Portuguese council worried about the long waiting list at Consulate

The Council of the Portuguese Communities (CCP) is concerned with the current situation at the Consulate-general of Portugal for Macau and Hong Kong, where people are waiting for over six months to renew their Portuguese Identity Cards (Cartão do Cidadão) and Portuguese Passports.

The president of the Regional Council of the Portuguese Communities for Asia and Oceania Rita Santos told TDM that she has scheduled a meeting with the Secretary of State for the Portuguese Communities, Paulo Cafôfo to discuss the problem.

According to Santos, the problem comes directly from the lack of staff at the Portuguese Consulate-general for Macau and Hong Kong, a long-lasting issue caused by difficulties in recruiting workers, as the salary offered is very low when compared to the cost of living in Macau.

According to a previous report from the newspaper Tribuna de Macau, the consulate currently has a waiting list of about 15,000 people waiting to renew identification documents and particularly travel documents, which have a validity period of just five years.

Santos said to TDM that currently, the consulate is scheduling appointments to renew passports for 2024, with the upcoming almost seven-month period until the end of the year already being full.

In the same report, she noted that Portuguese who are residents of Macau and Hong Kong are also being discriminated against and treated as “inferior citizens,” as the only way to be able to renew any passport is via the so-called urgent method, which requires people to pay 1,390 patacas for the passport renewal, a price that is almost twice the price for the renewal of the same document in Portugal in an urgent procedure (EUR85 = MOP736) and almost three times the price for a normal procedure renewal (EUR65 = MOP562).

The Times also learned that due to this issue, several Portuguese residents in Macau have opted to plan trips to Portugal so they can renew their travel documents, a procedure that can be done easily in five days or less.

On the line is also the fact that most travel destinations in Asia, as well as other parts of the world, do not allow passengers to enter the country if their passports have fewer than six months validity remaining.

Besides being a leisure and tourism document, in Macau, the passport assumes importance as a work and business tool. It is also necessary to have more than six months of validity to apply for a visa to enter the mainland or visit Hengqin, for instance.

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