The asylum procedure is divided in two phases. The admissibility procedure, and the regular (instruction) procedure. Please see below the detailed information on each stage of the procedure and possible decisions you can receive from the Portuguese authorities.
In the first stage, called the admissibility stage, the Immigration and Border Service (SEF) will analyse whether you meet the admissibility criteria.
- If you meet the admissibility criteria and your claim is not considered unfounded, within 30 days you will be admitted to the regular procedure (see section “Regular procedure” below) and you will be issued a temporary residency permit, valid for 6 months (renewable for equal periods of time).
- If there is no decision taken within 30 days, you will be admitted automatically. If this happens, and you have not received any information from SEF, you can seek legal counselling (visit the section “Do you need legal support” here for information on free legal counselling) or reach out to SEF directly.
- If SEF determines that your case should be analysed by another EU country, the 30 days deadline will be suspended and the timeframe will depend on the re communication of SEF with the relevant authorities of that country. For more information, check the “Dublin Regulation” section.
- If your application is deemed inadmissible or unfounded by SEF, your application will not be admitted to further processing.
In this case you can file an appeal within 8 calendar days in the majority of cases, or 5 calendar days if the Portuguese authorities consider that your case should be assessed by another country as determined by the Dublin regulation (visit the Dublin Regulation subsection for more information), 4 calendar days if you filed a subsequent application or your application was filed following a removal order.
If you do not have sufficient financial resources, you can access free, state-funded legal aid to file an appeal. CPR can support you in accessing the legal aid system and liaising with your legal aid lawyer. Find contacts to CPR and other legal providers here.
During the appeal procedure you may remain in the country.
If you do not file an appeal, you will have 20 days to abandon the country (or seek other means of regularisation) counting from the date of receiving the notification from SEF on voluntary abandonment.
If you have been admitted to the regular procedure, SEF will further analyse your application.
This stage of the procedure can last up to 6 months and can be extended to 9 months in cases of particular complexity. Please note that in practice, this stage may extend beyond 9 months.
After considering the information and documents you provided during your interview, and information gathered through research about your country of origin, SEF will issue a proposal of the decision (positive or negative) on whether you should be recognised as a refugee or not. You will be notified on the issuance of that decision, and will be able to provide comments within 10 working days. SEF will then forward the file to the Ministry of Internal Administration for the final decision.
If the decision is positive, you will be granted one of the following forms of protection:
- A refugee status– it entitles you to a residence permit that is valid for five years, renewable for equal periods
- A subsidiary protection status– it entitles you to a residence permit that is valid for three years, renewable for equal periods
If the decision is negative and your asylum application is rejected, you can file an appeal. For more information see section “What can I do if I do not agree with the decision to reject my asylum application?” below.
If you do not file an appeal, you can remain in Portugal for a maximum of 30 days. After this period is over, you will be subjected to the general Immigration Act (which means that, unless you initiate a regularisation procedure under the criteria foreseen in the Immigration Act, you may be subjected to migration detention and obligatory return to your country of origin or habitual residence).
What can I do if I do not agree with the decision to reject my asylum application?
If you do not agree with the decision to reject your asylum or international protection application, you can appeal this decision within 15 calendar days. In this case, you need to be assisted by a lawyer. If you do not have sufficient financial resources, CPR’s legal department can support you in requesting a state-funded lawyer that will assist you free of charge in the appeal procedure. Find contacts to CPR and other legal providers here.
Filing an appeal has a suspensive effect, meaning that you can remain in Portugal until the appeal procedure is ongoing.