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D7 Visa Consultants?

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Topic starter
(@douglasmcates)
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Joined: 3 months ago

Hello All,

My wife and I are getting ready to start the D7 process and, although I believe I can pull all of the dox myself and organize the application, I think I would prefer to pay a consultant to answer my detailed questions, handle translation, and help expedite the embassy appointment. 

I know EI Migrante is highly recommended, but I am concerned that they may be overwhelmed with requests.  Does anyone out there have a recommendation for another service that helped them with a successful and timely application process?  For example:

https://www.belionpartners.com/

 
Thanks for any suggestions!
 
Kind Regards, Doug
 
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Posts: 690
Admin
(@jonesdn2020)
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Joined: 1 year ago

Hello Doug and welcome to the forums. We felt the same as you last year this time. We were going to do everything ourselves. We thought Ei! was a little busy last Spring and went back to the idea of doing everything ourselves.  

When we joined the Expats Portugal Premium Plus program in July of 2021, we intended to use the skills for doing our D7 ourselves. Once we finished the program in September, we had made some progress and had our NIFs, background checks, and bank account. 

We realized in October that we had so much going on we did not want to do the D7 ourselves with the lease requirement and the potential to lose thousands of dollars. Carl from Expats Portugal introduced us to Cristina at Ei! via email at the end of October. We were Premium members, so all services were discounted 10%.

Ei! booked our VFS appointments for December 15 2021. They had our apartment secured and everything ready for the VFS appointment in 45 days. We flew over two weeks after the VFS appointment to stay on our 90 day limit while we waited for the D7 approval. We were approved in February 2022 and returned to the US for two weeks to get the visas.

We will be using Ei! for our SEF appointment this August as well. With Gilda being present almost every Monday on the Good Morning Portugal show to answer questions we couldn't be happier with our decision to use them and I think that is what distinguishes them.

 

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23 Replies
Community Member
(@douglasmcates)
Joined: 3 months ago

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Posts: 14

@jonesdn2020 Thank you!  We definitely want to use services.  I know EI is one very solid option.  I remain curious as to whether anyone wants to recommend another service that helped them.  Either way, we will get the ball rolling as soon as we return from our fact-finding trip!  Thanks, again for all of your expertise!  Doug

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Premium Member
(@sunil)
Joined: 10 months ago

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Posts: 70

@douglasmcates We used a firm to help with our immigration process, and whilst it's gone just fine and we are now on the home stretch, we had some communication challenges and frustrations with the folks we worked with and based on that, I can't recommend them.

That said, we worked with another firm (recommended by a friend who lives in PT) to review legal documents related to our new residence in Lisbon, as well as set up utilities, etc... and they were excellent to work with! Lamares, Capela & Associados. I have recently learned that they also assist with the immigration process, and if I had it to do again, I would choose to work with them (or Ei, alternately), rather than the firm we ended up with.

Hope that helps!

-Thea

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Community Member
(@douglasmcates)
Joined: 3 months ago

Member
Posts: 14

@sunil thank you very much for the tip!  Sorry for the slow reply as we have been on the run in North Portugal for since Wednesday last and I finally found a moment to login.  Doug

 

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Premium Member
(@grambo)
Joined: 10 months ago

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Posts: 17

@douglasmcates Hi to you. Im at same stage as you and trying to decide which way to jump for consultants to process and manage my D7 application.  Ei sound good but fear they are swamped with applications which may impact on the time and quality of support. 

Can I ask if you have reached any conclusions or decisions on the consultantancy front?     BR Grambo   

 

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Community Member
(@douglasmcates)
Joined: 3 months ago

Member
Posts: 14

@grambo Hi, sorry, I haven't logged in lately.  We are working with Manuella Sena at LVP Advogados (Belion) and have been pleased with the service.  The only real issue for us was getting an appointment with VFS (confirmed on 9/2/22), and I don't believe any service can help you with that.  We just accepted an offer on our house and have sold most of our belongings, so, if all goes well, we will get our Visas in September and fly with our dog and our remaining personal belongings on 10/2/22.  I will keep you posted.  Regardless of the service you choose, I do believe all immigration attorneys and services are swamped with GV clients, etc.  IMHO I could have done this myself, but feel more confident having a PT immigration attorney on my side to answer questions, give me confidence, and attend the SEF meeting with us.  I believe the cost for my wife and me is 4500 Euros, from cradle to grave, which I found to be reasonable.  So, I recommend them, but I am sure EI does a fine job too.  COUNTING DOWN THE DAYS UNTIL OUR DREAM COMES TRUE!!!

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Premium Member
(@grambo)
Joined: 10 months ago

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Posts: 17

@jonesdn2020

Hi Trevor, Ive decided, after much soul searching, to look to using an agency to process my D7 application. After thinking I could do it all myself, your story sounds painless. You make it sound pleasant, and I wonder if I could ask you about Ei! service fees ?  Presume fees are published and relatively unilateral so not totally confidential?  A ball park figure would be good. 

