FAQ Portuguese Nationality

Last Updated on October 19, 2022 by Laila Oliveira

Turn into a Portuguese citizen can be such an accomplishment.

In addition to being able to take profit from the advantages of being a Portuguese citizen, the person will also become European citizen.

This way, he /she will consider all the countries that comprises the European Union as a destination.

Anyone can apply for Portuguese citizenship as long as the requirements are met.

In this FAQ we will answer some popular questions related to Portuguese citizenship.

Who can apply for the Portuguese nationality?

The ways to obtain the Portuguese Nationality are regulated in the Portuguese Nationality Law n. 37/81.

Below you can find some of the requirements:

  • Those who are born in Portugal – Through the “jus solis” regime, the Portuguse nationality is obtained considering the territory where the person is born.

Obviously, the parents’ situation must be considered in this case. Eg. If the parents are not Portuguese citizens and are living in Portugal irregularly, the conditions to obtain the nationality may change.

  • Portuguese descendants – Through the “jus sanguinis” regime, nationality can be attributed due to ancestry (parents or grandparents).

In this situation, if the parents or grandparents are Portuguese, the person will be able to apply for your nationality.

However, in this last case (Portuguese grandparent) the applicant must prove the existence of links with the Portuguese community.

  • Marriage with Portuguese citizens – The marriage must be registered in Portugal Registry Records and the citizen must prove the existence of a link with the Portuguese community.

There is also the need to demonstrate that the marriage is registered for more than 3 years and proof of links with the Portuguese community.

  • Stable union with Portuguese citizens – Similar to marriage, the stable union allows the partner to request the Portuguese nationality, as long as the applicant demonstrates having at least 3 years of relationship, as well as having effective bonds with the Portuguese community.

The stable union must be recognized by the Portuguese authorities, therefore a registration judicial procedure may need to be taken place.

  • Legal residents in Portugal for more than 5 years – Citizens who have legally resided in Portugal for at least 5 years can also apply for the Portuguese nationality.

In this case, the applicant must prove basic knowledge of the Portuguese language.

  • Descendants of Sephardic Jews – This procedure is aimed at descendants of Jews who were expelled from Portugal during the war.

What are the required documents to start my application?

Depending on what is the reason for your application, different documents may be required.

Below are the most important documents for each type of application:

  • Citizens born in Portugal: Birth Certificate.
  • Portuguese descendants: Birth certificate of Portuguese descendants.
  • Marriage with Portuguese citizens: Marriage Certificate.
  • Stable union with Portuguese citizens: The recognition of the stable union by the Portuguese authorities.
  • Legal residents in Portugal for more than 5 years: Documents that prove the residence, such as the Residence Permits.
  • Descendants of Sephardic Jews: The recognition of belonging to a Sephardic Jewish community of Portuguese descent.

What are the main advantages of becoming a Portuguese national?

There are several benefits for being a Portuguese national, such as:

Who can apply for the Portuguese nationality?

This will depend a lot on how the request for Portuguese nationality will be presented, that is, the more well organized, informed of documents, the greater the possibility and speed to be granted.
However, it is worth remembering that there is no legal deadline for the Portuguese citizenship process to be concluded, with the average, according to practical experience, between 6 months and 2 years.

How long does the process take?

This answer will depend a lot many aspects, such as:

  • What is the object of your application.
  • How well organized are the documents.
  • Where did you start the application, and so on.

However, it is worth remembering that there is no legal deadline for the Portuguese citizenship process to be concluded.

The average time track, according to practical experience, is between 6 months and 2 years.

Can I carry out the process on my own (without a lawyer)?

Yes, it is not mandatory to be represented by a lawyer.

You can start the process on your own.

However, by doing so:

  • You can skip some legal requirement and have your application denied.
  • The collection of all documents can take longer (as you may need to search for certificates in Portugal).
  • This process can be even more expensive, as there may be a need to rectify or include new documents in the process.

Do I need to know Portuguese to obtain my nationality?

It depends on what is the reason why you’re applying for you nationality.

In most of the cases, according to the law, it will be needed to demonstrate basic knowledge of Portuguese language.

Can the process be started outside Portugal?

Yes, the Portuguese nationality process can be carried out outside Portugal at a Portuguese Consulate.

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