New foreigners citizens card rolled out in Q3 of 2019
From the third quarter of next year foreigners registered 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 Portugal’s national heath system.
The Citizens Card, which will replace the current residency card, is complete with all the relevant ID numbers “at the same moment and place” as proof of lawful residency.
According to information from the Portuguese-American Journal, in some circumstances a valid passport can still be used temporarily 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, and must at all times be able to provide identification when requested by officials.
Although the card does not give the holder the right to citizenship, the card will carry all the details the holder needs to act as a 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’ programme, a scheme to simplify and streamline bureaucracy.
The new card is being created in collaboration with the ministries of the Presidency, Justice, Finances, Health, Labour, Welfare and Social Security.
According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Citizen Card for non-national residents will come into circulation in the last quarter of 2019.