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Portuguese Citizenship for Sephardic Jews

Please note that this route is now closed. If you want to apply for Portugal citizenship, have a look at your options on our Portugal citizenship page.

At Immigration Advice Services, we have experienced lawyers who specialise in Portuguese citizenship and can guide you through the entire process. Get in touch with us today. Call us on +44 (0)333 305 9375, or contact us 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.

    Services we Provide

    What is Portuguese Citizenship as a Sephardic Jew?

    Portuguese citizenship for Sephardic Jews was first established in 2015 by the Portuguese parliament.

    The Portuguese Parliament approved a law that stated that the descendants of Sephardic Jews who were expelled from Portugal in 1496 were eligible for Portuguese citizenship.

    To be eligible, applicants must have a proven connection to Portuguese Sephardic culture, such as having a Portuguese surname or speaking Ladino, a Judeo-Spanish language.

    Portuguese citizenship grants Sephardic Jews the right to live and work in Portugal, as well as travel freely throughout the European Union.

    Portuguese citizenship also grants Sephardic Jews access to free healthcare and education in Portugal.

    Portuguese citizenship for Sephardic Jews has been praised by many as a way to remedy the historical injustice of their expulsion from Portugal over 500 years ago.

    Who Can Apply for Portuguese Citizenship through Sephardic Jewish Ancestry?

    This opportunity is not just restricted to Jewish individuals but to their descendants who are Portuguese speakers or residents of Portugal.

    This includes anyone who can prove that they are descended from Sephardic Jews or any individuals of Sephardic Jewish heritage who have a connection with Portuguese culture and language.

    In addition, to be eligible for Portuguese citizenship, applicants must provide documented evidence of their Sephardic Jewish ancestry and Portuguese language skills.

    Under the law of Portugal, one can only apply for Portuguese Citizenship for Sephardic Jews under the following conditions:

    • They are 18 years old or emancipated according to Portuguese law.
    • They belong to a Sephardic community of Portuguese origin.
    • They are of Portuguese Sephardic descent.

    Let our legal experts help you with this process. Call us today on: +44 (0)333 305 9375

    The History of Sephardic Jews in Portugal

    The history of Sephardic Jews in Portugal dates back to the early 14th century when they were first expelled from France.

    The community initially settled in the Iberian Peninsula (present-day Portugal and Spain) but was later forced to leave when the Alhambra Edict of 1492 was issued.

    This decree ordered all Jews to be expelled from Spain and Portugal within four months. Despite this, some Sephardic Jews remained in Portugal and went into hiding.

    They continued to practise their religion secretly and passed their traditions down through the generations.

    In 2015, the Portuguese parliament approved the ‘Alhambra Decree,’ which granted Sephardic Jews Portuguese citizenship.

    This decision was based on the historical connection between the two communities and was seen as a way to repair past wrongs.

    Today, there is a small but thriving community of Sephardic Jews in Portugal. They have kept their culture and traditions alive for centuries despite hardships and persecution.

    The history of Sephardic Jews in Portugal is a story of resilience and perseverance in the face of adversity.

    What are the Requirements?

    To be eligible for Portuguese nationality as a Sephardic Jew, applicants must meet the following requirements:

    • Must provide documented evidence of their Portuguese Sephardic ancestry.
    • Must show proficiency in the Portuguese language.
    • Must provide proof of residency in Portugal.
    • Must provide documentation proving their Jewish faith and identity.
    • Must provide a criminal background check.

    Get in touch with our expert immigration lawyers to receive assistance on Portuguese Citizenship for Sephardic Jews.

    How to Get Portuguese Citizenship as a Sephardic Jew?

