The foreigner married or living in a non-marital partnership with a Portuguese citizen for at least three years can obtain Portuguese citizenship by marriage during that union, provided that none of the circumstances which are grounds for opposing the acquisition of nationality is verified.
What to do before the marriage acquisition process?
Married couples: if the marriage was celebrated abroad, one must first transcribe the marriage to Portugal.
Life partners in a non-marital partnership: must first obtain judicial recognition of the union in Portugal or if the non-marital partnership takes place abroad, the sentence/deed that recognized it abroad must be reviewed and approved by the Portuguese court.
What circumstances are grounds for opposition?
- Have been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment of a maximum of 3 years or more under Portuguese law;
- To have performed public functions without predominantly technical character to foreign State;
- To have performed non-compulsory military service to a foreign State;
- Existence of danger or threat to national security or defense through the involvement of the person concerned in activities related to the practice of terrorism;
- No effective link to the Portuguese
When the Registrar considers that any of the above mentioned circumstances occurs, he announces it to the Public Prosecutor who may initiate legal action before the Administrative Court.
Considering the circumstances mentioned above there are some evidence that can and should be provided by the person concerned, others that can and should be obtained by the Registry Office and finally others that must be made by the Public Prosecutor against the person concerned.
Knowing which evidence to gather and submit is the secret to guarantee speed and success of the process. It is therefore of utmost importance to have discretion and carefully decide, in the specific case, what to add.
How to have the effective connection to the Portuguese Community?
The effective connection to the Portuguese Community is presumed if the interested party:
- Is a native and national of an official Portuguese-speaking country, married or living in a non- marital partnership for at least five years with a Portuguese of origin;
- Is a native and national of an official Portuguese-speaking country and there are children who already are Portuguese of origin, from the marriage or non-marital partnership*;
- Know the Portuguese language sufficiently, provided you are married or live in non-marital partnership with Portuguese of origin for at least five years;
- Resides legally in Portuguese territory for the three years immediately prior to the application, is registered with the tax administration and the National Health Service or the regional health services, and attests to school attendance in an educational establishment in the national territory or demonstrates knowledge of the Portuguese language;
- Resides legally in Portuguese territory within five years immediately prior to the application, is registered with the Tax Administration and the National Health Service or regional health
* Attentition: recent amendment to the Nationality Law: the objection to the acquisition of nationality based on the lack of a meaningful link does not apply to situations of acquisition of nationality when the couple has children in common or the marriage has lasted for more than six years.