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Portuguese Citizenship by Marriage

You may have plenty of questions about applying for Portuguese citizenship through marriage.

At IAS, we can supply you with up-to-date information about obtaining Portuguese citizenship and guide you through each step of the application process. Call us at +44 (0)333 305 9375, or contact us online.


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    What are the benefits of choosing IAS’ Advice Package?

    Our Advice Package is the ideal option if you are looking for expert immigration legal advice. With this service, you will have an untimed one-on-one session with one of our immigration lawyers.

    Your immigration lawyer will consider your case and offer bespoke advice, and they will advise you on the optimum route to take to achieve your desired result.

    During your advice session, you will be able to discuss your case and get detailed information about your options to proceed with your case. We will:

    Review your situation and explore your opportunities to get your desired immigration results.

    Advice on the most appropriate documentary evidence required to support your case.

    Discuss the requirements that you need to meet to qualify for your visa.

    Outline the expected time frames to process your application.

    After booking your first consultation, you will have 3 days to ask any follow-up questions free of charge.

    Regardless of what your personal immigration query might be, IAS is here to help and support your. Call us or enquire online to learn more about our Immigration Advice Package.

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    Can You Get Portuguese Citizenship by Marriage?

    Portuguese nationality is available for spouses and unmarried partners of Portuguese nationals, giving them more rights than a temporary partner visa or residency. They include voting, a citizen card, a Portuguese birth certificate, and a Portuguese passport.

    To obtain Portuguese citizenship, you need to consider the duration of your marital relationship with a Portuguese citizen, if it’s registered in Portugal, and more.

    Who Is It For?

    This Portuguese citizenship is for any eligible foreign national married to or in a stable union with a Portuguese national. You don’t have to be a descendant of the Portuguese Sephardic Jews or live in Portugal.

    What Is the Eligibility Criteria?

    Before you apply for Portuguese citizenship, you must ensure that you meet the requirements, which are:

    • Being married or in a non-marital relationship with a Portuguese citizen for at least three years if you have Portuguese kids, or six years if you don’t
    • Being able to prove that the marriage or union is existent or valid at the time of application
    • Having the marriage or union registered in the Portuguese registry system

    You can apply for Portuguese citizenship as long as you remain a couple. You won’t lose the nationality (even if the union gets annulled later).

    Allow our team of legal experts to help you in this complicated process. Call us now on: +44 (0)333 305 9375 or contact us online.

    Wedding decoration with rings

    What Are the Grounds for Opposition?

    According to the National Portuguese Law, certain circumstances can affect your chances and even get your nationality application rejected, including:

    • Getting convicted of a crime punishable by an imprisonment sentence of three years or more under the Portuguese law
    • Posing a threat to public health, public order, or national security due to being involved in terrorist activities
    • Falsifying documents to support the application
    • Performing non-mandatory military service in a foreign country
    • Performing public functions without a predominantly technical character in a foreign country
    • Discovering that the applicant entered the marriage or stable union with a Portuguese citizen merely to get the Portuguese citizenship
    • Failing to prove an effective connection to the Portuguese partner or Portuguese community
    • Applying to get Portuguese nationality after the marriage or relationship has ended due to divorce or death of the partner before finishing the eligibility period

    If you’re clear of all the previous circumstances, you’ll need to be able to prove it. Otherwise, your application might be disregarded, or the Portuguese Public Ministry “Ação de Oposição à Nacionalidade Portuguesa” lawsuit might reject your Portuguese citizenship application.

    To illustrate, the Registrar of Persons must report it to the Public Prosecutor, who can take legal action before the Portuguese Administrative Court.

    You’ll be allowed to provide evidence as part of your defense, and the Registry Office and Public Prosecutor can present evidence to build a case against you.

    Our expert immigration lawyers can assist with your Portuguese Citizenship application. CONTACT US

    How Do I Apply?

    Understanding the application process will help you know what to expect and prepare adequately.

