Introduction Note and Credits
Following Ordem dos Advogados’ President’s Press release dated February 27th 2022, regarding Support for Ukrainian citizens, many lawyers (Advogados) volunteered to provide free legal assistance to Ukrainian citizens who remain in Portugal, as well as to those coming to our country fleeing the armed conflict between Ukraine and Russia.
The initiative "Lawyers in Solidarity with Ukraine", coordinated by Dr. Silva Cordeiro, Member of the General Council, and by Dr. João Lobo do Amaral, President of the Human Rights Commission, now publishes a FAQ list, answering the main questions that Lawyers have received, as of March 29th, 2022.
This set of replies aim the most frequently asked questions (mainly) as result of the committed dedication of the following Lawyers:
Dr. Manuel Silva Fonseca, office located in Av Rocha Paris, 26 AV, 4900-494 Viana do Castelo;
Dra. Sandra de Sá Correia, office located in Rua de Santa Maria, 46 – 1º, 4800-443 Guimarães;
Dra. Cleoneide Maropo, office located in Av. Comendador Ferreira de Matos, 759 - 3rd Dtº, 4450-125 Matosinhos.
Review by Dra. Elsa Mariano and English version by Dra. Ana Cristina Delgado, Ordem dos Advogados’ staff members.
1.1 - What are the conditions for travelling from the EU to Portugal, for those who have left Ukraine due to the ongoing armed conflict?
The Portuguese State offers Temporary Protection to Ukrainian citizens, foreigners or stateless people, who have left Ukraine due to the armed conflict and wish to come to Portugal (in accordance with the combined provisions of Council of Ministers Resolution No. 29-A/2022, of March 1st, expanded in scope by CM Resolution 29-D/2022, of March 11th).
- To travel to Portugal by land it is not necessary to present the documents previously required, which abbreviates the whole procedure. One must only have one document proving identity or Passport on them. Upon arrival in Portugal, for entry and access to the special protection regime, proof of family ties is made by any possible means (documentary proof is not necessary, testimonial evidence is enough), and Criminal Record presentation is also waived, leaving SEF responsible for internally carrying out the necessary steps to ascertain this data.
- To travel directly to Portugal by air, it is necessary to present a Biometric Passport, or in the absence of this, the presentation of a Single Travel Title (TVU), corresponding to a "safe-conduct", issued by the Embassy of Portugal of the country where one is located. This document is of an exceptional nature, granted only in situations of justified urgency, and can only be issued by a Portuguese Embassy. The contacts of the Portuguese embassies in Warsaw (Poland), Bucharest (Romania), Bratislava (Slovakia) and Budapest (Hungary), as well as the contact of the Consulate Emergency Office (GEC), available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week , providing support, in emergency situations, to national citizens abroad, can be found on the Portuguese Communities portal. On this website the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MNE) also provides information about active crossing points on Ukraine's borders with Poland and Romania.
For better coordination of transport, entry into national territory and obtaining temporary protection status in Portugal for citizens of Ukrainian nationality and others coming from that territory, the Government requests the completion of the following forms in the available Languages:
This information will allow arrivals, in a regular and organized manner, as well as guaranteed reception upon arrival according to the prior identified needs.
1.2 What are the conditions for these displaced people to travel from outside the EU to Portugal?
The aforementioned conditions.
1.3 Is there a biometric passport requirement?
To travel directly to Portugal (ie by air) it is necessary to present a Biometric Passport, or in the absence of this, the presentation of a Single Travel Title (TVU), corresponding to a "safe-conduct", issued by the Embassy of Portugal of the country where one is located. This document is of an exceptional nature, granted only in situations of justified urgency, and can only be issued by a Portuguese Embassy. The contacts of the Portuguese embassies in Warsaw (Poland), Bucharest (Romania), Bratislava (Slovakia) and Budapest (Hungary), as well as the contact of the Consulate Emergency Office (GEC), available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, providing support, in emergency situations, to nationals abroad, can be found on the Portuguese Communities portal. On this website the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MNE) also provides information about active crossing points on Ukraine's borders with Poland and Romania.
1.4 What travel restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 disease pandemic apply to citizens displaced by the Ukrainian War and coming from that territory?
