Residence permit


Country Report: Residence permit Last updated: 30/11/20


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The Portuguese authorities are bound by a duty to issue beneficiaries of international protection a residence permit.[1] The duration of residence permits is dependent on the type of international protection granted: the residence permit for refugees is valid for 5 years,[2] while the residence permit for subsidiary protection beneficiaries is valid for 3 years.[3] According to the statistics provided by SEF, in 2019 a total of 195 residence permits were issued to refugees and 113 residence permits were issued to beneficiaries of subsidiary protection.

According to CPR’s experience in providing legal information and assistance to asylum seekers and beneficiaries of international protection at all stages of the asylum procedure (see Regular Procedure: Legal Assistance), the average length of the procedure for issuing a residence permit following a decision granting international protection in previous years was considered reasonable, ranging from a few weeks to a month and a half. In the course of 2019, CPR noticed significant waiting periods for the issuance of residence permits, in particular due to difficulties in booking appointments for renewals. During such periods, asylum seekers are issued a declaration from SEF certifying their application for the issuance/renewal of a residence permit. It should be noted that asylum seekers admitted to the regular procedure are in possession of a provisional residence permit, valid and renewable for 6 months, at the time they are granted international protection (see Short Overview of the Asylum Procedure).[4]

In late 2014 and 2015, the launch of a cessation procedure by SEF regarding Guinean nationals, the first ever to target citizens of a specific nationality in a collective manner, has been characterised by significant shortcomings, including a curtailment of the residence rights of those concerned by failing to renew or by delaying the renewal of expired residence permits during the procedures. The same practice was observed in 2019 as a significant number of cessation procedures was triggered by the authorities (see Cessation).


[1] Article 67 Asylum Act. This provision is generally in line with Article 24 recast Qualification Directive.

[2] Article 67(1) Asylum Act.

[3] Article 67(2) Asylum Act.

[4] Article 27(1) Asylum Act.


Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation