Frequently Asked Questions

Can I get accommodation or shelter while I wait for my asylum application decision?

If you do not have sufficient economic and social resources to live independently, you should inform the Immigration and Borders Service (SEF) about it when applying for asylum. In this case, SEF will refer you to the Portuguese Refugee Council (CPR), which will support you with accommodation during the first stage of the asylum procedure.


According to the law, this stage can last up to 30 days (unless the Dublin procedure applies – Click here to find more information about the Dublin procedure).


If your application is admitted to the second stage of the procedure, called the regular procedure, this means that Portugal, through SEF, will examine it in detail. This stage of the procedure can last for 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.


Throughout this stage, you will have a provisional residence permit valid for 6 months (renewable) that will grant you access to education and employment. You will be assisted with accommodation and social assistance by the Social Security.

I have been in another EU country before coming to Portugal. Can I apply for asylum in Portugal?

You can register your asylum application, however, your case will not be analysed in detail by Portuguese authorities.  According to the European Union (EU) regulation called the Dublin Regulation, you can only apply for asylum in one country within the EU territory, which should be the country where you first entered Europe. When you submit your asylum request, the Immigration and Borders Service (SEF) will first examine if Portugal is responsible for your asylum process (See section Dublin Regulation for more information).


In case you have already applied for asylum in another EU country, or entered a EU country before reaching Portugal, that is the country responsible for processing your request for international protection and, according to the Dublin Regulation, you may be transferred to that country.

Can I get special assistance if I have a health problem or other specific needs?

If you have a health problem or other specific needs, please inform the authorities immediately. In this case, you may receive specific support adapted to your needs.

Specific support may mean that you are assisted by a doctor, psychologist or social worker, and accommodated in a specific reception facility where you can receive services and assistance suited to your needs.


You are considered to have a specific need if:  

  • you are under the age of 18 years;
  • you have a serious disease;
  • you are a parent under 18 years old with children;
  • you are pregnant;
  • you have a disability (mental or physical, temporary or permanent);
  • you need psychological support due to difficult experiences you have gone through, your sexual orientation or your gender identity, or because you have been brought to Portugal against your will, or any other situations you feel you need help for.
  • you are a survivor of violence, gender-based violence, or trafficking



Can I get a lawyer when applying for asylum?

The presence of a lawyer is not required when you submit your asylum application and during the asylum procedure, but you can seek legal support if you wish to.

We recommended that you seek tailored legal support during your asylum process. Please click here for information on where to find legal support.

Related information

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