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Portugal Citizenship by Descent

Portugal Citizenship by Descent

Individuals who have Portuguese parents or grandparents can request Portuguese citizenship by descent based on their proven ancestry. An important condition is that the individual who is in the succession line of Portuguese citizenship has not lost his or her citizenship.

Foreign nationals can request Portuguese nationality in other cases, not solely based on their ancestry. For more information about these options, our Portugal immigration specialists can assist those interested.

In this article, you will find information only about citizenship by descent in Portugal. You can read below to find the answers to some of the most common questions and reach out to us if you need additional details or assistance with your particular family situation.

Where do you apply for Portugal citizenship by descent?

Having a Portuguese parent or grandparent allows a foreign national to apply for Portuguese nationality at the Institute of Registries and Notaries at the National Center for Support to the Integration of Migrants (CNAIM). This can be done either in Lisbon or in Porto.

One can also apply for this status with the Portuguese Consulate in their area of residence or at the Civil Registry.

Obtaining assistance when communicating with any of these Portuguese authorities is possible with the help of our team. We can not only help you apply but will guide you each step of the way and will provide you with information about the processing stage in which your application is at a given time.

Who qualifies for Portuguese citizenship by descent?

Applying for Portuguese nationality by descent is available to individuals whose parents, Portuguese nationals or residents, were either living in the country or abroad when the applicant was born. Several situations are possible and our team lists some of these below:

  1. the applicant was born in the country while the parents were lawfully residing in Portugal, and he has been living in the country for at least 5 years;
  2. the applicant was born in Portugal, was registered after 6 July 2018 and one or both parents were legally residing in the country for at least 2 years;
  3. the individual was born abroad with one of the parents being Portuguese or one of the grandparents being Portuguese;
  4. born abroad and adopted by a Portuguese citizen before the age of 18 and before October 8th, 1981.

As seen above, there are options to apply for citizenship both based solely on ancestry (if a parent or grandparent was a Portuguese citizen) or if the parents were legal residents in the country, even before they had to spend the minimum number of years in Portugal before they could apply themselves for citizenship.

While citizenship by descent is not available to all foreign nationals, an individual can request citizenship in Portugal by naturalization if he or she has been legally residing in the country for at least 5 years. The applicant will also need to meet other requirements along with the minimum residency, such as having sufficient knowledge of the Portuguese language, sufficient income, and being integrated into the community.

What are the needed documents?

Those who apply for Portugal citizenship by descent need to, first and foremost, to be able to provide the authorities with sufficient and satisfactory proof of their family ties to the second degree of succession to a Portuguese citizen who has not lost citizenship.

In general, the documents that are presented are the following:

  • official application form, duly filled in by the individual which includes all of the relevant identification information;
  • copy of the applicant’s birth certificate issued in his or her country of residence; the certificate will include the names of the parents;
  • copy of the birth certificate of the Portuguese parent(s) or grandparent(s);
  • certified copy of the grandparent’s marriage certificate;
  • copy of the applicant’s valid passport;
  • proof of residence at the time of the application;
  • proof of sufficient knowledge of Portuguese or, if not applicable, proof of connection to Portugal (regular visits, property ownership, etc.).

The authorities impose a number of fees when applying for Portugal citizenship by descentOur team can give you more information on the current fees, as well as assist you when preparing the needed documents.

What are the limitations?

The following foreign nationals cannot apply for Portuguese citizenship by descent, or for Portuguese nationality through any other available routes:

  • those convicted of a crime that is punishable in Portugal through a prison sentence of 3 years or more;
  • persons involved in terrorist activities;
  • those married to a Portuguese citizen if the applicant served a non-mandatory military service in another country.

Other limitations may apply. We advise those looking to apply for citizenship to reach out to an immigration lawyer in Portugal from our team for more details.

The team can also help you if you are interested in applying for other types of visas, for example, the nomad visa for Portugal. This is suitable for those who can provide a professional activity remotely outside the national territory. Working professionals like these need to comply with the minimum monthly income requirement. Our team can give you more details upon request.

Contact us if your family lineage allows you to apply for Portuguese citizenship by descent.

Not all foreign nationals are able to apply for citizenship by descent. Understandably so, most migrants in Portugal will follow the naturalization option based on having lawfully lived in the country for a minimum number of years. If you have just relocated here, our team will answer any questions about residency in Portugal so that, in time, you may apply for citizenship.