Appointments at the Centro de Saúde

Ask Afpop
In this new monthly column, afpop, Portugal’s largest foreign residents’ association, aims to answer some of the most frequently-asked questions by members.

Question: I have tried to register for the electronic reservations system for the Centro de Saúde, but apparently foreign residents can’t register. What am I supposed to do?

afpop answers: This is in relation to the new digital access key, or Chave Móvel Digital (CMD), which is used mostly for booking appointments for consultations with your family doctor and for prescriptions. The old system has now changed and the previous method (utente number + password) can no longer be used. The login must now be done using the CMD and it’s true that there were problems when it was first introduced, as the system was set up to take Portuguese identification numbers and passport numbers could not be input into the system. We are assured that the teething problems have now been resolved.

This means that you can now go to an Espaço Cidadão office near you and take with you your passport, fiscal number, utente number, segurança social number (if you have one) and mobile phone. The staff will register you for the CMD and issue a temporary PIN. That PIN must then be registered (autenticação) on the SNS website (Área do Cidadão) and you then choose your own PIN. Usually the staff in Espaço Cidadão will also assist you with that authentication while you’re there (please note that this service may not be available in a Balcão Único, unless it also incorporates an Espaço Cidadão.)

It is important that when you go to register for the Chave Móvel Digital, that they register all the numbers you have (fiscal, utente etc.), because otherwise the site you intend to use will not find you. If you wish to have the Chave Móvel Digital for the SNS website, they must register your utente number or your Segurança Social number (NISS), as that site will not find you if you are registered only with your fiscal number for instance.

You can search for your nearest Espaço Cidadão store on the website, click on “MENU”, then “Locais” and then “Lojas e Espaços”.

For more information about the benefits of membership of afpop, the largest association for foreign residents in Portugal, you can visit their website; email them direct on or call the afpop office on 282 458 509 or 938 252 100. Please remember to quote The Algarve Resident when contacting them.