Given the situation of special humanitarian emergency, the general rules for presenting tests or vaccination certificates, which are required for other foreign citizens who wish to enter Portugal, are not applicable. In the case of Ukrainian citizens and foreigners who are refugees from the Ukrainian War, once they arrive in Portugal, a special vaccination is carried out in the context of temporary protection, based on the recent DGS Norm 003/2022, of 03/19/2022.
2.1 What are the conditions for submitting a request for temporary protection, in accordance with the resolution of CM nº29-A/2022, of March 1st?
Being displaced by war applicants were under a risk situation, a humanitarian crisis caused by the objective and generalized situation of human rights violation, a threat to life and physical integrity of Ukrainians and other residents in Ukraine. Under these terms, citizens can apply for temporary protection granted by the Portuguese State (article 7 of Law 67/2003 of August 23rd and CM Resolutions of March 1st and March 11th):
- nationals of Ukraine and foreign citizens of other nationalities or stateless people benefiting from international protection in Ukraine, coming from that country, not being able to return there, as a result of the war situation;
- foreigners of other nationalities or stateless people who are in the circumstances described above and who prove to be family members, namely relatives, related, spouses or de facto partners of the citizens referred to in the previous number;
- permanent residents of Ukraine, or who have a temporary residence permit;
- who benefit from a long-stay visa intended to obtain this type of authorization and whose safe and lasting return to their country of origin is not possible.
2.2 What documents are required to apply for temporary protection by Ukrainian citizens and other foreigners coming from Ukrainian territory?
All Ukrainian citizens and their family members who cannot return to their country due to the war situation, as well as citizens of other nationalities residing in Ukraine who cannot return to the country for the same reason (Council of Ministers Resolution No.29 -A/2022, of March 1st, extended in scope by Res. CM of March 11th), may benefit from the Temporary Protection Regime granted by the Portuguese State.
For this reason, they benefit from a much less demanding and swifter regime of proof of identity, being necessary to present only one identification document (any document that proves the identity or Passport). Proof of family ties can be done by any means (it does not need to be documentary), just testimonial evidence, and the presentation of the Criminal Record is also waived, leaving SEF responsible for internally carrying out the necessary steps to verify this record.
The request for Temporary Protection can be done:
- On-Line at https://sefforukraine.sef.pt/
(PT, ENG, UK).
This is SEF's online platform for registering requests for temporary protection by displaced citizens of Ukraine, applicable to citizens of adulthood legal age (from 18 years of age and up).
– or In person, in the case of minors:
Due to their vulnerability, requests for temporary protection for minors must be presented in person at one of the 24 SEF service desks (https://imigrante.sef.pt/deslocacao-sef/) exclusively dedicated to serving displaced citizens from Ukraine.
2.3 What documents are required to obtain different types of visas for Ukrainian citizens and other foreigners coming from Ukraine?
Ukrainian citizens and other foreigners refugees from the armed conflict in Ukraine, coming from that country and cannot return there, benefit from access to the Temporary Protection Regime and are exempt from the need for any visa to enter the country. As a result, they also have access to a special employment and housing regime that they can use.
All other Ukrainian nationals and other foreigners must apply for the issuance of the Visa, in the following terms.
- Requirement form:
-Passport or other travel document valid for more than 3 months beyond the expected duration of stay;
-Two identical passport-type photographs, up-to-date and in good condition to identify the applicant;
-Valid travel insurance, covering expenses necessary for medical reasons, including urgent medical assistance and eventual repatriation;
-Proof of legal status if you are of a nationality other than the country where you apply for a visa;
- Request for consultation of the Portuguese criminal record by the Foreigners and Borders Service: https://vistos.mne.gov.pt/images/schengen/formularios/aut_consulta_rc.pdf
-Criminal record certificate from the country of origin or from the country where the applicant has resided for more than one year (children under 16 are exempt from submitting documents relating to the criminal record);
-Proof of accommodation’s conditions;
-Proof of the existence of means of subsistence as defined by ordinance of the competent members of the Government;
-Proof of holding means of subsistence can also be made by submitting a term of responsibility, signed by a national or qualified foreign citizen, with a document of residence in Portugal.
