Discover more from Love from Portugal
Our timeline: From 'wanting to emigrate' to 'Portuguese residents'
We detail our mistakes so you can avoid them (66)
There are many (18) footnotes in the timeline. Clicking on the superscript number in the body of the post will take you to the footnote and hovering over the number will cause the text of the footnote to appear. Clicking on the number at the beginning of the footnote will return you to the body of the post. (Note: apparently, this only works when the post is viewed on a web browser. There seems to be no way to easily move back and forth when reading as an email or through the app. Sorry🙁.)
Jan 3, 2022 - First realized we wanted to leave the US
Jan 12 - Narrowed our choices to Portugal and Ireland
Jan 13 - Discovered and joined Americans & FriendsPT Facebook group. Resources there are vital. Highly recommended.
Feb 22 - Planned scouting trip to Portugal
February 27 - Ran the numbers and decided to sell vs rent our St. Louis house
March 15 - Moved the timeframe up to take advantage of hot US real estate market. Canceled scouting trip. New plan: explore Portugal from within.
March 21 - Got our NIFs with the wonderful Adriana at Algarve Know How
March 21 - Selected realtor for house sale
March 22 - Started looking for a Portugal apartment on our own– either Porto or Lisbon, whichever hit first
March 25 - Almost fell for an apartment SCAM. Lawyer Teresa Valente de Almeida called from Portugal to warn us!
March 28 - Real estate agent who found us our apartment secured (1 of 6) (we had SIX agents!)
March 29 - Visa pre-addressed envelopes requested from DC Consulate
March 29 - FBI background checks requested
March 31 - Started opening bank account at Millennium BCP with Miguel Pinto
April 1 - Received Visa pre-addressed envelopes
April 1 - Started fixing up the house for sale
April 4 - Signed lease on our apartment in Lisbon with The Best of The Best Heather Youngman at KW
April 6 - Decided to stage house ourselves
April 12 - Bank account open
April 15 - Lease on apartment took effect
April 16 - Travel insurance secured via AXA
April 17 - Visa application (D7) sent to VFS in DC
April 19 - Pet relocation company selected
April 18 - Started working on utilities transfer on apartment
April 22 - Purge I completed in St. Louis: Staging completed, house photographed
April 22 - Pre-inspection of house completed
April 30 - House on market: available for open house and showings
May 2 - House sale contract agreed upon
May 3 - Realized we hadn’t sent correct number of money orders to VFS. Sent email asking how to fix.
May 6 - Email from VFS with instructions on fixing money orders
May 9 - Visa application process restarted: New money orders arrived at VFS
May 13 - Email from VFS: applications forwarded to Portuguese embassy
May 17 - Driver license transfer in PT: started work on documents needed
May 24 - Dog flight information received
June 3 - Set up Travelling Mailbox account
June 7 - Electricity for Lisbon apartment turned on
June 15 - Vet appointment for health certificate
June 21 - Email from VFS: Visas approved!
June 22 - Left Chicago for Toronto, then on to Portugal!
June 23 - Arrived in Portugal @ 11:10 am to zero bags
June 24 - House in St. Louis closed
June 25 - Dog arrived in PT using Pet Relocator
July 3 - Got our luggage back – 10 days without any bags
July 21 - Traveled to US to send our passports in and get D7 attached. Amy’s was successful. Scott's was not.
August 23 - Scott returned to US to get his D7
November 7 - Temporary Residency Cards Arrived!
November 7 - Emailed Braga SEF there was an error in one of the cards
November 8 - Sent card in the mail to Braga SEF to be corrected
December 23 - The corrected card arrived! But, still had error.Emailed again.
December 28 - Sent the card back, again. (Gave up on waiting for response to email.)
February 15, 2023 - Card arrived! It’s right!
After years of joking about and half-heartedly discussing the possibility of moving away from the US, this was the straw that tipped the camel over (note: no camels were harmed in the making of this decision).
A busy week of deep internet dives.
Ireland was too expensive and too cold.
Always get a real estate lawyer.
We ended up paying rent for just over two months that we weren’t living here. This, we’ve learned, is fairly common these days.
We wish we had started our health insurance (we’re using MGEN) at that point. If your health insurance has any kind of waiting period, it pays to have that happen while you are still covered elsewhere.
An oversight on Scott’s part. He combined the amount from two different money orders and got one instead. They both needed to go to different places upon receipt. Read carefully! Follow instructions!
They were very gracious and sent the original money order back after receiving the corrected ones. In the end, the only thing we lost here was time. Still, we didn’t have time to lose.
Not enough time to actually get them before our flights, though. So we left for Portugal without them.That earlier delay because of the money orders really cost us here.
She was late. Flights were delayed to the next day, and then canceled due to heat. She arrived in a crate filled with poop and pee and hadn’t had water in we don’t know how long. We don’t think she was let out of the crate at all. We will not do that again, nor do we recommend Pet Relocator.
Ignorance of the process cost us here. Scott’s passport was set to expire early in 2023. We’d read that passports should be valid for at least six months past the date of a SEF appointment. We didn’t know when our SEF appointments would be but it seemed likely we’d run afoul of this time frame so Scott renewed his passport after applying for the D7 Visa. This is a problem. The D7 Visa is tied to the passport number. When a US passport is renewed, it is entirely replaced and a new passport number is issued. When Scott sent his brand new passport to DC, they were not able to attach the D7 to it because his new passport number didn’t match the passport number he’d applied with. They had to re-process his application paperwork and re-issue the visa. This required an extra fee (but nothing else as they already had the physical passport).
Stayed in hotel across from DC embassy. Walked passport over in the morning, by prior arrangement, and waited for the visa to be attached.
Scott actually ended up with two SEF appointments. One was from the first issue of the D7, the other from the second. He wasn’t 100% sure they’d take him at the first appointment but they did. He canceled the second one.
Another mistake on Scott’s part, we assume. It had to be. At the SEF appointment, they asked him to sign off on the information that was to go on the card. He didn’t notice anything wrong and signed his name. When the card arrived, one digit on the postal code was incorrect and the address specified he lived in Avenidas Novas, which we don’t. The card arrived to our apartment anyway, but we figured we should fix the error. The Braga SEF office responded within hours to the email and told us to send the card back - they would issue a new card once they received the incorrect one.
An assumption on Scott’s part. He’d included a note with the incorrect card asking them to fix the postal code. His assumption was that doing so would automatically change “Avenidas Novas” to “Lisboa.” (Amy’s card specifies she lives in Lisboa. We figured our cards should match. Since we live in the same place and all.) The new card arrived with the correct postal code but continued to indicate he lived in Avenidas Novas.
We haven’t gotten an email from the Braga SEF office since November 7. We’ve tried to reach them a handful of times in that span.