Over the past few days many British citizens living in the Algarve have been sent a request by SEF to make their appointment to replace their Residence permit card, since the withdrawal of the UK from Europe, however only appointments in Lisbon were available.

Now clarification on the situation has been given by both SEF and the Association of Foreign Property Owners in Portugal (afpop) about this situation.

In emails sent to British citizens, they have been informed that “the appointment schedule concerning BREXIT - Residence permit card replacement is available”. They are then told to: “choose any Date/Hour online at Portal Brexit ( https://brexit.sef.pt ) on the scheduling page for the available SEF branch or town hall service desk. Attendance at the service locations should only be made after scheduling on the online platform. Please be informed that, if you wish, you can book your appointment outside your area of residence so that you can attend the service as soon as possible”.

Problems have arisen because upon entering the site, only appointments in Lisbon have been available, despite claims from SEF that there are other places where people can go to complete this process.

Appointments to become available in the Algarve

After claims of SEF informing people by phone that appointments will become available in the Algarve, both SEF and afpop have now clarified the situation.

In a post on Facebook, SEF states: “If you are a UK national living in Portugal and have already been notified by SEF to provide your biometric data, know that the attendance has been decentralized in order to speed up the process.

“Altogether, there are 23 bureau services available, from north to south of the country and islands, with previous booking.

“If you can’t or you don’t wish to move outside your residence area, SEF will notify you again”.

CEO of afpop, Michael Reeve told The Portugal News: “Further to the extraordinary mailing we sent to UK Members earlier this week, we now have an update and some potentially good news. Whatever has caused the glitch in the booking system that has been so widely reported now, has not yet been rectified and still the only option for most UK citizens outside of Loulé or Lagos is to choose Lisbon and I know that some of you have done that and decided to just have a day in the capital. Of course that also doesn’t help those who can’t travel for any reason.

“We’ve also had it confirmed by a Member who visited Lagos and spoke to staff there that there are now no slots available until the end of the year and they will be getting new slots available after Christmas. So Members who want to use that facility in the Espaço de Cidadão in Lagos will be receiving a new invitation from SEF.

“It's now been confirmed by SEF, in a meeting with the Ambassador and British Consul yesterday, that those people who can’t, or who don’t want to, travel to Lisbon simply have to ignore the e-mail and wait for a new invitation to be sent by SEF. One of the doubts that I had was whether missing the appointment meant that you were then removed from the process and had to start again, but this is not the case and SEF has confirmed it in a video on their Facebook page”.

What to do if you have already made an appointment?

Michael Reeve also shared other important information about the situation with members of afpop: ““But what if I’ve made an appointment already?” I hear you cry. Well then you have two options: of course you can just attend as scheduled or you can cancel. To cancel you send an e-mail to gricrp.cc@sef.pt and say that you can’t now make the appointed time and wish to cancel the appointment and re-apply and SEF will contact you again with a new invitation.

He adds: “In the email from SEF it asks you to check your details (passport number, address etc.) and then implies that you can edit them if required. However, the fields are locked and there is no facility to edit. We’ve been advised that this was just a poorly worded instruction and what they want people to do is check their details and then take documents to verify and alterations that need to be made when they go for their appointment. The details will then be amended by the staff when you attend for your appointment”.

To register for new residency documentation as a British citizen, please visit https://brexit.sef.pt/en/ where further information is available.


Originally from the UK, Daisy has been living and working in Portugal for more than 20 years. She has worked in PR, marketing and journalism, and has been the editor of The Portugal News since 2019. Jornalista 7920

Daisy Sampson