    Once an applicant has met all of the eligibility requirements, they can begin the process of applying for Portuguese citizenship as a Sephardic Jew. The process consists of several steps:

    Step 1: Get the documentation

    In order to start the process and obtain Portuguese citizenship for Sepharadic Jews, applicants must gather all the necessary documents. These include:

    • A birth certificate or an equivalent document issued in Portugal or abroad.
    • Proof of Portuguese Sephardic origin and/or identity (such as a rabbi’s certification, a family genealogy report, etc.)
    • Certified documents attesting to the applicant’s family ties with Portuguese Sephardim.
    • Proof of Portuguese language skills (such as a diploma or certificate).
    • A criminal background check.

    Once all the necessary documents have been collected, applicants can move on to the next step.

    Step 2: Start the application

    You can either apply through mail or in person with your immigration lawyer. Make sure to include all the necessary documentation and fill out the application form with complete accuracy.

    Step 3: Submission of the application

    The completed application must be submitted to the Portuguese Ministry of Justice. The applicant will also need to submit all necessary documents and proof of payment for the processing fee.

    Once submitted, the application will be reviewed by a panel of experts to assess the applicant’s eligibility.

    Step 4: Resolution of the application for citizenship

    If your application is approved, you will receive a resolution granting you Portuguese citizenship as a Sephardic Jew.

    This resolution must be presented at a local registry office in Portugal within six months of its issuance to register as a Portuguese citizen.

    Step 5: Your registration as a Portuguese citizen

    Once the resolution is presented at a local registry office, you will be officially registered as a Portuguese citizen.

    This process usually takes up to 2 weeks, after which time you will be issued your Portuguese identity card and/or passport.

    What Documents are Needed?

    When applying for Portuguese citizenship as a Sephardic Jew, applicants must provide the following documents:

    • A birth certificate or equivalent document issued in Portugal or abroad – no apostille is required for Portuguese documents.
    • Proof of Portuguese Sephardic ancestry and/or identity (such as a rabbi’s certification, a family genealogy report, etc.) Documents from synagogues and cemeteries are accepted.
    • Certified documents attesting to the applicant’s family ties with Portuguese Sephardim. A description of the direct descendent or family relationship that ties you to the Sephardic community.
    • Proof of language skills in the Portuguese language – either a diploma or certificate.
    • A criminal background check.

    This certificate must contain the following data :

    • Full name
    • Date of birth
    • Birth
    • Membership in the Portuguese Jewish community
    • Nationality
    • Applicant’s residence
    • Description of applicant’s Sephardic origin
    • Evidence supporting each of these elements

    What is the Processing Time?

    The processing time for Portuguese citizenship as a Sephardic Jew depends on the individual case.

    Generally, the process can take up to six months, from the submission of the application to the resolution of the application for citizenship.

    The applicant will be notified when their application for Portuguese citizenship has been granted.

    Once approved, applicants are required to register as Portuguese citizens within 6 months of receiving their resolution document.

    What are the Fees?

    The fee for applying for Portuguese citizenship as a Sephardic Jew is €250. This fee must be paid in full upon submission of the application and cannot be refunded.

    Additional fees may apply depending on the individual case.

    Speak to our legal experts today to assist you further. Call us now on: +44 (0)333 305 9375

    For assistance about Portuguese Citizenship for Sephardic Jews, our team is happy to assist.

    How Can Applicants Prove Their Portuguese Sephardic Ancestry?

    To prove their Portuguese Sephardic ancestry, applicants must provide one of the following documents:

    A certificate from a Sephardic community recognized under Portuguese law

    This certificate confirms that the applicant is a descendant of Portuguese Sephardim and is issued by an officially recognized Portuguese Sephardic community in Portugal.

    Family name, family language, Sephardic Jewish lineage, and family memory of Sephardic origin must be provided to obtain this certificate.

    Also, a rabbi’s declaration or a certificate from the Central Jewish Community of Portugal is acceptable.

    A certified document from the applicant’s Jewish community

    This document (Jewish community certificate) must be issued by the applicant’s own religious congregation and should include details about their Portuguese Sephardic ancestry, such as family name, language, lineage, and family memory.

    It should also provide evidence that connects the applicant to their Sephardic origin.

