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Info needed regarding SF Embassy action plan

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Posts: 16
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Topic starter
(@lucia-s)
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Joined: 7 months ago

We would like to get the latest information regarding the specific steps for garnering a D7 visa through the SF embassy, as we are targeting a relocation to Portugal for spring 2023. 

We've heard that SF is currently taking quite a while to issue visas. Is there any new information regarding the current timeline?

As we are not clear on the process, is it true that we will need to get an appointment through VFS first, then secure our rental while in Portugal this fall, and then bring our completed application to the SF embassy when we have an appointment?  Or... is there some more expedient way to get this handled?  

Since EI is no longer making VFS SF appointments for their clients, when is the best time to connect with VFS?  Is there a day and time of day when they are more accessible? 

Thanks so much.  Any information/ advice will be greatly appreciated!

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Posts: 16
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Topic starter
(@lucia-s)
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Joined: 7 months ago

So good to know...  This option definitely takes some of the pressure off of the schedule. 

Thank you for all of this information, Gene.

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Community Member
(@johnnycocktail)
Joined: 1 year ago

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Posts: 75

@lucia-s Be aware that the FBI background check has an expiration date for submission (30 days? 60 days?). @misticjeff or @JonesDN2020 should be able to provide the absolute time. Please do submit your event dates to the Forum topic hosted by @mistijeff = D7/SEF Process Spreadsheet to help those like me that will be following you. Good Luck!

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(@lucia-s)
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@johnnycocktail Thank you, Johnny.  You were reading our minds, as we were wondering how the FBI background check timing fit into all of this.  I will definitely post on (@misticjeff), to let you know our event dates.  This whole process is like an intricate puzzle--very curious indeed! 

 

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(@misticjeff)
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Posted by: @johnnycocktail

Be aware that the FBI background check has an expiration date for submission (30 days? 60 days?).

FBI Background Check is valid for 90 days.  I had to do a second one because I couldn't get a VFS appointment in time.

Regarding keeping your passport, they will need a color, notarized copy as stated above, then you just ask to keep it.  Once you receive the approval, you can simply return to the U.S. and FedEx your passport to the consulate and they will FedEx back to you.  I sent my Passport on the 9th of Aug and received it back on the 12th.  They are very quick at turning around.

Of note also, you will be asked to pay a $35 fee at your VFS appointment for the return FedEx mailer. When you send your passport back after approval, they will already have the return paid for, you won't need to send them a prepaid.

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(@jonesdn2020)
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Our timeline starting last year. We booked a VFS appointment on Nov 10th for Dec 15th. We were approved for a lease on Nov 26th and got our lease on Dec 13th which started on Dec 1. We attended VFS and came to Lisbon on Dec 31. We were approved for D7 on Feb 13th. We returned to US on Mar 10th for two weeks and returned to Lisbon. Our D7 expired Jul 19th and we had SEF on Aug 29th. Had our Resident cards in our hands on Sep 8th. 

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22 Replies
 Gene
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(@gene)
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@jonesdn2020 Nice. 10 day turnaround on your Resident card.  Which SEF office? Did you pick them up or have them mailed?

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(@blaze451)
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@gene I was advised mine would take 2 months to be delivered. This was at SEF Coimbra, which apparently is slow as treacle.

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 Gene
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(@gene)
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@blaze451 I pride myself in knowing a lot of UK terms but I had to look treacle up.  "Slow as molasses" got it 🙂

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Community Member
(@kellyd)
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@blaze451 Are you still waiting for your residence card? My wife got hers after 4 days (from Espinho office) but I've been waiting over a month for mine and still haven't received it (Figueira da Foz office). I was thinking of driving over to the office tomorrow, because they haven't responded to my email asking about status, but if you were told 2 months then maybe I'll give them more time.

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(@blaze451)
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@kellyd my appointment was only  1week ago so still waiting. The Ei lawyer who attended with me told me Coimbra was particularly slow, and she has one client who waited 3 months to get his. No idea why they are so slow when its the same database all the SEF offices use. Why not share the load or centralise it...D'oh my mistake, its Portugal why would they try to streamline anything.

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Community Member
(@kellyd)
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@blaze451 Thanks, that is good information. My next deadline is the 90 day "exchange your license" period. I can't exchange my license until I get my residence card. So 90 days will be a problem for me if I have to wait that long to get my residence card.

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(@blaze451)
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@kellyd is that your driving licence?, I take it your over 60 or its over 15years since it was issued/renewed otherwise no need to replace it until then.

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(@kellyd)
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@blaze451 Yep, driving license. I'm over 60.

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(@jonesdn2020)
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@kellyd The 90 days might actually start after SEF appointment. They issue your temporary paper permit. Do they in fact need your card to apply for the DL exchange?

I am thinking the 60 days to update your NIF applies to the SEF appointment as well but they prefer your residence card copy to submit the change is what the bordr docs say but not sure if the temp paper permit would suffice.

