The Actual Application Process – What To Expect

Around mid-Feb, our lease agreement was signed, sealed and delivered, and ready to proceed with the application. Our Police Clearance Certificates had also come through, albeit with a few minor hiccups. The application process is pretty straightforward, and you can do it online, but may the Gods of Bureaucracy help you if you have recently changed addresses, as we had. But once we had appeased the Gods and sorted through the BS, we received our PCCs. Then it was just a matter of applying for the visas. 

The consulate can help

The Portuguese Consulate in Goa was extremely helpful in guiding us through the preliminary phase and responded promptly to all our million and one queries. The website didn’t have any specific section for the D7 visa, and they informed us that it was a walk-in at VFS. On writing to VFS to confirm that we could just waltz in, we were told to come at a specific date and time to the Mahalaxmi offices of VFS. With a printout of this mail, we were ready to go.

The walk-in section is available only to those who pay for the Lounge access, so it is a bit more expensive. But once we were in, it became a matter of awaiting our turn. The lady who checked our documents was pretty thorough and painstakingly went through our whole file. She was quite knowledgeable about the documentation required, which helped ease our anxiety. Here is a checklist of documents that were required –

  • Application Form & photographs
  • Passports (old and new)
  • Marriage & Divorce Certificates  (3 of us applying as a family with 3 different surnames can raise a few eyebrows)
  • International Insurance valid for 6 months
  • Police Clearance Certificates
  • Signed Lease Agreement & Registration
  • Bank account statement in Portugal showing adequate funds
  • NIF (Portuguese Tax Numbers) papers
  • Indian IT returns 
  • Details of passive income
  • Indian Bank statements
  • Flight Tickets to Portugal

The last one was a bit of a tricky affair, and we hadn’t booked our tickets as our travel dates were uncertain (they depended on when we would get the visa). While filling out our application forms, we had to write our intended travel date. Since our lease began on the 1st of May, which was a little over the 2-month waiting period from our date of visa application, we had put the 1st of May 2023 as the intended travel date. So now we had to scramble and call our travel agent to make an immediate booking. Of course, we asked for fully refundable fares because there was no guarantee that our visas would arrive in 2 months and that we would be ready to travel.

Choosing where to live without seeing your home for the next 12 months is a big challenge

The interview

Once the ticketing was done, the VFS lady had to book our appointments for the interview. This was our first time hearing about an interview, which was quite a dampener. To top it all off, the earliest available date was for the 5th of April as plenty of public holidays are coming up. The susegado force was strong! No further information was forthcoming regarding the whats and whys of this interview. To top it all, we were given to understand that the 2-month waiting period before the grant of the visa would only commence after the interview. And we would not have our passports with us during this waiting period. Sigh…goodbye summer vacations and hello summer heat in Bombay.

At times like this, it pays to surrender and go with the flow, adopting the susegado culture.

The plus side of the whole interview bit was that we had a date to look forward to, even though it was more than a month in the future. But the time passed quickly, and Interview Day was quickly upon us. Earlier, we had spoken to our lawyers about what to expect at the interview and were told to expect routine questions. It brought to mind all those horror stories I had heard from people applying for visas back in the 90s, and I was hard put to tamp down my anxiety. Walking into VFS for the interview didn’t help, as the place was like a market day, packed with visa applicants.

But the Visa Gods were with us that day, and our interview commenced right on time. Melanie and Lana went in first and were out about 15 mins later. It was good to see her smile, but we couldn’t talk as I was quickly ushered into the room. Surprisingly, there was no video screen, just a computer and a set of headphones. I assume there was a camera on me as the moment I put on the headphones and sat down, a lady’s voice said, “Hello,” and the interview was on. The lady at the other end was very polite and well-spoken, asking me a series of questions. The first was about why we wanted to move to Portugal. Next were a few questions about finances. I think the reason they interviewed us separately was to cross-check and verify our answers. I assume this is to check the authenticity of our application, and I am sure the different surnames did not help. The interview ended with me asking when we could expect our passports back. In reply, the consular official told me we should get them before our intended travel dates, which was a big load off our minds.

Later, Mel and I discussed what was said and unsaid during the interview, and it turned out that the lady had told Mel it was a good thing she had kept her maiden name as it would come in handy in Portugal. That statement and getting our passports back told us that we had probably been granted our visas, and we were overjoyed!

The wait until we received our visas was interminable, and the damn susegado clock barely moved. But ultimately, we received our passports with visas within two months of applying (not the interview, thank you).

Unbelievable! We had done it!

Portugal, here we come!!



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