Portugal opens new visa center in Luanda, consul asks for “time and trust

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A new Portuguese Visa Center was inaugurated this Monday by the Portuguese Consulate General in the Portuguese-speaking country. Priority will be given to CPLP cases.

Portugal inaugurated this Monday a visa center based in Luanda with which it hopes to speed up processes, according to the Consul General, who asked for “time” and “trust” from users and said that priority will be given to CPLP visas.

“The focus of the Portuguese authorities is on people and their mobility (…) the Consulate General has been working hard, with effort, commitment and enormous dedication. We will continue to do our best. We ask our beloved public to give us time and trust in our work,” Rosa Lemos Tavares appealed, at a time when the number of visas requested by Angolans has increased, putting pressure on the consular services, which have scarce resources to meet the growing demand.

Rosa Lemos Tavares pointed out that in October the processing of new types of national visas began, introduced by the new Foreigners’ Law, which allowed the implementation of the Mobility Agreement of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP), creating the CPLP visa subregime.

These national visas allow for stays in Portugal of more than 90 days and are intended for higher education, work, prolonged medical treatment and family reunification, among other categories, to which new ones have been added, such as digital nomads, job search and family escort.

“Our consulate has encouraged users to apply for these new visas by increasing the number of vacancies and prioritizing these applications,” he stressed.

However, demand remains higher for the short-stay visa category (up to 90 days), she said, explaining that the process takes longer in the case of users with no history of travel to Portugal or those traveling with minors who have never traveled and are not accompanied by their parents, which requires additional steps.

The new regime for the entry of immigrants into Portugal, which facilitates the issuance of visas to CPLP citizens within the framework of the Agreement on Mobility between Member States, entered into force on October 30.

The Portuguese ambassador, Francisco Alegre Duarte, also considered this a decisive step to ensure “greater dignity” in the presence of visa applicants in Portugal, with “greater comfort and speed”, a change that he considered even more relevant given the demand for visas that has been recorded in recent months in the context of the current demand, driven by increased mobility and the return to normality after the pandemic.

The diplomat also recalled that Luanda is the largest issuer of visas in the consular network, and this is a sign of the Portuguese commitment to implement measures that contribute to increase the flow of migration “in an orderly manner”, responding to the needs of manpower and to address the aging population.

“Let there be no doubt about our commitment,” he stressed.

Until now, visa applications for Portugal were delivered and processed at a VFS Global center, along with those for Belgium, Brazil, China, France, the Netherlands, Ukraine and South Africa.

VFS Global, which is contracted by the Portuguese government, handles the scheduling and acceptance of visa applications online, while the consulate approves visa applications.

The consul general said that the high backlog has been reduced since 2020, when Angola’s airspace was closed due to Covid-19, and will remain restricted until March 2022.

He also pointed out some improvements that have been implemented, such as the opening of weekly slots instead of monthly ones, which allowed to increase the number of requests fulfilled and reduce the no-shows.

No statistics were released on the number of visas currently being processed or what is expected to be achieved with the new center in Luanda, which will begin operations on Tuesday.

According to Rosa Tavares, the new facilities are divided into two areas (visa application and passport issuance), with more counters, more staff and two waiting rooms in each area, one with 40 seats and the other with 34 seats, as well as a digital kiosk with access to the VFS Global sites, the Portuguese Consulate in Luanda and the visa portal of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Source: https://observador.pt/2023/03/06/portugal-inaugura-novo-centro-de-vistos-em-luanda-consul-pede-tempo-e-confianca/

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