Hongkongers are still attracted to a new life in Portugal, even with tighter Golden Visa rules. And yes, Portuguese citizenship for Macau residents is still possible.
We wrote about this back in 2019 and it is still true that Hongkongers remain interested in Portugal even though there are tighter Golden Visa rules today.
Being a gateway to post-Brexit Europe, Portugal is seen by many countries as the best alternative to Westernization – mainly for those that share a past with the Portuguese being ex-colonies.
This is also true concerning Macau, a territory that was Portuguese until 1976 – or 1999 when considering the period in which it was still under the Portuguese administration.
As we also explained here, those who were born in Macau until 1981 are Portuguese, regardless of their affiliation. And those born after November 1981 are only Portuguese when proving to have a Portuguese parent. Once granted, Portuguese citizenship is passed on to the children, grandchildren, and so on.
As such, it is now possible to find Portuguese citizens not only in Macau but a bit all over Hong Kong. But, with the transition, many who went from Macau to Hong Kong lost their Portuguese citizenship, some illegally, and, worse than that, many became stateless.
Until now, Macau and Hong Kong citizens were able to enter Europe through Golden Visa and its real estate investment program which is now ending in Portugal. However, that doesn’t mean that there are no more opportunities for these citizens in Portugal. On the contrary, we continue to welcome Macau citizens who, through their descendants, may want to apply for Portuguese nationality and, with that, access Europe more easily.
Portuguese citizenship for Macau residents
Portugal may not be that interesting for those considering benefits from programs such as the Golden Visa, but it is still one of the best entrance doors in Europe, especially for those of Portuguese descent, such as Macau citizens. And many are aware of it.
Research shows that the number of applications has increased in recent years due to various factors, such as the political situation in Hong Kong, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the benefits of holding a European passport.
One source estimates that about 10,000 Macau residents applied for Portuguese citizenship in 2020, compared to about 3,000 in 2019. Another source reports that the Portuguese consulate in Macau received more than 7,000 applications in the first half of 2020, which was more than the total number of applications in 2019.
To apply for Portuguese citizenship, foreign citizens need to meet certain requirements, for example, being born in Macau before or during the Portuguese administration (until 1981) or having a parent or grandparent who was born in Macau or Portugal.
Portuguese citizenship grants these citizens the right to live, work, study, and travel freely in the European Union and other countries that have visa-free agreements with Portugal.
It also allows them to participate in the political and social life of Portugal and the EU. However, they may also face some challenges, such as renouncing their Chinese nationality (as China does not recognize dual citizenship).
If you want to know more about obtaining Portuguese citizenship or any other Immigration matter, don’t hesitate to contact our team of experienced lawyers.