The Nationality law

The nationality law (Lei n.º 37/81 de 3 de Outubro) was changed in a way that extend the access of the nationality by origin and naturalization to the people born in the Portuguese territory.

Please find below the most important changes:

i) Individuals born in the Portuguese territory, children of foreigners that at the time of birth at least one of the parents is legally resident in Portugal for at least 2 years will be Portuguese of origin. In order to meet the requirements:

a. The parents cannot be in Portugal as State employed by their own country;
b. The applicants have not declared that they do not wish to be Portuguese.

ii) The Portuguese nationality will be granted, by naturalization, to:

  • The ones that reside legally in the Portuguese territory for at least 5 years (instead of 6 years);
  • The children of foreigners born in the Portuguese territory, since they are minors, provided that they meet requirements (knowledge of Portuguese language and clean criminal record) and if one of the following conditions is met:

a) One of the parents is resident in Portugal, regardless of the title, for at least five years immediately preceding the request of the nationality;

b) The minor has completed in Portugal at least one cycle of education (one cycle of primary education or high school education).

  • The individuals who satisfy cumulatively the following requirements:

a) Have been born in the Portuguese territory;

b) Be children of a foreigner residing here, regardless of title, at the time of the birth;

c) Reside in Portugal, regardless of title, since at least five years.

  • The individuals who are parents of Portuguese citizens of origin, if residents in Portugal, regardless of title, for at least five years immediately preceding the application and provided that the parenthood has been established at the time of birth of their son/daughter already Portuguese citizen (for example it would not be possible in case of adoption of a Portuguese child, since the parents did not became parents at the time of the birth of such child).

iii) The knowledge of the Portuguese language shall be presumed to exist for applicants who are natural and national of the Portuguese-speaking countries

iv) It is not necessary to prove the connection of the Portuguese community in case of marriage or common law life when exists common children of the couple with Portuguese nationality

v) The law considers that reside legally in the Portuguese territory the individuals who are here, with their situation regularized before the Portuguese authorities under any of the titles, visas or authorizations. For the purposes of counting periods of legal residence is considered the sum of all periods of legal residence in the national territory consecutive or interpolated, provided that the periods have been within a maximum interval of 15 years.

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.