Portugal: The Visa Waiting Game
We are 55 days into “The Visa Waiting Game”. If everything runs smoothly and on time, we should technically be receiving our Outcome Letter within the next 5 working days. Fingers are crossed tight. Knotted really. If we get the outcome on time, then we will finally be able to put our visa applications in and from there it will hopefully be a month until we can safely and legally head back to Portugal. Since my last post on the visa process I became slightly more informed and hopefully a little bit smarter, but we wont get too excited just yet.
When Sam and I got back to the UK we continued our search for more information on how to apply for the illusive Portuguese Residence Visa. After days of frustrating internet circles, emails to the consulate plus a nice some of money to a company that’s meant to assist you with the visa process, but in the end only told us that what we’ve already done was what we were supposed to do. We decided it might be the best option to make an appointment with the consulate so that we could get some real and useful information. You know what? It worked. Due to the long wait times to get an appointment, we decided to book one straight away, which still left us with a month’s wait. What I mean is: Get in early. Otherwise you’ll be playing the visa waiting game much longer than necessary. You can make an appointment by following this link and clicking on the second line under your preferred language.
Once we got to the consulate, took our ticket, and got called up to our appointment, we finally got all the information we needed. So along with all the documents listed here, there are a few more things that need doing.
First: Criminal History Check Documents.
You will need a National Criminal History Check from your country of origin, as well as the country you are currently staying in if you’ve been there for more than 6 to 12 months.
These will all need to be translated into Portuguese and will need Apostilles from the country they were issued in. Bear in mind this part can take some time and does cost a bit of money. The Consulate provided us with contact details for a translator known as Ms Teresa Dangerfield. She is contactable on email@example.com and, at the time of writing this, charged GBP 30.00 per document if only one page, plus GBP 15.00 for the certificate of translation. The certificate of translation will require an Apostille which is GBP 30.00. This came with a time frame of two or more weeks and a referral to a company that can help should you need things done a little bit quicker.
For four documents Castello Notaries quoted us at GBP 425.00 for the translations to be done within two days. For the document legalisation (Apostilles) they gave two options:
- GBP 30.00 per document with a turnaround of 10 working days.
- GBP 75.00 + VAT for attendance per document for same day legalisation.
This blog focuses mainly on those who have been offered accommodation or homestay, whether it be by friends, colleagues or the local pub owner. Sam and I were offered accommodation by some friends of ours and while for minor visas such as a holiday extension you can go in with nothing but a letter, ID and address confirming bill of the individual, for a Residence or the more “serious” visas, you will need something a bit more official.
So, we’ll start with the easy part, here’s what to do:
- Find the person in Portugal willing to take you in.
- Get their help to write a letter in both English and Portuguese stating that you will be staying there from the beginning of the Visa until you find something for yourself. Make sure they sign and leave some contact details.
- Get all the required documents to go with it such as a copy of the helper’s ID and a copy of a bill or rental receipt showing the person’s name and address.
- Now all of these documents need to be notarised IN Portugal. By a Portuguese notary. So that they can confirm it’s a real person and place.
These are the two things that caught us out as we hadn’t found anywhere that wrote about these requirements. The rest was all just a matter of gathering documents and making copies. But might I add, DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE INSURANCE. As we creep up to the date when we should be receiving our Outcome Letter from Portugal, we are still gathering some of the last little bits we need for any impromptu visa appointments we might get surprised by ;). We were told we only needed the official translation for the criminal history checks, so fingers crossed that’s true.
For now, that’s all I’ve got for you again. But stay tuned because I think balls might start rolling in the next week or two.
I can’t wait to finish the Visa Waiting Game and get back to sunny sunny Portugal…