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Portuguese Citizenship By Birth

Portugal grants citizenship to children of immigrants who have resided in Portugal for a specified duration and children born abroad to Portuguese parents. However, there are specific requirements you must meet to qualify for citizenship by birth in Portugal.

If you’re ready to claim your Portuguese citizenship, IAS lawyers can walk you through the application process. We are available to help you via phone, online, or in person. Call +44 (0)333 305 9375 to speak with one of our lawyers for immediate assistance


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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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    Portuguese Citizenship for Children

    Citizenship by birth or descent is one of the most accessible routes to obtaining Portuguese citizenship. Children born in Portugal to Portuguese parents automatically receive citizenship upon birth registration. The same is applicable where one parent is Portuguese. However, the birth has to be registered for citizenship to be awarded.

    Adopted children (less than 18 years old) of Portuguese parents are automatically granted citizenship once the adoption process is complete. Children born stateless are also automatically awarded Portuguese citizenship.

    Portugal does not grant automatic citizenship to children of non-citizens born there. The parents must meet specific requirements for the children to become Portuguese citizens.

    Here the process of acquiring Portuguese citizenship by birth for the different categories of foreign immigrants to Portugal and children born to Portuguese parents overseas.

    Portuguese Citizenship for Children of Foreign Residents

    The Portuguese Parliament amended the Portuguese nationality in 2020. The amended law grants citizenship to children of foreigners who have been legal residents in Portugal for at least one year. The same applies where only one parent is a Portuguese resident.

    However, both the parent’s marriage and the child’s birth must be registered with the Portuguese civil registry.

    Requirements and Eligibility for Portuguese Citizenship By Birth

    To be eligible for Portuguese citizenship as a child of a foreign national, you must meet the following criteria.

    • One or both of your parents must have lived in Portugal for at least one year at the time of your birth.
    • None of your parents must be an employee of your home country or the Portuguese State when you were born.
    • You are 18 and above, are born in Portugal to foreign parents, and have lived in Portugal for over five years.
    • You are below 18, have a serious disability, your parents became Portuguese citizens after you were born, and you have been living in Portugal for a minimum of five years.

    Citizenship for Children of Portuguese Citizens Born Abroad

    Children born to Portuguese parents overseas acquire Portuguese citizenship by descent, provided their birth is registered at the Portuguese consulate in their country of residence.

    As a child of Portuguese parents, you are still eligible for Portuguese if your birth was not reported at the Portuguese Embassy and you later decide to claim Portuguese citizenship.

    You can also claim Portuguese citizenship if either of your grandparents were Portuguese but you will have to meet some additional requirements.

    Eligibility Criteria for Portuguese Citizenship By Descent

    If you were born abroad to Portuguese parents, or your grandparents were Portuguese citizens, you qualify for Portuguese citizenship provided you meet the following requirements.

    • Both or one of your parents were Portuguese nationals at the time you were born, irrespective of your country of residence.
    • Your birth was registered at a Portuguese civil registry, or you formally declare an intent to claim Portuguese citizenship later in life.
    • You have a Portuguese grandparent who retained their citizenship, and you have proofs that you’re connected to the Portuguese community, such as the ability to speak the Portuguese language.

    Maximize your chances of obtaining a citizenship by speaking to our legal experts today. Call us on: +44 (0)333 305 9375

    Citizenship for Children of Portuguese Golden Visa Holders

    Portugal grants residency to foreign investors in exchange for substantial investment in Portugal through its Golden Visa Program. Portugal’s Golden Visa holders are only required to spend at least seven days a year in Portugal to be legal residents.

    Therefore Golden visa holders, whether residing in Portugal or their home country, are considered Portuguese residents. As such, their children can acquire citizenship once they’ve held the visa for at least one year.

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

    How to Apply for Portuguese Citizenship by Birth or Descent

    You don’t need to apply for citizenship if you are born in Portugal to a Portuguese parent. You’re automatically a Portuguese citizen. You also don’t need to apply if you were born to parents of Portuguese nationality overseas and your birth was registered at the Portuguese embassy in your country.

    However, you must apply for other categories of citizenship through birth or descent. In Portugal, all citizenship applications are processed by Instituto dos Registos e do Nototiado (The Institute of Registries and Notaries – IRN). But you can submit your application alongside relevant documentation at either of the following:

    • Any of the IRN offices.
    • A Portuguese Citizen Shop.
    • The National Support Centre for the Integration of Migrants (CNAIM) in Lisbon or Porto.
    • The Portuguese consulate or embassy in your country of residence.

    Documents Required to Apply for Citizenship By Birth in Portugal

    In applying for citizenship in Portugal, you must provide specific documents to support your application.

    The documents you’ll need to provide vary depending on the particular category of citizenship by birth you’re applying through. The following are some of the documents you must provide along with your application:

    • Your birth certificate.
    • A valid ID document, such as a Passport.
    • The birth certificates of your parents or grandparents, where applicable.
    • The full names and birth dates of your parents to enable the consulate to retrieve your Portuguese parent or grandparent’s birth certificates if you don’t have them.
    • Original or certified copy of your parent’s marriage certificate, if applicable. The consulate can help you find the certificate if they were married in Portugal.
    • Proof of nationality of your parents or grandparents.
    • Evidence of connection with the Portuguese community, such as proficiency in Portuguese.
    • Proof that you meet any residency requirements (such as tax records) where applicable.
    • A declaration of Portuguese nationality or a letter addressed to the Ministry of Justice requesting citizenship.
    Mountain in Portugal

    Application Fees and Processing Time of Portuguese Citizenship By Birth

    Application is free for those applying through descent, that is, those whose parents or grandparents are Portuguese nationals. Those applying through birth – those born in Portugal to non-Portuguese citizens) – will pay the regular citizenship application fee of €250.

