Many owner/operators of Local Lodging establishments have been caught by surprise by reporting requirements to the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF – Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras). In order to clarify the issue, the following is a summary of appropriate decree laws regulating accommodation bulletins and their communication to SEF, the regulatory authority. As with some other business essentials, you may find it best to outsource this prerequisite to knowledgeable professionals so you can focus your time and effort on what you do best.
Entry of foreigners into Portugal
Foreign citizens entering Portugal by a border that is not subject to passport control from another EU member state are required to declare their presence within three working days. The entry declaration must be made to SEF. Reporting is not required if they are:
▪ Residents of Portugal or those with permission to stay longer than six months
▪ Visitors who, soon after entering the country, stay in a hotel or a similar type of tourist accommodation
▪ EU citizens or those from other countries with similar arrangements
The SEF accommodation bulletin is intended to monitor foreign nationals in the country. All foreign citizens, including nationals of other member states of the European Union, must complete an accommodation bulletin when staying in a hotel, tourist resort, local lodging establishment or similar tourist accommodation. In the case of a family travelling together, this obligation can be fulfilled by one spouse or, in the case of a travel group, by one member of the party.
In order to simplify the submission of registration forms, tourist establishments should register with SEF as users of the Information Accommodation Bulletins System (SIBA), so that they can carry out registration safely via internet. Registration is currently only available via electronic means. Paper-format bulletins are no longer in use.
The bulletins and respective duplicates and substitutes are to be kept for a period of one year from the day following notification of departure.
Required information for SEF registration
The following information comprises the Accommodation Bulletin:
▪ Full name
▪ Date of birth
▪ Country of birth
▪ Home address
▪ Country of residence
▪ Identity document
▪ Number of document
▪ Issuing country
▪ Date of arrival
▪ Date of departure
Failure to complete the electronic registration is punishable by a fine from €100-€500 when less than 10 guest records are missing. Fines can be reduced to one quarter in the case of negligence.
By Dennis Swing Greene
|| [email protected]
Dennis Swing Greene is Chairman and International Tax Consultant for euroFINESCO s.a.