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Portuguese Nationality

Portuguese Nationality

Portuguese nationality by attribution

According to Article 1, paragraph 1 of the Nationality Law, are Portuguese by origin:

  • The children of a Portuguese mother or Portuguese father born in Portuguese territory
  • Children of a Portuguese mother or Portuguese father born in a foreign country, if the Portuguese parent is there at the service of the Portuguese State
  • Children of a Portuguese mother or a Portuguese father, born in a foreign country that inscribes their birth in the Portuguese civil register or declare that they want to be Portuguese
  • Individuals born in a foreign country with at least one ascendant of Portuguese nationality of the 2nd degree in a straight line who has not lost that nationality, if they declare that they want to be Portuguese, have ties of effective connection to the national community and, verified such requirements, register birth in the Portuguese civil registry
  • Children of foreigners, born in Portuguese territory, if at least one of the parents was also born here and has resided here, regardless of title, at the time of birth
  • Children of foreigners, who are not at the service of the respective State, born in Portuguese territory, if they declare that they want to be Portuguese and provided that, at the time of birth, one of the parents has legally resided here for at least five years
  • Individuals born in Portuguese territory and who do not have another nationality

According to paragraphs 2 and 3 of the same article:

"Presumed born in Portuguese territory, unless proven otherwise, newborns who have been exposed here."

“The verification of the existence of effective links with the national community, for the purposes established in paragraph d) of paragraph 1, implies the recognition, by the Government, of the relevance of such links, namely by the sufficient knowledge of the Portuguese language and by the existence of regular contacts with the Portuguese territory, and depends on non-conviction, with final judgment of the sentence, for the practice of a crime punishable by a maximum prison sentence of 3 years or more, according to Portuguese law. ”

Portuguese nationality by acquisition

  • Minor children or incapable of a father or mother who acquires Portuguese nationality
  • A foreigner married for more than three years to Portuguese national
  • A foreigner living in a de facto union for more than three years with Portuguese national
  • Those who lost Portuguese nationality due to a declaration made during their incapacity
  • Adopted fully by Portuguese national
  • Foreigners residing in Portuguese territory for at least five years
  • Minors, born in Portuguese territory, children of foreigners who have lived here legally for at least 5 years
  • Individuals who had Portuguese nationality and lost it
  • Individual born in Portuguese territory, son of foreigners, who stayed in the country in the 10 years immediately preceding the request
  • Descendants of Portuguese Sephardic Jews
  • The Nationality Law, under the terms of art. 6, nº 7, started to allow the acquisition of nationality by the descendants of Portuguese Sephardic Jews, who through the demonstration of the tradition of belonging to a Sephardic community of Portuguese origin, based on proven objective requirements of connection to Portugal, namely nicknames , family language, direct or collateral descent, as long as they are older or emancipated under Portuguese law and have not been convicted, with final judgment of the sentence, for committing a crime punishable by a maximum prison sentence of three years or more , according to Portuguese law, they can apply for Portuguese nationality. The first step by interested parties is to request the Certificate of the Portuguese Jewish Community proving this descent.

  • In the absence of the Certificate issued by the Jewish Community, under the terms mentioned above, the following can be admitted as evidence:
    • Authenticated document, issued by the Jewish Community to which the applicant belongs, attesting to the use of Portuguese expressions in Jewish rites or, as a language spoken by you within that community, Ladino;
    • Authenticated documentary records (for example: records of Jewish synagogues and cemeteries, residence titles, property titles, wills and other evidence of family connection in the collateral line of common parent from the Sephardic Community of Portuguese origin).
  • In case of doubt about the authenticity of the content of the documents identified above, issued abroad, the Ministry of Justice of Portugal may request the Jewish Community with the status of a religious legal person, based in Portugal, to provide an opinion on such evidence.

  • The following requirements are not required: residency in Portugal and knowledge of the Portuguese language. This means that even if the person concerned does not reside in Portugal or does not speak Portuguese, he / she may acquire Portuguese nationality due to naturalization.

Special situations of acquisition of nationality

  • Women married to a Portuguese national before 1981, under the terms of Base X of Law No. 2098, of 7/29/1959

Foreign women married to Portuguese citizens before the current Nationality Law came into effect acquired and can still acquire Portuguese nationality.

Law 37/81, of 3 October (Nationality Law) enters into force:
- In Mainland Portugal - 8/10/1981
- In the Açores and Madeira - 13/10/1981
- Abroad - 11/2/1981
- In Macau - 11/21/1981

  • Foreigner fully adopted by Portuguese nationals, by final and unappealable decision, before Law 37/81, of 3 October
  • Woman who lost Portuguese nationality as a result of marriage, under the terms of Law No. 2098, of 29 July 1959
  • Those who lost their nationality due to voluntarily acquiring a foreign nationality, under the terms of Law No. 2098, of 29 July 1959 
  • Citizens of the former portuguese colonies

Angola, Moçambique, Cabo Verde, São Tomé e Príncipe and Guiné-Bissau

Decree-Law No. 308-A / 75, of 24 June, which regulated the process of losing nationality of Portuguese citizens domiciled in overseas territories, established the situations in which those citizens would retain or lose Portuguese nationality.

It follows that their descendants enjoy specific legal diplomas that may lead to the acquisition or even the reacquisition of Portuguese nationality, whose situations must be carefully analyzed in the light of the application of the law in time and space.

We analyze each situation individually on the possibility of acquiring or reacquiring Portuguese nationality.

  • Citizens of the former Portuguese State of India

According to the Portuguese legislation that has been enacted, citizens born in the territory of the former Portuguese State of India, more precisely in the territories of Goa, Damão, Diu, Dadrá and Nagar Aveli until December 20, 1961 are Portuguese citizens.

These territories were integrated into the Republic of India in December 1961, but citizens born in the above territories legally remained Portuguese until the time when the integration of those territories in the Indian Union was officially recognized by the Treaty of 12/31/1974, approved for ratification by Decree No. 206/75 of 17-4.

Thus, those born up to that date are considered Portuguese citizens, as long as they prove this quality by integrating their birth records into the Portuguese civil registry.

For more information, contact us!

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