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VFS D7 Visa Application Process

VFS D7 Visa Application Process

Old Jan 12th 2022, 3:57 pm
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Default VFS D7 Visa Application Process

I try to do searches of what info is already out there but as things seem to change frequently it seems that a lot of the info I've found already is or may be out of date and it's making my head hurt.
So after initially believing that I apply directly to the Portuguese Consulate (Manchester in my case) I find a link via the London consulate directing me to VFS where I can apply for an appointment at the VFS Manchester office. The VFS step by step guide says:
1. Identify Visa Type (got there in the end!)
2. Begin your application
3. Book an appointment
4. Pay your fees
5. Attend your scheduled appointment (bring all supporting documentation original and copies)
6. Track your application
7. Collect your passport (unless you pay to have it posted to you

All sounds fairly straight forward and seemed to be in-line with an online vlog posted by someone who went through the process at the VFS London office Feb 2021 but then I came across the post below from this site where andywally explained that he applied to VFS Manchester then immediately following his visit to their offices was sent along to the Portuguese Consulate Office for a relatively pain free experience.
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Thanks for making it so far and I guess the simple question is does anyone know the current situation to apply via Manchester?

Thanks
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Old Jan 12th 2022, 5:06 pm
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Default Re: VFS D7 Visa Application Process

Originally Posted by NSG666 View Post
I try to do searches of what info is already out there but as things seem to change frequently it seems that a lot of the info I've found already is or may be out of date and it's making my head hurt.
So after initially believing that I apply directly to the Portuguese Consulate (Manchester in my case) I find a link via the London consulate directing me to VFS where I can apply for an appointment at the VFS Manchester office. The VFS step by step guide says:
1. Identify Visa Type (got there in the end!)
2. Begin your application
3. Book an appointment
4. Pay your fees
5. Attend your scheduled appointment (bring all supporting documentation original and copies)
6. Track your application
7. Collect your passport (unless you pay to have it posted to you

All sounds fairly straight forward and seemed to be in-line with an online vlog posted by someone who went through the process at the VFS London office Feb 2021 but then I came across the post below from this site where andywally explained that he applied to VFS Manchester then immediately following his visit to their offices was sent along to the Portuguese Consulate Office for a relatively pain free experience.
Residence - British Expats

Thanks for making it so far and I guess the simple question is does anyone know the current situation to apply via Manchester?

Thanks
I went through the whole process last year from Manchester finally arriving in Portugal at the beginning of July. As you say the first port of call is VFS in Manchester but once they have checked through your papers you are then told to go straight to the Portuguese consulate on Portland street in Manchester with all your documents and the application is done from there. We had no idea that we would be told by VFS staff to go to the consulate, we had not not seen this anywhere but once there it was all fairly straight forward.
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Old Jan 13th 2022, 2:17 pm
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Default Re: VFS D7 Visa Application Process

Just to say that I went through the D7 Visa Application process last week at the VFS London location (I live in the south so no option for it to be other than there). A fairly straightforward and businesslike process, but certainly no opportunity offered or even suggested that I visit the Portuguese Embassy afterwards. My submitted paperwork was checked and retained along with my passport, and I was told that I would hear the outcome "within 30-60 days". Among other things, I paid for my passport to be couriered back rather than by post.
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Old Jan 13th 2022, 4:06 pm
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Default Re: VFS D7 Visa Application Process

Thankyou PJC61 and charleyfarley it seems like the the process in London and Manchester is slightly different and not a major issue but nice to know in advance for the latter to allow extra time. As time has passed it seems like they have fine tuned what is required in terms of supporting documents and especially insurance with some previously seemingly having been accepted with a 4 month policy covering the duration of the visa and others requiring a 12 month policy. I've read that in the past individuals have found that the insurance accepted at the D7 application process has then not been accepted by SEF during the temporary residence permit application process. Same goes for the criminal record check. Would you mind sharing your experiences?
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Old Jan 13th 2022, 4:14 pm
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Default Re: VFS D7 Visa Application Process

Certainly. My (UK) Criminal Records Check required that it was a "full" one, and they required the original certificate rather than a copy. I also learned in advance that a 12-month travel/health "Schengen area" insurance policy was required and secured this (with Axa).
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Old Jan 13th 2022, 4:44 pm
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Default Re: VFS D7 Visa Application Process

Originally Posted by charleyfarley View Post
Certainly. My (UK) Criminal Records Check required that it was a "full" one, and they required the original certificate rather than a copy. I also learned in advance that a 12-month travel/health "Schengen area" insurance policy was required and secured this (with Axa).
We bought Axa "certificate for consulate, low cost travel insurance" after following a link from the VFS website. I did 4 months cover from the date of our VFS appointment and this was never queried, not by VFS, the solicitor I used in Portugal or by the staff at out SEF meeting. However, do check, we might have been lucky!
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Old Jan 13th 2022, 6:50 pm
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Default Re: VFS D7 Visa Application Process

Thank you both once again.

It's a funny one as I looked at the AXA policies and there was the option of either the Schengen low cost which offers up to 180 consecutive days which I think is the one PJC61 used and makes complete sense to me.

