Obtain Portuguese Citizenship

Updated on Tuesday 27th November 2018

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When moving to Portugal, many foreign nationals find that they can use the services provided by a team of experts who specialize in matters like visas and permits, expat services and, for those who have been living in the country for some time, assistance for obtaining Portuguese citizenship. Our immigration lawyers specialized in obtaining Portuguese citizenship matters can help you with complete assistance during this process. 
This article presents the methods through which a foreign national can obtain Portuguese citizenship. These are the following:
  • citizenship through naturalization: a widely used method by all those who legally reside in the country for a number of years.

  • citizenship through marriage: after marriage with a national for a number of years, foreigners can acquire Portuguese citizenship.

  • citizenship by adoption: an option for minors who can acquire citizenship if they are adopted by a Portuguese national.

  • citizenship through origin: this applies to those applicants who have a Portuguese parent or grandparent and wish to obtain citizenship.

Each of these methods is described in more detail below and our immigration lawyers specialized in obtaining Portuguese citizenship can help you with detailed information, according to your particular case.

Citizenship through naturalization

Naturalization is the most common method of acquiring citizenship after having lived in the country for a pre-determined period and according to certain conditions. A foreign national who has been living in Portugal for five years can take the first step towards obtaining citizenship which is to apply for a permanent residence permit. He will then be able to take the final step, and apply for citizenship, once he is in his sixth year of living in the country.
The applicant needs to be over 18 years of age, be must not have been convicted of any crimes that were punishable by imprisonment of up to three years and he must bring forward proof that he has a sufficient level of understanding of the Portuguese language.
The conditions can differ for EU and non-EU citizens and the latter can request personalized counseling from one of our immigration lawyers specialized in obtaining Portuguese citizenship. We can help you understand how you can stay in Portugal for the continuous period of five years.

Citizenship through marriage

This is a common manner of acquiring citizenship in Portugal, however, aspiring couples should be well aware that there are certain conditions in place before the foreign national in the couple can acquire Portuguese citizen rights. A primary condition is that the foreign national is to be married for more than three years to a Portuguese citizen before submitting the application. There is no mandatory condition for having lived in the country continuously during this time.
The application for this type of citizenship is sent to the Registry Office in Lisbon, Registros Centrais. The citizenship acquired through this method remains valid even if the marriage is later dissolved.

Other methods

The Portuguese golden visa scheme is another method through which a foreign national can eventually acquire citizenship. The first step is to obtain a residency permit and this is available only under certain conditions: the applicant or investor must acquire property with a value of 500,000 € or more or he can open a company in various business fields with obvious benefits for the country’s economy (in terms of employment, research and development and others).
The golden visa does not immediately grant citizenship, it is rather a multi-step process but one that it is streamlined compared to the naturalization process. The investor will first be granted a residence permit and will be able to stay in the country for five years after which he will be granted permanent residency. After six years he will be allowed to apply for citizenship. 
Sephardic Jew ancestry is another method to acquire the nationality, albeit a very rare one. According to law, an individual who is a descendant of a Portuguese Sephardic Jew (and can bring forward satisfactory evidence) and also complies with other conditions (not convicted of crimes by a prison sentence) can apply for citizenship. Our team of immigration lawyers specialized in obtaining Portuguese citizenship can help you with more information about the evidence for Sephardic Jews.

Assistance from an immigration lawyer in Portugal

Taking up Portuguese nationality is a process that requires a few steps and can be a lengthier one in case of naturalization, however, it does offer a set of advantages such as being eligible for state healthcare and gaining voting rights. For many, it is the natural expression of their wish to spend their life in Portugal. Am immigration lawyer in Portugal who specializes in citizenship matters can help answer detailed questions about the available options. Together with one of our specialists, you will be able to understand the options available to you, the process and the rights that come after obtaining citizenship.
Contact our immigration lawyers specialized in obtaining Portuguese citizenship for complete assistance in all matters concerning your move to Portugal, from the initial steps and all the way to finalizing your permanent stay in the country.


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