Acquiring Portuguese Nationality


The Portuguese Government approved changes to the procedure for awarding acquisition of Portuguese Nationality on April 20. The procedure eliminates unnecessary acts, thereby increasing the efficiency and fairness of the process.


Some of the key changes include the following:

  • Portuguese Nationality (by origin) may be awarded to grandchildren of Portuguese born abroad who possess “an effective connection with the Portuguese community”, among other requirements. The Government has spelled out the specific terms of these ties and their recognition.
  • The grandchildren of Portuguese born abroad must also fulfill additional requirements, including:
  • Declaration of wanting to be Portuguese;
  • Registration of their birth with the Portuguese Civil Registry (Registo Civil);
  • Applicants have not been convicted, with a final judgement, of any offense punishable by a prison term of no greater than 3 years.
  • According to the Regulation of the Nationality Law, the CRC (Central Registry Office) shall presume a connection with the Portuguese community and does not need to refer the case to the appropriate member of the Justice Department at the time of the request when the applicant:
  • Has been legally residing in the Portuguese territory for 3 (three) years immediately prior to the request, is enrolled in the tax administration and national or regional health services and proves attendance at a school in Portuguese territory or demonstrates knowledge of the Portuguese language.
  • Has been legally residing in the Portuguese territory for the 5 (five) years immediately prior to the request, is enrolled in the tax administration and national or regional health services.

Providing for the above situations speeds up the process of granting citizenship meanwhile providing a level of predictability. This also allows the applicant knowledge of the requirements beforehand, thereby providing a speedier recognition of the connection.

Along with their request for attribution of Portuguese Nationality, applicants must submit documentation thereby proving connection to the Portuguese national community, such as:

* Legal residence in the national Portuguese territory;

* Regular trips to Portugal;

* Property ownership for at least 3 (three) years or lease agreements executed for 3 (three) years or more, related to real estate in Portugal;

* Residence or connection to a Portuguese (emigrant) community abroad;

* Regular participation, in the immediate previous 5 years, in the cultural life of said community – the applicant’s country of residence – especially in the cultural and recreational activities of local Portuguese organizations or associations.

  1. The fact that the interested party produces the appropriate documentation proving one or more facts listed does not, however, prove a legitimate and effective connection to the Portuguese community. According to the newly-enacted regulation, following submission to the CRC, one of two situations will take place:

— The applicant fulfills the requirements set forth in the Nationality Regulation, so that, from the outset, the CRC may conclude that there are effective ties in the national community;

— The case is forwarded to the appropriate responsible member of the Justice Department, who thereby assesses a connection on a case-by-case basis.

Note: This text has been adapted from a text released by Portugal Reconnect, whose goal is to help connect Portuguese communities abroad with their cultural roots.


For more information on the new regulations or to submit your Portuguese Nationality request, please visit Portugal Reconnect’s website.