USA and the UK
- How to know if you are of Portuguese ancestry?
- Who is not allowed to request Portuguese nationality?
- What are the required documents applicants must submit?
- How much are the application fees?
- Where to submit your application for Portuguese citizenship by descent?
- How long does it take to get Portuguese citizenship through descent?
- How can IAS help?
- Frequently asked questions
How to know if you are of Portuguese ancestry?
In general, individuals eligible for Portuguese Citizenship by descent are those of Portuguese ancestry. You must come from a line of Portuguese ancestors.
To know for sure, you must meet any of the qualifications below:
- A person born in Portugal to a mother or father who is a Portuguese citizen.
- A person born outside of Portugal to a Portuguese parent who works for the Portuguese government.
- A person whose parents were born abroad but are listed in the Portuguese civil registry.
- A person born outside of Portugal with a Portuguese grandmother or grandfather who has strong connections to the Portuguese community and has their birth registered in Portugal.
From here, you must gather and provide the necessary documentation to support your claim of familial relationship. This will typically include official documents such as birth and marriage certificates. We will discuss these in full detail later on.
Who is not allowed to request Portuguese nationality?
Even if you meet all the criteria above, your Portuguese citizenship application by descent will be rejected if you fall under the following categories:
- Individuals convicted of a crime that carries a prison sentence of three years or more in Portugal.
- Individuals involved in terrorist activities.
- Individuals who married a Portuguese citizen and have served in a non-mandatory military service in another country.
It is important to note that other limitations may also apply. To ensure that you do not fall under any of these categories, you must consult with an immigration lawyer for further clarification on eligibility for Portuguese citizenship. Call our experts today on: +1 844 290 6312
What are the required documents applicants must submit?
Once you’ve determined that you are eligible to become a citizen of Portugal by descent, you must secure the following documentation:
- Completed application form (which you can access here)
- Signature authenticated by a notary public. The notary’s certification must also be authenticated by the issuance of an Apostille.
- Birth certificate of the applicant, authenticated by the issuance of an Apostille and officially translated. The certificate must prove that the applicant’s parents recognized the applicant as their child while the applicant was a minor.
- Birth certificate of the Portuguese grandparent.
- Birth certificate of the parent who is the child of the Portuguese grandparent. This certificate must prove that the grandparents recognized the applicant’s parent as their child while the parent was a minor.
- Criminal clearance documentation issued by the country of their birth, any country in which they hold citizenship, and any country in which they have resided after reaching the age of 16. The documentation must be translated into Portuguese if not issued in Portuguese. The applicant must not provide a Portuguese criminal clearance certificate, as the Portuguese government will obtain it compulsorily.
- A notarized Power of Attorney (in case of applying for a lawyer or any other).
As part of the application process, you must also demonstrate your proficiency in the Portuguese language. Acceptable forms of evidence may include:
- A diploma issued by a Portuguese public or private school in compliance with Portuguese law.
- A certificate of completion from an exam administered by one of the accredited institutions.
- A certificate of completion from an exam administered by a Portuguese consulate while the applicant was residing abroad. In such cases, applicants may also demonstrate proficiency in Portuguese by registering for the Initial of Portuguese as a Foreign Language (CIPLE) examination, administered by the Center for the Evaluation of Portuguese Language (CAPLE). The examination is offered at various centers in the United States, including Washington DC, Boston, Newark, and Berkeley (San Francisco), typically held in May and November.
- A certificate of proficiency in Portuguese as a foreign language issued by an accredited Portuguese evaluation center.
The forms required must be completed and submitted, along with the documentation above, to a Portuguese consulate or an office of the Portuguese immigration department. The authorities will then review and verify the provided information and subsequently determine your eligibility to obtain Portuguese citizenship through this process.
How much are the application fees?
The fee for obtaining Portuguese citizenship by descent depends on the requirements and regulations in place at the time of application.
The application fee for obtaining Portuguese citizenship through your Portuguese parents is currently $225.00. You can pay the fee by money order to the relevant Portuguese Consulate.
If you submitted your citizenship application through your grandparents, the fee is EUR €175.00. You can pay this through Portuguese bank checks, denominated in Euros, issued in the name of the Instituto dos Registos e do Notariado, I.P.
It’s worth noting that the fees are subject to change. Plus, there may be additional fees you must cover based on the documentation you will provide for your application.
Where to submit your application for Portuguese citizenship by descent?
After securing the requirements, submit them to the Institute of Registries and Notaries of the National Center for Migrant Integration (CNAIM).
It is a Portuguese institution responsible for registering civil acts, such as birth, marriage, and death certificates. CNAIM is also responsible for the issuance of identity cards, passports, and other documents for citizens and foreign residents in Portugal.
Additionally, the application may be submitted at the relevant Civil Registry office or the Portuguese Consulate where you currently reside.
Specialized assistance can also be obtained through a team. They will not only aid in the application process but will also provide guidance and keep the applicant informed on the progress and status of their application.
