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Right to Nationality

PORTUGUESE CITIZENSHIP FOR DESCENDANTS OF SEPHARDIC JEWISH PEOPLE

On February 27, 2015 with the approval of the DecreeLaw 30-A /2015 the process that now allows the acquisition of Portuguese nationality by the descendants of Sephardic Jewish people was completed.

Those interested should fulfill the following requirements:

a) Being of age or emancipated under Portuguese law;

b) Not having been convicted of a crime punishable under the Portuguese law with imprisonment of three years or more.

Contrary to what happens with the common request of Portuguese nationality, in this specific case it is not necessary that the applicant resides in Portugal for a minimum of six years, nor that he has knowledge of Portuguese language.

The application to be submitted to the Minister of Justice must be accompanied by the following documents:

a) Birth certificate;

b) Criminal record certificate issued by the competent Portuguese authorities, as well as by the authorities of the country of birth, country of nationality and country of residence;

c) Documents issued by a Jewish Community with the status of a religious legal person legally based in Portugal, certifying a tradition of belonging to a Sephardic community of Portuguese origin, such as the applicant’s surname, the family language, genealogy, family memory, etc.

The recent amendment to the Portuguese Nationality Regulations is underpinned by an awareness that, despite the expulsion operated in 1496 by King Manuel, many Sephardic Jewish people kept the Portuguese language and some of the traditional rites of the ancient Jewish cult practiced in Portugal.

The acquisition of Portuguese nationality bears many advantages, namely, free access and movement in the European Union, easy access to third countries, a business-friendly environment, prestigious and affordable school education, qualified health care and quality of life (low crime rates, modern infrastructure and communication systems, rich cultural environment, etc.).

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.

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