The Portugal Government has created a new immigration authority known as Agency for Integration, Migration and Asylum (AIMA) taking over the powers of SEF Immigration and Borders service. The AIMA Agency started its operations on Oct 29, 2023, dissolving the SEF, as a part of restructuring immigration policy with smooth transition. The legislation was voted in parliament Oct 21, 2022 and after much delays, gazetted into law on Oct 27, 2023 after approval of President of the Republic.
AIMA has 347,000 cases pending currently, Agency said the top priorities is to substantially decrease this number, focusing especially on cases relating to family uniting by launching a mega operation in early 2024. It is expected the processing of applications will take anywhere from 12 to 15 months.
From now on, AIMA will take over administrative functions diverging from police functions, controlling the entry and stay of foreign nations, for issue and renewal of residence permits individuals seeking permits for investment purposes (also known as Golden Visas), refugee and asylum cases. AIMA will examine and process applications related to
- Grant stay extensions,
- Issue and renew residence permits,
- Residence cards,
- Permanent residence cards for relatives of EU citizens who are nationals of a third country,
- Permanent residence certificate for EU citizens, and
- Residence permits for British citizens under Brexit.
The AIMA website will open in 2024 to requests for issuing and renewing residence permits. There will be 34 assistance counters throughout the country and will open at least 10 new ones within one year. The agency will be headquartered in Lisbon, on Avenida António Augusto de Aguiar.