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Portuguese Citizenship by Descent

You can connect with your Portuguese community and enjoy the benefit of holding Portugal Citizenship through descent. Portuguese citizenship grants you visa-free access and visa on arrival within the European Union and other countries across the globe.

If your parents or grandparents are Portuguese citizens, you can apply for Portuguese citizenship by descent.

For further information on Portuguese citizenship and how to apply, visit our website or call us on (+44) 333 4149244 for immediate help and assistance with your situation. We’re here to help you in person, via the phone, or online.


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    Benefits of Choosing IAS Portugal Immigration Lawyers

    When it comes to obtaining a Portugal visa or permit, IAS Portugal immigration lawyers are well-equipped to help you.

    With IAS’ track record of successfully helping clients visit or immigrate to Ireland successfully, we can help you achieve your goal.

    Our dedicated immigration lawyers provide our services through a comprehensive and personalised approach. With IAS, you enjoy:

    Compassionate support from an experienced immigration lawyer dedicated to your success

    Support in gathering supporting documents and completing a high-quality application.

    Confidence that your case is being handled by an experienced team.

    In-house document checks done by lawyers who are well-versed in Portugal immigration matters.

    Regardless of what your Portugal immigration query might be, IAS is here to help and support you. Call us or enquire online to learn more about how we can help you.

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    About Portuguese Citizenship by Descent

    Portuguese citizenship by descent is a citizenship acquisition route for foreign nationals with parents or grandparents who hold Portuguese citizenship.

    Rather than tracing your lineage to Portuguese ancestry, you can obtain Portuguese nationality if you have a parent or grandparents who are Portuguese citizens.

    It is imperative that the Portuguese citizen, your parents or grandparents, are alive and still have valid citizenship. Both parents or grandparents do not necessarily need to be Portuguese citizens. You can gain eligibility from one parent or grandparent.

    There is no age limit to getting Portuguese citizenship through descent. What is important is that you have proof of Portuguese descent that is easily traceable to one or two generations in your succession line.

    Compared to other Portuguese citizenship routes, you do not necessarily need to live in Portugal for a number of years to acquire Portuguese citizenship through descent. You can also choose to live outside Portugal after obtaining your citizenship.

    Benefits of Portuguese Citizenship

    Being a Portuguese citizen has its perks. Portugal is a European Union country, thus having the right to free visa travel or movement across all EU countries.

    Portuguese nationals enjoy the right to reside and work in any EU country. Thus you can travel, live, and work in an EU member state of your choice as long as you meet their requirements.

    As a Portuguese citizen, you have the right to education and free healthcare in Portugal and other EU countries. You also have the right to vote in elections and enjoy consular protection from the Portuguese embassy or consulate when you visit other countries.

    Portugal permits dual citizenship meaning you do not have to renounce your initial citizenship to get Portuguese citizenship.

    Who Is Eligible for Portuguese Citizenship by Descent?

    You are eligible to apply for Portuguese citizenship by descent under one of the following criteria:

    • You were born in Portugal to a father or mother who is a Portuguese citizen.
    • You were born outside Portugal to a father or mother who is a Portuguese citizen and an employee of the Portuguese State.
    • You were born outside Portugal to a Portuguese father or mother and have been listed in the Portuguese civil registry or formally proclaimed to become a Portuguese citizen.
    • You were born outside Portugal and share descent with at least one Portuguese descendant as a second-degree straight-line relative. The Portuguese descendant must have retained citizenship. You must proclaim your interest in Portugal citizenship and have evidence to demonstrate your ties to the Portuguese community.

    Aside from satisfying one of the criteria above, you must meet the following conditions:

    • You must have a close connection with the Portuguese community. A close connection must be demonstrable through proficiency in Portuguese language, residence, or consistent visits to the Portuguese territory.
    • You must not have a criminal record for a punishable crime that has a maximum prison sentence of three years or more under Portuguese law.
    • You must not be linked to or involved in terrorist activities.

    Do you wish to know if you are eligible for Portuguese Citizenship by Descent? Call our immigration lawyers for expert advice.

    Documents Required for Portuguese Citizenship through Descent


    The required documentation for Portuguese citizenship by descent depends on the descent eligibility conditions you meet. The following are the documents required for an application under citizenship through a Portuguese parent and a Portuguese Grandparent.

