Changes in the Nationality Law

changes

On July 23rd, 2020, some changes to the Nationality Law were approved by the Parliament. These amendments ease access to Portuguese nationality for some groups of people, namely grandchildren, spouses, or non-married partners of Portuguese citizens.

About Portuguese’s grandchildren, two major changes have occurred:

1. The first one concerns the ascendant, who must have Portuguese nationality in the original form.

  1. The second one concerns the proof of connection to the Portuguese community: the Applicant’s connection to the Portuguese community will now be proven, provided that he/she proves to have sufficient knowledge of the Portuguese language.

About the acquisition of citizenship by marriage or non-marital partnership, there are also important changes:

  1. The requirement concerning the duration of the marriage or partnership – 3 years—does not apply if the couple has children with Portuguese citizenship;
  2. The legal action for recognition of the partnership is also waived if the couple has a Portuguese child.
  3. The possibility of legal action to oppose the acquisition of Portuguese nationality is not allowed if there are children of the couple, or the marriage has at least 6 years. In practice, this means that, in these two cases, proof of effective connection to the Portuguese community is not necessary.

Regarding the nationality of Sephardic Jews, the Parliament determined that the Government would implement, within 90 days (by amending the Nationality Regulation), the objective requirements for proof of effective connection to Portugal. This determination of the Parliament means that, in theory, there will necessarily be changes to the regime of acquisition of the nationality of Sephardic Jews within 90 days, which will see their process made more difficult.

In addition to these major changes, Portuguese nationality may also be granted to individuals who have not retained it: for residing in Portugal for less than 5 years from April 25, 1974, provided that, from that moment on, they have not been in the service of the respective State and have remained and will remain in Portugal, regardless of their title, as well as to their children, born in Portugal and to whom no original nationality was attributed.

Portuguese nationality will now be granted to individuals born in Portugal, children of foreigners who are not in the service of their State and who do not declare that they do not want to be Portuguese, at the time of birth, one of the parents is legally resident in Portugal or, regardless of the title, has been resident in Portugal for at least one year.

The approved amendments will enter into force on the day following its publication, which is expected soon.

On all these changes and the others that the Law has undergone, there will be more to detail, being certain that the Government regulations and the position of the Central Registry Office on the practical application of the above-mentioned changes are still unknown.

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