Portuguese nationality law

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Portuguese Citizenship Act
Coat of arms of Portugal.svg
Parliament of Portugal
  • An Act relating to Portuguese citizenship
Enacted byGovernment of Portugal
Status: Current legislation

Portuguese nationality law refers to the laws of Portugal concerning nationality. Article 4 of the Fundamental Principles of the Constitution of Portugal refers to Portuguese nationality and establishes that a separate law regulates how it is acquired and lost.[1] Portuguese nationality is generally acquired on the principle of jus sanguinis (descent). In other words, nationality is conferred primarily by birth to a Portuguese parent, irrespective of place of birth.

In some cases, children born in Portugal to non-citizens may be eligible for Portuguese citizenship. However this does not apply to children born to tourists or short-term visitors. Portuguese citizenship law is complicated by the existence of numerous former colonies and in some cases it is possible to claim Portuguese citizenship by connection with one of these jurisdictions. The most notable of these are Portuguese India (annexed by India in 1961), East Timor and Macau.

The current Portuguese nationality law, law number 37/81 of 1981, represented a significant restriction of the more universal jus soli citizenship of its predecessor, Law 2098 of 1959. It has been amended several times, gradually expanding the circumstances in which birth in Portugal to foreign parents will lead to Portuguese citizenship for the child, either automatically or by simple declaration. The 1981 law also increased the likelihood of jus sanguinis citizenship, when it intentionally expanded the pool of Portuguese citizens living outside Portugal by eliminating the earlier law's provisions for loss of citizenship by voluntary acquisition of another nationality and by military service or public officeholding in a foreign country, and removed the government's power to decree loss of citizenship on a dual citizen who acted like a foreigner. Amendments since 1981 further expended citizenship by descent to grandchildren, even where the intermediate generation does not have citizenship, and to people presumed to be descendants of Portuguese Jews expelled from 1496. Versions of the law as amended at any date up to the present are available by entering the date in the official Portuguese legislation Web site.[2]

In 2012, Portugal created the Golden Visa Program, which provides a way for non-EU residents to gain residency through property investment or job creation.

Historical nationality laws[edit]

1603 Ordination[edit]

The first legal arrangements for Portuguese citizenship were created through the 1603 Ordination of King Philip II of Portugal (the Ordenações Filipinas).[3] It regulated the acquisition of citizenship at birth through a mixed system of jus soli and jus sanguinis. Citizenship was acquired by children born in Portugal in wedlock to Portuguese fathers or out of wedlock to Portuguese mothers. Children born outside Portuguese territory did not receive citizenship unless their in-wedlock father or out-of-wedlock mother was in royal service abroad.[3] Children born in Portugal to a non-Portuguese father in-wedlock or out-of-wedlock non-Portuguese mother only acquired citizenship if that parent had been living in Portugal for at least ten years and owned property there.[3]

1822 constitution[edit]

The Portuguese Constitution of 1822 both expanded and contracted transmission of citizenship by eliminating the parental property ownership requirement for jus soli birth to a non-Portuguese parent but by also requiring that the child continue to live in Portugal and declare the option for Portuguese nationality upon adulthood.[3] It also expanded citizenship by descent to all children born outside Portugal to an in-wedlock Portuguese father or out-of-wedlock Portuguese mother, with the condition that the child take up residence in Portugal if the parent was not in royal service.[3] Loss could occur with naturalisation in another country or the acceptance of foreign government employment, honors, or pension without Portuguese government permission.[3] Discretionary naturalisation could be granted to persons who were living in Portugal while married to a Portuguese woman; acquired a trading, farming, or industrial establishment in Portugal; or performed certain services to the country.[3]

1826 constitutional charter[edit]

The Constitutional Charter of 1826, in effect during bouts of infighting and warring between 1826 and 1828, 1834 and 1836, and then finally between its 1842 restoration and the 1910 end of the monarchy and the founding of the Republic of Portugal, expanded jus soli to all non-enslaved persons born in Portuguese territory, as inspired by the 1824 Imperial Constitution of Brazil.[3] Citizenship by descent continued to be limited to those children born outside Portugal whose in-wedlock fathers or out-of-wedlock mothers lived in Portugal, except where that parent was abroad in royal service.[3] Loss of citizenship could occur with foreign naturalisation, certain criminal convictions, or acceptance of foreign government honors or rewards without Portuguese permission.[3] It left to regular law the specifications for naturalisation, which in 1836 were detailed as being an adult, being financially self-sufficient, and having two years of residence in Portugal (except for a person of Portuguese origin, having a Portuguese wife, or having accomplished certain actions).[3]

