Our First Week In Portugal

In the run-up to our moving to Portugal, most, if not all of our energies were devoted to getting the visa or packing and moving logistics. Once we reached Portugal, our mental energies were focused on the SEF appointment. 

Let me backtrack a bit.

The D7 visa we were granted is not a residence permit. It is a 4-month visa which allows us two entries into Portugal. During those 4 months, we would have to get an appointment for an interview with SEF (the immigration authorities) to complete our biometrics and other formalities. Only then would we get our residence permits.

Getting the SEF appointment

After learning about the painfully slow process of the SEF appointments and interviews from a host of YouTube tutorials, we kept our fingers crossed and prayed to the SEF gods for it to get done quickly. The lady who interviewed us informed us that they had to wait for an appointment date from SEF before issuing the visas, and that was taking time.

When our visas arrived, we realized that the SEF appointment for all three of us was for the 18th of July but at two different places. Since we had not mastered the art of being in two places simultaneously, we had to change this, not the easiest of tasks. Our lawyers got on the job and got us all an appointment at the same place but for the 31st of May! 

Unbelievable! Here we were led to believe that SEF appointments could take months, but now we were getting one just 2 days after we arrived. To top it off, we were required to get ‘Residency Certificates” from our local city council before the appointment. The only way we could manage this and not go crazy was to change our tickets and leave earlier than planned. Our tickets were booked for the 29th, and changing them to the 23rd of May cost us an arm and a leg, but we didn’t have a choice.

First impressions

We arrived in Porto on the 23rd of May, tired after travelling for over 18 hours. Our landlady and her husband had very sweetly consented to pick us up in 2 cars (we had 6 big bags), and we reached our new home in one piece (albeit without the figurative arm and leg). It’s difficult to describe the feeling we each had at that point. Excitement for sure, wonder that we had actually managed to do it, all of it overlaid with fatigue. Luckily the weather was cool. I don’t think we would have been very happy if it was warm as neither Mel nor I can handle heat very well. Anyway, a good night’s rest and we were up bright, early, and ready to explore. We had a few days to get used to Porto before heading out to Lisbon for the SEF appointment. Our tickets were booked for the 29th. 

That first morning was pretty magical for us. Dawn was just breaking when we walked down to the beach and alongside it. The air was clean and crisp and smelt fresh. The sound of the waves punctuating the quiet brought home the magic of the moment. It was just the three of us in a cocoon, and we were home, beginning a new chapter in our lives. 

We will never forget the magic of waking up that first morning in Porto

The residency certificates

Monica and Marco (our landlady and landlord) picked us up at 10, and we went to the local council office to get the residency certificates. The formalities took about an hour, and we were assured that the certificates would be ready the next day. Monica promised to pick them up for us and drop them off, and that was it. Our first encounter with Portuguese bureaucracy was over, and we were pretty impressed with their efficiency.

First things first

The two things on our agenda were buying a coffee machine for home, stocking the kitchen with basics and visiting Ikea to buy stuff for the house. Since coffee is a non-negotiable in our home, we visited a mall in the evening with electrical goods stores and supermarkets.

After enquiring about appliances, we settled on Auchan, a local supermarket with everything under its roof, from groceries to electrical goods. Managed to settle on a lovely Krups coffee machine at a fraction of what it would cost us back home and also picked up a pedestal fan (some dubious brand). Basics for the kitchen were procured, which was the end of a very satisfactory day one.

Imagine having this at your doorstep

Stay tuned for more! 



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