Legal Procedures In Portugal

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M. Teresa Alves
9th May

Dear friend. Welcome to Portugal! Here we will show you the information you need to legalize your stay. Every step wishes to help you to deal with this process in the kindest and friendly way, as we believe to be the only possible way too. The same way and will of the article 1.º of Constitution of the Portuguese Republic that contains a republican principle “committed to building a free, just and solidary society”.

Its document is mostly based in law 26/2014, 5 may. It’s called Asylum Law and it makes the first amendment to Law no. 27/2008, of 30 June, which establishes the conditions and procedures for granting asylum or subsidiary protection and the statutes of asylum seekers, refugees and subsidiary protection, transposing Directive 2011/95/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 2011 on standards for the qualification of third-country nationals or stateless persons as beneficiaries of international protection, for a uniform status for refugees or for persons eligible for subsidiary protection, and for the content of the protection granted; Directive 2013/32/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection; and Directive 2013/33/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 laying down standards for the reception of applicants for international protection.

 According Constitution of the Portuguese Republic, article 8.º whose epigraph: “International Law”:

The norms and principles of general or common international law form an integral part of Portuguese law.
The norms contained in duly ratified or approved international conventions come into force in Portuguese internal law once they have been officially published, and remain so for as long as they are internationally binding on the Portuguese state.
The norms issued by the competent organs of international organizations to which Portugal belongs come directly into force in Portuguese internal law, on condition that this is laid down in the respective constituent treaties.
The provisions of the treaties that govern the European Union and the norms issued by its institutions in the exercise of their respective competences are applicable in Portuguese internal law in accordance with Union law and with respect for the fundamental principles of a democratic state based on the rule of law.


WHAT HAVE I TO DO for asking for international protection? 
To whom? Where? How?

According, n. º1, 13.º of law 26/2014, 5 may:
 The foreigner or stateless person who enters the national territory in order to obtain international protection [TO WHOM? WHERE?] must submit his / her request to the Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras (SEF) or any other police authority, forthwith, and [HOW?] may do so in writing or orally, in which case a written report will be drawn up.
Any police authority that receives the referred request, is obligated to send it to SEF within four and eight hours (n. º2, 13.º).

 [SEF immediately informs the representative of UNHCR and the Portuguese Council for Refugees (CPR) as a non-governmental organization acting on its behalf to present the application for international protection, which may contact the applicant immediately after receiving such communication for the purpose to inform about the respective procedure, as well as about your possible intervention in it, which depends on the applicant's consent (n. º3, 13.º)]

The applicant may request, until the decision on the application for international protection, its extension to the members of the accompanying family, whether they are minors or older, in which case the application must be preceded by prior consent authorized (n. º4, 13.º). Before the prior consent referred, family members must be privately informed of the relevant procedural consequences of filing an application on their behalf and of their right to apply for international protection separated (n. º5, 13.º). The minor applicant can apply on his behalf (n. º 6, 13.º).

 [SEF proceeds with the registration of the application for international protection within three working days after its submission (n. º7, 13.º)].

 - What to expect from SEF or any other police authority? 

The article 14.º, n. º1, tell us that:  up to three days after registration, the applicant is provided with a DECLARATION PROVING THE SUBMISSION OF THE APPLICATION FOR INTERNATIONAL PROTECTION. It attests that the holder is authorized to remain in national territory while it is pending

The applicant for international protection
is made aware of his rights and duties in a language that he understands or it is reasonable to assume that he understands (n. º2, 14.º).

Duties of applicants for international protection

According article 15.º, n. º1, the applicant must provide all the necessary elements to justify the application for international protection, namely: 
Identification of the applicants and their family members; indication of nationality, country or countries and previous place or places of residence; to indicate the previous international protection requests; to report the circumstances or facts that justify the need for international protection; Allow fingerprints to be taken from all fingers, only if you are at least 14 years old, under the terms set out in Regulation (EU) No 603/2013, of the European Parliament and of the Council, of 26 June, on the creation of the “Eurodac” system for comparing fingerprints; To keep SEF informed about your residence, immediately informing this service of any change in address. And also, to appear before SEF when requested to do so, in relation to any circumstance of your request. 