1867 civil code[edit]

The 1867/1868 Civil Code provisions provided the details for the 1826 charter's broad language, including the ability for a child to opt out by declaration from the automatic jus soli citizenship for persons born in Portugal to a foreign father or out-of-wedlock mother.[3] (If the declaration was made on behalf of the child, the child could withdraw the declaration upon adulthood.[3]) The 1867 civil code additions also softened the jus sanguinis requirements of the 1826 charter by allowing for jus sanguinis by declaration of desire for Portuguese nationality as an alternative to actual residence in Portugal.[3] Naturalisation was extended automatically to a foreign woman who married a Portuguese man.[3] The 1867 code also updated the 1836 wording on naturalisation conditions, to make it available to a person who was an adult, was financially self-sufficient, did not have a criminal record, had performed all military duties in the country of origin, and had three years of residence in Portugal (except for a person of Portuguese origin, having a Portuguese wife, or having accomplished certain actions).[3]

Loss occurred with naturalisation in another country (but only for the individual concerned, not a wife or child unless they declared otherwise[3]); accepting without permission a foreign government's public office, pension, or honors; expulsion by judicial decision; and marriage by a Portuguese woman to a foreign man if the woman acquired her husband's citizenship by marriage.[3] Each was subject to different conditions on whether and how Portuguese citizenship could be reacquired at a later point.[3]

Law 2098 of 29 July 1959[edit]

Under the 1959 act, Portuguese citizenship was acquired automatically by persons born in Portuguese territory as long as the father was not foreign and in foreign government service, or, if the father was stateless, unknown, of unknown citizenship, as long as the mother was not foreign and in foreign government service.[3][4]

Citizenship by descent was only automatic for a child born abroad to a Portuguese father or a Portuguese mother who was abroad for Portuguese government service.[3] Otherwise it required either declaration of option for Portuguese nationality, registration in the Portuguese Register of Births, or residence in Portuguese territory with declaration.[3][4] The government maintained the right to oppose this grant.[3] A foreign woman who married a Portuguese man would automatically acquire Portuguese nationality unless she declared otherwise and proved that her own country's legislation would not remove her citizenship.[3]

Discretionary naturalisation was largely the same as in the 1867 civil code as amended by a 1910 decree.[3] Residency and language requirements were absolutely waived for descendants of Portuguese citizens,[3][4] and the requirements could also be waived for foreign men who married Portuguese women or those who had performed notable service to Portugal.[3][4] Naturalisation could also be granted by the government to foreigners from communities with Portuguese ancestors.[3][4]

Loss could occur by voluntary acquisition of foreign citizenship (if not voluntary, loss could be pursued by the Portuguese government if it wished), performing public office or military service in a foreign country of which that person was not also a citizen, marriage by a Portuguese woman to a foreign man if she automatically obtained the husband's citizenship and did not declare her wish to the contrary or prevent acquisition, and renunciation.[3][4] The Portuguese government cabinet also empowered the government to decree loss of citizenship for a person with dual citizenship who behaved only like a foreigner, who was convicted of a crime against Portugal's external security, or illicitly acted with a foreign country against Portugal's interests.[3][4] The law again offered a variety of means to reacquire citizenship after loss.[3][4]

Decree-Law 308-A/75 of 24 June 1975 on the former territories[edit]

Decree-Law 308/75 of 24 June 1975 was a response to the loss of Portuguese citizenship by many people born in former territories of Portugal in Africa and elsewhere that had acquired independence. It maintained Portuguese citizenship for persons who had not been born in those territories but were now living there, and those who maintained a connection with Portugal itself by long-term residence.[3][5] The legislation was the source of confusion and object of criticism, for, among other reasons, its inherent removal of citizenship from some persons and its path to statelessness for others.[3][5]

Decree-Law 37/81 of 3 October 1981[edit]

Versions of the still current Decree-Law 37/81 of 3 October 1981 as amended at any date up to the present are available by entering the date in the official Portuguese legislation Web site.[2]

The Portuguese Constitution of 1976 introduced the principles of non-discrimination on the basis of sex and marital status of parents at birth, and a fundamental right to citizenship.[3] The political parties of Portugal agreed that new nationality legislation was required to achieve compatibility with the constitution, and finally approved it in 1981.[3]

