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Spotlight on EMEA Series: Portugal

New procedure for pending post-arrival residence applications

On 3 May 2024, the Council of Ministers in Portugal approved an Action Plan for Migration which removes the “Expressions of Interest” procedure which allowed foreign nationals to apply for a residence permit while in Portugal as a visitor. The move is in response to long running processing backlog issues.

The plan also includes an expansion of capacity at Portuguese consular posts abroad to cope with the expected consequent increase in consular residence applications, as well as the creation of a mission structure, with additional resources, to address the existing backlog of pending residence cases.


New Process

The new procedure for speeding up pending post-arrival “expression of interest” residence cases has been published on the AIMA website.  Any individuals who have been living in Portugal on a temporary basis and were hoping to apply within Portugal for a more long term right of stay, should seek professional advice on how to move forward with an application.

Foreign nationals with a pending expression of interest case, initiated on the old SAPA Portal up to 30 April 2023, will receive an email from AIMA to deal with their application. According to the document, in order to continue processing it is necessary to:

  • Change the password on a new platform;
  • Request a Single Collection Document (DUC) on the new platform to pay the fees, which must be paid within the next 10 working days;
  • After payment, the applicant will receive an appointment proposal within the next 20 working days, indicating the date, time and place;
  • A few days before the appointment, the applicant will receive instructions to update all the information and documents they sent at the beginning of the old process.

From the beginning of 2024, fees must be paid when the application is submitted, rather than after the decision, for both new and pending cases.

If you require assistance with a new application for Portugal or with your pending expression of interest case, please contact [email protected] and [email protected]


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