For the purposes of the preceding paragraph, the applicant must also, together with the application for asylum, present the identification and travel documents available to him, as well as evidence, and may present witnesses in a number not exceeding 10 (n. º2, 15.º).
The right of applicants for international protection to make statements or to communicate before any decision is made:

Before any decision is made on the application for international protection, the applicant has the right to make statements in the language of his preference or in another language he can understand and through which he communicates clearly, under conditions that guarantee due confidentiality and that allow him to expose the circumstances that justify his claim (n. º1, 16.º). The provision of statements is individual, unless the presence of family members is considered necessary for an adequate assessment of the situation (n. º2, 16.º). 

For the purposes of the preceding paragraphs, as soon as it receives the application for international protection, SEF immediately notifies the applicant to make declarations within two to five days (n. º3, 16.º). The provision of declarations can only be waived: a) If conditions already exist to decide favorably on refugee status based on the available evidence; b) If the applicant is found to be unfit or unable to do so due to lasting circumstances, beyond his control (n. º5, 16.º).

When there is no place for making statements under the terms of the previous number, SEF shall arrange for the applicant or the person in charge to communicate, by any means, other information (n. º6, 16.º). 

What about the results of the decision?
 What kind of effects? Can I react?

The decision is notified to the applicant within 48hours, with the indication that he must leave the country within 20 days, under penalty of immediate expulsion once that period had expired, as well as the rights that assist him (n. º1, 21.º).

Its decision is able to a judicial review before the administrative courts, within eight days, with suspensive effect (n. º1, 22.º) and the court decision is delivered within eight days (n. º2, 22.º).  

In the notification of the conceding of refugee or subsidiary protection status, SEF informs the beneficiary of the rights and duties related to the respective status, in a language that he understands or it is reasonable to assume that he understands (66.º).

            - Beneficiaries of refugee status

Beneficiaries of refugee status are granted a residence permit valid for the initial period of five years, renewable for equal periods, unless imperative reasons of national security or public order prevent it (n. º1, 67.º).

 - Beneficiaries of subsidiary protection status 

To the Beneficiaries of subsidiary protection status is conceded a residence permit valid for the initial three-year period, renewable for equal periods, preceded by an analysis of the evolution of the country of origin, unless imperative reasons of national security or public order prevent it (n. º2, 67.º).

- Family members of beneficiaries of refugee status or subsidiary protection status 

The family members of the beneficiary of refugee or subsidiary protection status are issued an extraordinary residence permit, valid for the same time as the beneficiary of asylum or subsidiary protection, with exemption from the requirements required by the legal regime of entry, stay, exit and removal of foreigners from national territory (n.3, 67.º).


Note. Applications submitted at border zone like airports, ports or police and custom cooperation centers:

The article 23.º, n. º1, tell us that the decision of asylum applications submitted in those areas, by foreigners who do not meet the legal requirements necessary to entry into national territory, has some changes, comparing with the previous rules. We will present it:
[SEF immediately communicates the presentation of the asylum applications to the UNHCR representative and to the Portuguese Council for Refugees (CRP), that can declare something within a maximum of 48h and interview the applicant, if they wish (n. º1, 24.º)]

 The national director of SEF shall to give a reasoned decision on inadmissible requests within a maximum period of five days, but never before the expiry of the period (n. º4, 24.º). During the previous time, the applicant is informed about his rights and duties and make statements. The decision is notified to the applicant with information on the rights of judicial challenge that assist him and simultaneously is also communicated to the representative of UNHCR and CPR (n. º5, 24.º).

 The decision is liable to a judicial review before the administrative courts, within 72 hours, with suspensive effect (n. º1, 25.º). The applicant has the benefit of legal protection (n. º2, 25.º), according Law n. º34/2004, 29 July. And the court decision is given within 72h (n. º3, 25.º). 

Effects of the request and the decision:

The applicant remains in the international zone of the port or airport, pending the notification of the decision adopted by the SEF national director (n. º1, 26.º). The temporary installation of unaccompanied or separated minors takes special conditions, according international recommended terms by UNHCR, UNICEF and Red Cross (n. º2, 26.º).

The application’s decision of inadmissibility determines the applicant’s return to the point where he had started his journey, or, in case of impossibility, to the State where the travel documents which the applicant had traveled was issued, or to another safe third country (n. º3, 26.º).

The decision to admit the application determine the applicant’s entry into national territory, followed by the instruction of the asylum procedure (n. º4, 24.º).

Maria Teresa Alves
Human Rights Jurist with focus on migrations and refugees, according European law.

  • Tucker Arnold

Post 4 years ago

Ipsum nisi animi ra Ipsum nisi animi ra

  • At Your Service

Reply 4 years ago

Done :)

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