Portuguese Nationality law grants the right of original Portuguese Nationality, inter alia, to certain descendants of Portuguese nationals, (Portugal Citizenship by descent), in the following cases:
- Children of Portuguese mother or Portuguese father born abroad if these children have their birth registered in the Portuguese Civil Registry or if they declare their wish to be Portuguese
- Individuals with at least one ascendant with Portuguese nationality of the 2nd degree in the straight line ( grandmother or grandfather, who has not lost that nationality if such individuals declare their wish to be Portuguese and that they have effective ties to the national community.
The attachment to the national community is assessed by sufficient knowledge of the Portuguese language and depends on applicants not having been sentenced to a prison sentence of three years or more, with the sentence having become final and unappealable, for a crime punishable under Portuguese law, and on the non-existence of danger or threat to national security or defence, through involvement in activities related to the practice of terrorism, under the terms of the respective law.
Documents needed to apply for Portuguese citizenship by descent
To apply for Portuguese Nationality in the situations referred above applicants must present:
- Identification document
- Legalised/Apostilled birth certificate, if possible, in full copy and issued by photocopy
- the birth certificate of the Portuguese mother or Portuguese father, which may be dispensed if the birth is registered in a Portuguese registry and if the registry office, the year, and the registration number are possible to identify.
- Birth certificates, if possible, full copy and issued by photocopy of the progenitor (father/mother) who is a descendant of the Portuguese national, and of the grandfather/grandmother, which may be dispensed if the birth of father and mother and grandfather/ grandmother are registered in a Portuguese registry and if the registry office, the year, and the registration number are possible to identify.
- a declaration of acquisition of Portuguese Nationality signed by the applicant.
- Criminal certificate
If the applicant is of legal age (18 years old or more):
The declaration must be signed in the presence of the Registry Officers, when submitting the application or before someone in the applicant’s resident state with powers to recognize the signature.
Applications can be sent by mail to one of the Nationality Desks or to the Central Civil Registry Office
When the application is a minor (under 18 years old): a declaration must be signed by their legal representatives. In principle, these representatives will be the parents, who can be represented by an attorney with special powers to make the declaration.
To observe all the specificities of the different stages of the application process for Portugal citizenship by descent, it is recommended that the applicant is duly advised by a lawyer specialized in nationality law.
This article is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to be, nor should it be construed as, legal or professional advice of any kind.
Rosana Rodrigues is a co-founder and partner of TFRA Law Firm. Her work mainly involves advising foreign investors in Portugal, particularly in areas of Corporate and Tax law. She has also worked extensively in Shipping law… Read more