Covid-19 – Perguntas Frequentes

Order n. º 3863-B/2020, of 27 March provides that every foreign national with applications pending before SEF, submitted by date of the declaration of the National Emergency, is deemed temporarily regular in national territory. Foreign nationals in that situation have guaranteed access to every public service, specifically with regards obtaining the National Health Service user’s number and access to the NHS, as well as access to social benefits, rental contracts, employment contracts, opening of bank accounts and hiring of essential public services.

It is not an automatic legalisation. The procedure remains suspended, while SEF will reschedule the appointments, as from 1 July, by chronological order, ensuring an equal treatment for foreign nationals.

According to Decree-Law n.º 22/2020, visas and permits concerning the stay of foreign nationals in the national territory which have expired after 24th February are accepted until 30 october 2020.

The residence permits and visas regarding the stay in the national territory are still accepted under the same terms after 30 October 2020, as long as their holder submits supporting evidence that he already has an appointment for the corresponding renewal.

Foreign nationals who have submitted an Expression of Interest, pursuant to Act 23/2007, as amended, by 18 March, the date on which a State of Emergency was declared, are deemed legal in Portugal.

Their application document for an expression of interest extracted from SAPA Portal is proof of the regular status of the person concerned. At SAPA webportal you can consult and download the certificate of registration of the expression of interest under articles 88 and 89, n.º 2 (clicking on the QR Code icon) which may be validated within SEF by public and private authorities through an access and reading key of the QR Code.

This document shall be accepted and deemed valid by all public services, specifically with regards obtaining the National Health Service user’s number and access to the NHS, as well as access to social benefits, rental contracts, employment contracts, opening of bank accounts and hiring of essential public services.

Foreign nationals who have pending proceedings before SEF, pursuant to Act 23/2007, as amended, by 18 March, the date on which a State of Emergency was declared, are deemed legal in Portugal.

The proof of an appointment at SEF or the application receipt for an application submitted are evidence of the regular status of the applicant.

This document shall be accepted and deemed valid by all public services, specifically with regards obtaining the National Health Service user’s number and access to the NHS, as well as access to social benefits, rental contracts, employment contracts, , opening of bank accounts and hiring of essential public services.

Foreign nationals who have pending proceedings before SEF, pursuant to the Asylum Act (Act 27/2008, as amended) by 18 March, the date on which a State of Emergency was declared, are deemed legal in Portugal.

Public face-to-face service by the Asylum and Refugees Department remains open for submission and registration of new applications for international protection. However, legal deadlines of the international protection proceedings are suspended.

SEF shall reschedule existing appointments, beginning in 1 July 2020, by chronological order, ensuring an equal treatment for foreign nationals.

As from 1 July, SEF will reschedule appointments, by chronological order, ensuring equal treatment to foreign nationals. You should wait for SEF to get in contact with you to reschedule your appointment at a SEF bureau. We apologize for the inconvenience and ask for your understanding.

SEF will only provide face-to-face public service for urgent applications, in the following cases: Citizens who need to travel abroad for unexpected, urgent and unavoidable motives, duly substantiated and documented; citizens whose documents have been stolen, robbed or lost.

In these cases, you may send your application by e-mail to gricrp.cc@sef.pt, together with supporting documents of the invoked urgency, which will be analysed by our services and replied as early as possible.

In view of the assessment of the epidemiological situation in Portugal, and the European Union, and the measures proposed by the European Commission, it is important to ensure the internal security through proper measures covering the possible lines of infection, in a framework of prevention and containment of the pandemic as well by the establishing of restrictions to air traffic.

Order n.º 5503-C/2020, of 13 May, provides for the extension of the interdiction of air traffic to and from Portugal of all flights from and to countries which do not integrate the European Union, until 00:00 on 15 June 2020, with the following exceptions:

a) Schengen associated countries (Liechtenstein, Norway, Iceland and Switzerland);
b) Portuguese-Speaking countries. However, and from Brazil, flights from and to São Paulo and from and to Rio de Janeiro are allowed only;
c) The United Kingdom, the United States of America, Venezuela, Canada and South Africa, due to important Portuguese communities.

These restrictions do not apply to flights with the purpose to allow the return to Portugal of nationals or holders of residence permits in Portugal, nor flights to allow the return to their countries of foreign nationals staying in Portugal, as long as such flights are promoted by the competent authorities of such countries, subject to previous request and agreement, and within the principle of reciprocity.

The Order does not apply to State aircrafts and the Armed Forces’ as well, to aircrafts included or liable to include the Special Response to Forest Fire Fighting, flights for the exclusive transport of goods and mail, as well as flights of humanitarian nature or of medical emergency and technical stops for non-commercial purposes.

Only the following persons are authorised to enter the national territory by air:

  • To nationals of a Member State of the European Union, from the Schengen associated countries authorised under Order n.º 5503-C/2020, n.º 1, of 13 May, and their relatives under Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, except where, in transit, they travel to a Member State other than of their nationality in which they cannot avail themselves of their right of free movement;
  • To passengers of the Portuguese-speaking countries, from South Africa, Canada, the United States of America, the United Kingdom under the transitional arrangement and Venezuela, as long as the principle of reciprocity is ensured in those countries to the Portuguese citizens;
  • To third-country nationals holding a residence permit or a long-stay visa issued by the national authorities;
  • To third-country nationals holding a residence permit or a long-stay visa issued by a Member State of the European Union, for transit purposes to the country of residence;
  • To people holding an identity document issued by the Foreign Affairs under article 87 of Law n.º 23/2007, of 4 July, currently worded;
  • Repatriated citizens through the consular assistance mechanism;
  • Applicants for international protection;
  • Citizens travelling for urgent professional reasons duly substantiated;
  • Nationals from the Portuguese-Speaking Countries under health protocols for urgent and pressing medical acts;
  • Citizens whose entry is justified for humanitarian reasons;
  • To citizens of the Special Response to Forest Fire Fighting, and those to be included as well, duly accredited;
  • To nationals of the Member States of the European Union implementing the Schengen Acquis, when, under n.º 10 of the Council of Ministers’ Resolution n.º 34-A/2020, of 13 March, arriving in flights from countries of the Member States of the European Union which do not implement the Schengen Acquis, the provision of subparagraph i) of the previous paragraph applies.

Every Portuguese temporarily abroad and in need of assistance to return to Portugal can get in contact with the Helpline of the Foreign Affairs – covid19@mne.pt – and the phone number – 00351 217 929 755, available every working day from 9h to 22h. The COVID-19 Line works complementarily to the Phone number (+351 217929714 / +351 961706472) and the e-mail (gec@mne.pt) of the Consular Emergency Office available on 24-hour/7-day basis.

Applications for the issuing of the Portuguese electronic passport must be pre-booked. You must forward the request for scheduling through the e-mail – gricrp.cc@sef.pt. SEF will then indicate the date/time/place of your appointment.