We were delighted to receive confirmation yesterday that SEF (Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras) has re-opened their online portal for the processing of Portuguese Golden Visa applications.

The portal has been unavailable for several months following a snap election back in January and a series of bureaucratic events in government, which have now been resolved . This meant that business in several government run agencies temporarily ground to a halt while elections took place and the coalition was reassembled in the months following. Alongside this, Portugal has been busy addressing the Ukraine refugee crisis and had allocated SEF’s resources to assist refugees fleeing to Portugal. These factors combined, along with the previous backlog caused by the pandemic have contributed to the recent disruption to the programme.

Some five years ago SEF had a backlog of applications, but the Portuguese government eventually cleared this by eventually increasing their resources in the department and business resumed to normal. Unfortunately these situations will happen from time to time in the world of immigration, usually dictated by government and often outside the commercial influence of business or “customers”.

Whilst we appreciate such delays are frustrating for all concerned, we would stress that Portugal’s Golden Visa programme still remains one of the most popular programmes in Europe, which is cost-effective and offers a clear and flexible path to citizenship. The programme generates several billion Euros in investment each year and the government, irrespective of which party has been in power, has seen the golden visa as a key component of inward investment for the last 10 years. We hope and expect the new set up will start to see the log jam clear in the coming weeks and months.

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