Specific documentation relating to the purpose of the stay:
Subordinate professional activity:
-Employment contract or promise of employment contract or individualized expression of interest;
-Declaration issued by the Institute of Employment and Vocational Training (*);
-Proof that you are qualified to practice the profession, if regulated in Portugal.
-For the purposes of proof of means of subsistence, means rising from a contract or promise of employment contract must be taken into account.
-Proof of means of subsistence can be made through a term of responsibility signed by the worker's host entity.
(*) Article 193 of Law No. 75-B/2020, of December 31st – State Budget for 2021, suspends the establishment of a global quota for the purpose of granting a residence permit, introducing temporary changes to the provisions in this article 59, in the same terms: "During the year 2021, the establishment of the global quota for the purposes of granting a residence permit visa for the exercise of subordinate professional activity provided for in article 59 of Law no. 23/2007, of July 4th, and the conditions set out in paragraph 5 of that article apply to the issuance of the aforementioned visas."
Independent professional activity:
-Partnership agreement or written proposal for a contract for the provision of services within the scope of liberal professions; and, if applicable, a statement issued by the competent authority stating that you are entitled to carry out the activity in Portugal;
-Need to have carried out investment operations in the past;
-Prove that they have financial resources available in Portugal, including those rising from finances obtained from a financial institution in Portugal and demonstrate, by any means, the intention to carry out an investment operation in Portuguese territory, duly described and identified or,
-Declaration by the IAPMEI Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation IP, proof of the conclusion of an incubation contract with a certified incubator, according to article 6 of Normative Order nº4/2018 from the Ministry of Economy from February 2nd, which rules «Startup Visa» program.
For teaching, for highly qualified or cultural activities:
- Employment contract or promise of employment contract or service provision contract; or,
- Invitation letter issued by an educational or vocational training institution; or,
- Term of responsibility of a certified company under the terms defined by an order issued by the members of the Government responsible for the areas of internal administration and economy; or,
- Letter of invitation issued by a company or entity that carries out a cultural activity in national territory recognized by the member of the Government responsible for the area of culture as of interest to the country, or as such defined by law; or,
- Letter of invitation issued by the research centre.
-For the purposes of proof of means of subsistence, the means arising from an employment contract or promise of employment contract must be taken into account. Proof of means of subsistence can be made by submitting a statement of responsibility by the worker-hosting entity.
For highly qualified activity carried out by a subordinate employee:
- Employment contract or promise of employment contract valid for at least one year, corresponding to an annual remuneration of at least 1.5 times the national average gross annual salary or three times the index value of social supports (IAS);
-In the case of a regulated profession, holding high professional qualifications, duly proven in compliance with the provisions of Law nº9/2009, of March 4th, or in a specific law on the recognition of professional qualifications, necessary for the access and exercise of the profession indicated in the employment contract or promise of employment contract;
-In the case of an unregulated profession, holding high professional qualifications appropriate to the activity or sector specified in the employment contract or the promise of employment contract. For the purposes of employment in professions belonging to large groups 1 and 2 of the International Type Classification (CITP), indicated by a Resolution of the Council of Ministers, after a prior opinion of the Permanent Commission for Social Dialogue, as professions in particular need of workers who are nationals of third States, the salary threshold provided for in subparagraph a) of paragraph 1 must correspond to at least 1.2 times the national average gross salary, or twice the value of the IAS.
-For the purposes of proof of means of subsistence, the means arising from employment contract or promise of employment contract must be taken into account. Proof of means of subsistence can be made by submitting a statement of responsibility by the worker-hosting entity.
In case of doubt as to the framework of the activity and for the purpose of verifying the adequacy of the third-country national's professional experience, the ministries responsible for the areas of employment and education and science, will issue an opinion prior to granting the visa.
Employment contract or hosting agreement with a research centre or higher education institution, or having been admitted to a research centre or higher education institution, and having a research grant or grant or presenting a disclaimer signed by the research centre or institution higher education guaranteeing admission as well as living expenses.
Researchers admitted to a research centre or higher education institution officially recognized under the terms of current legislation are exempt from presenting health insurance or equivalent, employment contract or convention, travel insurance or means of subsistence.
