Attorneys based in the
USA and the UK
Licensed USA
Immigration attorneys
We've had over 5000 applications approved
Get the correct advice from qualified immigration experts
4.7 rating 414 reviews

Portuguese Citizenship By Adoption

Children from foreign countries who have been legally adopted by Portuguese parents can apply for citizenship in Portugal. However, it is important to meet the requirements for this citizenship route before applying.

Call our immigration lawyers on +1 844 290 6312 for more information about Portuguese citizenship by adoption, including immediate assistance with your application. We’re here to help you in person, via the phone, or online.

    Request a call back from our immigration experts

    Getting Portuguese Citizenship Through Adoption: An Overview

    Portugal immigration laws allow children from foreign countries such as the United States under the age of 18 who have been legally adopted by parents of Portuguese nationality to acquire Portuguese citizenship.

    This law also applies to adopted individuals, currently over 18 years but who had not yet turned 18 at the time of their legal adoption.

    The citizenship by adoption route is open to children that have been fully adopted by Portuguese nationals.

    Full adoption implies that the child acquires the status of an offspring of the adoptive parents, and the child is fully integrated with other children of the family. It means that the adoption is not restricted, and the child has no familial relationship with their biological family.

    Immigration Advice Service 4.7 rating 414 reviews Logo

    Eligibility Requirements For Citizenship By Adoption

    The eligibility requirements for applying for Portuguese citizenship by adoption depend on your circumstances as a US citizen.

    If you were adopted in full before turning 18 and before October 8th, 1981, you can apply for citizenship if you meet the following conditions:

    • The deadline for appealing the judgment of the court deciding your adoption expired before October 8th, 1981
    • You have an effective and proven connection with the Portuguese community
    • You express your wish to acquire Portuguese nationality using the official declaration form.
    • You have no criminal record, punishable in Portugal with a prison sentence of 3 years or more.

    However, if you were adopted in full before turning 18 and after October 8th, 1981, you can apply for Portuguese citizenship if you meet the following conditions:

    • You must have a proven and effective connection to the Portuguese community
    • You have no criminal record, punishable in Portugal with a prison sentence of 3 years or more.

    To acquire Portuguese nationality under any circumstances, you must not:

    • Hold public office other than technical functions in another country
    • Have performed non-compulsory military service in another country
    • Be involved in activities related to terrorism.

    To get further clarity on the eligibility requirements, speak to our legal experts today by calling: +1 844 290 6312

    The Documents Required For Citizenship By Adoption


    To apply for citizenship by adoption, US applicants will be required to present certain documents depending on where the adopted child was born.

    If the child was born in Portugal, they would need to present the certificate of the decision of the court that decreed the adoption.

    However, if the child was born outside Portugal such as in the US, the following documents are required:

    • A full copy of the legalized birth certificate. If the certificate is foreign, it must be legalized by an Apostille or visa from the consulate of Portugal, and it must be translated into Portuguese language before submission.
    • The certificate of the decision of the court that authorized the adoption. There must be proof that the court’s decision is final and cannot be overturned. If the authorizing court is in a country with no international adoption agreement with Portugal, a Portuguese court must review and confirm the decision.

    Be aware that any Portuguese court that decrees an adoption or reviews the decision of a foreign court will send a certificate of such to the Portuguese registry office.

    Other Documents Required

    Irrespective of where the adopted child is born, the following additional documents will be required:

    • The birth certificate of the Portuguese parent.
    • A copy of the adoptee’s passport or valid ID (not necessary for children under the age of 14)
    • The adoptee’s criminal record issued by the foreign countries where they had lived from the age of 16, which must be certified and translated into Portuguese.
    • A document that proves if the adoptee performed a public function in another country and the type of function performed.
    • A document proving whether the adoptee has performed non-military service or not in another country.
    • Documents proving the adoptee’s connection to the Portuguese community. For child applicants, this could be proficiency in the Portuguese language or enrollment in a school in Portugal. For adult applicants, it could be IRS statements or utility bills.

    It’s important to know that these documents will be verified by the Portuguese authorities after submission.