    1. Register the Marriage or Non-Marital Partnership

    If you married a Portuguese citizen in a different country, you’ll need to register the marriage in Portugal with the Civil Registry Office or “Conservatória dos Registos Centrais”. You can do so at the nearest Portugal Consulate to the area where the wedding will take place. This process is known as the “transcription of marriage celebrated abroad”.

    For that visit, you’ll need to bring a birth certificate legalized by the Apostille in your home country. As for your spouse, the following required documents are necessary:

    • Portuguese identification documents (CC or BI)
    • The bride’s statement about the name she’ll use after marriage
    • The long-form Marriage certificate that corresponds to the ceremony type (religious or civil) legalized by the Apostille by the Government of the country where the marriage took place
    • Filled out declaration

    Moreover, you’ll need to choose between signing a prenuptial agreement and marrying under the following terms: with full communion of property, with communion of property acquired after marriage, and with full separation of property.

    In about two to three months of registration, the Consulate will send you a certification of registration. For this process, at least one party of the couple must be in Portugal.

    As for non-marital partners, you need juridical recognition of the union in Portugal. If the relationship started aboard, a Portuguese court of competent jurisdiction must investigate and approve the deed or sentence that recognizes the union.

    2. Apply for Portuguese Nationality

    With the registration done, you can take the naturalization route. Apply for Portuguese citizenship, and you can start by filling out the application form. For that, you’ll need to pay the application fee of 250 Euros.

    Following that, send the needed documentation to the Civil Registry Office (its address is Rua Rodrigo da Fonseca, 200, 1099-003 Lisboa, Portugal). Of course, make sure they’re original documents or certified copies. Below are the documents:

    • A copy of your birth certificate legalized by Apostille or by the Portuguese Consulate with jurisdiction over the area of birth
    • A copy of your valid passport
    • A copy of the Portuguese spouse’s passport and ID
    • The Complete Narrative Birth Certificate of the Portuguese spouse, including the due integration of the marriage (obtained within the last six months)
    • A copy of your marriage certification or non-marital relationship registration registered in Portugal
    • FBI Nationwide Criminal Record authenticated by Apostille
    • Proof of payment of the application fees
    • A criminal record check obtained from your home country and other countries you’ve lived in for at least six months or the past five years after the age of 16 (with respective translations if the reports aren’t in Portuguese)
    • Proof that the applicant hasn’t served in foreign armed forces or hasn’t been employed as a foreign civil servant
    • Proof of knowledge of the Portuguese language in the form of a handwritten letter about the reason for the nationality request (not needed if you’ve been married for at least five years)

    After putting your application together, you might need to present further documentation. Then, the relevant authorities will review your completed application.

    As an applicant, you don’t have to procure the Portuguese Criminal Clearance, as the Portuguese Government may do that. However, it’ll save you some time to do it yourself.

    3. Establish Effective Connection to the Portuguese Society

    To demonstrate your connection to the Portuguese community (beyond family bonds), you need to perform useful activities that benefit the community or culture and own property in Portugal.

    Also, you need concrete evidence, witnesses, or else of those ties, such as photos of visits to Portugal, medical bills, airline receipts, hotel bills, and enrolling in Portuguese clubs or Associations in your homeland.

    One of the main reasons an applicant might not get Portuguese nationality used to be not providing enough proof of an effective connection to Portugal. For that reason, many spouses and partners wouldn’t go through with the application process.

    Nevertheless, some amendments have been made to the Portuguese Nationality Law. To explain, your application won’t be rejected due to lack of an effective link if you have kids with your Portuguese partner or you’ve been married for over six years.

