Preparing My Moms D7 Portugal Visa 2024 | Life in Portugal | Retired

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I have spent the last four weeks putting together my mom’s D7 Visa packet, it has been intense, I have been stressed and I don’t ever want to do it again. In this article, I will explain what the D7 is, how you can get it for yourself or your parents, and how you can look forward to your move to Portugal.

If you’re new here my name is Heather Courtney I have lived in Lisbon Portugal since August of 2021 I originally did my Visa paperwork for myself and my daughter in June of 2021. Our Visa process went swiftly, it took about 12 days from the time it was submitted, and mailed for our approval and we honestly were not looking for it to come back that soon we thought maybe it’d be like 30, 60, or 90 days. We actually went back to Mexico and surprisingly, we got our approval email and then we had to pack up everything in Mexico and head back to the U.S. to mail in our passports.

Fast forward to 2 and 1/2 years later, my mom has been here in Portugal since October. So when I got back from Spain, she was already here, and one thing I noticed about my mom so far is that every time I recently moved to a new country, she followed. When I was living in Mexico she came down to visit for 2 weeks, fell in love, went back to the U.S. sold her stuff and then she lived in Mexico for a year and a half.

She came back and got her surgery, she was just looking for somewhere new to go so she ended up coming out to Portugal and she was like “I really like it here, I like the community, I feel like I could fit in I feel like there could be more things for me to do here than in Mexico” and she also liked the ease of access to other European countries and also Africa, which is right next door.

First things first, if you are thinking about moving to Portugal just know Portugal has its pros and it has its cons. I would say that you have to have a lot of patience while moving here. Things in the US work very differently, they work faster and I feel like it’s kind of like a race to get things done in the US but here it’s kind of carefree and laidback, you don’t have one direct answer, you can ask five people that work at the same business the same question and you get five different responses so just keep that in mind. There are beautiful places outside of Lisbon, you have Porto, you have the Algar region, you have Coimbra you have Fera duas, you have a lot of small villages so just don’t have your eyes set on Lisbon. I chose Lisbon because this is all I knew when I came with the Navy back in 2010. I’m glad I made this choice to move here, I thought about moving to the Algar but just for the sake of my daughter and her having things to do and having more of a city life, this was the best choice for us.

What is the D7 Visa?

A D7 Visa is commonly known as the passive income Visa or retirement Visa. I am on a D7 Visa myself since I am retired. I’ve been retired since 2016 and it was kind of pretty simple just to do this process. There weren’t any hard documents I needed to get. Everything was on my pension website and my bank websites. The process was simple but getting to the process was very stressful.

Qualifications For A D7 Visa

Firstly, if you’re applying by yourself currently as of January 1st, 2024 you have to make at least 824 or 820 per month. 820 is equivalent to 89686 which is right under $900 a month and you also have to have a Year’s worth and a Portuguese bank account of 9,840, which is equivalent to 5,840 about $1,762 now. I know you probably seem low, but the national average wage here in Portugal is very, very low. When I did the process, it was less expensive, it was about €700 minimum per month I had to have coming in and then it was about €7,000. I had to make sure I had a Portuguese bank account. If you are starting this process, it’s really beneficial that you get a binder, It has a lot of sleeves.

You need to figure out where you are zoned. If you go to the VFS website you can see where you’re zoned for. Where you’re zone is based on where your residence is. So if you get your bills and your driver’s license is in Florida, then you’ll be zoned for DC. It’s the same thing for Nevada, you’re zone for San Francisco from what I’ve been hearing is that some of the new opening offices are allowing walk-ins from different zones, but continue to do your research. I have also been seeing a lot of fast approvals. Although, I’ve been seeing a lot of fast approvals coming through.

Next, if you’re on Facebook, please join the American and Friends PT group. Don’t get me wrong, use the search option don’t go into that group with your feelings and they have a great file section, hands down to Susan and Heidi. They have been doing a great job. They helped me get here, they helped everyone in my community get here. They have a file guide and it breaks down everything from start to finish, I highly recommend getting that file downloaded and reading through it four or five times then searching the group for questions.

Getting a bank account in Portugal has been very challenging, when I got it all I did was call New York, there is a bank called Mono there, there are a lot of Portuguese that are in New Jersey and I had a bank manager there, he overnighted me the forms to NorthCarolina where I was staying at my mom’s at the time and I filled it out, sent it back and I had to make an account.

There are several ways that you can obtain a bank account. You can either hire someone to do it for you, I highly suggest start abroad. Anna and Zach are super nice we’ve had great reviews from our community that are using them currently, you can go in person or you can do it from abroad.

Currently, there are not a lot of banks that open up for foreigners anymore, some banks that I know for fact do open up for foreigners are Kaisha de Geral and also BPI and Novo Banko. I did not have good results with Novo Banko or Kaisha de Geral, also I heard Santander will open up a bank account for you but they weren’t opening their doors for us when we were at their front door and they were open. Novo Banko kind of gave us a runaround and then I had a girl from our community who said she would talk to her Banker at the same location I went to and said he could fit his in for the following week.

He just sent us all of our documents and I sent all the documents and he ghosted us that’s the second time this has happened since being here, I heard many people open accounts in Bankertier recently, I went there and they were just like “No we’re not opening an account for you” so we ended up going to BPI. BPI was amazing, I went and what I brought was my residency card, I brought me and my mom’s passports, I brought our pension letters, I brought a copy of my lease, a copy of my estado that says that I live in this parish and verified my home address and I think that was it, that’s all I brought.

We did the paperwork and the account was opened the same day, it took about a week for them to verify everything and activate the account. So far it’s been good, I actually had to go there a few days ago because my access codes were not working. They gave me new access codes and I have access to my account and now we’re just waiting on our bank cards. I will say as I mentioned earlier, this is Portugal so just because someone told me “no” here in Lisbon does not mean in other areas of Portugal it will be a “no” It kind of honestly depends on the person or the date, the day, it’s just different here in Portugal.