    Do you have questions about the eligibility for Portuguese Citizenship by Adoption? Call us for expert advice. Contact Us

      Request a call back from our immigration experts

      The Language Proficiency Test

      Applicants for Portuguese citizenship through adoption might be required to take a language proficiency test. This test is called the Certificado Inicial de Português Língua Estrangeira (CIPLE), and it is a simple A2 Portuguese language test.

      The CIPLE A2 test is two hours long, and it consists of three parts, including oral comprehension, reading and writing, and oral expression. Applicants will need to have a score of 55% or higher to pass the test.

      However, the language proficiency test can be modified for children under the age of 10 and those with disabilities. Also, applicants under 18 do not need to take the test if they attend a Portuguese school and can provide a declaration of proficiency.

      Where To Apply For Portuguese Citizenship

      You can apply physically for Portuguese citizenship by adoption from any of the following places:

      • The Lisbon National Immigration Support Center
      • The Porto National Immigration Support Center
      • The Nationality Desk of the Central Archive of Porto
      • The Central Registry Office in Lisbon
      • The civil registry offices
      • The Nationality Desk of the civil registry offices in over 40 municipalities in Portugal
      • The Registration Space of the Campus of Justice and Benfica
      • The Register of the Citizen’s Office of Odivelas
      • The Portuguese consulate in the area where you reside.

      You can also apply via mail by sending your documents and application form to the Central Registry Office at Rua Rodrigo da Fonseca, 198, 1099-003, Lisbon, or to any of the Nationality Desk of the civil registry offices.

      The application for Portuguese Citizenship by Adoption can be complex. We are here to help you through the process. Contact Us

        Request a call back from our immigration experts

        How To Apply For Portuguese Citizenship For An Adopted Child

        Here is a step-by-step process of how to apply for Portuguese citizenship through adoption for Americans:

        Contact Your Nearest Portuguese Consulate

        Your first step should be to contact the nearest Portuguese consulate or any of the official application centers to discuss your application.

        Fill Out the Application Form

        You might be required to fill out an application form for Portuguese nationality, depending on your circumstances. For instance, foreigners adopted before October 8th, 1981, must fill out the official declaration for the acquisition of Portuguese Nationality form.

        Submit the Necessary Documentation

        Along with the filled application form, you will be required to submit the additional documentation that applies to your situation.

        It’s important to prepare your documents carefully, as failure to submit the right documents might lead to an unsuccessful application. If you are unsure what documents are appropriate for your case, contact our immigration lawyers today.

        Attend the Interview

        After submitting your application, you will be scheduled to attend an interview at the consulate.

        If you are applying for citizenship for a minor, the child is not required to be present with you at the consulate. Also, if you are applying and are over the age of 18, it is not necessary for your parents to be present with you at the interview.

        During the interview, you will be asked about your background and any other relevant question needed to determine your application.

        Wait for a Response

        The consulate will review and process your application following the interview. Afterward, you will receive a notification of their decision.

        If your application is approved, you (or your adopted child, as the case may be) will be issued a birth certificate. This certificate will allow you to obtain a Portuguese passport and a Portuguese citizen card.

        However, if your application is rejected, you might receive further instructions on what to do. Otherwise, you might need to contact our immigration lawyers to advise you on the next steps of action to take. Call us if that is the case on: +1 844 290 6312

        What Are The Fees To Apply For Portuguese Citizenship By Adoption?

        If you were adopted after October 8th, 1981, you do not have to pay a fee to apply for Portuguese nationality.

        However, if you were born before October 8th, 1981, you will be required to pay €20 during the application process. You can make the payment in one of the following ways:

        • With an ATM card at the office where you’re making the application
        • By check if you’re applying through mail.

        Processing Time

        The processing times for Portuguese citizenship by adoption vary depending on each applicant’s situation. Generally, it can take more than 2 months as there are usually different authorities involved in the processing.

        Additionally, incorrect or incomplete documentation can increase the processing time.

        Would you like to obtain a Portuguese Citizenship by Adoption for your child. Our team of experts would be happy to assist you. Contact Us

          Request a call back from our immigration experts

          Grounds For Opposing Portuguese Citizenship

          Portugal’s immigration laws set out certain grounds on which the State can oppose citizenship, and they include:

          • Failure to provide a substantial link to the Portuguese community
          • Working for the civil service or doing voluntary military service for a foreign state
          • Committing a crime punishable by Portuguese law with a maximum sentence of more than three years.