    What’s more, according to Decree-Law No. 26/22, there are cases in which proof of ties is presumed, which reduces the risk that an applicant will be denied Portuguese citizenship. Examples of the presumed ties include:

    • Being a native or national of a Portuguese-speaking state and marrying or being in a de facto union with a Portuguese national for at least five years
    • Knowing the Portuguese language well and being married to or in a stable union with a Portuguese citizen for at least five years
    • Being a native or national of a Portuguese-speaking state and having children of Portuguese origin with your Portuguese partner
    • Having lived in Portuguese territory with a legal residency within the six years before your application and being registered with the Portuguese Tax Administration, National Health Service, or regional health
    • Residing in the Portuguese territory for no less than three years immediately before the application with certified school attendance in an educational institution in the national territory, proficiency in Portuguese, and registration with the Portuguese Tax Administration, National Health Service, or regional health

    The territories include the following former Portuguese colonies:

    • Angola
    • East Timor
    • Portuguese India
    • Mozambique
    • Guinea-Bissau
    • Macao
    • Cabo Verde
    • São Tomé and Príncipe

    How Do You Prove Your Knowledge of Portuguese?

    To do that, you can present a diploma from a Portuguese private or public school under the terms of Portuguese Law, a certificate of approval in an exam from the Portuguese Consulate from when you were living abroad or from a Portuguese public or private school, or a certificate of proficiency as a foreign language from an accredited Portuguese evaluation centre.

    Otherwise, if you’ve studied in a private or public school in a Portuguese-speaking country, you can present a diploma from it.

    4. Pass Your Tests

    Although there’s no citizenship test, you’ll have to take a Portuguese culture and language test called “Certificado Inicial de Português Língua Estrangeira (CIPLE)”. This two-hour exam is composed of 45% reading and writing, 30% oral comprehension, and 25% oral expression.

    You can get examined at any Portuguese approval centre for about 70 Euros, and you must pass with at least 55%. Afterwards, you’ll be interviewed.

    Pass these, and you’ll become a Portuguese national and receive a certification of registration. This process might take you about two years.

    Find out how we can assist with your Portuguese Citizenship application.

    How Can IAS Help?

    About 12% of Portuguese nationality applications were through the marriage route in 2021, making it the second most common after the naturalization route. Although some requirements, like the eligibility period, are straightforward, others aren’t, such as establishing an effective connection to the Portuguese community or a presumed one.

    Accordingly, foreigners might be hesitant to apply for Portuguese citizenship or get worried about rejection. It also doesn’t help that Portugal offers no appeal process. The risk of rejection can pause serious logistical concerns for the relationship.

    For that reason, you should register your marriage in Portugal, have all the needed documents, prove that the grounds for rejection don’t apply to you, solidify your link to the Portuguese community, do great on your test, and be prepared for your interview.

    If that sounds intimidating, you don’t have to do it alone. IAS can help! We are professional, experienced, and sympathetic immigration advisers. Not to mention, we have solid experience helping foreign nationals obtain Portuguese citizenship with a Portuguese partner.

    If you select our Advice Package, our dedicated lawyers will give you professional guidance about applying for Portuguese citizenship. Even better, the Application Package will provide you with a trusted guide to walk you through each application stage.

    Finally, the Fast-Track Application Package is designed for applicants who have tight deadlines. It helps us prioritize your case and put together your citizenship application immediately, including your birth certificates, marriage registration papers, and more.

    Do you need more information about our services and how we can help you become a Portuguese national? Reach out to us on +44 (0)333 305 9375, or contact us online today.

    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

    Yes, spouses don’t need to be native Portuguese citizens. If your partner is naturalized, you can still get Portuguese nationality with the eligibility requirements.

    Although it may facilitate getting Portuguese nationality as a foreigner, living in Portugal isn’t a requirement. It’d be advisable to learn and understand Portuguese, though.

    Yes, you don’t have to give up the citizenship of your home country to acquire Portuguese citizenship, as Portugal accepts dual nationality. Still, you’ll need to check that your native country permits dual citizenship

    Although there’s no appeal process, you can reach out to the Portuguese Embassy or Consulate or Institute of Registries and Notaries (IRN) to ask if they’ll reconsider their decision about your Portuguese nationality.

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