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Can we travel before our new residence cards arrive?

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Posts: 28
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Like a few people on this forum, we have recently been able to renew our residence cards using the automatic renewal process. Everything seems to have gone through fine and we are now waiting to receive the new cards. However, there’s no way to know how long this could take.

Does anyone have any experience of traveling outside of Portugal in this situation? Specifically, between first and second temporary residence cards, which I think is a bit different from when you are waiting for your first residence card to arrive.

We have a trip planned to the UK in July, which we could cancel if necessary, but what about any future trips? Do we have to remain in Portugal until the new cards arrive?

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An update on our trip…

We decided to go ahead with our trip to the UK and didn’t have much of a problem. When departing from Lisbon airport, the customs official asked to see our residence cards, and did notice that they were expired. When I explained that we had completed the renewal process but hadn’t yet received the cards, he asked to see some evidence of that. We had print outs from the SEF website that shows the status of the renewal request. He accepted that as sufficient proof. I’m not sure what would have happened if we didn’t have that document.

The rest of journey went smoothly. No issues entering or leaving the UK (we are UK passport holders), and on our return to Portugal we just presented our passport and were not asked for our residence cards.

Needless to say, our new residence cards have still not arrived!

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(@moa)
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@grudgij as usual, there is something that doesn’t make sense. There’s a decree that extends all expired documents till June 2025. Why would they decide during your departure to ask and show your residency card and then question you about it having expired?

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@moa that’s a good point, and I would have mentioned that if our first approach of showing evidence of renewal hadn’t worked.

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That is the issue we are facing at the end of August. We will have been traveling outside the EU for several months prior to our renewal. That might reset our travel visa on our US passports. 

On our initial departure on May 19th the Portugal immigration officer wanted to see our residents permits since we had expired our travel visa. We have always found the Portuguese immigration officials to be accommodating but we wouldn’t want to chance any other EU entry points. 

You can renew your residents permits for up to 6 months after expiration so I think the Portuguese immigration would allow us in with expired cards and receipts from the renewal. 

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(@moa)
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@jonesdn2020 If I understand you correctly, you’re saying that by being outside the Schengen for three months will reset your 90 day allowance to come back without having any issues? 

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@moa That is my understanding. There is a lookback period and a web site/app to use for determining your Schengen stays. 

I prefer just to enter through Portugal each time we leave the Schengen. I seem to have good luck with the Portuguese immigration staff. The last time our immigration officer looked at our residents permits and mentioned he is a neighbor of ours in Lisbon. That is a quick route to being allowed entry😀  

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(@moa)
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@jonesdn2020 It makes sense. If we were to forgo the residency permit we’d still be allowed entry based on the 90/180 rule. However,  how would we explain the long stays before? I stayed 3 months in the US and entered the Schengen in Austria. I spent a few days there so technically it was my destination. I handed in my passport and residency card and I was let in without  issue. They recognized the Portuguese residency card.

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@moa We show our residents permit each time we depart to explain why we have been in Schengen for long periods.

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(@moa)
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@jonesdn2020 interesting.  I left the Schengen a couple of days ago after spending a few days in Lyon and Paris. They didn’t question my long stay in their zone at all. If they had, I’d have shown them my residency permit. I didn’t hand it in on purpose to see what they did. The whole thing is that we can spend 9 months in Portugal and 3 months in France. There is no way to know if they choose to believe that we stayed the other way around.

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When we were waiting for our second temporary residence cards, we decided to go ahead with our planned trip to Spain. We carried all the necessary documents, including the renewal confirmation receipts, just in case we needed to explain our situation at the border.

For your trip to the UK in July, you might want to call the airline and check if they have any specific requirements for travelers in your situation..

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Thanks @ninahoover

We are also going to carry whatever we can print from the SEF website to show that the renewal has been done. The news that expired visas and residence cards will be extended until June 2025 helps as well.

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@grudgij As for future trips, it might be safer to stay in Portugal until your new cards arrive. However, if you do need to travel, it helps to book flexible tickets. I once got some cheap business class tickets that were fully refundable, and it really took the stress out of the uncertainty. It’s definitely worth looking into options like that, just to give yourself a bit more peace of mind.

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