Want to Apply for a Portuguese Citizenship? Here’s How

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You’re a citizen of another country, but you want to apply for citizenship in Portugal? That’s great! There are many benefits that come with Portuguese citizenship. For example, if you’re looking to live abroad and have dual citizenship in both countries, this may be the best option. If your spouse is from Portugal and wants to move there with you, they can also get a Portuguese passport as well. 

Citizenship isn’t easy to attain though – it’s not just enough to fill out an application form. Read on for how you should go about applying for Portuguese citizenship!

The Process For Applying For Portuguese Citizenship

The process of applying for Portuguese citizenship starts by filling out the online form and uploading your documents. You’ll need to provide a recent photograph, as well as identification that proves you are living in Portugal (e.g., an international driver’s license). 

The application fee is €300 plus an additional €70 if it is not in the euro currency. After submitting the form, all applicants receive a confirmation email with further instructions on how they can submit their passport and fingerprints at the consulate closest to them or through registered mail using Europ Assistance International Courier service.

It is highly recommended to have the fingerprints taken at the consulate closest to you.

What documents do you need? Generally, to apply for Portuguese citizenship, you need two proofs of residency in Portugal (e.g., an international driver’s license) and proof that you are living there legally (a criminal record). 

Requirements To Be Eligible For Citizenship

A person must have been resident in Portugal for at least five years, and be able to speak Portuguese.

In order to apply for citizenship, a foreigner has different options: 

To apply through the Foreigners’ Registration Office (SEF) or Consulate General of Portugal abroad.

The SEF office only accepts documents submitted on paper. If you choose this route, it could take up to six months before your application process starts and because of this, there are many people who don’t want to go through this route of applying for citizenship because they don’t want to wait six months. 

In order to avoid this, you can file the application with a Portuguese lawyer so that it goes through quickly without having to go to the SEF office.

 The following documents are required: 

  • A copy of your passport or ID card and visa
  • Proof that you have been residing in Portugal for at least five years (you can upload this document when submitting your application online)
  • Two copies of a certificate issued by SEF or Consulate General of Portugal abroad attesting to lawful residence in Portugal
  • An official translation into Portuguese (from Portuguese Language Services) of any certificates not translated into Portuguese.

However, there are other routes to citizenship. 

Other Routes

You may have other options. Citizenship may also be obtained through the Portugal Golden Visa program. Also known as the “golden visa,” it was created in an attempt to boost Portugal’s economy and tourism. Portugal offers benefits for either wealthy investors who want to buy a property worth at least €500K ($585K) or would like start-up companies with an international investment of more than €350K.

 

You can also take advantage of “special offer” as you go through your application process which has been designed specifically with the aim of easing paperwork and providing financial help with the naturalization procedure:

  • Portuguese Citizenship by Investment Programme (PROCI): A new streamlined citizenship program that grants permanent residency in Portugal after making an investment into one of three funds managed by authorized professionals; this program waives all government taxes for five years following citizenship acquisition.
  • OPTIMA – Accelerated program targeted at qualified investors who want to pursue Portuguese citizenship without having to reside in the country: This program waives all government taxes for five years following citizenship acquisition.
  • PRIMEIRA – Accelerated program targeted at qualified investors who want to pursue Portuguese nationality through a simplified process, without needing to establish physical residence in Portugal: This program waives all government taxes for two years following citizenship acquisition.

How Long Your Application Will Take 

It’s impossible to say how long it takes because each case is different but if your file is complete and you do not need any more supporting documents then it should be processed quickly. 

The average processing time without complications usually ranges from six weeks up to 12 months, but this timeframe may vary depending on where we find ourselves with regard to naturalization applications at the moment of submission of your documentation  and if it is a priority case

You should also know that the Portuguese passport is valid for ten years so you don’t have to worry about renewing it for a while after you get it. 

Advantages of Being A Citizen of Portugal 

First off, you have the right to live, work and study in any part of the country, regardless of region or nationality. This means once you become a citizen you can freely move around without restrictions on residence such as having a job offer or being enrolled at an educational institution. 

Second, Portuguese citizenship is not conditioned upon renouncing one’s current citizenship (except if you are from another EU member state) but rather by living in Portugal at least five years before turning 18 and/or after turning 21. 

Third, the process can take up to two years (with many exceptions), which is less time than other countries require their prospective citizens to wait. For example, Canada requires about two to five years, depending on the province of residence. 

Further, Portuguese citizenship is also a way for people who are married or in a civil union with Portuguese citizens but were not born there to acquire Portugal’s nationality. This applies as well to children adopted by a Portuguese citizen and raised from an early age in Portugal.

Lastly, family members who live abroad can retain their original nationality while enjoying permanent residency rights if they have been living abroad for no more than six months out of any given 12 month period (this means that family members do not need to be physically present in Portugal). 

If you want to apply for Portuguese citizenship, there are a few requirements. You have to be 18 years or older on the day of your application and meet certain residency requirements (either 3 consecutive years in Portugal or 5 uninterrupted periods). It can take anywhere from 4-6 months to process an application but once it’s approved you will get a Portuguese passport that expires after 10 years. Now is the perfect time to consider how being a citizen of Portugal may help with all aspects of life – not just work! There are many advantages like access to government services such as healthcare and pensions, protection under Portuguese law, and more.