Nationality Regulation Amendment – ​​Naturalization of Descendants of Sephardic Jews

Imagem judeus sefarditas

The amendment to the Nationality Regulation was published, which provides that interested parties will have to demonstrate an effective and lasting connection to Portugal, or through i) The ownership, transmitted mortis causa, of real rights over real estate located in Portugal, of other rights personal enjoyment or shareholdings in commercial companies or cooperatives headquartered in Portugal; or ii) Regular travel throughout the applicant’s life to Portugal.

 

This change does not apply to Nationality Processes that are already underway, nor to those submitted until 08.31.2022, as it only enters into force on 09.01.2022.

 

 

 

The long-awaited decree-law was finally published today, making the fourth amendment to the Portuguese Nationality Regulation, approved as an annex to Decree-Law n.º 237-A/2006, was finally published today, December 14 and amended by Decree-Laws No. 43/2013, of April 1, 30 -A/2015, of February 27, and 71/2017, of June 21.

Among many of the relevant changes that were made, the most important, which cannot fail to be contextualized in the current international political scenario and also in the wake of the news brought to the public by the media related to the Israeli Community of Porto, stands out, undoubtedly, the one that has to do with the new requirements required for the acquisition of Portuguese nationality, through naturalization, granted to descendants of Portuguese Sephardic Jews.

In this vein, article 24.º – A of the Regulation of the Nationality Law, which grants the Government member responsible for the area of ​​justice the granting of Portuguese nationality, by naturalization, to descendants of Sephardic Jews, introduces the following relevant changes which we now highlight due to the high demand that has been placed on the required requirements, namely, the one about al. d) of its number 1.

Therefore, in addition to having to demonstrate a tradition of belonging to a Sephardic community of Portuguese origin, through a certificate issued by a Jewish community with the status of religious legal person, based in Portugal, which attests to the tradition of belonging to a Sephardic community of Portuguese origin, based on proven objective requirements of connection to Portugal, namely, the applicant’s surname, family language, genealogy and family memory, a proven connection to Portugal was also required from interested parties.

This connection to Portugal must be proven through a certificate or other supporting document:

  1. i) Ownership, transmitted mortis causa, of rights in rem over real estate located in Portugal, other personal rights of enjoyment or shareholdings in commercial companies or cooperatives headquartered in Portugal; or
  2. ii) Regular travel throughout the applicant’s life to Portugal;

having such facts to demonstrate an effective and lasting connection to Portugal.

 

About criminal record certificates issued by the competent Portuguese services, of the country of birth and nationality, the introduction of the exception provided for in paragraph 8 of article 37, which is limited to the exemption of the need to present the criminal record certificate of the country of birth and/or the country of nationality whenever the interested party proves that, after reaching the age of criminal liability, he resided in another country.

It should also be noted that the certificate issued by the Jewish community with the status of a religious legal person, based in Portugal, became more complex in its writing, and in addition to the usual full name, the date of birth, place of birth, affiliation, nationality, and country of residence of the applicant, an express indication of direct descent or family relationship in the collateral line of a common parent from the Sephardic community of Portuguese origin is now required, with an indication of the means of evidence presented for this purpose and identification of the elements considered relevant to attest to the tradition of belonging to that community and, finally, the applicant’s family lineage coming from the common Sephardic parent of Portuguese origin.

To issue the certificate referred to in subparagraph c) of paragraph 3 or, failing that, to demonstrate direct descent or family relationship in the collateral line of a common parent from the Sephardic community of Portuguese origin, of the applicant’s family line coming from the common Sephardic parent of Portuguese origin and from the tradition of belonging to a Sephardic community of Portuguese origin, the following documents are admitted as evidence, namely:

  1. a) Authenticated document, issued by a Jewish community with a tradition to which the interested party belongs, attesting, in a reasoned manner, the use of the same expressions in Portuguese in Jewish rites or, as a language spoken by him within that community, of ladino;
  2. b) Authenticated documentary records, such as records of synagogues and Jewish cemeteries, as well as residence permits, property titles, wills, genealogical studies, and other evidence of the applicant’s family connection, via direct descent or family relationship in the collateral line of common parent from the Sephardic community of Portuguese origin.

In the absence of the certificate referred to in subparagraph c) of no. 3 opinions on the evidence presented under the provisions of the previous number.

Another novelty introduced concerns the Jewish community, which, for 20 years, has assumed the role of trustee of the documents intended for the issuance of the certificate provided for in subparagraph c) of no. 3, with these being scanned, together with the certificate issued, and sent electronically to the Conservatória dos Registos Centrais when applying to acquire Portuguese nationality.

On the other hand, the Conservatória dos Registos Centrais may order the Jewish community to send the aforementioned documents for safekeeping and conservation and the registrar or registry officer may, whenever necessary, request the exhibition of the originals of these documents.

Finally, it is informed that the provisions of this article 24.º – A of the Portuguese Nationality Regulation, as amended by this decree-law, enter into force on the first day of the sixth month following its publication, that is, on day 09/01/2022 and that it was not assigned retroactivity, that is, it does not apply to processes initiated at the Registry until 08.31.2022.

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