For the purposes of proof of means of subsistence, the means from grants or scholarships must be taken into account.
Research grant recipients are exempt from submitting proof of sufficient means of subsistence.
Researchers admitted to officially recognized research or higher education centres (article 91-B of Law 23/2007) are exempt from a document proving their means of subsistence.
For studying in higher education:
Fulfil the admission conditions or have been accepted at a higher education institution to attend a study program and have sufficient resources for the respective frequency.
Higher education students from an officially recognized higher education institution under the terms of the legislation in force are exempt from presenting health insurance or equivalent, from proving admission conditions or how they were accepted in a higher education institution, travel insurance or means of subsistence.
Document issued by an educational facility stating that one was admitted or fulfils admission conditions. This document is waived in the case of beneficiary of a scholarship.
For the purposes of proof of subsistence, the means from grants or scholarships must be taken into account.
Students benefiting from a scholarship, as well as third-country nationals whose official language is Portuguese, are exempted from proof of sufficient means of subsistence.
For secondary school students:
Having been accepted at an educational facility; being of age according to the limits set in the ordinance; and, to be hosted by a family or to have accommodation provided in adequate facilities, during the period of stay.
Declaration of the educational facility where the student was admitted; document proving reception by family, or document proving accommodation. Being a Camões Institute scholarship holder, it is not necessary to present a document proving admission as well as proof of means of subsistence.
For the purposes of proof of subsistence, the means from grants or scholarships must be taken into account.
In the case of student exchange, proof of means of subsistence can be carried out by submitting a statement of responsibility by the organization responsible for student exchange programs.
For internship purposes:
Proof that one has been accepted as an intern by a certified host entity and present a theoretical and practical training contract, in the field of the higher education diploma you hold or the cycle of studies you are attending, which must contain:
-Description of the training program, namely the respective educational objectives or learning components;
- Duration and schedule of training;
-Location and supervision conditions of the internship;
-Characterization of the legal relationship between the trainee and the host entity;
-Mention that the internship does not replace a job and that the host entity is responsible for reimbursing the State for the expenses of stay and removal, if the intern remains illegally in national territory.
For the purposes of proof of subsistence, the means from grants or scholarships must be taken into account. Proof of means of subsistence can be done by submitting a statement of responsibility by the host entity for interns.
Proof that one has a contract with the host entity responsible for the volunteer program, which includes a description of the content and duration of the volunteer program, schedule, supervision conditions and guarantee of coverage of food and accommodation expenses, including a minimum sum of allowances or pocket money; and, that the host organization has taken out civil liability insurance, except in the case of volunteers participating in the European Voluntary Service.
Proof of means of subsistence can be made by submitting a statement of responsibility by the organization responsible for volunteer programs.
-Notification of the granting of family reunification delivered by the Foreigners and Borders Service;
- Proof of kinship invoked: birth or marriage certificate;
-For minors or disabled persons, travel authorization of the person holding parental authority or guardianship.
For religious activity:
Certificate of the church or community to which one belongs, provided they are recognized by the Portuguese legal system.
For pensioners or retired persons:
Document proving the amount of the pension.
For people living on their own income:
Document proving income from any stocks, assets or real estate property, or from intellectual property, or from financial investments.
Gold and residency visas
2.4 What are the conditions for obtaining different types of visas for Ukrainian citizens and other foreigners coming from Ukraine?
The general regime for the entry, stay, departure and removal of foreigners from national territory (Law 23/2007 of July 4th) applies, as the temporary protection measures will cease when the current war situation in the country of origin of the beneficiary ceases and the return, voluntary or coercive, must occur, with the subsequent measures to the temporary protection (articles 22, 23 and 24 of Law 67/2003, of August 23rd and articles 20, 21 and 22 of Directive 2001/55 /CE).
2.5 What are the conditions for obtaining the refugee status?
In these situations, the Geneva Convention of 1951 applies, which considers the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights approved on December 10th, 1948 and the New York Protocol of 1967 (article 3 of Law 67/2003, of August 23rd and article 3 of Directive 2001/55/EC).
2.6 What are the conditions for granting political asylum to beneficiaries of temporary protection?
Pursuant to article 19 of Law 67/2003, of August 23rd and article 17 of Directive 2001/55/EC, beneficiaries of temporary protection have the possibility to submit an asylum application to the Portuguese state.