How long does it take to get Portuguese citizenship through descent?
The processing time for Portuguese citizenship through descent can take months, if not years.
The speed depends on several factors, such as:
- The specific requirements and regulations at the time of application.
- The completeness and accuracy of the submitted documentation.
- The workload and efficiency of the relevant Portuguese consulate or immigration office.
How can IAS help?
Following the steps above should help you claim Portuguese citizenship, even if you decide to do it alone. But you may encounter issues such as longer processing times that would delay the approval of your Portuguese citizenship application.
Even if you ensure that your application is complete and accurate before submitting it to the authorities, there may be changes in the requirements that you weren’t aware of initially, causing your application to be delayed even further until it gets denied.
To prevent this from happening, you should consult our OISC-regulated immigration lawyers at the Immigration Advice Service.
Upon signing up for an in-person, phone, or Skype consultation, our lawyer will discuss your options and assist with the application process through their Application Package service. From here, we’ll secure all the necessary and accurate documentation and requirements for your application. We will also monitor the status of your application and inform you if it’s been approved.
To schedule a consultation and guarantee the success of your application, contact the Immigration Advice Service at +1 844 290 6312 or through their online inquiry form.
Last modified on August 16th, 2023 at 7:14 am
Comprehensive immigration advice tailored to your circumstances and goals.
Designed to make your visa application as smooth and stress-free as possible.
Fast Track Package
Premium application service that ensures your visa application is submitted to meet your deadline.
Ensure you have the greatest chance of a successful appeal. We will represent you in any case.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Generally, individuals can obtain Portuguese citizenship by descent through their grandparents, but the specific requirements and rules can vary.
It is important to note that the laws and regulations regarding citizenship by descent can change over time. Hence, you should check with the Portuguese consulate or immigration office in your area for the most up-to-date information.
Portuguese nationality law allows for dual citizenship. As such, acquiring Portuguese citizenship does not require the individual to renounce their previous citizenship.
Not always. Let’s case you cannot read and write due to a condition or disability. In this case, the requirement to demonstrate knowledge of the Portuguese language may be waived or modified to accommodate your current abilities.
The goal is for you to show that you possess knowledge of the language effectively.
There is generally no requirement to reside in Portugal if you become a Portuguese citizen.
You are free to come and go as you please, provided that you meet the other obligations of being a Portuguese citizen, such as taxes, national service (if applicable), etc. And also, you can use your Portuguese passport to enter and exit the European Union.
However, Portuguese citizens are required to register their residence with the Civil Registry if they plan to stay in the country for more than 183 days in a year. And also, the citizens need to maintain their passport and ID card valid, which may require renewals depending on the expiration date.
Portuguese citizenship is a legal status that grants an individual certain rights and privileges as a citizen of Portugal, including the right to live and work in Portugal, vote in elections, and receive protection from the government while abroad.
On the other hand, a Portuguese passport is a document issued by its government that allows the holder to travel internationally. It is proof of identity and citizenship, enabling the holder to enter and exit Portugal and other countries that are part of the European Union and Schengen Area.
Having Portuguese citizenship automatically makes you eligible for a Portuguese passport. But not having one does not mean you don’t have citizenship. It simply means you must apply for one.
Also, it’s possible to have a Portuguese passport without being a citizen through the issuance of a residence permit. Also, it’s worth noting that there are different types of passports, such as regular, diplomatic, official, etc.
Therefore, becoming a Portuguese citizen is separate from obtaining a Portuguese passport, though one often follows the other.
Yes. Earning Portuguese citizenship via the Golden Visa program is a viable alternative, whether or not you are of Portuguese descent.
The Golden Visa program is a residence permit program for non-European Union (EU) citizens who make a significant investment in Portugal, such as buying property or investing in a business.
After five years of holding a Golden Visa, the holder can apply for permanent residency, and after six years of legal residency, the holder can apply for Portuguese citizenship.
Please note that the investment requirements may be subject to change, and checking the most recent information is recommended.
Yes. The process and requirements for citizenship by descent are the same for individuals regardless of their origin.
However, the eligibility criteria and the documentation required may vary depending on the country of origin’s laws.
For example, some countries, previously colonies of Portugal, have different rules and requirements for civil documentation and birth certificates.
Yes, you may. Portugal passed a law allowing individuals of Sephardic Jewish ancestry to apply for Portuguese citizenship in 2015, regardless of their nationality.
This was done to rectify the injustices of the past when, in the 15th century, the Portuguese government ordered the expulsion of Jews who refused to convert to Catholicism.
The process and requirements for obtaining Portuguese citizenship through Sephardic Jewish ancestry are similar to those for citizenship by descent.
You must demonstrate your Sephardic Jewish ancestry through the documentation provided by the Portuguese Jewish community. You must also pass a Portuguese language and culture test and an interview with the Portuguese authorities.
Yes, but they don’t automatically become citizens once your citizenship application is approved. Your spouse and children are eligible to apply for citizenship but still have to apply and go through the process.