          The State, through the Office of the Department of Justice, can also oppose an already granted citizenship. However, they only have a period of one year from the date of acquisition of nationality to raise an objection in court.

          Dual Citizenship For Adopted Children

          Portuguese immigration laws allow for multiple citizenships. It means that foreign adoptees can gain Portuguese nationality without giving up the citizenship of their home country.

          However, in some cases, the immigration laws in the applicant’s home country may not allow for dual citizenship. In such situations, they will need to give up their previous nationality to obtain Portuguese citizenship.

          Losing Portuguese Citizenship

          Portuguese citizens can lose their nationality at any time if they commit a serious crime or are involved in the act of terrorism. However, loss of Portuguese citizenship will only happen if it will not leave the citizen stateless.

          As such, it is rare for individuals without dual citizenship to be stripped of Portuguese nationality.

          Citizens can also voluntarily renounce their Portuguese nationality for any reason, such as if it is required to take up citizenship of another country.

          To renounce your citizenship, you will need to contact the nearest Portuguese embassy or consulate.

          As Americans, you are able to hold dual citizenship with another country such as Portugal that also allows dual citizenship.

          How IAS Can Help

          If you’re considering applying for Portuguese citizenship through adoption as a US citizen, our expert team of professional lawyers can help you increase your chances of acceptance.

          We will analyze your situation to ensure you are eligible, assist you in preparing your documents, offer you personalized guidance, and answer all your questions along the way.

          At IAS, we understand the complexities of visa, citizenship, and other immigration-related applications, and we strive to make the process stress-free for our clients.

          Our immigration lawyers are versed in Portugal’s immigration laws and have years of experience handling citizenship applications for applicants. You can rest assured that your citizenship application will be approved the first time around.

          For more information on how we can help you, call our immigration lawyers on +1 844 290 6312, or contact us online today.

          Advice Package icon

          Advice Package

          Comprehensive immigration advice tailored to your circumstances and goals.

          Application Package icon

          Application Package

          Designed to make your visa application as smooth and stress-free as possible.

          Fast Track Package icon

          Fast Track Package

          Premium application service that ensures your visa application is submitted to meet your deadline.

          Appeal Package icon

          Appeal Package

          Ensure you have the greatest chance of a successful appeal. We will represent you in any case.

          Advice Package image

          The Advice Package

          With our untimed Advice Session, our professional immigration lawyers will review your case and provide you with comprehensive advice, completely tailored to your needs and your situation.

            Request a call back from our immigration experts

            Request the Advice Package
            Application Package image

            The Application Package

            With our Application Package, your dedicated caseworker will advise you on your application process and eligibility. Your legal advisor will then complete and submit your forms to the Home Office on your behalf.

              Request a call back from our immigration experts

              Request the Application Package
              Fast Track Package image

              The Fast Track Package

              Our Fast-Track Application Package is a premium service for those who need to submit their application in time with their deadlines. Your case will become a top priority for our lawyers and you will benefit from our highest-quality services.

                Request a call back from our immigration experts

                Request the Fast Track Package
                Appeal Package image

                The Appeal Package

                By choosing our Appeal Package, you can rely on our lawyers’ legal knowledge and experience to ensure you have the highest chance of a successful appeal. We will also fully represent you in any hearings/tribunals.

                  Request a call back from our immigration experts

                  Request the Appeal Package

                  We offer immigration advice sessions face to face, over the phone, or online. Learn more

                    Request a call back from our immigration experts

                    Related pages for your continued reading.

                    Frequently Asked Questions

                    Yes. You can apply for Portuguese citizenship from outside Portugal by using a power of attorney. As long as you meet the eligibility requirements and submit the right documents, you do not need to travel to Portugal.

                    Yes. The Portuguese immigration law requires the adopted child to have at least one parent who is a Portuguese citizen.

                    The CIPLE test is not difficult as it is designed to show that you have basic knowledge of the Portuguese language, corresponding to an A2 level. This means an understanding of simple everyday phrases and expressions.

                    You can easily pass the test with some prior preparations or practice.