In general terms, asylum is granted to foreigners and stateless people for whom there is well-founded fear or evidence that they are being persecuted or seriously threatened for exercising, in the State of their nationality or usual residence, activities in favour of democracy, social and national liberation, peace amongst peoples, freedom and rights of the Human Person.
Foreigners and stateless persons who are persecuted (or at risk of being persecuted) also have the right to asylum because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinions or membership of a certain social group and who, therefore, are unable or unwilling to return to the State of their nationality or usual residence. When the foreigner has more than one nationality, asylum can only be granted if these reasons exist for all the States of which he is considered national.
The foreigner or stateless person who enters national territory in order to obtain asylum must submit the respective request without any delay to the SEF or any other police authority; one may do so by writing or even orally. In the latter case, a proper notice of the request will be written down. Until the asylum application is decided, the applicant can request its extension to family members accompanying him.
Once the right to asylum is granted, the beneficiary acquires refugee status and a residence permit for a period of 5 years, which can be renewed.
If the requirements for granting asylum are not met, the foreigner or stateless person can still be granted a residence permit for subsidiary protection (which will only last for 3 years, renewable). This authorization may be granted when the foreigner is being prevented or feels unable to return to the country of his nationality or usual residence, either in view of the systematic violation of human rights that takes place there, or because one runs the risk of suffering serious injury (for example, death penalty or torture, inhumane treatment or any life threat).
2.7 Is presence in Portuguese territory absolutely necessary or not, to present the previous requests (temporary protection, visas and refugee status, political asylum)?
In case of temporary protection and visas, presence in Portuguese territory is not necessary, while as for refugee and political asylum status, presence in Portuguese territory is duly necessary.
2.8 What are the conditions for family reunification?
For the purposes of family reunification and in case of separation caused by circumstances associated with the massive influx (war in Ukraine), conditions are those referred to in article 17 of Law 67/2003, of August 23rd and article 15 of Directive 2001/55/ EC, therefore, spouses of the sponsor, minors unmarried children of the sponsor or his/her spouse, other close relatives living in a common economy, are considered as belonging to the same family, as elements of the family unit dependent on the sponsor at the time of the war in Ukraine and the consequent massive influx of people who depended entirely or predominantly on the sponsor.
2.9 What are the specificities for multinational families in which one or several elements are not Ukrainian?
Those referred to in numbers 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 of article 17 of Law 67/2003 of August 23rd and article 15 of Directive 2001/55/EC, in conjunction with paragraph 1 of article 9 of Law 67/2003, of August 23rd and article 7 of Directive 2001/55/EC ex vi nº 2 of Resolution CM nº 29-A/2022, of March 1st, so that they prove (by any means of evidence, including testimonial ) that they are related, spouses or de facto partners of citizens of Ukrainian nationality who are in the circumstances provided for in paragraph 1 of the said resolution, that is, to whom temporary protection has been granted, with automatic attribution of a residence permit for a period of one year, with the possibility of extending their residence permit, under the terms of article 7 of Law 67/2003, of August 23rd and article 4 of Directive 2001/55/EC, who, coming from their country of origin, cannot return there, in consequence of the existing war situation.
2.10 Are there special conditions for Russian citizens residing in Ukraine and moving to Portugal?
Those referred to in article 9 of Law 67/2003, of August 23rd and article 7 of Directive 2001/55/EC, that is to say, they can be granted temporary protection, provided that they are displaced for the same reasons and are coming from Ukraine.
2.11 What are the official means of helping people who are still in Ukraine and want to leave?
Particularly the diplomatic portal and the online platform of SEF and Portuguese embassies in Warsaw, Bucharest, Bratislava and Budapest, whose contacts are indicated below:
Consulate Emergency Office –(+351) 961706472/ (+351) 217929714 firstname.lastname@example.org
Portugal Embassy in Warsaw Telephone: +(48 22) 511 10 10/11/12 Telephone (Emergency):+(48) 781 159 430 email@example.com
Portugal Embassy in Bratislava Telephone: +(421) 220 768 454 firstname.lastname@example.org