For anyone who has their SEF appt in Lisbon...
Our SEF experience...
We arrived at the SEF office about 815 because we were nervous about being late. The doors were supposed to open at 830... At least that’s what we were led to believe because our appointment was for 830. Our immigration firm was EI.
When you are facing the SEF building from outside there’s a group of people on the right who are already lined up and looking a little nervous. At about 830 a security guard came out and said the line to the right was for people without appointments. The line to the left was for people with appointments.
Our EI representative was first in line at the door and our appointments were at 8:30 and 9 o’clock. We waited outside while she went inside to the reception desk to get the numbered ticket. The security guard let people in to join the line at the reception desk and eventually everyone of those people were getting tickets. Once she got our tickets she came back to the door and retrieved us and brought us inside into the waiting room. Once in the waiting room we waited for our numbered ticket to come up on the screen saying it was time for us to go into the processing room. The waiting room felt a little chaotic because everyone was staring at the screen waiting for their number to come up and also looking at the line of people waiting at the reception desk to get their numbered ticket. So it felt like maybe every other waiting room and you could see the processing room right next door behind some frosted glass.
Once our number came up our representative went inside the processing room with all of our application documents and the same SEF processor did both applications. They spent about 15 to 20 minutes doing the paperwork and then our representative came back out to the waiting room to call us into the processing room. The processing room itself had about 12-15 windows with people behind plexiglass. It was very calm and quiet and efficient inside... in contrast to the waiting room.
Our processor said hello (in Portuguese) and said it was time to do our biometric processing. We stood sequentially in front of a little kiosk which took our picture, our fingerprints, and our signature. We then paid the processor with our Millenium bank card. We were then excused back to the lobby and our representative stayed with the processor.
After about another 15 minutes we saw our representative come out of the processing room and she had our receipts and handed them to us. She said everything was done and that our cards would be mailed to our address.
Everything was incredibly smooth and we were only in front of the SEF person for about five minutes as our representative took care of everything else. We are so thankful that EI were helping us navigate what could have seemed like a huge bureaucratic and administrative process. EI is a great help and they easily navigated the process. There was another lawyer there with what looked like a US family who looked like a rookie. There were also definitely people in the room who looked uncomfortable or maybe a bit nervous and were wondering if their Portuguese language skills would be sufficient. The waiting room felt 'slightly' nervous and chaotic (at least to me) and the processing room felt incredibly calm and efficient.
you are in good hands...