Harry has sent me this message this morning.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR UK NATIONALS
Since the recent pilot scheme for the Withdrawal Agreement biometric cards in the Azores and Madeira, a number of issues have come to light.
Will all those involved in the scheme please ensure they have been given the correct WA biometric card. If your five year temporary residency document had expired, it appears, incorrectly, that another WA five year temporary card replaced it. If your five years expired then you should have been given a ten year, permanent residency card.
Also, holders of a temporary five year residency document have been given a five year card with a further five years on it. This, of course, is incorrect. After you have been a resident in Poprtugal for five years, from your initial residency date, then you apply for your TEN year, permanent residency document.
Furthermore, on the SEF website it appears, that despite SEF’s protestations, an individual’s initial residency date on arrival to Portugal is not correct. Some have three different dates and none are correct.
Also, some are having issues at the payment section. Make sure if you are entitled to a ten year card that you pay €18. If you are being asked for €15 then you will be supplied incorrectly with the five year card. Additionally, some are unable to get past the payment stage for the rest of the process.
All that to say this.
1. Please, please, PLEASE keep your a copy of your original residency document and try and tell SEF you wish to keep the original.
2. Please check the dates on your WA biometric card. If one date is wrong (which it is highly likely to be) then get back to SEF and tell them and me. Don’t stop pestering SEF until you get a correct card and let me know.
3. If you have been given the wrong card, a five year instead of a ten year then please get back to SEF asap.
4. There are crucial reasons why your cards need to be correct. Firstly, they prove, if holders of a ten year card, that you have additonal rights under the Withdrawal Agreement. Secondly, at some point, if applying for citizenship, which many now are, you will need to prove that you have been resident for more than five years and this will be the easiest way to do it.
Basically, it is a mess.