Thanks Graham 

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Admin
(@jonesdn2020)
Joined: 1 year ago

Illustrious Member
Posts: 690

@grambo 

Hi Graham,

Their fees are ala carte and may be country dependent. Claim the benefit as a premium member and do the consultation. Then determine what items you want to use them for. We just did the D7 and SEF appointment. We did use Casa Portuguesa | Expats Portugal for the apartment lease and received the 10% discount.

We had already obtained our NIFs and bank account so we never received pricing in those areas. 

We now do not need to do a drivers license exchange so we will not be paying for that.

We have also decided to use Serenity Care, Lda | Expats Portugal for our SNS.

Kind Regards,

Trevor & Shannon

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Premium Member
(@grambo)
Joined: 10 months ago

Member
Posts: 17

@jonesdn2022

Thanks a lot Trevor/Shannon, youre helping a lot. Apologies for bombarding you with questions.

This at least tells me the service is bespoke and tailored to needs. Like you I have my bank and NIF. Thats fairly easy. I have fired off an email but like previous forum guests I fear they may be swamped with applications. I will give it two days and call.  

Any experience of the other Visa Application agencies?  There are a few.

I have approached most for a quote. 

Total ignorance on driving licences. Why do I need to change? Can I not drive on my Brit licence indefinitely ?  Why may I ask do you not need an exchange.

Serenity Care sounds like an Old Folks Home. Is this Health Insurance?  

SNS means?  

Best Graham

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Premium Member
(@blaze451)
Joined: 11 months ago

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Posts: 118

@grambo It used to be that you had to exchange your UK driving licence once you obtained your residency visa within 90 days and if not then you could no longer legally drive with it and had to sit a test for a Portuguese licence. They have just recently changed the rules and you no longer need to exchange your UK licence provided that no more than 15 years have elapsed since the issue or last renewal and provided that the holder is under 60 years of age.

Serenity care act as a middleman between you and the health care system. They will sign you up to SNS (The Portuguese NHS), find English doctors, dentists, opticians near you, make appointments for you, assist with any document translations, attend appointments with you (depending where you are located) prescribe some medications, offer video consultations with their own GPs etc etc. Well worth the yearly fee.

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Premium Member
(@blaze451)
Joined: 11 months ago

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Posts: 118

@grambo sometimes emails to ei end up in their spam folder, as you are a premium member you should reach out to one of the mods on here and ask them to refer you to Ei.

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Premium Member
(@grambo)
Joined: 10 months ago

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Posts: 17

@blaze451 

Trying to get my head around the non EU citizen 90 day rule out of every 180,  Does this mean I can stay without visa 3 months return to UK for 3 months and then return again for another 3 months?  How is it monitored and kept track of?   

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Premium Member
(@blaze451)
Joined: 11 months ago

Member
Posts: 118

@grambo yes. It is tracked by them stamping your passport with entry, exit dates, or logging them on computer.

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Admin
(@jonesdn2020)
Joined: 1 year ago

Illustrious Member
Posts: 690

@grambo 

No worries! If you are trying to email Ei! direct then you will experience delays. We went to this page Member Benefits | Expats Portugal and claimed the benefit. We then had @CarlM send an email to Ei! with us as a CC so it did not get caught in spam.

Let me know what happens when you claim the benefit and get the email. We want to get your request into Ei! for Monday.

We did look at other agencies. The pricing all seemed to be higher and that was without the discount. Those agencies did not have Gilda on the GMP YouTube show every Monday so we could ask questions and get updates. Let us know how your quotes compare.

In Portugal you cannot drive for more then 90 days after obtaining residence on your non-EU license. You had to exchange it for a Portuguese license. Now you can keep yours depending on the country and the UK is included as long as you are under 60. You still have to exchange it for a Portuguese license when it expires.

Serenity is a managed healthcare assistance company. They will coordinate your private and public health insurance and set you up with English speaking providers. All for an affordable rate.

SNS is the public health system. 

Kind Regards,

Trevor & Shannon 

 

 

 

 

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Premium Member
(@grambo)
Joined: 10 months ago

Member
Posts: 17

@jonesdn2020 

wow a fountain of knowledge . Thanks again Trevor/Shannon.  Im on a steep learning curve,  or more like, a hairpin bend.

All great info. Muito muito.....Graham

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Premium Member
(@grambo)
Joined: 10 months ago

Member
Posts: 17

@jonesdn2020 

Im still on that hairpin learning curve Trevor and Sharon ( Blaze) you have been helpful and generous with your time. Thank you.

You may know the answers.

Looking at buying a flat soon. I am from UK where apartments ( flats ) are sold as " leasehold" as apposed to "freehold" which applies to most houses.

Is this the same in Portugal? 

