Approved amendments to the Portuguese Citizenship Law

It has been approved, this July, amendments to the Portuguese Citizenship Law, which did not receive any changes since 2018.

The most prominent change reinforces the “ius solis”, allowing the children of immigrants, born in Portugal to acquire Portuguese original citizenship, whenever their parents are legally resident here or, if they live in Portugal regardless of the title, for at least one year, at the time of the birth.

For the minors who are born in Portugal, the right to access to the Portuguese derived citizenship remains dependent on the Portuguese citizenship of one of the parents or when proving that:

a) One of the parents has in Portugal his residency, regardless the title, for at least 5 years; or

b) One of the parents has his legal residency in Portugal; or

c) The minor has attended in Portugal at least one year of pre-school education or basic, secondary, or professional education.

Another approved amendment concerns the acquisition of Portuguese nationality by the spouses of Portuguese citizens. Currently, it is possible for the spouse of a Portuguese to apply for Portuguese citizenship, as long as it has been married for at least 3 years, subject to the proof of an effective connection with the Portuguese community. According with the amendments now approved, this requirement of effective connection with the Portuguese community is now presumed, provided that the marriage has been in place for at least six years, or there are in common Portuguese children.

In addition to these, another important new concerns to the requirements for granting nationality to Portuguese grandchildren. The approved proposal considers that the knowledge of the Portuguese language is now enough to demonstrate the effective connection to the Portuguese community, simplifying the actual requirements. However, the approved amendment also clarifies that only original Portuguese citizens can pass their Portuguese nationality to their grandchildren, excluding those who have acquired the derived nationality.

The last change that deserves to be highlighted refers to the recovery of the Portuguese citizenship for the individuals who did not keep the Portuguese citizenship because were living in Portugal for less than 5 years on April 25, 1974, provided that, after the loss of Portuguese nationality, they have not been at the service of the respective state and have remained and still remain in Portugal, regardless of the title, as well as their children, born in national territory, to whom their original nationality has not been attributed.

The possibility of acquiring Portuguese nationality by descendants of Portuguese Sephardi Jews was not subject to amendments, but it has been established that, in terms of regulations, effective compliance with proven of objective requirements of connection with Portugal will be required.

For now, we shall wait for these amendments to be officially published in Diário da República, in order to know the date of entry into force, as well as the terms of its regulation, which must occur within 90 days counting from the publication of these amendments.

The content of this information does not constitute any specific legal advice; the latter can only be given when faced with a specific case. Please contact us for any further clarification or information deemed necessary in what concerns the application of the law.