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Regularization in Portugal Without a Visa: Presentation of the Expression of Interest

If you are a foreign citizen who has entered Portugal legally, but is without a residence visa and needs to regularize your situation in the country, you should know that there is a way to do this by submitting an Expression of Interest. In this article, we’ll explore what the Expression of Interest is, who can submit it, the documents required, how to do it and other regularization options available under Portuguese law.

What is an Expression of Interest?

The Expression of Interest is a procedure that allows for the regularization of the situation of foreign citizens who have entered Portugal legally but are without a residence visa. By presenting this manifestation, it is possible to obtain a residence permit in the country, as long as the requirements established by Portuguese legislation are met.

Who Can Submit an Expression of Interest?

Any foreign citizen who has legally entered Portugal, is registered and has a regular Social Security situation and has a proven employment relationship can submit an Expression of Interest. This means that you must be properly employed and in compliance with the country’s labor and social security laws.

When and Where to Submit an Expression of Interest?

When: At any time.
Where: Via the Internet, using the SAPA Portal.

Necessary documents and requirements

Before submitting the Expression of Interest, it is important to ensure that you have all the necessary documents at hand. Here is a list of the main documents and requirements:

  • Passport or other valid travel document.
  • Proof of regular entry into Portuguese territory.
  • Proof of means of subsistence.
  • Criminal record certificate from the country of origin and the country in which you have lived for more than one year.
  • Authorization for SEF to consult the Portuguese criminal record.
  • Proof of accommodation.
  • Proof of Social Security registration and status.
  • Proof of registration with the Tax Authorities.
  • Employment contract or equivalent document.
  • Other specific documents depending on the individual situation, such as proof of incorporation, service contract, etc.
Documents required for a Portuguese visa

How to Submit an Expression of Interest?

To submit an Expression of Interest, follow these steps:

  • Access the SAPA Portal via the internet.
  • Register your expression of interest according to the instructions provided.
  • After analysis, SEF/AIMA will contact you to schedule an in-person visit.
  • Remember that this process is not a direct online appointment, but the start of the procedure to regularize your situation in Portugal.

Other Regularization Options

In addition to the Expression of Interest, there are other possibilities for regularization in accordance with articles 122 and 123 of the Portuguese Aliens Act. These options can be explored according to your specific situation and can offer viable alternatives for regularizing your stay in the country.

Article 122 of Portugal’s Aliens Law

Article 122 of Portugal’s Aliens Law lists several cases in which it is possible to obtain a temporary residence permit without the need for a visa. Some of the situations include:

  • Minors born in Portugal to foreign parents with a residence permit;
  • Adults who stayed in Portugal from an early age;
  • People with illnesses that require prolonged medical attention;
  • Individuals who have lost their Portuguese nationality but have remained in the country for the last 15 years;
  • Foreigners with minor children residing in Portugal or with Portuguese nationality;
  • Diplomatic and consular agents with at least three years’ accreditation in Portugal;
  • Victims of a serious work-related criminal or administrative offense, provided they report the offense and cooperate with the authorities;
  • People who have completed their studies in Portugal and wish to work in the country.

The article also provides for residence permits for specific situations, such as for highly qualified research activities or for investments. The granting of these permits is subject to specific requirements and may include the adaptation of other articles of the Aliens Act.

In addition, first-degree ascendants of foreigners covered by some of the situations described can also obtain a residence permit, as long as they effectively exercise parental responsibility over them.

In summary, Article 122 offers various possibilities for regularizing the situation of foreigners in Portugal, allowing them to obtain temporary residence permits without the need for a visa in certain specific circumstances.

Article 123 of Portugal’s Aliens Law

Article 123 of Portugal’s Aliens Law establishes an exceptional regime for extraordinary situations in which the provisions of Article 122 do not apply. This regime allows for the granting of temporary residence permits to foreign citizens who do not meet the requirements of the law in specific circumstances, such as:

  • Reasons of national interest;
  • Humanitarian reasons;
  • Reasons of public interest related to relevant scientific, cultural, sporting, economic or social activities.

In addition, the article covers special situations of foreign children and young people taken in by public, cooperative, social or private institutions with a cooperation agreement with the state, after a promotion and protection process, as established in the Law for the Protection of Children and Young People in Danger.

Decisions on applications for residence permits under this exceptional regime must be substantiated by the member of the government responsible for the area of internal administration and migration.

In short, Article 123 offers a flexible mechanism to deal with extraordinary situations that do not fall under the regular residence permit provisions, allowing temporary permits to be granted in special cases of national, humanitarian or public interest.

Conclusion: Consult a Specialized Professional

If you are considering regularizing your situation in Portugal through the Expression of Interest or other available options, it is highly recommended that you seek specialized professional advice. An experienced and qualified lawyer will be able to help you better understand the process, ensure that all requirements are met and provide personalized assistance at every stage of the procedure.

Regularization in Portugal without a visa may seem complicated, but with the right support, you can navigate this process smoothly and efficiently. Don’t hesitate to seek professional help to ensure that you comply with local laws and regulations.

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