I suggest that when you open up a bank account, open a bank account in US Dollars and in Euros so that when you transfer your money from your American bank account into your Portuguese bank account you won’t lose a dollar value. The rate has been really like sucky right now, last year it was like one-to-one, and it was amazing, all of us were balling out of control but today it is about .91 to the dollar, so we do lose some money. If you don’t want to lose money open up a USD account or open up an additional account. If you are from the UK and you want to open up a GBP account, open that so you don’t lose the value on your money.

Other documents that you need to show for your D7 Visa are 3 months’ worth of bank statements, just the summary Pages, if you have credit cards, and if you have stock Investments and portfolios make sure you include that too. The stronger your package is, the more money you make. So the Portuguese do know that you’re not just going to come here not having any money and then take away from resources that are meant for the local community.

Health Insurance

Now there are so many different Health insurances out there you can use Square Mouth which is a website that will break down different insurances that you need. This is travel insurance, you have to have a minimum of $30,000 in coverage and it has to be useful in the Shenzhen area also you need to have COVID coverage as well. Originally I did Chadwick and it was like €65 for me and my daughter. We had no issues but when I looked for my mom because she’s older, a lot of places went like $4, $500, or $1,000. Thankfully, through the American and Friends PT group, I found AXA and I ended up spending $189 which is about $200 for 6 months’ worth of coverage. This is a requirement you cannot get around it at all you need it 100% for your visa application.

One thing that you should get started on first, if you’re thinking about doing your visa application and moving within the next 90 to 120 days, definitely start getting all your paperwork that has to be dated recently. For instance, your FBI check, can’t be no more than 6 months old. You can get the electronic version of it as well. Do not open the paper version, leave it closed because it is needed so they know it’s certified you didn’t tamper with it or anything like that, if you have a birth certificate, younger kids or you might be married, or any type of legal document, just make sure it’s dated within the last 6 months because Portugal is very particular about dates. I believe my birth certificate was from 2006 when I had gotten a new one and they were just like no you need to get a newer one. Just keep that in mind also.

There is a chance that if you have a record, your visa application will be approved. I had a record, but I wrote a statement about my arrest and you know that I was sorry for it and you know I haven’t had any other criminal convictions since then and it was good to go. I don’t know about everyone’s situation but if you don’t have a case of murder, felonies or anything like that you should be good to go, but you can always reach out to the consult and ask questions or consult an immigration lawyer. You’re also going to have to submit a background check for Portugal. This is different than the FBI check, it’s like a little form that you print out and you sign and you submit. There are different versions based on if you’re going to the console or VFS. For my mom I have printed out both of them because I’m not sure which one they’re going to ask for but, it’s just something really simple, just say your name, your birth date and you consent to them doing a background check just in case you came to Portugal and broke some laws previously.

Also if you have anything that might need to be translated make sure you take care of that as well and if you need anything to be apostile, you need to take care of that as well. I’ve had to have things apostile in the state of New Jersey, I just had a few things apostile in the State of Florida and Califonia. It really did not take that long but I also hear other places take forever.

So we’re going to get to the yellow folder, what I suggest is printing out a checklist, this checklist is used by VFS for your appointment. When you go for your visa and it kind of just helps things stay in order. I’ve seen people use several different versions of this but for the most part, everything has been like in exact same order its just different at the top but at your appointment they will give you a checklist as well.

For me I mailed my application back in 2021 to DC, so I’ve never been to an in person appointment but I’ve been steadily reading different people’s experiences out of the San Francisco office and everything seems to be the same. I did have her appointment which I guess I should have mentioned ealier, make your appointment first. A lot of times, appointmens are set out. One of the issues I know with the San Francisco office is that there is no option for a D7 National Visa, so you have to click the short term which is short stay visa, and when you get to your appointment tell them it’s D7. Everyone has been doing it, it’s nothing new. I printed out the application, put her information on there next were here two passport photos which are right at the bottom.

My mums D7 National Visa has the following Documentations:

  • A notorized copy of her passport which she will do when she gets to San Francisco in a few days.
  • FBI report which will be at the hotel waiting for her from our traveling mailbox.
  • I included my birth certificate and print outs from the bank statements.
  • Her certificate for her health insurance or travel insurance in the Shinzhen zone
  • I have a flight Itinenary, they may or may not ask for it. I’ve been hearing mixed reviews but I just printed it out, just incase
  • A proof of address which is just her driver’s license
  • The permission for Department of borders background check. I did a personal statement, the personal statement is required, you just say who you are, why you want to move to Portugal, If you have any connections to there and how you plan to financially support yourself.
  • Another thing that you have to include with this is also your lease. Sometimes you can get away with a turns of responsibility, I’m doing a turns of responsibility for my mom because I’m her daughter and I’m welcoming her into my home for this whole process. I had to go get the document notorized at a Portuguese lawyer’s office and I also had a power attorney typed up too so if I need to do anything on my Mom’s behalf I have authority to do so.

Everything literally took me four weeks just going back doing research. Things have changed since I actually have done my Visa, but I’m pretty confident about this. I don’t see any reason why this would be declined as I included my information, my pension, and everything. She has a place to stay she’s taken care of financially, she has her own pensions and money coming in.

So with that being said, yo might be wondering if theres a community for your parents here, yes! there is black in Portugal. It is amazing, I also have a community called the Collective which has been great for a lot of the older community. I have friends that are over 50 that are thriving here in both my communities and there’s always going to be something to do, always something to see in the slow pace of life.

If you have any questions please drop them in the comment section.

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