My Portuguese husband and I have been living abroad for the past seven years but need to return to live in Portugal to be close to his elderly mother who has stage 4 cancer. We are hoping to move back in August.
However, as a UK citizen, I now need to apply for a residency visa or citizenship to legally live in Portugal. So, I filed my application for Portuguese citizenship in April/May 2021 by way of marriage, thinking this would leave ample time to process it. However, 25 months on, and my application has been stagnating at the ‘verificação da documentação’ stage for about a year. According to the official guidelines, the first four stages, up to and including the ‘verificação da documentação’ stage, are supposed to be completed within nine to 11 months.
Although I understand that there has been a significant backlog of applications, I know of at least three people who not only applied for citizenship approximately six months after me but also already received their citizenship last year, in 2022.
Whenever I try to get help from the Conservatória dos Registos Centrais, I get fobbed off with the response that applications are being dealt with in the order in which they have been received. I have tried pointing out that this is not true in my case, but they just ignore this information and say it will be done when it’s done.
My concern is that my application has been misplaced or overlooked – perhaps sitting in a box in an empty office somewhere, or worse, lost. My issue with the process is the lack of accountability by the Conservatória dos Registos Centrais and their unwillingness to investigate why some applications are being processed ahead of others or whether there is an issue with my application.
If it was just a general backlog, I wouldn’t mind as much; however, it is clear that more recent applications are being processed ahead of mine in the queue.
It now looks as if we will need to jump through some more bureaucratic hurdles and pay for a family reunification residency visa/permit. I’m also facing the fact that I may not be able to work until this visa comes through, which can take up to 90 days to be processed.
I was wondering if any of the other readers have faced this nightmare and hoping they might have some advice.