 Also UK based modern apartments can also have a "ground rent" or "service charge" for outside maintenance..

Is this the same in Algarve? 

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Premium Member
(@blaze451)
Joined: 11 months ago

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Posts: 118

@grambo  Normally the properties in Portugal are freehold.

Exceptions are some coastal areas, some areas near large government infrastructures and co-op properties, that are leasehold.

As an owner of property in Portugal you will have to pay IMI - the Portuguese version of UK’s council tax.

A Service charge would be payable for properties in condominiums are those on a private estate, resort or development with communal areas and facilities. Owners here own their own homes, but also own a share of the common elements including foyers, hallways, passages, lifts, patios, gardens, roads, leisure and sports facilities - golf courses, swimming pools, tennis courts, gymnasiums, bars and restaurants.

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Admin
(@jonesdn2020)
Joined: 1 year ago

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Posts: 690

@grambo 

You will find both types here I believe. The major developers of resorts in the Algarve may be of the leasehold variety but I am not sure. The resort sets the rules and is the property owner from my understanding.

I do know that for instance the apartment we are in the units are fractions. Each fraction consists of a part ownership in the property. This is the HOA model we are familiar with from the US.

Both models here include the common maintenance charges.

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Premium Member
(@blaze451)
Joined: 11 months ago

Member
Posts: 118

@grambo Also hopefully it goes without saying (but I'll say it anyway!) you should still always consult a qualified person in whatever area you are looking into (property, taxes, health, insurance etc) and not just go based on what was said on any forum. A judge wont look kindly on a plea of "but Your Honour, so-and-so on xyz forum told me that was how it worked in Portugal"

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Admin
(@jonesdn2020)
Joined: 1 year ago

Illustrious Member
Posts: 690

@grambo 

Make sure you use a lawyer for any purchase as @thomasribatejo recommended.

Check for some buyers advocates here Real Estate Buyers Advocate | Expats Portugal they will have a connection to a lawyer they use.

Great property lawyers here Reis & Pellicano International Lawyers | Expats Portugal 

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Premium Member
(@dance)
Joined: 9 months ago

Member
Posts: 100

@jonesdn2020 They also help with SNS that is great news, I didn’t know that. Thanks.

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Premium Member
(@dance)
Joined: 9 months ago

Member
Posts: 100

@jonesdn2020 Can you share the fees for all your services please. We had same dilemma but it depends how pricy it gets for all the services . Thank you.

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Admin
(@jonesdn2020)
Joined: 1 year ago

Illustrious Member
Posts: 690

@dance

I am working on it and should get a post up in the next couple of days. Long day at the LX factory. What a incredible space.

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Premium Member
(@dance)
Joined: 9 months ago

Member
Posts: 100

@jonesdn2020 Thank you guys, looking forward to hear from you.

you can also PM if it’s more comfortable.

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Posts: 263
Ask our Expat Consultant
(@thomasribatejo)
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Joined: 5 years ago
Posted by: @grambo

I am from UK where apartments ( flats ) are sold as " leasehold" as apposed to "freehold" which applies to most houses.

Is this the same in Portugal? 

Firstly, as has been mentioned by others, always use a proactive Portuguese lawyer for property transactions - all relevant details should be checked by them, and explained to you in terms specific to the property in question.

Leasehold is not a concept in Portuguese law - there can be unconventional arrangements which may seem similar (but they're unusual); and you may find some people misdescribing things in those terms.

The key concept is propriedade horizontal, which is often glossed (notably by non-Portuguese speakers) as the condominium setup.  It is safe to assume that pretty much all apartments follow this regime; as do many resort-like developments - but also other multi-occupancy buildings which might not, in other countries, be considered to be condominiums (eg larger houses later subdivided into units).

A building classified as propriedade horizontal will be so described in its official paperwork - and in that instance, each owner is responsible for their share of the building upkeep based on the established proportions (in permilagens - thousandths).  The individual properties are known as frações and an owner may have one or more (garages may be separate titles, or combined, for instance).

Where there are more than four owners sharing the building, there must be an official condominium setup, with an adminstrator (an owner, or a third party) and regulations (which, once established, are extremely hard to change).  The way everything must function, including meetings, voting, financial reserves, is established clearly by law, and the regulations complement but cannot override that.

However, a key factor to check is the financial health of the condominium, and the historical maintenance.  If you buy into a condominium which is underfunded and/or poorly maintained, you share the headache of getting it sorted.  Many condominiums are well run and solvent; some are effectively bankrupt, with no money to fund, say, a roof problem.  There is no landlord - it's down to the joint ownership to fund the building in the established proportions.  This is precisely the kind of thing the lawyer should check for you.

The alternative to propriedade horizontal is propriedade vertical, where one owner owns the whole building (even if it has separately rented units within it).  It is possible for the status to be changed between these two - but that's beyond the scope of this thread!

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