How to Get Your First Residence Permit in Portugal

You’ve arrived in Portugal, ready to turn your Type 1 Visa into a Temporary Residence Permit or Titulo de Residencia. This article outlines the steps, timing and required documentation along with links to the official government sites and forms. Remember that the Type 1 Visa allows unlimited travel in the Schengen zone and two trips to/back from the US during the 120 days for which it is valid. You can travel to non-Schengen countries as well; you simply have to comply with the respective countries rules for entry.

Scheduling Your Appointment

Due to the high volume of Residence Permit applications, the SEF offices are currently (since mid-2015) asking that you book your initial appointment by calling their main customer service number. Call center hours are Monday-Friday from 09:00 a.m. to 05:30 p.m. The numbers are 808 202 653 (fixed network) or 808 962 690 (mobile network).

  • The automated message is in Portuguese so either wait until the end of the message, when an English-speaking person will come on the line, or hand your phone to a Portuguese friend to navigate the menu for you.
  • Your appointment date might exceed the viability of your 120 day Visa; when this happens, the SEF sends you an email confirming the appointment. You are expected to print out that email and carry it with you, as it officially extends the duration of your 120 day Visa until that appointment.
  • When you go to SEF for your appointment, you will get a number and wait….while the appointment itself takes less than an hour you might spend the entire day waiting, as many SEF offices give you an appointed time to get an appointment, not to meet with the official.

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