Portuguese American Journal

2019: Foreigners will be able to apply for a Citizen Card – Portugal

Starting in 2019, registered foreigners in Portugal will be able to apply for a Citizen Card, similar to the national Cartão de Cidadão, for personal identification, taxation, social security, and access to the national health system. 

The Citizen Card, which replaces the current residency card, is complete with all the relevant ID numbers “at the same moment and place” as proof of lawful residency.

Currently, in some circumstances a valid passport can be used temporally as a form of identification, but foreigners must also have a residency card, a valid identity card of their country of origin, including European Union nationals, for identification when requested by officials.

Although the card does not give the holder the right of citizenship, the card will carry all the information the holder needs to act as a lawful resident foreign national reporting to the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF).

Currently, a foreign resident has to obtain separate documents from different government offices such as the Social Security office (Segurança Social), the tax office (Finanças), and SNS (National Health Service) in order to register for permanent residency.

The initiative is part of a series of innovative measures that fall under the Portuguese government  ‘Simplex + 2018’ program, a scheme to streamline and simplify bureaucracy. 

The Citizen Card is being created in collaboration with the Ministries of Presidency, Justice, Finances, Health, and Labor, Welfare and Social Security.

According to the Ministry for Home Affairs, the Citizen Card for non-national residents will come into circulation during the last quarter of 2019.


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