    The processing time for Portuguese citizenship applications varies, and it’s usually a long process. Typically it takes between 6 and 24 months from the time of application submission to obtain citizenship. Failure to submit correct documentation can further lengthen the duration.

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

    Special Birth and Ancestry Routes to Portuguese Citizenship

    Asides from the primary citizenship by birth or descent routes, there are two other special routes to obtain Portuguese citizenship by descent. They are:

    • Citizenship by Portuguese Jewish ancestry.
    • Citizenship by Portuguese colonial ties.

    Descendants of Portuguese Sephardic Jews

    Portuguese Nationality Law allows descendants of Portuguese Jews expelled in the 16th-century inquisition to obtain Portuguese citizenship if they can show Sephardic ancestry and “belong to a Sephardic Jewish community of Portuguese origin with ties to Portugal.”

    You can prove Sephardi ancestry by showing a Sephardic surname in your family tree. You do not need to reside in Portugal or speak Portuguese to qualify. This citizenship route does not also have a residency requirement.

    Requirements for Portuguese Citizenship by Sephardic Ancestry

    To qualify for this citizenship route, you must:

    • Show proof of Sephardic Jewish ancestry either by a Sephardic surname in your family tree, cemetery records, or evidence of the use of ladino language in your family.
    • Show ongoing ties with a Portuguese Sephardic Jewish community. A letter from an orthodox Jewish rabbi confirming your Sephardic Jewish heritage is often evidence enough.

    Former Portuguese Colonies

    Individuals born in former Portuguese colonies before the colonies gained independence are eligible for Portuguese citizenship. These former colonies include:

    • Angola
    • Brazil
    • Cape Verde
    • Goa
    • Guinea Bissau
    • Mozambique
    • Macau
    • Sao Tome and Principe

    Descendants of Portuguese nationals residing in these colonies who belong to Portuguese communities can also qualify for citizenship. To be eligible for this citizenship route, you must:

    • You must have been born in any of the former Portuguese territories before they gained independence.
    • You must be a descendant of Portuguese nationals residing in any of the colonies.
    • You must show ongoing ties with the Portuguese community in your country of residence.

    Benefits of Portuguese Citizenship

    There are several advantages of becoming a Portuguese citizen, some of which are:

    • It gives you the right to hold a Portuguese passport: It is among the most powerful passports in the world and grants you visa-free access to 187 countries.
    • Becoming a Portuguese citizen automatically makes you a citizen of the European Union. It grants you free movement across all EU and EEA countries. You can study, live, work, and retire anywhere in Europe. You’re also entitled to Consular protection from any EU country consulate while visiting a country with no Portuguese consulate or embassy. It also allows you to vote and stand for elections in the European Parliament.
    • You can vote and run for electoral positions in Portugal.
    • Holding dual British-Portuguese citizenship restores all European Union rights lost with Brexit to UK citizens.

    Portuguese Dual Citizenship

    Portugal allows its citizens to hold dual citizenship. Portuguese citizens holding foreign citizenship retain their Portuguese nationality. Foreign nationals who want to become Portuguese citizens also do not have to renounce their existing citizenship.

    Building in Portugal

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    How Can IAS Help?

    Portuguese citizenship is one of the most sought-after in Europe today because of its relatively lax requirements, flexibility, and numerous benefits. However, the application process can be long and strenuous. Enlisting the help of immigration professionals will take the burden of monitoring the application off your shoulders.

    IAS lawyers are experts in immigration laws and policies across Europe and North America. We can assist you with your Portuguese citizenship application. We will help curate the necessary documentation to prevent errors that can delay your application.

    You can reach us at any time via phone, the online contact centre, or in person at any of our office locations across the UK. Call +44 (0)333 305 9375 now to speak with one of our lawyers.

    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, Portugal gives citizenship to children born to immigrants who have resided in Portugal for at least one year. Children born to Portuguese nationals overseas are also eligible for Portuguese citizenship by birth.

    You can get a Portuguese passport if you were born in Portugal to Portuguese parents or if your foreign parents became citizens before your birth (if you were born before 2020). You can still get a Portuguese passport if you were born in Portugal to non-Portuguese parents, provided you meet the minimum residency requirements.

    Starting from November 2020, Portugal now grants full Portuguese citizenship to children born to foreigners who have been living in Portugal for a minimum of one year.

    Those eligible for Portuguese citizenship include:

    1. Children born to a Portuguese national in Portuguese territory
    2. Children born to a Portuguese citizen in the service of the Portuguese State abroad
    3. Children born to a Portuguese parent abroad if their birth is registered in the Portuguese civil registry or if they declare an intent to be Portuguese
    4. Persons born in Portugal to foreign parents who have legally resided in Portugal for at least one year and are not in the service of their country of origin
    5. Stateless persons born in Portuguese territory
    6. Foreign nationals who have lived in Portugal for at least five years

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