that, among the initiatives to mitigate the consequences that resulted from the pandemic, the automatic renewal of residence permits is the one that has had the greatest impact and allowed “the recovery of pending issues and a gain in efficiency in the document management of foreign citizens".