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How our SEF meetings went
My wife and I had our SEF meetings today. Mine was in Figueira da Foz and Kathy's was in Espinho. Neither of us speak Portuguese and we didn't have a registered lease to submit as proof of accommodation.
Kelly's meeting in Figueira da Foz: Scheduled for 2:30, I arrived at 2 pm. The English speaking security guard checked my name on his list and told me to wait outside, that he would call me when it was my turn. I was called in at 3pm. There were two clerks working the counter.
My clerk spoke English without me asking. After asking for my passport, he first asked for my application. I hadn't signed it and he told me to sign it. He also, oddly, told me to fill in the names of my parents. I had left that line blank thinking it only applied in cases of family reunification or if you were Portuguese. He next asked for my proof of accommodation. I gave him my Atestado and he didn't ask for a lease or rental agreement. He then asked for my proof of financial support while in Portugal. I provided a letter from my state in the U.S. confirming my state pension amount. My clerk confirmed that I was in Portugal on a retirement visa and asked no questions about the letter. He then asked for my proof of registration with the tax authorities.
I was then told to go to machine #1 where I was fingerprinted (index fingers only) and my photo was taken. Back at the desk, the clerk then asked for my bank statements. I provided those and he scanned them, along with the other documents I provided. I kept waiting for him to ask for proof of health insurance but he never did, so I didn't provide it.
He then told me to pay 15815 Euros by card and after he gave me a receipt and temporary residence card, I was done. Total time 25-30 minutes.
Kathy's meeting in Espinho: Scheduled for 3 pm, Kathy arrived at 2:20. She opened the door to the office and the English speaking security guard came out immediately and told her to wait outside. He called her in 2:40. There were two clerks working the counter.
Kathy's clerk did not speak English. Kathy relied on pantomiming and broken Portuguese to get by. She immediately provided her passport, followed by her stack of documents. The clerk gave back the rental agreement (because her Atestado took care of that). She also gave Kathy back her proof of health insurance. Kathy tried to give it back to her and the clerk pulled out Kathy's proof of financial support and pointed to that as being satisfactory instead of proof of health insurance. Kathy's proof of financial support apparently confused the clerk because it was a statement from the Social Security Administration in the US. The clerk may have thought it was an English version of a Portuguese Social Security document. Kathy pointed out that her Social Security statement was for the income requirement and the clerk understood and then took her proof of health insurance.
Kathy was then fingerprinted and was asked to pay 158.15 Euros in cash. Maybe their card machine was broken, but at any rate, Kathy had to go around the corner to the Multibanco and get cash. Neither of us were expecting the cost to be that much. We were thinking it was 77 or so Euros.
One interesting difference between our meetings was that Kathy got all of the documents she submitted back. They kept my Atestado and gave me back everything else.
He then asked for my proof of registration with the tax authorities.
Congratulations Kelly & Kathy!
Kelly and Kathy, CONGRATULATIONS! Very interesting experiences. Thank you for sharing!
Thank you for sharing these experiences -- so helpful to have an idea what to expect! Assuming I apply through VFS San Francisco (where I think I have to go in person), at what point is the SEF appointment scheduled? Or is that the appointment in San Francisco? (Sorry if I sound confused; just trying to piece this together.) Thank you!