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Access to portuguese nationality more facilitated

Entry into force on July 6, 2018

The Organic Law no. 2/2018, approved by the Assembly of the Republic, entered into force on July 6, 2018, which changes the Portuguese Nationality Law, extending access to native nationality and naturalization of persons born in Portugal.

This legislative amendment has essentially reduced the time requirements and simplified other requirements for acquisition of Portuguese nationality, both as an original and as a derivative.

The following changes are therefore worthy of note, whose the full effectiveness will still depend on the adaptation, by the Government, of the Nationality Regulation, which should happen within 30 days:

Nationality by Origin

All those who were born in Portugal and the respective parents were already legal residents in Portugal for at least 2 years, contrary to the current 5 years required. This amendment allows, for example, that the children of holders of temporary residence in Portugal may be considered Portuguese of origin, unless they declare that they do not wish to be Portuguese.

“Derived” Nationality

The most significant change is the shortening of the time requirement from 6 to 5 years, thus allowing access to Portuguese nationality for those who have been legally resident in Portugal for at least 5 years. This amendment will be very welcome by the holders of residence permits for investment (“visas Gold “), since, after fulfilling the minimum requirement of 5 years for the maintenance of investment, may have immediate access to Portuguese nationality, subject to the legal requirements. In terms of foreigners born in Portugal, as well as their ascendants, who wish to naturalize Portuguese, there are also three changes to take into account:

  1. a) In the nationality assigned to the child born in the national territory, child of foreigner parents, who is sufficiently familiar with the Portuguese language, and has not been convicted of a crime punishable by more than three years in prison, just have to fulfill one of the following requirements:
  2. One of the parents is resident, regardless having permit, at least during the five years immediately preceding the application;
  3. The child has completed the first cycle of primary education or the secondary education.
    Here, the parent is no longer required to hold a legal residence permit. The condition regarding the studies of the minor in Portugal is also extended, including
    completion of secondary education as an alternative to completion of basic education.
  4. b) The nationality is granted, by naturalization, without the need for the individual to reside legally in national territory for a period of 5 years, provided that they satisfy all the following requirements:
  5. Have been born in Portuguese territory;
  6. Be the child of a foreigner residing in Portugal, regardless of permit, at the time of his birth;
  7. Reside in Portugal, regardless of permit, for at least 5 years.

This amendment establishes a right to naturalization for all those who were born in Portugal and who have lived in our country for at least 5 years, even if they do not have legal residence and even if their parents did not also have a valid residence permit in Portugal at the time of their birth.

Today, it was necessary that their parents had usually stayed in Portugal in the 10 years prior to the request for nationality.

  1. c) The nationality is granted by naturalization, without the need for the individual to reside legally in national territory for a period of 5 years, provided that they satisfy all the following requirements:
  2. Are ascendants of native Portuguese citizens;
  3. Have resided, regardless of permit, for at least five years immediately prior to the request;
  4. The ancestry was established at the time of the birth of the Portuguese citizen.

It is a new form of acquisition of nationality by naturalization that allows ascendants of native Portuguese citizens may also have access to Portuguese nationality.
Finally, we make reference to two very relevant changes in the
access to Portuguese nationality:

The 5 years of legal residence for the purpose of nationality which must be accounted for, are no longer requested to be consecutive and uninterrupted as they are today and can also be interpolated since within a period of 15 years;
The knowledge of the Portuguese language is assumed to exist for applicants who are native and nationals of Portuguese-speaking countries, who are exempt from proof of knowledge of the Portuguese language.

Pinto Ribeiro Advogados is a group of lawyers with broad skills and practical experience in residence and nationality matters. If you have any questions, please contact us by email (geral@pintoribeiro.pt).