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Portuguese Government Extends the Validity of Immigrants' Documents by One Year

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Published on 28 June, 2024 • Last updated on 28 June, 2024

By Portugal Homes

Portuguese Government Extends the Validity of Immigrants' Documents by One Year

Almost one month later after release the Plano de Ação para as Migrações (Migrants Action Plan), presented by the Portuguese Prime Minister, the executive government announced on June 26th a one-year extension of all immigrants' document validity, until June 30, 2025. This measure aims to address long queues at the Migration Agency (Agência para a Integração, Migrações e Asilo - AIMA), affecting over 400,000 pending documents. This is not the first time the Portuguese government has used this approach; during the pandemic in 2020, they made a similar decision, extending all documents by one year to allow immigrants to maintain resident status despite expired documents.

The New Migrant Plan for Portugal Aims to Resolve the Migrant Situation

Despite the long queues faced by immigrants seeking to legalize their residency status, the environment for immigrants in Portugal remains positive. Measures such as extending the validity of immigrant documents by one year exemplify this stance and come as no surprise, given the Prime Minister's persistent emphasis on the need for an action plan to address chaos within the immigration agency.

AIMA's current president, Luís Goes Pinheiro, attributes the situation to the SEF transition, labelling it a 'heavy legacy.' Luís elaborated during a hearing with Deputies that addressing this issue necessitates several measures, such as modernising the computer system, enhancing territorial proximity, revising the appointment scheduling model, and expediting the processing of Manifestações de Interesse (expressions of interest).

As one of the modernisation measures, already in effect, AIMA has updated its residence permit analysis fee, charging €56.88 for foreigners from CPLP (Portuguese speaker country community) and €397.90 for other nationalities, adjusting for inflation. To expedite procedures, the government changed the payment process in January 2024, making it mandatory now before scheduling appointments, rather than on the biometric data collection day. According to AIMA’s president, since May, the agency sent 223,000 emails for advance payments, receiving 110,000 payments and generating 31.35 million euros in revenue, with 33% from CPLP nationals and 67% from other countries. Nearly all of the 109,000 payees have been scheduled, reducing the queue. The action plan also intends to have all pending cases clear by June 2025.

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Portuguese Government Launches New Immigration Plan for 2024
Portuguese Nationality Law 2024 Amendment & Citizenship Application 
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Together with these measures, several other positive developments are noteworthy. Firstly, AIMA has bolstered its workforce by hiring additional employees and created partnerships with Portuguese lawyers to expedite processes. This expansion enhances AIMA's capacity to handle tasks effectively, signalling a commitment to improving service delivery amid ongoing challenges.

AIMA's transformation from the previous SEF agency represents a significant leap in efficiency and responsiveness. The transition to a digitalised application process aligns Portugal with European standards, ensuring uniformity across EU member states. Additionally, new regulations introduced by AIMA provide a stable framework that enhances security and predictability for current residents and stakeholders.

These initiatives collectively strengthen Portugal's immigration system, creating a more robust and supportive environment for immigrants and temporary residents alike. The Portuguese government is adopting more welcoming policies towards immigrants, as evidenced by recent political decisions. On February 26, 2024, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa approved amendments to the Nationality Law, stipulating that the 5-year residency period eligible for citizenship will now be counted from the date of residency application. This new proposal from the Portuguese parliament on the five-year residency from the date of application will prove to be highly attractive for applicants who applied in the first quarter of 2021 and experienced processing delays.

Portugal Has for the 5th Consecutive Year a Population Growth

AIMA’s long queues are a result of the massive immigration Portugal has experienced in the past decade. With population growth for the fifth consecutive year, reaching 10,639,726 people in 2023, an increase of 123,105 compared to 2022, the country's appeal among expats has steadily increased. Attracted by tax benefits, high quality of life, low cost of living, and a fantastic Mediterranean climate, Portugal has become a haven for immigrants worldwide. The foreign community is predominantly led by Brazilians and British, with Americans now emerging as a significant group migrating to Portugal.

Most expatriates come to Portugal seeking a relaxed way of life, mainly due to the country’s safety. In June 2024, the 18th edition of the Global Peace Index (GPI) ranked Portugal as the 7th safest country in the world. Europe remains the safest region globally, with seven countries in the top 10. Portugal's safety rating is a major draw for expats, but the country's recognition as one of the best beach destinations in the world also plays a crucial role. In 2024, Portugal was once again named a top beach destination.

The country's welcoming culture is another reason expats choose to make Portugal their new home. Especially during June, when Portugal celebrates the Santos Populares festivals, a series of parties in major cities like Lisbon and Porto. June also marks the beginning of summer, a season that defines Portugal. While many European countries have limited sunshine, Portugal enjoys more than 300 days of blue skies with temperatures often above 22ºC.

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One of the main reasons for the boost in the Portuguese population is also the fact that the country offers several possibilities for one to acquire a residency. Either for study purposes or work visas, Portugal also offers the Golden Visa programme, a mechanism eligible for non-European investors seeking European residency. While tourist visas have a time limit of 3 months, through the Golden Visa non-Europeans will have the right to stay in Portugal for as long as they need, plus the accessibility to travel visa-free to the Schengen Area, with 29 countries in Europe.

Portugal Homes Have 100% Success Rate in Golden Visa Applications

Whether you are planning to move to Portugal as an expat or fulfil your long-held dream of acquiring EU residency, rest assured that delays in AIMA's document legalisation processes do not affect Residency by Investment programmes. Applicants can proceed confidently, knowing that AIMA's backlogs won't hinder their ability to seize the opportunities and privileges offered by RBI programs. However, having the help of specialists will always be the safest way to acquire your Golden Visa.

With over 2,000 clients, Portugal Homes boasts a flawless track record of 100% success in Golden Visa applications over the past 8 years. This achievement underscores our expertise in guiding clients through Portugal's residency acquisition process via investment. Our professionals stay abreast of political trends and headlines, ensuring we deliver consistently positive outcomes. Portugal Homes stands as a reliable partner for investors aiming to leverage Portugal's Golden Visa program.


Portugal’s Summertime Festivities: The Santos Populares

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