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PORTUGAL – Fines Imposed For Failure to Make Notifications to Immigration Services

The Portuguese authorities have started to impose fines in cases where non-EU nationals have failed to register their arrival with Immigration Services (SEF) and in cases where non-EU nationals holding Portuguese visas or residence permits and renewing their passports fail to notify the Immigration Services of the passport renewal.

Registration at the Airport with Immigration Services

Non-European Union (EU) nationals arriving in Portugal should have their passports stamped on arrival. This endorsement shows that the Immigration Services (SEF) are aware of their arrival and stay in Portugal and is required for visa holders and visa waiver entrants alike. (Note that residence permit holders do not need to make the notification on every visit - only when arriving with the residence visa for the first time).

This is not a new rule; however, the imposition of fines for failure to make the registration has recently increased significantly.

In cases where the non-EU national enters Portugal from within the Schengen area (the Schengen area is a wide area within the European Union without border controls), the passport is not routinely stamped.

In these situations, it is strongly recommended that the non-EU national should approach the Immigration Services desk in the airport of arrival and ask for the passport to be endorsed, in order to obtain proof of date of entry and to avoid a penalty fine.

If this is not done at the airport, the non-EU national must make a notification to the Immigration Services (SEF) authority in the area of residence within three days of arrival.

Non-EU Nationals Arriving by Land/Sea

Non-EU nationals arriving in Portugal by land (by car or train via Spain) will also not have their passports stamped routinely. Such individuals should report their stay to the Immigration Services office in their area of residence, within three days, to register their arrival.

Exceptions – Visitors Staying in Hotels

Hotels have a legal obligation to inform the Immigration Services of non-EU nationals staying with them, so individuals who will be staying in hotels do not need to be particularly concerned about having their passports stamped on arrival.

Changes to Passport Details

Additionally, if a non-EU national with a visa or residence permit renews his or her passport while in Portugal, it should be noted that this must be communicated to the Immigration Services within three days of the event. Failure to do this may also result in a fine. The exact method of how to communicate the change will vary depending on the Immigration Services office in question.

Penalty Amounts

  • The fines being charged for failure to have a stamp of entry date to Portugal are EUR30 per person. *The fines being charged for failure to notify the Immigration Services of a change of passport are between EUR 30 and EUR75 per person.
  • Fines can be up to EUR160 but the maximum amount would only be charged in situations where the individual initially refuses to pay.

Action Items

  • Make sure assignees and employees who are moving to or with upcoming visits to Portugal, and who are not planning to stay in a hotel, are aware of the need to ensure that their passport is stamped on arrival
  • Make sure assignees and employees currently in Portugal know that if they renew their passports, the Immigration Services must be notified of the change.

This alert was drafted using information provided by Campos de Carvalho Advogados.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this immigration alert has been abridged from laws, court decisions, and administrative rulings and should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice. If you have specific questions regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Peregrine © 2021 Peregrine Immigration Management Ltd.