    Certified documents which attest to the applicant’s family ties with Portuguese Sephardim

    These documents must be certified by a notary or other official authority and should provide evidence that connects the applicant to their Portuguese Sephardic ancestry.

    Examples of such documents include family records, marriage certificates, circumcision records, synagogue records, cemetery records, and other documents which provide proof of family ties.

    If you have any questions about Portuguese Citizenship for Sephardic Jews, our team is happy to assist.

    After Portuguese Citizenship is Granted

    Once Portuguese citizenship has been granted, applicants are required to register as Portuguese citizens within six months of receiving their resolution document.

    Applicants will then receive a certificate of nationality and a national identification card. With these documents, they may apply for a Portuguese passport which will allow them to travel freely in the European Union.

    If an applicant is already a citizen of another country, they may be required to surrender their original citizenship after gaining Portuguese citizenship.

    Finally, applicants should bear in mind that they will be subject to taxation in Portugal as citizens.

    It is important that applicants research the potential tax implications before applying for Portuguese citizenship as a Sephardic Jew.

    How Do Descendants of Portuguese Sephardim Benefit?

    Descendants of Portuguese Sephardim who obtain Portuguese citizenship can enjoy the same rights and benefits as other Portuguese citizens.

    This includes the right to live, work, vote, and travel freely in Portugal and throughout the European Union and Schengen Area.

    Additionally, they will be entitled to access educational opportunities and publicly funded healthcare services in Portugal.

    Furthermore, Portuguese citizenship offers certain protections in terms of inheritance and the transfer of assets.

    Finally, obtaining Portuguese citizenship can provide an added layer of security for Sephardic Jews who may face discrimination or persecution due to their religious beliefs.

    How Can Immigration Advice Service Help?

    At Immigration Advice Service, we understand the complexity of applying for Portuguese citizenship as a Sephardic Jew and are here to provide you with expert guidance throughout the process.

    Our experienced attorneys can help you prepare all the necessary documents and successfully submit your application.

    We will also advise you on how to demonstrate your Portuguese Sephardic ancestry best and help you understand the potential tax implications of becoming a Portuguese citizen.

    Here are some of the services we offer:

    • Comprehensive assessment of your eligibility for Portuguese citizenship as a Sephardic Jew.
    • Guidance on how to obtain the necessary documentation to demonstrate your Portuguese Sephardic ancestry.
    • Advice on completing the application and submitting it correctly.
    • Assistance with any queries or issues that may arise during the process.

    If you are interested in applying for Portuguese citizenship as a Sephardic Jew, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. Our experienced attorneys will be happy to guide you through the process. Call IAS today on +44 (0)333 305 9375, or contact us 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

    Yes, Portuguese Sephardic Jews may be eligible to obtain Portuguese citizenship by proving their connection to a Sephardic Jewish community in Portugal. To be eligible, the applicant must demonstrate that they are descended from Portuguese Sephardim, who were expelled from Portugal in 1492.

    Yes, there is a small but growing population of Sephardic Jews in Portugal. The Portuguese government has taken steps to encourage this community’s growth, such as recognizing the Ladino language spoken by many Sephardic Jews and providing funding for Jewish education initiatives.

    Sephardic Jews are those who trace their ancestry to the Jewish communities of the Iberian Peninsula, including Portugal and Spain. They typically practice a different form of Judaism than Ashkenazi Jews and speak Ladino; a language derived from Old Spanish.

    No, you do not have to surrender your original citizenship if you obtain Portuguese citizenship. Portugal allows dual citizenship and will recognize your original nationality even after you become a Portuguese citizen.

    Some of the most common Portuguese Sephardic last names include Abravanel, Belmonte, Cardozo, Eanes, Henriques, Lopes, Mendes, Nunes and Pereira. Other surnames that may indicate Sephardic ancestry include Alvarenga, Arevalo, Bensabat/Bencabet, Caro/Caro, Correa, Lopez/Lopes, Mascarenhas, Moniz/Monis and Nunes.

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