Are you allowed to stay in your country while undergoing the fellowship?

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Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2021 3:22 pm

Are you allowed to stay in your country while undergoing the fellowship?

Post by fique86 » Mon Feb 06, 2023 4:00 pm

Hi guys,

I am right now undergoing my individual fellowship in Portugal. Portugal is beautiful and the people are friendly, but the bureaucracies are endless and very non-accommodating to foreigners like me. I am not saying this just from a little bit of hardship, but Portuguese bureaucracies are taking a lot of my time from doing actual work required of this fellowship. Let me give you examples:

1) I need to apply for residence permit from an agency called SEF. However, I am not sure what kind of documentation and type of permit that I need to apply. (For some reason, trying to download the official form from their website only leads to error). I emailed them asking this question, but they just said I need to call their numbers as they won't answer the questions via email (maybe the email administrator is just a receptionist type staff). I tried calling and calling but they won't answer or their numbers just simply won't work. I am situated in Porto, but the appointment is in Santarem, which is quite far from Porto. I would be sorely disappointed if I go to a far place only to be told that I do not enough documentations for my application.

2) I need to apply for a health number so if I were to get sick, I would be able to get healthcare from their public service. Then, I sent an email to apply for this, attaching all the documents based on what is stated in their website (and in the website, it says that I need to AT LEAST have an appointment with SEF, which I do). However, to get their health number, I was told that I need to get attestation of residence, and to get the attestation of residence, I need to get a certificate from my dormitory. I powered through all these processes by first, getting the certificate from my dormitory, then, I went to get attestation of residence, and finally I got it, and then I resent the email with the copy of the attestation. But guess what, after all those hassles, I was told that merely an appointment with SEF is NOT sufficient, I need to already have met them and got my residence permit. So, now I do not have my health number and if I get sick, I guess I will just let my body heal itself since I cannot go to the public healthcare (going to the private healthcare is expensive, and I don't have salary for the first months because... this is example #3).

3) So, to get my salary, I need to have a social security number. So, because I still do not have my social security number in January, I couldn't get my salary in January. Which was fine, again, I will power through it. And on 23rd January, my university notified me that now I needed to apply for the number. (I was asked to wait before). I was told by my university I have to get the number by 10 February in order to receive my salary in Feb 2023. But guess what, I called the social security number in Portugal and was told that I would get my number in 3 to 4 weeks after application, and I was horrified. I told my university, and my university said, if that is the case, then I might receive my salary in March then... I wanted to cry and I just felt like my life here in Portugal is working against me here. For getting this number, I wasted two full days just to visit the agencies and talk in person with the PIC just to be told, "wait".

So, I hope from these examples, you guys understand I don't think living in Portugal will be good for my mental health, as I am alone and not speaking the language (right now I am learning Portuguese, but how can you be fluent even in informal conversation in 2 or 3 months as I started a bit before my arrival).

So, I would like to ask for those who know the answer: is it possible for me to continue with the fellowship but live in my country?

Given that all my works will be online, and that my data collection will take place in my country, there is literally no need for me to be in Portugal. I would still receive salary in Euro and I would still do my works and my research as it is my passion to do so, but I cannot for the life of me handle another pointless bureaucracy and put aside my research works.

Thank you for listening to my rant. I am very frustrated.

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