Airbnb in Portugal: Why is My Host Asking for Passport Details?

Greetings, travelers! So, you’re planning a trip to the stunningly diverse Portugal, a land that effortlessly straddles ancient traditions and contemporary culture. You’ve found your perfect Airbnb, started envisioning the sun-kissed beaches, the delectable pasteis de nata, and the alluring sounds of Fado music. But now, your host reached out and asked for your passport details or a copy of your passport and perhaps even mentioned something called ‘SEF reporting’ or ‘Accommodation bulletin’. Feeling a bit puzzled? You’re not alone.

Why is my Airbnb host asking for my personal information?

Your host isn’t being nosy – they’re just following the law. To comply with Portuguese regulations, hosts must provide details about their guests, including full name, birth date, place of residency, nationality, identity document details, and the country that issued the document. It’s a bit like checking into a hotel where you’re asked for your ID or passport.

SEF Reporting: What is it?

Portugal, like many other countries (including Spain, Italy and France), has specific regulations in place to monitor tourist arrivals and departures. For traditional accommodations like hotels, guests are accustomed to presenting their IDs at check-in. However, for short-term rentals, there’s a distinct procedure.

When you reserve a stay in a registered Local Lodging establishment, referred to in Portuguese as “alojamento local” (like an apartment you’ve booked on Airbnb, Booking.com, or other similar platforms), your host is obligated to report your details to Portugal’s ‘Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras’ (SEF) or the Foreigners and Borders Service. This specific report is known as the “boletim de alojamento” in Portuguese or “Accommodation Bulletin” in English. Hosts must submit this report within three weekdays of your arrival.

Portugal’s ‘Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras’ (SEF) is a law enforcement agency responsible for border control and the enforcement of immigration laws. As part of the country’s regulations, all accommodations, including hotels and vacation rentals like Airbnb, are required to report guest stays to the SEF. This is where the term ‘SEF Reporting’ comes from. It’s a standard practice, so nothing to worry about!

Is it safe to provide this information?

Absolutely! Your privacy is of paramount importance. Hosts are required by law to protect your data, and Airbnb also has strict rules about sharing personal information. Your data should only be used for SEF reporting and nothing else.

What if I don’t provide my information?

It’s important to comply with the law when traveling. Not providing the necessary information for SEF reporting could cause problems for your host and potentially for you as a visitor to the country. It’s always best to cooperate and provide the necessary information – it’s a quick process and helps keep everything above board.

What steps can I take if I’m uncomfortable providing my passport information for SEF reporting?

If you’re uncomfortable, communicate your concerns to your host. Remember, they’re required by law to report your stay. If they’re using a secure system like SEFScan, your data will be well-protected and only used for the purpose of SEF reporting.

Are there any solutions that can make this process easier?

Yes! UpMarket‘s SEFScan feature is a handy solution that simplifies the SEF reporting process for hosts and guests alike. Once a reservation is confirmed, the system automatically sends an email to the guest requesting their identification data. Guests can use their phone camera to scan their ID or passport or upload a file containing an image of it. UpMarket then processes this information, creates an SEF report, and submits it automatically to the Portuguese authorities. It’s secure, efficient, and hassle-free. You can always ask your host if they are using UpMarket or similar solutions.

Is it safe to send my passport information digitally?

With features like SEFScan by UpMarket, it’s safe to send your passport information digitally. It employs robust security measures, including encryption, to ensure your data’s safety.

It’s always good to understand the local laws and customs when traveling. SEF reporting is a standard procedure in Portugal designed to ensure the safety and legality of all visitor stays. So, on your next trip to this beautiful country, when your Airbnb host asks for your details, you’ll know exactly why. Safe travels!

If you’d like to learn more about we recommend having a look at this article by alesclarecimentos.pt.

Source: SEF FAQ

Shani Cohen
Shani Cohen
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