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News from afpop - Residence Card UK Nationals

Michael Reeve - 16-12-2020

News from afpop - Residence Card UK Nationals

Residence Card UK Nationals--Entschuldigung, keine deutsche Übersetzung vorhanden --

I am pleased to inform you that we have now received details on the process for exchanging your current Residência document for the new card, which will be issued in the first half of 2021. We have included the text in full from the Embassy below, but there are a couple of notes to add before you read the text.

Firstly this applies to all UK Nationals resident in Portugal, whether you have already been issued a new plastic card or not. The new card is for every UK citizen. Secondly, if your current Residência is due to expire in the first half of next year, you do not need to make an appointment to renew it. It will be dealt with in this process. You do still have to follow the steps below and print off the document at the end of the very simple on-line registration and keep that document with you. Your current Residência card will remain valid providing you have registered and keep the proof of registration with you.

Finally, you will need to have a SEF log-in to apply for your new card. This is a very simple process and when you click on the link in the Embassy’s message below, you will be asked either to sign in with your current SEF log-in, or create one. The process to create the log in takes only a couple of minutes and you simply follow the instructions on the page. You will need to create a password and that password must contain an upper case letter, lower case letters, numerals and a special character and be at least 8 digits long, so you may wish to think about that before you begin the process. So for example Afpop1234& would be valid (and no, that is not one of our afpop passwords). In the YouTube video below, the Embassy has included screen shots of the process to assist you. After you have created an account, you will be sent an e-mail by SEF requiring you to confirm this. In that e-mail you simply click on the link and then the process is completed. Thereafter continue to do the log-in and apply for the new card.

IMPORTANT: If you have any problems or doubts, please contact SEF directly on the dedicated e-mail address or telephone number  below. The afpop office will not be able to resolve any problems that may arise, although so far no problems have been encountered at all.
The Embassy writes:
‘SEF has officially launched their Brexit Portal today, where UK nationals resident in Portugal can start the process of exchanging their current EU residence documents for new ones that explicitly state they are under the Withdrawal Agreement.

The Portal – that can be accessed here: – will be open until June 2021, so UK nationals do not need to take action before the end of the year. Current EU documents will continue to be accepted in Portugal after the end of the transition period and until the new card arrives.
There are a few details that may be important to highlight:

  1. You need to be registered with your town hall or with SEF to be able to make the exchange;
  2. Please make sure your passport is valid at the time you are applying for the exchange;
  3. Once you register, please make sure you download the certificate (with the QR code) and verify it by reading the QR code or by inserting the full code manually (the instructions are on the bottom of the certificate – *see below).
  4. You can use the certificate when travelling as proof you are resident in Portugal.
  5. The card will be biometric and follows a EU-wide design (so it can be recognised by any European border service).
  6. Appointments to provide biometric data will only be scheduled from 1 January. After the new year, SEF will notify by email those registered, asking to schedule an appointment.
  7. The appointments will be at selected town halls around continental Portugal, Madeira and the Azores. The list of which town halls provide this service will be available after the new year.
  8. There is general guidance on the Portal and a step-by-step video that can help applicants navigate the process.
*Verification note: The instructions at the bottom of the certificate are quite small and for those who have a QR code reader on their phone they are not important, as you can simply scan the code to complete the authentication. If you do not have a QR code reader, simply type in the following address: into your browser. This will present you with a long rectangular box, in which you insert the authentication code on the document you have printed. This code is at the bottom of the page to the right of the QR Code and is a mix of letters and numbers with spaces, around 32 characters long. The code needs to be inserted in the rectangular box as it is written on the document and then you simply click the “I am not a robot” box and you should see a message to say that the document has been validated. If it does not appear instantly, click on the large green arrow to the right of the box and it will complete the process and your details will appear on screen beneath the notice.
Some UK nationals were able to register before the official launch yesterday. SEF has confirmed that all who have registered successfully and have their certificate with the QR code do not need to register again. Their registration and certificate are valid and they will be notified by SEF to schedule an appointment. 

Non-EU family members of UK nationals will also be entitled to receive a residence document which states they are beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement. This process will not open until 2021. Information is not yet available on the process they will need to follow. In the meantime, their current residence documents will continue to be accepted after the end of the transition period.
SEF has also announced their new dedicated Brexit telephone line (+351 21 711 50 45) and e-mail address ( that UK nationals in Portugal should use if they have any questions related to residence and this process of exchanging documents. These lines are open every working day from 8am to 8 pm and are staffed by English-speakers.

The British Embassy and SEF have also launched today a joint public campaign, informing UK nationals about this process. This will be a fully digital campaign focused on social media. We have shared the step-by-step video on our Brits in Portugal Facebook page and Twitter. Please feel free to share with your members. We will also share other resources – such as an infographic – during this week.

On Thursday (17th December), we will host another session of the Ask the Embassy series, where Simona and Marta answer live on Facebook, questions we receive from UK nationals. This session will be dedicated to residence in Portugal and we will talk about the Portal and the process of exchanging documents.’

My warmest regards to all,

Michael R Reeve
afpop - Making Life Better

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