Sunday, May 1, 2011

Is your Portuguese passport taking longer than it should have? Here’s help!

It is natural anxiety that many Goans feel for the delay in receiving their Portuguese passport. With the Consulate at Goa moving at snails pace, it appears to be a deliberate method of dragging on with a process which actually should not have taken days, or maximum a month to complete.

However we have Goans trying their luck at the Portuguese passport for years and some for even a decade without success. Some Goans  have all the necessary documents but nothing moves in any direction for them to see their European dream.

It is rightly believed that things are far different in Portugal compared to Goa. In Goa you seem to have separate rules for the speed of the process than the rules applied in Portugal. In Portugal the Assento do Nascimento which is the certificate of Birth caPortugal flagn be obtained in 2 days . The Bilhete or the Cartao do Cidadao takes another day and the Portuguese passport would consume a fourth day to a maximum. In Goa such speed of processing at the consulate is something unheard of. So in Portugal all in all you would be able to finish your process in about 4 days from start to finish and be the jolly good Portuguese in no time.

However the consulate in Goa functions in a manner which is exactly the opposite. They probably believe that 4 days in Portugal means they have to actually make it 4 years in Goa. This is unfair and unacceptable some would scream. Problem is there is no redressal mechanism for Goans living in Goa to take Portugal or anybody to task for the delay and hence the irregularity flourishes it seems. No amount of arguments with consulate staff can help to speed up the process. It can only raise eyebrows at what they would perceive as your lack of patience. They would give you a look like as if you are asking for Indian TATKAL methods when actually you have been made to dance to their tune for many odd years.

It is also a known fact that Portugal honestly is not amused to give passports to Goans faster. That is precisely the bottomline. Surely they have their reasons with England breathing down their neck at the helpless influx of “Goan Portuguese” happily invading Britain with impunity. The Problem that Britain and some other countries have about Goans with Portuguese passport is that many of the lot are not qualified but have the right to work in that country by virtue of the Portuguese passport and the benefits accrued to the European community hence. Britain does not enjoy the extension of that kind of hospitality to people who have difficulty with English. Already, they have made visas for Indians lacking proficiency in English to be a dear affair. Naturally all the pressure on Portugal obviously motivates  it to delay the inevitable.

But  in Portugal they have little choice but to grant you the passport in a fixed time period. They cannot make you stay for days or months to give a citizenship card ( bilhete or cidadao) They owe it to you as a citizen to grant it in a reasonable period of time which is possibly a week. So common sense would tell you that you should go to Portugal after preparing your papers in Goa and apply for the Portuguese nationality directly in Portugal. The cost of travel to and fro would be around 30,000 which for many Goans would be worth the trouble. Accommodation would probably cost you less than 15,000 for 10 odd days. But all these costs are the least of your worries.

The problem is the consulate at Goa does not grant visa to Goans at the drop of a hat. If they have wind of the fact that you are visiting Portugal for the Portuguese passport the denial of the visa is almost certain.Funny one would say. But it is only if you have the cartao do cidadao or the Bilhete, the consulate grants you the visa , not otherwise. So you are back to square one.

Your only hopschengen visae therefore rests with something called a schengen visa which is a visa given by a group of 15 European nations which includes Portugal. Which means that on a schengen visa one can travel to any of the 15 countries including Portugal.The purpose of the visit must be leisure, tourism, or business. The Schengen visa is governed by the Schengen rules and regulations and one needs to apply for the schengen visa from any one of the schengen nations which are as below

  • Austria
  • Germany
  • Belgium
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Greece
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Luxemburg
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • The Netherlands

So if you get your schengen visa and you got your papers ready, you could soon be on the fast track to your dream  of the happy Goan with the Portuguese passport. Good Luck!

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