Portuguese Citizenship

Birth Transcripts from former colonies

In addition to the mainland and the archipelagos of Madeira and the Azores, the so-called Overseas Provinces, or former colonies, were an integral part of Portuguese territory, which included territories in India (Goa, Daman, Diu, Dada and Nagar Aveli), East Timor, Macao and Africa (Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde and São Tomé and Príncipe).

The independence of the overseas territories under Portuguese administration occurred in different years and was regulated by different diplomas.

Most of the citizens of these territories, who until then had Portuguese citizenship, acquired a new citizenship and many even lost their Portuguese citizenship.

Regardless of the country and the applicable law, we observe that, in effect, it is very different to have the right to be or remain Portuguese and to actually be Portuguese, since the independence processes were not always well managed and some wars did not help. Many citizens discover, late in life, that they are not Portuguese after all. Decades later, some even discover that they are stateless.

This is because proof of citizenship is provided by the birth certificate in the civil registry, but the Portuguese State has not always duly ensured the maintenance and transcription of the registers that were held by the Portuguese Overseas Authorities, nor have the registers of those born outside the mainland and adjacent archipelagos been duly transcribed and/or integrated.

The applicant, or the spouse or descendants with a legitimate interest in processes where it is possible, can still request the transcription of the birth to Portugal and guarantee their fundamental right to Portuguese Citizenship.

In addition to those born in former Portuguese territories, there are also children of Portuguese citizens who have been registered at Consulates around the world, and whose birth registration still needs to be integrated in Portugal, such as the case of Hong Kong, where there are several citizens who have been Portuguese all their lives although today Portugal tells them that they are not until they transcribe their birth records (and some ascendants will also need to be transcribed). This is because their registration was not integrated by the Consulate in time.

In general, all have the possibility, if they are unable to transcribe their birth records and retain their original nationality, to apply for naturalisation, which is reserved for special processes of those who, among others, “have had Portuguese nationality” or “are considered to be descendants of original Portuguese nationals”.

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