The annual multi-trip might satisfy the application process but has two major hitches that I can see 1) it's only valid for trips of up to 90 days at a time so you'd have to return to the uk every 90 days for it to remain valid and 2) it's only valid for UK residents and surely once SEF has issued your temporary residency certificate you cease to be UK resident so the policy is invalid? BTW I'm not suggesting charleyfarley got it wrong and I'll buy which ever is necessary but I have read posts where someone has bought the low cost policy but has been forced to upgrade it to a longer period!!!!
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Old Jan 13th 2022, 6:59 pm
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Default Re: VFS D7 Visa Application Process

You can buy 2 x the low cost policy, with the second one starting right after the end of the first one. That way you dont have to leave after 90 days and return like the annual one and you satisfy the one year length
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Old Jan 14th 2022, 9:07 am
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Default Re: VFS D7 Visa Application Process

Hiya All

At our appt with the consulate in Manchester, our newly appointed case handler gave me a list of documents that we needed, one of which was 'travel insurance' now rightly or wrongly (as this hasnt been tested yet) when I produced our GHIC cards he said 'oh if you have got those then that will do for insurance' and like I said I didnt have to use them and it was untested, I assume that once residency is granted these are redundant as they are UK issue ? when we opened a bank account with santander we chose the private health care option for our product that we had to buy as a stipulation of the account, this is about 20euro a month for both of us and is not a contract so can be cancelled at anytime.

So far so good you would think...............the only hitch so far for us is that 'apparently' from the moment we started the application process and us supplying all the other relevant docs that our case handler specified the authorities ( in lisbon ) then insisted that applicants must have either a property in PT that we own, or a rental contract on a property for 12 months, we are still property searching at the moment but pretty soon we are going to have to rent somewhere if we dont buy as time is getting on, the issue that we have with this is that we have towed a caravan 1700miles to the algarve only to find out that we need to rent a property (whilst also paying either rent on a campsite or at the very least storage) and the property market here still baffles me to be honest, for example we looked at a small property yesterday near Mertola (stunning place Mertola btw) the estate agent admitted to us that the seller had paid 35k for it, they had done a bit of a diy bodge job on it (my opinion not hers) and from the looks of the photo's made it worse then wants 70k for it, when I suggested it was maybe worth only 30k she wasnt the slightest bit surprised and said make an offer then ??? (my valuation was based on my building trade knowledge and experience developing property in the UK)...........like I said baffling ! I know that has gone slightly off topic btw :-) but the possible pitfalls buying are potentially very expensive if you get it wrong, and without the experience to put it right yourself even more expensive...............and that is without the legal side of things being trouble free, one property we wanted to look at wasnt ready to market as the contract to sell it needed to be signed by 8 different family members !! .............every day is a school day eh ?

Last edited by andywally; Jan 14th 2022 at 9:10 am.
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Old Jan 14th 2022, 9:28 am
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Default Re: VFS D7 Visa Application Process

When I queried the "annual versus 180 days" options in relation to the Axa Schengen travel/health policies, it was pointed out that until SEF formally grants "residential status", an applicant from the UK is permitted only 90 days within 180 in Portugal (or anywhere else in the EU) anyway, and so should anticipate the possibility of having to return to the UK after 90 days if, for instance, the SEF appointment and decision hasn't been made in that time. The initial D7 entry permission gets round the "90 in 180" rule in that the permission granted covers "two entries" into Portugal, and so would allow for a quick trip back to Blighty for a couple of days to get round the Axa 90 day rule... I know all this sounds like bureaucracy gone mad, but for me I felt it was worth the extra expense of the annual Axa policy rather than the 180-day one so as not to get caught out by having the wrong documentation either at the VFS appointment, or later with the SEF. Incidentally, as I currently hold both an EHIC and a GHIC, I included copies of those in the documentation I presented to VFS.
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Old Jan 14th 2022, 9:36 am
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Default Re: VFS D7 Visa Application Process

The initial D7 visa grants you 4 months stay so overrides the normal 90. Also If you have had your SEF appointment but they are taking ages to get back with decision and goes beyond the 4 month period , you are still allowed to remain in Portugal as long as you have proof that you are waiting on a SEF decision.
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Old Jan 14th 2022, 10:01 am
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Default Re: VFS D7 Visa Application Process

Originally Posted by andywally View Post
Hiya All

At our appt with the consulate in Manchester, our newly appointed case handler gave me a list of documents that we needed, one of which was 'travel insurance' now rightly or wrongly (as this hasnt been tested yet) when I produced our GHIC cards he said 'oh if you have got those then that will do for insurance' and like I said I didnt have to use them and it was untested, I assume that once residency is granted these are redundant as they are UK issue ? when we opened a bank account with santander we chose the private health care option for our product that we had to buy as a stipulation of the account, this is about 20euro a month for both of us and is not a contract so can be cancelled at anytime.

