Introducing AIMA Portugal: The “New SEF” Explained! 


If you’re relocating to Portugal or are currently an immigrant living in the country, it’s important to understand the functions of AIMA Portugal. Created to replace the SEF – Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras, not all of the previous agency’s responsibilities have been transferred to the new one.

In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about the role of the new migration agency. Let’s dive in!

What is AIMA? 

AIMA stands for Agência para a Integração, Migrações e Asilo (Agency for Integration, Migration, and Asylum). It was established by the Portuguese government to take on some of the technical and administrative functions of the Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras (SEF).

Functions of AIMA 

AIMA Portugal has taken over the technical and administrative functions of the former SEF, mainly related to the issuance of immigration-related documents. 

In addition to the functions of document issuance for legal residence in Portugal, according to the decree, AIMA also has the following responsibilities:

  • Promoting the participation and professional and civic training of foreign citizens. 
  • Developing relocation programs for hosted refugees and providing humanitarian support to immigrants.

Note: One of the former SEF’s roles was the renewal of residence permits. However, the responsibility for this function now lies with the Instituto dos Registos e do Notariado (IRN).

On the AIMA website, you can view all the relevant articles of the law that pertain to your purpose and access the complete list of documents you must submit for your residence permit application. This includes information about fees and forms to be filled in and signed.

Is AIMA already operational? 

Yes, AIMA Portugal has been operating since 29th October 2023. However, when the new agency’s website was initially launched, some information was still missing, which was subsequently made available on 1st December 2023.

Pending SEF matters to be resolved by AIMA SEF had a backlog of pending matters to be resolved before its dissolution, including delayed applications and a lack of available appointment dates, among others. All these pending matters have been transferred to AIMA Portugal, which plans to increase staff and the number of service points in 2024.

We hope that this change speeds things up. What do you think?