The First Complaint (Part-1)

Bom día!

If I am not wrong, I think it will be the very first that I will not talk about good things. Sorry for negativism in advance. It is nothing to do with Rato. I mean they are even on the good and supportive side, as usual, for me at least. However, I or let´s say we have ended it on a high note, thankfully. Since it is related and a part of my mobility experience, I wanted to share it here as a memorandum.

It was the middle of my short-term volunteering period that Justyna asked and offered me a long-term project. I said yes! 🙂 Just like marriage, huh? Yeah, frequently marriages are not ending with good memories, but it is not the issue. After we discussed and reach a conclusion that I could stay here for a longer time to help more, learn more, and teach more. I really have wanted to learn the language and interact with local people. It would also be extremely nice for my second profession which is interpreting and translating besides mathematics, even if the Portuguese language is really hard for me in terms of pronunciation.

Anyway, I will skip to the bad and the main part. After we made a decision for my stay, I started to research about the visa extension. It was even about 11 years ago that I could have my visa extension in another European country while I was having my exchange student time on e-visa platform of Sweden. I did not even go to any public service building to apply or else. However, here in Portugal it is not possible they said. I have to go back to my home country and submit to the embassy for a new visa application. I could do that, and I did but how? Ooohh God, it was a real pain in the @$$. I will tell you why from the beginning. It will be a bit longer, may be the longest on the blog, than all the other articles. Thus, I devided into two parts, and here is the first.


Albeit I knew that the Consular Section of Portuguese Embassy is working slow, I did not expect that it will take that long (3 months) only to have visa application appointment. Yes, to apply for visa, you have to send e-mail to have an appointment to submit your visa application. On the official web page of the embassy, it is stated that they response in 72 hours if there is no any extreme situations. So, to just adding a calender extension for seeing available dates to take an appointment, you have to send an e-mail. Until here, it is still not unacceptable for me, except the visa appointment issue. I could see my family and done some of my works that I haven´t done before I left to come here for a short-term project. Even if I started to send e-mails in November, I did not get any answers. I tell you a secret that I did not have when I applied in fact. I won´t tell you more about this 🙂 
Further, they did not response me since summer. I got my short-term visa for the first project from the Hungarian Embassy.

Coming to the point, I will write the whole story trying not to add any personal comment. We tried to consult related public institutions for the extension but they said I need to register to the SEF (Immigration and Borders Service) system. However, as a person who is always experiencing ridiculous, absurd and inexistent situations, I saw error on the registration page that says there is an error while registering. We asked many people but they kept saying that I need to contact to SEF, and they gave its e-mail address and phone number. I sent numerous mails and called them countless time but I did get any! (Just ANY!) responses.

I tell you the funny part. Going to SEF and asking in person to solve the problem is impossible.
Do you know why?
You have to take an appointment to enter to the SEF building.

But do you know how you can take an appointment? 
By registering to the SEF portal.

But how you can take an appointment from the portal to solve your registration problem for the porta error while you are having a problem to register to the portal?
No one knows. It is like a chicken and an egg situation. It is endless and vicious circle.

I sent e-mails to all the related public institutions in other cities and regions in Portugal. I am not joking, all the related public institutions had numerous automated e-mails everyday by me. I only got answers from some of them that says I need to contact to SEF while my mails were saying that I could not make contact with SEF. SEF never had any responses for me. Another a chicken and an egg. 

Then I sent email to the ministry explaining my situation and the problems. They said that I cannot extend my visa in Portugal and I have to apply in my home country. I again explained that I sent e-mails in summer and in November and I did not get any responses from the consular section. So that I kindly requested any other possible solutions, and the ministry were giving the quick responses that said they forwarded my request to the Consular Section of Portugal Embassy in Turkey. Did I get any responses from them? NOOOOOOOOOO!

I said okey, maybe my emails are going to the spam box, then tried with an email account that I only use for official works. I did not get any responses either. Then tried with another one, it was the same, no response at all. After that I asked Gulcan, who is from Turkey and was doing volunteering at Rato, to send email to the consular section. She sent an email at evening asking an appointment without any information that the embassy web page is asking. She got a response the next day. I thought somebody was messing with me. She forwarded the mail from the embassy with a set of questions those I was giving responses for them in my emails. I filled out the form and sent her back, then she added the answers into her mail and sent to the consular section but they did not response back. Did I surprised? NOOOOO! I used another friend´s email account and filled out the form with all his information and sent email to the consular section and they response in 1.5 day with an appointment date.

OH MEU DEUS! GOD, kill me!

I cannot keep writing the rest in this article. I will continue on the second part which is the next blog article of mine. It has become already too long to read. TLDR (Too Long Didn´t Read) situation.

To be continued…

Até Já!


(Published on 31 March 2023)