Staff at each of the places I visited to apply for different documentation for my Residency told me a different day to call back for them the following week (i.e. it will be ready on Monday, ready in 3 days, ready by Wednesday, or in one week etc). I also needed to pay for a number of documents in advance.
Start preparing early
Before my first visit to Espargos, I had already obtained my UK Basic Police Disclosure (which was also duly officially stamped in UK by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office) which I had someone bring over to me from UK, my original birth certificate (but took coloured copies of my birth certificate) and several copies of my passport and my visa.
I'd paid for the original UK Police Disclosure to be translated by someone here on Sal who is authorised by the Notory, to provide translations for official documents into Portuguese and for it then to be taken to the Notory office (behind BCA bank in Espargos) to be officially stamped and dated by them as officially accepted. I’d already obtained the 3 passport sized photos required.
On my first day, (using a taxi and someone who would translate) I visited the Camara Municipal in Santa Maria, Santa Maria Hospital and the Finanza Office in Santa Maria. Then onto Espargos to the National Police Station, Judiciary Police Station, Cartorio do Registo and Finanza to request and pay for some of the documents that I needed for my application for Residence.
You know deep down some documents won't be ready
The following week I returned to each place to collect documents. Not all were ready or available and, I also needed to make another appointment for my medical as the day of my appointment seemed to be when everyone else turned up to see the doctor and I couldn't spare waiting for maybe another two hours after I'd already been waiting one hour for the receptionist to turn up, then when I saw the receptionist I think I was given a numbered card with 12 on it. The medical takes less than 5 mins in most cases.
You may be able to visit several places on the same day on the first couple of trips of the visa/residency trail. Best give it 7 days before returning to each of the places visited the previous week, make sure you take with you each receipt to ask for documents, hopefully this will reduce time going back to Espargos on different days. NOTE: There will be no guarantee all documents will be ready. I returned to a few places on different weeks and was told the system was down or something else, at two different office desks l was told to come back after 2p.m. at Finanza and at another at the Judiciary Police Station between 1-3p.m. (difficult when you are up in Espargos at 10a.m.). Then later a similar problem when visiting the Secretaries office at the Nat. Police Station. As you reach your 3rd and 4th visit, places to revisit for document collection should reduce. I tended to try and do things on the same day over an 8 week period (but not every week) because it suited me, but that isn’t practical for everyone. Make sure you do your visiting before 3p.m. too as the Police Station doesn't usually process things after then or will tell you to come back tomorrow.
My visa needs to be current
When I thought I had all the documents I needed, I returned to the National Police Station in Espargos to ask if all my papers were correct. My 12 month visa had run out on 6th May 2015 so I knew I would need to renew my visa before they would process my residency, so I had been given two forms to complete, one for a visa and one for residency. The Police person on the Visa desk sifted through my documents and then told me I needed another document to prove I was registered to work, he wouldn’t accept my Model 110, what was this now I thought! After some confusion I re-visited the Cartorio do Registo and they said I was already registered and printed a copy of my original document, but they then informed me that the document known as ‘Direccao Do Registo de Firmas’ has to be in date, the date of a re-issued document is only valid for official purposes for 6 months (this maybe in case you have changed your work circumstances recently and informed them and they have updated your records). I paid 500cve and they told me to return the following week.
As I was away for the next few weeks I needed my passport and decided to leave the collection of any documents until my return. Leaving the country meant I would be able to pay 25 euros on re-entry for a 30 day tourist visa, hopefully this would then give me enough time to get my 6 month visa processed immediately after my return. Fortunately I didn't get fined on my exit out of CV for not having a visa, but then it was only 3 weeks out of date.
Documents had an expiry date
Some other documents that were issued also have a ‘date limitation’ on them so processing your paperwork to get them into the Police Station quickly is important in case any of your earlier documents become ‘out of date’ and they won't accept them.
Soon after my return to Sal on 10th June I returned to Espargos to collected my work registration document, the ‘Direccao Do Registo de Firmas’ from the Cartorio do Registo and re-visited the Nat Police Station. I spoke with the Police on the visa desk. I was informed I still needed to be set up on INPS but I could go and pay at the Secretaries office for something to be processed, it wasn't an amount for the actual visa, just the process I think. I went to the Secretaries Office but the system was down so I couldn’t pay. I re-visited the Secretaries Office the following week and obtained 5 forms which I had to take to a bank in Espargos and pay 500cve. I went to the BCN in Espargos as this was not a busy bank, the bank kept three copies of the forms and I took the other two back to the Secretary’s Office, they kept one copy and gave me the other and told me to come back the following week. This is the last but one process you need to pay if you have all your papers ready for your visa. You can also pay at the Secretary’s Office using a Vint4 card.
The following week, before returning to Espargos I went back to INPS office in Santa Maria and was told me I needed to go to the INPS office in Espargos to enquire as to when I would start paying my INPS as this is a new requirement for all Residency applications if you were working. So on my 6th visit to Espargos I went to the INPS office first to ask for advice (with my translator). I was able to speak to the manager and explain I needed this for my Residency. She phoned the main office in Praia, twice, to see if she could get answers, they couldn’t give me a date as to when the ‘Fiscal’ (interview with INPS staff) would be carried out, this apparently has to be done by someone from the INPS visiting me at my place of work to confirm the type of work I do, before they can set me up on INPS and, the ‘Fiscal’ or visit is carried out by someone who has to come over to Sal from Praia (from the main island of Santiago) I thought this does not seem possible!!!! Anyhow the INPS office manager had another letter drafted which I could take to the Police, basically it said I was covered for the next 30 days while they were dealing with my INPS application. The manager also gave me their office number to keep ringing to ask when I would receive an appointment time for a visit. I returned to the Nat.Police station with the INPS letter, but before that I had already called in to Foto Vierra to copy my INPS letter before going back to the Police Station (I have copied everything in case something gets lost and I have proof).
On the same visit I also needed to collect a document at the Police Station from the Secretary’s Office that proved I'd paid the 500cve at the BCN bank (I think). However when I returned there the door to the Secretaries Office was closed, the sign on the door clearly said open from 9-4 (and arrive before 3p.m.). I arrived at 12.40 and no one was there. One Police officer at the front entrance desk to the station said they had gone to lunch and to come back at 2p.m. As I had to go to the visa desk to enquire if my INPS letter was acceptable I was also able explain that I had returned today for the document from the Secretary’s office but it was closed, fortunately on this occasion the Police person on the visa desk went round to the office and got my paperwork. However as regards my INPS, I was told the letter would cover me for my visa application, but I needed to get my INPS processed within 30 days or they would not accept my paperwork for Residency. I was able to hand in visa documents together with my passport that day, they said I could collect my 6 month visa and passport on the following Wednesday.
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