The Portuguese passport process for many Goans is in a limbo due to various factors. For some, procuring their basic birth certificate is a big problem leave alone the TEOR. For others, they are blessed with a TEOR but have no original document. For some Goans, all documents and attestations a re done and everything is available at hand but they just cannot get an appointment with the Portuguese consulate in Goa. The next available appointment is about a year away which is excruciatingly late. For another category, they have given all the documents but there is silence on the part of the Portuguese authorities for years together. The consulate in Goa has no answers to the delay and often respond with helplessness about the cause. To their credit, honestly they may actually have no answers contrary to many disgruntled Goans who may be barking at the wrong tree.
In this post I shall make an attempt to address the third problem where the application for claiming Portuguese nationality is lying in Portugal. There is also good hope for the other two categories which I will deliberate on at a later date.
The delay caused after presenting the application with no news for years, therefore is evidently rooted in Portugal, where a plethora of applications await disposal at various stages. The Conservatoria or its various subsidiaries in Portugal are apparently overburdened and according to reliable experiences of some Goans, to an extent function just like most of our government offices in Goa with a hard-earned laid back succegado attitude.
So your much sought after application for claiming the Portuguese nationality could be lying in Portugal under heaps of other applications in files which are however traceable unlike in Goa where there seems to be no system or mere sensibility towards preservation of documents which are at the mercy of rough handling, pests and pitiable storage conditions. Of course in Goa there is no accountability for such mishaps and no one is questioned.
So how does one solve the problem of pulling out your papers from down under and bringing them to the right table to be processed faster? That too in Portugal? The answer to that it seems is to have some saviour in Portugal itself. This person should go to the Portuguese Conservatoria or its subsidiaries on your behalf and argue your case and ensure that it is processed and sent back to Goa. Such a person has to be dedicated to do your work. It is a rare species but not hard to find honestly.
Agents of the Portuguese passport in Goa are virtually useless to be approached for this work as they have thousands and thousands of cases like yours and with their one man in Portugal, sifting through the cases, your case is like a needle in a haystack. Seldom found. However our agent in Goa never fails to collect his plum sums from you for the work which he has still not done. Or may take years and years to do. Or may never even succeed doing. However his milking of clients goes on unabated. He knows how gullible Goans are for the lure of "phoren" and are willing to gulp all his stories. And so he makes the most when the sun is shining.
So obviously you need to locate some person in Portugal yourself to do this job for you. Try with some relatives and friends in Goa who may help you with some friends in Portugal . In such cases it is surely an inconvenience for the person in Portugal and it would therefore take some effort to get such a person. So do not get disappointed and upset if some friends/relatives decline the help. Its a genuine botheration. Another way is to research the internet and Google for such people who undertake such professional services in Portugal and approach them directly over phone or email (phoning Portugal has become dirt cheap).I have observed that there are a few of them who can be found on the internet.
Due to obvious reasons of probable issues associated with these services and since I do not have any vested interest, I will not indulge in providing names and numbers of people in Portugal undertaking such services. You will have to do some research on the internet yourself. But do ensure that whoever you narrow down to in Portugal , that there is enough of credibility in that person to undertake your case. Seek references of people he/she has successfully completed such cases and get in touch with those people over telephone or meet their relatives in Goa in person to verify.Dont send your money down the drain. Do not rely on email to get in touch with such references as the person in Portugal may be the one himself replying to your emails. Remember, its a virtual world out there.
The fees for such services depend on the tasks involved. Some people charge fees simply to present your papers in the Conservatoria in Portugal. Some others levy charges for enquiry. Still some others give you a list of fees for completing an assigned task such as registering your birth which is the 'Assento de nascimento" or facilitating your process of the Bilhete de Identidade in Portugal or presenting your papers for the marriage registration after taking the appointment and also ensuring that your marriage is registered. However all such fees are just a small fraction of the costs you would pay an useless agent in Goa who normally acts like a snob everytime you enquire about your case.
Goans therefore need to research the internet for such people to ensure that they process their cases smartly and not crouch under an agent in Goa as if they were completely illiterate. Lack of knowledge of Portuguese is a small factor in the whole process please note. Your person in Portugal should be able to follow up your case and ask questions about your case in Portugal. You need to ensure that he can do the job and not be lying down. Cases take months in Portugal to process. Not years.
Always seek a time frame from your prospective person in Portugal.Do not hesitate to ask "when" "why" and "which". Do not agree for a time frame in suspense. Keep the person on his toes. After finalising with him/her, you need to provide him with a 'power of attorney' which is known as the 'procuracao" so that he/she can take up your case on your behalf. For the format of the "power of attorney- procuracao" click here. To prepare the procuracao you need some important details of the person in Portugal. They are
1. His/Her Name
2. His/Her Address
3. His/Her Age
4. His/Her Bilhete de Identidade number
5. His/Her status - whether married or single.
You need to include these details in the procuracao as detailed. After printing the power of attorney on a 50Rs stamp paper, you should notarise it in Goa and then proceed to attest it with the various authorities such as the collector, the Home department and lastly the Consulate. Your person in Portugal needs this document to pursue your application for Portuguese nationality
For more posts on the Portuguese passport for Goans, click here.