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(@blaze451)
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@jonesdn2020 did your temp paper permit have your actual residency number on it? the paper I got is just a receipt, doesn't have any residency number mentioned. I queried it with Ei lawyer who replied-

"The proof of application that has a number on it is only an internal number of the service that is not the final number of the residence permit. When the residence permit comes, there is a final number on it and on the back of the card is the NIF + Numero de utente."

So until I get the actual card I don't know my residency number and can't use the receipt for anything other than proving I have been accepted for residency and waiting issue of residency card. 

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VIP Member
(@jonesdn2020)
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@blaze451 Correct. The paper only has a processing number on it and another number but not the actual resident number.

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(@kellyd)
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@jonesdn2020 My understanding is that IMT will require the residence card. The temporary paper permit does not have the final residence number on it. The expiration date of my wife's residence card matches the month and day of her SEF meeting. If the 90 day clock starts upon receipt of the card, then great. But I think it may start upon issuance of the temporary paper permit.

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(@blaze451)
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@jonesdn2020 also the 60 days to update NIF is a joke given I was told it would take that long to receive my residency card. The lawyer mentioned one of her clients took 3 months to get theirs...so how does that work for updating NIF in time

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VIP Member
(@jonesdn2020)
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@blaze451 I guess it is the same deal as our SEF appointment being weeks after our D7 expired. They must just take into account things do not get done on time.

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Premium Member
(@blaze451)
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Premium Member
(@blaze451)
Joined: 1 year ago

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Posts: 358

@jonesdn2020 maybe i'm just being daft but given it's a central database why don't they also centralise the printing and issuance of cards instead of some sites taking 10 days and others taking 3 months... (Bem, isso é Portugal para si)

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VIP Member
(@jonesdn2020)
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@blaze451 I thought Ei! mentioned all the cards were created here in Lisbon. Ours had a Lisbon mailing stamp.

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Premium Member
(@blaze451)
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@jonesdn2020 why would one site take 6 times as long though?...they enter the info into the database at the SEF appointment, so that would mean Lisbon are for some reason putting certain locations to the back of the queue if they are indeed processing them all.

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VIP Member
(@jonesdn2020)
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@blaze451 Good question. Is it 100% digitized or is there some paper pushing?

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Premium Member
(@blaze451)
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@jonesdn2020 I thought it was all digitized, they typed everything into computer, and scanned all my docs then handed all my paperwork back so I can't see what paper pushing there would be...maybe their on a 56k dial up line 🤣

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VIP Member
(@jonesdn2020)
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@gene We went to the Lisbon office. I went on Aug 29 and Shannon on Aug 30. Both were mailed to us on Sep 8 and we met our CTT mailman in front of our building the same day to retrieve them.

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Premium Plus member
(@lucia-s)
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Posts: 16

@jonesdn2020 Thank you for this.  You had a wonderfully streamlined rollout--wish it were so easy now.  Spending time in Portugal awaiting the D7 (as you did) seems like the best option to us.  We would rather wait for the visa in Portugal, absorbing its wonderful culture!

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(@misticjeff)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posted by: @dyann

I have no desire to fly back to SF when my visa is approved (crossing fingers).

@Dyann you do not have to fly to San Francisco once your Visa is approved, the consulate will FedEx your passport back to whatever mailing address you leave them (within the U.S.)

Getting a duplicate Passport is not an easy thing.  There are restrictions:

Applying for a Second Passport Book

 

If you have a valid U.S. passport and you meet several additional requirements, you may be eligible to apply for a second U.S. passport book. In limited circumstances, we will issue a limited-validity, second passport book to you which will be valid for up to four years.

Examples of cases when we may issue second U.S. passport books include:

  • A foreign country will deny a visa or entry to you because your passport has stamps showing travel to certain countries. Example: an Israeli entry or exit stamp in some countries in the Middle East. 
  • You need multiple visas on an ongoing basis because of frequent international travel. Example: you work for an international airline or a multinational company
  • You need a U.S. passport for urgent international travel but your application for a foreign visa is delayed or cannot be processed in time for your travel. 
  • When you need a special validation for travel to a restricted country or area.

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/have-passport/second-passport-book.html

 

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Premium Member
(@adventurefilmmaker)
Joined: 5 months ago

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Posts: 42

@misticjeff And it gets even more complicated when trying to figure out the forms to apply for one, which aren't designed to apply to a second passport. Very confusing/contradictory, and expensive (albeit may be cheaper than a RT ticket from Portugal).

And there are caveats; 1) you'll need someone in the US who can sign for it and forward it to you, 2) the risk of losing the primary passport and visa in customs or transport, and 3) you have to validate the visa by leaving Portugal such that you return back through passport control. 

I've only read of one person here doing that, albeit successfully.

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Premium Member
(@dyann)
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@misticjeff - Yep, understood.  Thanks for reiterating the rules.  I'll still be trying.

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