Immigration update: Portugal | Extra control and containment measures against COVID-19

Government Order No. 3863-B / 2020

Provides for the rights of all foreign citizens with pending process at the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF), within the scope of COVID 19 situation.

Who will be affected?

  • All non-European citizens subject to Portuguese immigration legislation (Visa and Residence Permit Card holders and those with ongoing process before Immigration Service.


In light of the global epidemiological situation,( particularly in the European Union) and the increase in cases of COVID-19 in Portugal, a state of emergency was declared throughout the national territory for a period of 15 days from at 0:00 am on March 19, 2020 on wards and ending at 11:59 pm on April 2, 2020, without prejudice to possible extensions (state of emergency is likely to be extended).

In view of the legal attributions of SEF and the exceptional measures taken in this area, it is urgent to respond to this reality in terms of human resources management and assistance.

In order to respond to the specific nature of the threat of contagion by COVID-19, the management of appointments must be made in such a way as to unequivocally guarantee the rights of all foreign citizens with lawsuits pending at the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF), determining that, at the date of the declaration of the State of National Emergency, they are in a situation of regular permanence in National Territory.

Remember that Article 16 of Decree-Law no. 10-A / 2020, of 13 March expressly has provided that “documents and visas related to the stay in national territory, whose validity expires from the date of entry into force of this decree-law or in the immediately preceding 15 days are accepted in the same terms until June 30, 2020. So this new measure demonstrates the government’s continued concern to reducing the risks to public health associated with care, both at the level of SEF workers and the users of these public services, in addition to positioning itself effectively in protecting the rights of immigrants.


At this moment, all immigration offices in Portugal (SEF) are closed and emergency appointments will be attended in a totally exceptional and discretionary way.

Besides extensions for Portugal remain valid, visas and residence cards expired from March 9th are valid until June 30th, 2020 (Decree-Law no. 10-A / 2020 art 16º), due to the brand new government order in effect as of this date, proof of appointment and for those who are waiting to receive residence cards previously requested (SEF protocol holders) will also be accepted on a temporary basis as legal residents under a regular stay in national territory until June 30th, when Immigration Service is expected to resume normal activities.


  • Effective 30th March.

Official Information – Statistics in Portugal:

Should you have any questions, please contact the following:

Luciana Zettel
Immigration Consultant in Portugal
Santa Fe Relocation

To read more immigration updates, click here.

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