    • Required Documents for Descent of Portuguese Parents
    • Required Documents for Portuguese Citizenship by Descent Grandparent
    • How to Prove Proficiency in the Portuguese Language

    Required Documents for Descent of Portuguese Parents

    The following are the documents you need to apply for Portuguese citizenship as a child of a Portuguese parent(s):

    • Long-form birth certificate. It must have all the information about your birth and Portuguese parents’ name.
    • Valid Portuguese passport of your Portuguese parent(s).
    • Valid identification card of your Portuguese parent(s).
    • Parents’ birth registration certificate. The birth certificate of your non-Portuguese parent must be authorised by the Government of the country of birth through Apostille.
    • Marriage certificate (if applicable).

    The purpose of the birth and marriage certificates is to demonstrate lines of descent.

    Thus, your parents’ marital relationship must reflect on your birth certificate. If your parents married outside Portugal, the marriage must be registered under Portugal before you can apply for Portuguese citizenship.

    Your parents will have to visit the consulate if their marriage is yet to be registered in Portugal.

    If your parents were not married at the period of your birth, they must have an Acknowledgement of Paternity in the form of a signed document.

    It must have both your parents’ signatures and establish your legal father’s identity. Your parents must have done the paternity confirmation while you were a minor.

    Increase your chances of obtaining citizenship by speaking to our legal experts. Call us now on: +44 (0)333 305 9375, or contact us online.

    Required Documents for Portuguese Citizenship by Descent Grandparent

    The following are the documents you need to claim Portuguese citizenship as a descent of a Portuguese grandparent:

    • Birth certificate. It must have the authentication of an Apostille. It must prove your parents’ parental claim while you were a minor.
    • Birth Registration Certificate of your parents and Portuguese grandparents. It must establish your grandparents’ parental claim while your parent was a minor.
    • Documentation demonstrating you have an extensive understanding of the Portuguese language.
    • Foreign criminal record certificate. It must be issued by your birth country, country of nationality, and all the countries you have been a resident from age 16. If the certificate is not in Portuguese, you must attach a translated copy for each certificate. You do not need to submit a Portuguese criminal record certificate.

    How to Prove Proficiency in the Portuguese Language

    One of the ways to prove your connection to the Portuguese community is through evidence of in-depth knowledge of the Portuguese language. The following documents are acceptable as evidence:

    • Certificate of approval in an exam issued by a Portuguese private or public school.
    • Certificate of approval in an exam issued by the Portuguese Consulate when you were living abroad. You must have taken the Portuguese proficiency exam from the Center of Evaluation of Portuguese Language (CAPLE) in Portugal or other countries where the exam centres exist.
    • Certificate of Proficiency in Standard European Portuguese as a second language through any authorised Portuguese Evaluation Centre.
    • Diploma from an accredited Portuguese public or private school.

    If you are a public or private school graduate in a Portuguese-speaking country, you can provide your Diploma from the school.

    If you are not literate, you can provide other evidence demonstrating your Portuguese knowledge.

    Are you aiming to obtain a Portuguese Citizenship by Descent? Our team would be happy to assist you.

    How to Apply for Portuguese Citizenship by Descent


    The following are the guidelines for obtaining Portuguese citizenship as a descendant of Portuguese parents or grandparents.

    Determine Your Eligibility

    The first step is to ensure that you are eligible for Portuguese citizenship through descent. It is important that your family ties to a Portuguese are easily traceable by blood and can be demonstrated with verifiable evidence.

    Most importantly, ensure that your Portuguese parents or grandparent has their birth information registered with the Portuguese civil registry. This will authenticate your claim of Portuguese descent. Also, you must be able to establish an active and consistent connection to a Portuguese community.

    Prepare All the Necessary Documents

    The document required to obtain Portuguese citizenship depends on the line of descent that establishes your connection to Portugal. The birth certificates must prove your descent claim. Documents not written in Portuguese must be translated into Portuguese.

    If you are applying for a minor under 14, you do not need to provide the child’s identity documents. You only need to do so for minors between the age of 14 and 18.

    Fill Out the Required Forms

    Download the application form and fill it out accurately. The form is the medium for making an official declaration of your interest in acquiring Portuguese Citizenship.

    Thus, all information must be accurate and verifiable. Note that false information is punishable under Portuguese Law. You must fill out the application form in Portuguese.

    Apply for Portuguese Citizenship

    You can apply for Portuguese citizenship in person or through mail. If you are applying for a child under the age of 14, you may have to visit the Consulate in person.

    The following are the application centres you can visit for citizenship application:

    • National Support Centers for the Integration of Migrants (CNAIM), Lisbon.
    • National Support Centers for the Integration of Migrants (CNAIM), Porto.
    • Citizen Shop in Odivelas.
    • Institute of Registries and Notaries (IRN) office.
    • The Civil Registry Office.
    • Local Portuguese Consulate.

    If you prefer to request Portuguese nationality through mail, you must download and complete an application form that applies to your situation.

