Allocation of visas for WYD is subject to specific and strict criteria

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The Internal Security System (SSI) said today that so far no risk situation has been identified in the context of registrations for World Youth Day (WYD) and guaranteed “specific and strict” criteria for visas.

“As public concern has been expressed about the number of WYD2023 registrants from countries in geographical areas that could possibly pose some risk to the security of that event, the Internal Security System is clarifying […] that all nationals of those geographical areas require a Schengen visa to enter the European area and national territory,” the SSI said in a statement.

According to the same note, so far no risk situation has been identified, such as terrorism, aiding illegal immigration or human trafficking.

The allocation of visas, he pointed out, is subject to “specific and strict criteria”, requiring the applicant to present proof of his participation in the event.

According to the statement, the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) analyzes visa requests before the start of the day.

On Saturday, the Chega leader said he needed clarification from the Ministry of Internal Affairs on the risks arising from the alleged enrollment of “tens of thousands of people” from the Middle East in WYD.

“This, if true, means that we are facing a very significant security risk and facing the possibility, or the attempt, that not only radicalized groups, but people who may not have good intentions, are entering Portugal through World Youth Day,” André Ventura said at the time.

The SSI said that since the beginning of registration, it has requested security consultations from the SEF regarding several nationalities, including those mentioned by Ventura.

“Regardless of the number of requests that may occur until the end of the event, we must emphasize that the rigor of the process will not be changed in any way,” he assured.

Homeland Security also clarified that the difference between the number of enrollments started and completed from these geographic areas is “substantially lower.”

The number of Pakistani citizens who have completed the enrollment process, as of June, is about 7%, but this percentage can be further reduced depending on the submission of the visa issuance process and security consultations, he exemplified.

“Security is taken very seriously by all the Security Forces and Services that participate in the framework of this mega-event, particularly the SIS, SEF, PJ [Polícia Judiciária], PSP [Polícia de Segurança Pública], GNR [Guarda Nacional Republicana] and Polícia Marítima, among others,” he added.

The SSI also stated that all people who have knowledge of situations that could constitute a danger to internal security should “immediately” inform the authorities.

André Ventura, who was speaking on the sidelines of a visit to the São João de Deus Health Center in Funchal, said Saturday that the party has information, “not confirmed, but from reliable and trustworthy sources,” that thousands of people from the Middle East, especially Pakistan, are registered for WYD.

The World Youth Day, the largest event of the Catholic Church, will be held for the first time in Portugal, from August 1st to August 6th, in Lisbon, where about 1.5 million people are expected.

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