So when I was choosing between the D7 and Golden Visa for Portugal, I ended up applying for the D7 visa. The process wasn't that complicated, but it was time-consuming and still stressful. For those asking the question, "what is a D7 visa in Portugal?" Well, long story short, the D7 is a visa granted to an individual for the purposes of retiring in Portugal. I think some other European countries offer this as well. With proven stable income, and a nice personal statement on why one wants to move to Portugal, a visa is granted and eventually leads to citizenship with some patience.
I followed all the steps, and submitted my application at the beginning of December (I documented my visa application experience in another post). It has now been over 2 months of checking my inbox as well as my spam folder, but I have received no response from VFS Global. Not cool. I had really wanted to give the organization the benefit of the doubt. I was aware of the horror stories I read about based on VFS Global complaints on Better Business Bureau, but I had really hoped for something better with my personal experience.
To date, I've followed a couple of Portugal expat groups on Facebook to keep track of what's going on both with Portugal and other individual visa experiences. Some have seemed pretty good while others have not. Mine seems to be a part of the latter. Having submitted my application with encouragement from others to include a pre-booked flight (not mandatory for the application), I have lost both a bit of money as well as motivation to move to Portugal.
I had spent about $300 on a flight to Portugal which just passed 2 days ago, and a few hundred dollars on expedited services for the required FBI criminal background check. Thankfully, I hadn't given a few hundred more dollars to open a Portuguese bank account and NIF (a common service geared towards foreigners) nor leased a flat out as some other potential expats-to-be had done, otherwise, my losses would have been even greater. I had some local help from friends for those services which really helped me a lot.
What can causes delays to the D7 visa application process?
Most likely a mix between politics and the current pandemic. As of 2021, I've been told by locals and from my own research that the Portuguese government has already been less than inclined to give out golden visas (granted to those who purchase property in Portugal worth €350,000 or more) in Lisbon and Porto. Forum discussions indicate that the government seems to be leaning away from letting foreigners move to Portugal as easily as a few years back.
To top things off, the pandemic has caused significant delays to just about everything. From processing NIFs (the Portuguese equivalent to American social security numbers) to updates. I guess on a more optimistic note, it's not like I've had my application outright rejected (at least not yet). I just haven't heard anything, and the frustrating part is that I've already wasted my pre-booked flight, and first month's pre-booked accommodation. Typically, one is advised to have both of these things booked 2 months from one's application submission date.
How do I feel at this point?
I don't care anymore, and I still feel pretty content with how I did things. Like the feature image of this post which is of wall art I found while taking Lisbon's metro, I find that things during the pandemic are just quite unpredictable - life can sometimes be a joke. There's a lot of pressure on lots of people, and that's very understandable. Some of those issues impact my life, but overall, I'd be happier if the world just stayed balanced for the greater good of all.
I was quoted a few thousand Euros for an attorney to basically do everything I did by myself for the application, and I saved a lot of that by not hiring one. While some might say that using third-party services could have led to my application being approved faster, or potentially at this point at all, I'd rather still have done it my way. I just don't want to be a part of any exceedingly bureaucratic thing, and if it's meant to be that I am unable to move to Portugal then it's meant to be, and I can invest my efforts elsewhere. Who knows? Maybe I'll try Poland again without the teaching English bit.