    Once you are done, you can send it to the Central Registers Conservatory at Rua Rodrigo da Fonseca, 202, 1099-033, Lisboa. Note that each application is specific to the descent line (parents or grandparents) and age.

    If you are applying for a minor, you must appear in person at the Portuguese Consulate. The minor does not have to be with you at the Consulate.

    Pay the Application Fee

    The application fee for Portuguese citizenship through descent is 175 Euros. However, the application fee may vary due to consular exchange rates and other charges for consular services.

    You may need to pay through a debit card, at the consulate, postal order, or Portuguese bank checks in Euros issued by the Instituto dos Registos e do Notariado, I.P.

    What Is the Processing Time?

    The processing time for Portuguese citizenship applications can be lengthy. The processing time may take a year or two to get a decision of approval or disapproval. The process is a complex one that involves checks from various departments and authorities before a final decision.

    Another influencing factor is your circumstance. If the need to conduct an extra check on your situation arises, your application processing time will extend.

    Once the relevant authority makes the final decision, you will get a notification from the Portuguese consulate.

    Need help in applying for Portuguese Citizenship by Descent? We are here to guide you through the process.

    How Can IAS Help?

    IAS can represent you in obtaining Portuguese citizenship. Our immigration lawyer can represent you at the Portuguese embassy or consulate to apply for citizenship through descent.

    IAS is a team of immigration lawyers who are highly trained and experienced in Portugal immigration and citizenship. Our team can also assist you through each step of your application and provide all the information you need for a successful application.

    Our in-depth knowledge of Portuguese nationality law and years of experience drives our successful citizenship application. We also provide assistance in other Portuguese citizenship applications such as the naturalisation route, Sephardic Jewish heritage, golden visa program, former Portuguese territories, and citizenship by marriage.

    You can quickly get more information on Portugal nationality routes and other immigration matters through our Application package. Our Advice Package provides assistance and guidance for a successful application process.

    Visit our website or call us on (+44) 333 4149244 for immediate help and assistance with your situation. We’re here to help you in person, via the phone, or online.

    We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at all of our UK offices, or via the phone.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    Portugal does not demand a citizenship test from applicants. However, if you are applying for citizenship through your Portuguese grandparents, you must take a language test, CIPLE. The certificate will demonstrate your proficiency in Portuguese.

    The CIPLE exam is structured to test your reading, writing, comprehension, and oral capability in Portuguese.

    Yes. However, this is after you have acquired your Portuguese citizenship. Once you become a citizen of Portugal, your dependents are eligible to apply

    No. You do not need to live in Portugal after you become a citizen through descent.

    Yes. Portugal permits dual citizenship. Thus, you can hold dual citizenship as long as your country of origin also accepts dual citizenship.

    Yes. You can apply for Portuguese citizenship through a Portuguese embassy or consulate in your local area. If you are required to be in Portugal, you can apply through the Power of Attorney.

    Yes. You are eligible to apply for a Portuguese Passport after you become a citizen of Portugal.

    A Citizen Card is a mandatory mode of identification for all Portuguese citizens. It serves as a mode of identity in public and private entities. It carries vital information about the holder, including personal details, fiscal identification number, social security number, civil identification number, and User of the National Health Service (SNS) number

    Getting Portuguese citizenship through descent is straightforward. However, it depends on your ability to provide evidence of Portuguese descent.

    The application process will become complicated if you have challenges providing verifiable proof of blood ties to a Portuguese parent or grandparent. Complications may occur due to losing contact with your parents or your grandparent losing their certificate.

    You can apply for Portugal citizenship if you have been legally residing in Portugal as a permanent resident. To be eligible, you must have been living in Portugal for at least five years.

    You must satisfy some conditions. The conditions depend on your country of origin or birth and other personal situations. You can apply for citizenship before the stipulated condition of five years of residency through marriage to a Portuguese citizen

    The Portuguese Nationality Law governs the acquisition of Portuguese citizenship. It states the conditions to obtain Portuguese nationality through derivation or acquisition.

    Having Portugal citizenship enables you to freely travel, live, study, work, and retire in any EU/EEA country. Due to the membership of the EU, the Portugal visa confers you. You also become eligible to apply for a Portuguese passport.

    Portuguese permanent residency, on the other hand, only allows you to become a legal resident in Portugal and visit other EU states on a short-stay visa (90 days). It is subject to renewal and other conditions of retention.

    Portuguese citizenship through descent is a citizenship application route for a person born in or outside Portugal whose parent or grandparent is a Portuguese citizen.

    Sephardic Jews enable foreign nationals to acquire Portugal citizenship through ancestral lineage to Portugal – the Iberian Peninsula.

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