Portuguese citizenship is increasingly desirable, given it allows you to live, work, and travel within the European Union as you please.
Starting a business in Portugal? Marrying a Portuguese citizen? Relocating for more sunshine, better wine, and visa-free travel? Whatever your reason for pursuing citizenship, this comprehensive guide will help you navigate the application process and ensure you are following all the necessary legal steps.
How to Get Portuguese Citizenship
There are four main ways to secure Portuguese citizenship:
- Naturalisation: Many countries offer citizenship once you’ve lived there for a certain period of time. In Portugal, this is just five years. It is important to the Portuguese authorities that you have integrated into the society and culture. You may need to submit documents like a language course completion certificate or letters addressed to your Portuguese residence covering the required five years.
- Portugal Investment Citizenship: You might have difficulties securing and maintaining a resident visa for five years, especially after Brexit. Another option is to apply for a Golden Visa to obtain citizenship by investment. A Portugal Golden Visa requires you to invest a minimum of €350,000 in Portuguese real estate. You will also need to visit Portugal, with your family if you have one, for a minimum of two weeks every two years. You will be eligible to apply for citizenship after five years, assuming you can pass a language test and demonstrate an understanding of Portuguese culture.
- Portuguese Ancestry: Individuals with a parent or grandparent who has been a Portuguese citizen could be eligible for citizenship by descent. You will need to submit your birth certificate and proof of your ancestry.
- Marriage: Portugal offers citizenship to anyone who has been married to or cohabiting with a Portuguese citizen for three years. This is provided they can supply the relevant documentation, pass a criminal record check, and prove a commitment to integration.
Step-by-Step Guide to the Application Process
- Check you meet the eligibility criteria for citizenship according to one of the circumstances above or other circumstances not listed.
- Make a note of the documents required for the application according to your profile, which you can find on the eportugal site.
- Find out which documents need to be notarised. At notary.co.uk, we also offer apostille and translation services to ensure your documents will be accepted in Portugal.
- Apply for citizenship by naturalisation, investment, marriage, descent or other over the counter or by mail. Find more details on Portugal’s government portal.
Does Portugal Allow Dual Citizenship?
If you’re keen to maintain ties with your home country even after settling into life as a Portuguese citizen, you’ll be pleased to learn that the country offers dual citizenship. Many European countries do not, so this is another good reason to pursue citizenship in Portugal.
How Long Does it Take to Get Citizenship?
To apply for citizenship by naturalisation, you will need to live in Portugal for five years, which can be consecutive or spread over a period of up to fifteen years.
Those applying for investment citizenship will need to hold a Golden Visa for five years before finalising their applications.
You can apply for Portuguese citizenship straight away if:
- You have Portuguese ancestry
- You used to be a Portuguese citizen
- You have been married or cohabiting with a Portuguese citizen for more than three years
You’ll also need to take into account the time it takes to secure your Citizen Card. The processing time for Portuguese citizenship applications can be several months or longer.
How to Apply For a Portuguese Passport
A Portuguese passport guarantees you will enjoy the same benefits and privileges as a Portuguese national. You will need to secure citizenship first. Then, you can apply for a passport at the Passport Bureaus in Lisbon or Porto, at a suitable Institute of Registries and Notary desk, or at the Portuguese Embassy in another country.
Documents required with your passport application include your Citizen Card and your previous passport. Our notaries can confirm whether these documents require notarisation or apostille to be recognised in Portugal.
The base fee for the passport application is €65. There are additional charges when you apply from other countries and when you require delivery or an express service.
Living in Portugal after Brexit
Since the UK withdrew from the European Union, the rights of British citizens living in Portugal have changed.
Brits legally residing in Portugal before December 31, 2020, are allowed to continue living and working in the country. If you moved to Portugal after this date, make sure that you understand the current regulations and have the necessary documentation.
Ensuring Your Documents are Legally Verified
It is essential to confirm that all your documents are legally verified before applying for Portuguese citizenship or a passport. The documents you may require are as follows:
- Valid Passport
- Birth Certificate
- Background Record
- Language and Cultural Exams Certificates
- Marriage Certificate
- Residence Permit
- Evidence of 5 years residing in Portugal (for citizenship by naturalisation)
- Citizen Card (for passport applications)
When submitting documents abroad, you often need to have them notarised or affixed with an apostille. To ensure that all your documents are recognised by the Portuguese authorities, visit the links above or get in touch with our team using the form below.
You can also contact us by calling 020 7630 1777 or by emailing email@example.com. We’ll be happy to help!