In this article, we will explore the time limit for opposing nationality acquisition in Portugal, as defined in Article 56, number 1, of the Nationality Regulation (Decree-Law no. 237-A/2006, dated 14th December). Recently, there have been amendments to the regulation that have significant implications for the process. We will discuss these changes and their potential impact on individuals seeking Portuguese nationality.
We mention “recent” changes, but the amendment has been in effect for over a year since April 2022. Despite this, it seems that the activity of the Registry Office has become more intense now, and considering the numerous questions we receive daily on this topic, we deemed it necessary to write an article to explain.
The Previous Time Limit and its Basis
Under the previous version of the Nationality Regulation, the one year for opposition to nationality was calculated from “the date of the fact on which the acquisition of nationality depends.” In practical terms, this referred to the date of submission of the nationality acquisition process, where the individual’s will to acquire nationality was manifested.
Recent Amendment – DL 26/2022
In 2022, a notable amendment (DL 26/2022) was made to the Nationality Regulation, coming into force on 15th April. Surprisingly, this change was implemented with minimal announcement by the government. The amendment introduced a significant change to the time limit for opposing nationality acquisition.
Current Time Limit for Opposing Nationality
As per the amended Article 56 of the Nationality Regulation, the Public Prosecutor now has one year from the date of registration of nationality acquisition to file a judicial action in administrative and tax courts to oppose the acquisition of nationality by the will.
This means that the registration date, which is the date of the nationality grant, allows the initiation of legal action at any point during the process and even within one year after the process is concluded.
Early Identification and Concerns
Being vigilant of legislative changes, we were among the first to draw attention to the amendment before it was enacted. We expressed concerns about this change, considering that the previous time limit for opposing nationalities was more favorable to applicants.
Cases Pending and Notifications
According to the law of 2022, the amended Decree-Law applies to cases pending on the date of its entry into force. As a result, the Registry Office is indeed notifying cases pending for more than one year since the date of submission.
Our Ongoing Cases
Concerning our specific cases, despite having several ongoing processes, we have received notifications in only a few cases where the process was initiated in 2021 and the notifications were received in 2023. Interestingly, these notifications were not solely related to connection proof; there were other factors involved.
In response, we handled these cases strategically, and, so far, none of them have escalated to court. Nevertheless, we must remain vigilant, as the possibility remains.
Understanding the time limit for opposition to nationality is crucial for individuals seeking Portuguese nationality. The recent amendments to the Nationality Regulation have shifted the basis of this time limit, impacting the process and potential legal actions. We advise applicants to be well-informed and proactive during the process and seek legal guidance to navigate any challenges effectively.
If you wish to do so or have any questions about this topic (or any other), don’t hesitate to contact us. Our team of lawyers is available to assist you anytime!
This article was written by our lawyer and managing partner Ana Sofia Lamares.
She has dealt with countless Portuguese nationality requests and her experience is highly sought-after for those seeking help when it comes to granting Citizenship or Nationality. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with her here.