So far so good you would think...............the only hitch so far for us is that 'apparently' from the moment we started the application process and us supplying all the other relevant docs that our case handler specified the authorities ( in lisbon ) then insisted that applicants must have either a property in PT that we own, or a rental contract on a property for 12 months, we are still property searching at the moment but pretty soon we are going to have to rent somewhere if we dont buy as time is getting on, the issue that we have with this is that we have towed a caravan 1700miles to the algarve only to find out that we need to rent a property (whilst also paying either rent on a campsite or at the very least storage) and the property market here still baffles me to be honest, for example we looked at a small property yesterday near Mertola (stunning place Mertola btw) the estate agent admitted to us that the seller had paid 35k for it, they had done a bit of a diy bodge job on it (my opinion not hers) and from the looks of the photo's made it worse then wants 70k for it, when I suggested it was maybe worth only 30k she wasnt the slightest bit surprised and said make an offer then ??? (my valuation was based on my building trade knowledge and experience developing property in the UK)...........like I said baffling ! I know that has gone slightly off topic btw :-) but the possible pitfalls buying are potentially very expensive if you get it wrong, and without the experience to put it right yourself even more expensive...............and that is without the legal side of things being trouble free, one property we wanted to look at wasnt ready to market as the contract to sell it needed to be signed by 8 different family members !! .............every day is a school day eh ?
Thanks for the update - I thought you were all done and dusted and had your temporary residence certificate or at least an appointment with SEF by now!
Searching for info on the visa application process I found and watched some you tube videos by 'Those Weirdos' who applied using a long term contract they had drawn up essentially saying they could park up their campervan for 12 months on someone's land? Don't know the full ins and outs but campervan to caravan not a massive leap (although I suspect that's the equivalent to calling a Scot an Englishman!) so could that work for you? Might be worth watching although requirements might have changed by now.
It's strange there seems to have been teething problems for the consulates to understand what is required for visa applications given the UK only became subject to conditions that already existed for non-EU countries.
Agree re. Mertola and the property market is certainly different!
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Old Jan 14th 2022, 10:39 am
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Default Re: VFS D7 Visa Application Process

Hiya NSG

No mate, it takes anywhere between 5 days and 5 weeks to get a reply from the consualte on any enquiry that I have made, so if you ask for example 3 questions and they take 4 weeks to get back to you each time thats your 90 days virtually up due to delays in getting a reply...............for example when I sent the NIF numbers and the newly opened bank account info to the case handler (this took us about 3 weeks to achieve once we first got here) I sent them off............4 weeks later I got a reply 'saying thanks for the info all well and good but can you supply info re; how much you have deposited in the PT account ? simple enough you would think, so I e-mailed them back saying 'how much do you want to see in it and I will transfer the funds at the moment there is about euro 5k transferred is this enough ? .................4 weeks later a reply.........so thats 3 weeks to sort out the NIF and bank account then 4 weeks to get a thankyou, then another 4 weeks to get a reply to my question re; how much.............so just to establish something as simple as that took a total of 11 weeks, so 77 days give or take a few..............now.........just to set the record straight I am not suggesting that the case handler is dragging his feet, as I think its pretty obvious from all my correspondence with him that he is 'up to his neck in it' and has been more than helpful when he has finally worked through the work in progress and got around to me, so not an issue, and to be honest its that laid back here that I aint too worried, my application is in the system and I have saved every email.............this may or may not be looked upon favourably (hopefully it wont need to be tested, but time will tell).

And the problem (from what I can make out) with a contract is that it has to be registered with the tax authorities, and someone did mention to me that its initially taxed at 17% on a monthly billed basis (like I said this is only what I can glean from estate agents that I have spoken too, they arent tax experts just estate agents, so they may or may not be 100% correct) so if you want to stay on 'joe bloggs's' back garden and you are paying him to do so and he isnt registered with the tax authorities, then him giving you some sort of a contract is only going to shine a spotlight on him, and the local council are then going to come knocking asking why he is running an unlicenced campsite from his back garden !! or there apparently is another option if you are staying on 'joe blogg's' back garden called something like 'termo de responsibiliadade' (or something like that, I am sure somebody will correct me ) and whatever that 'responsibility' entails I cannot see many people taking too much 'responsibility' for someone thay have only known fro a few weeks (well I certainly wouldnt) so ........stuck between a rock and a hard place as they say. .............so we plod on :-)
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Old Jan 15th 2022, 11:05 am
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Default Re: VFS D7 Visa Application Process

Originally Posted by charleyfarley View Post
Certainly. My (UK) Criminal Records Check required that it was a "full" one, and they required the original certificate rather than a copy. I also learned in advance that a 12-month travel/health "Schengen area" insurance policy was required and secured this (with Axa).
To what are referring when you say a "full" Criminal Records Check was required. The London Portuguese Consulate confirmed to me that you can use either the ACRO police check or the cheaper DBS service.
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Old Jan 15th 2022, 11:27 am
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Default Re: VFS D7 Visa Application Process

From other forums and discussion groups concerning the D7 visa application process, it appeared that the ACRO certificate was necessary, and this is what I obtained and presented. At the VFS interview, I gave them a colour photocopy of the certificate but they said that the original was necessary which, fortunately, I had with me. From this and other forums, it's clear that there is no consistency to what might be required in the way of paperwork and my view was to go for the "best in class" rather than have to go away and start again, even if it meant having to choose more expensive options than might have been acceptable.
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