I am pleased to post the following information just received from the British Embassy in Lisbon.
I am happy to share with you that SEF has officially launched their Brexit Portal today, where UK nationals resident in Portugal can start the process of exchanging their current EU residence documents for new ones that explicitly state they are under the Withdrawal Agreement.
The Portal – that can be accessed here: https://brexit.sef.pt/en/ – will be open until June 2021, so UK nationals do not need to take action before the end of the year. Current EU documents will continue to be accepted in Portugal after the end of the transition period and until the new card arrives.
There are a few details that may be important to highlight:
- You need to be registered with your town hall or with SEF to be able to make the exchange;
- Please make sure your passport is valid at the time you are applying for the exchange;
- Once you register, please make sure you download the certificate (with the QR code) and authenticate it by reading the QR code or by inserting the full code manually (the instructions are on the bottom of the certificate).
- You can use the certificate when travelling as proof you are resident in Portugal.
- The card will be biometric and follows a EU-wide design (so it can be recognised by any European border service).
- Appointments to provide biometric data will only be scheduled from 1 January. After the new year, SEF will notify by email those registered, asking to schedule an appointment.
- The appointments will be at selected town halls around continental Portugal, Madeira and the Azores. The list of which town halls provide this service will be available after the new year.
- There is general guidance on the Portal and a step-by-step video that can help applicants navigate the process.
I understand you have been receiving some enquiries from UK nationals who were able to register before the official launch today. SEF has confirmed that all who have registered successfully and have their certificate with the QR code do not need to register again. Their registration and certificate are valid and they will be notified by SEF to schedule an appointment.
Non-EU family members of UK nationals will also be entitled to receive a residence document which states they are beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement. This process will not open until 2021. Information is not yet available on the process they will need to follow. In the meantime, their current residence documents will continue to be accepted after the end of the transition period.
SEF has also announced their new dedicated Brexit telephone line (+351 21 711 50 45) and e-mail address (firstname.lastname@example.org) that UK nationals in Portugal should use if they have any questions related to residence and this process of exchanging documents. These lines are open every working day from 8am to 8 pm and are staffed by English-speakers.
The British Embassy and SEF have also launched today a joint public campaign, informing UK nationals about this process. This will be a fully digital campaign focused on social media. We have shared the step-by-step video on our Brits in Portugal Facebook page and Twitter. Please feel free to share with your members. We will also share other resources – such as an infographic – during this week.
On Thursday, we will host another session of the Ask the Embassy series, where Simona and I answer live on Facebook, questions we receive from UK nationals. This session will be dedicated to residence in Portugal and we will talk about the Portal and the process of exchanging documents.
Once again, thank you for your support in disseminating these messages and your extraordinary work in engaging with the British community in Portugal.