The 1981 law responded to the dramatic decrease in size of Portugal because of decolonisation, and the resulting need to increase the number of Portuguese citizens—although notably not attempting to include African and other non-European-origin Portuguese speakers of former Portuguese territories[3]}}—because of the flow of emigrants leaving Portugal in recent decades (an emigrant population estimated at more than four million) and the desire to retain ties with those emigrants' children and grandchildren as a resource to the Portuguese state.[3] The center-right governing coalition viewed it as very important to create changes that would facilitate Portuguese citizenship for emigrants and their descendants because Portugal had become a small country with widespread emigration and needed to make the best of the situation.[3]

Jus sanguinis was still by either expression of intent or registration of birth in the Portuguese civil register, but was modernised to allow it to flow through either a Portuguese mother or father.[3] To help prevent further reduction in Portuguese citizen numbers and to recognise the fundamental citizenship right, citizenship loss could only be accomplished voluntarily, and multiple citizenship was fully tolerated, and renunciation of other citizenships was not required to acquire Portuguese citizenship.[3]

Jus soli citizenship, in contrast, was restricted to require expression of intent and either of the parents having lived in Portugal for at least six years beforehand.[3]

As part of the modernization, automatic acquisition of Portuguese citizenship by a woman marrying a Portuguese man was ended, and became simply one of the grounds on which naturalisation could be requested.[3] The ability for persons who had previously lost citizenship due to marriage or voluntary acquisition of foreign citizenship to reacquire Portuguese citizenship was introduced.[3]

Law 25/94 of 1994[edit]

In response to an increase in the 1990s of unlawful immigration into Portugal, the governing coalition amended the 1981 act by limiting jus soli and naturalisation. For jus soli, the parents were now required not only to reside in Portugal, but to hold a residence permit -- and the work permit or permit of stay possessed by a large percentage of foreigners living in Portugal would not be sufficient.[3] If the parents were not from a Lusophone country, the minimum period of residence was increased from six year to 10 years.[3]

A person married to a Portuguese citizen was now required to be married for at least three years before acquiring citizenship, and was required to carry the burden of proof of showing an effective link to the Portuguese community.[3]

Organic Law 1/2004[edit]

To reduce the effects of some earlier legislation on Portuguese emigrant communities, the law removed the power of the government to oppose reacquisition of nationality, made acquisition of Portuguese citizenship automatic if the loss of nationality had not been registered, and made reacquisition retroactive to the date of loss.[3] That opened the doors for children born abroad of Portuguese emigrants to more easily acquire citizenship by descent.[3]

Organic Law 2/2006[edit]

The election of a Socialist Party-led government in 2005 led gave rise to the passage of a bill to modernize Portuguese nationality law, in recognition of the impact of years of immigration into the country.[3]

The objectives were to integrate second- and third- generation immigrants who did not have citizenship, to comply with judicial and legal demands that the nationality law be consistent with the European Convention of Nationality and its non-discrimination clauses, and to lessen confusion of outdated wording and definitions that relied on simple regulation instead of law.[3]

To do so, the law eliminated some requirements for naturalisation (such as proving a link to the Portuguese community and minimum subsistence requirements), clarified others (changing ambiguous requirements of moral and social behavior to a requirement of no conviction for a crime carrying a prison sentence of at least three years in Portugal), and reduced some (minimum residency was uniformly lessened to six years).[3]

Double jus soli was introduced, with citizenship automatically extended to individuals with a parent also born in Portuguese territory who resided there at the time of the child's birth.[3] The effect is retroactive.[3]

Citizenship was also made available, by declaration, to individuals born in Portuguese territory to foreign parents if at least one parent had legally resided in Portugal for at least five years.[3][6]

Naturalisation for children was made available to those who had a parent who resided legally in Portugal for at least five years or who completed the first cycle of basic education.[3][6]

Organic Law 9/2015[edit]

This law enabled grandchildren of Portuguese citizens, include those born abroad prior to entry into force, to acquire Portuguese citizenship, if they have verified ties to the Portuguese community, the birth is registered in the Portuguese civil registry, and the grandchild declares the preference for Portuguese nationality.[3]

Organic Law 2/2018[edit]

The 2018 law further expanded a number of the allowances created in the 2006 law.[3]

It reduced the minimum time of a parent's residence in Portugal, while not in foreign government service, from five years to two years for the child born in Portugal to automatically receive citizenship at birth.[3][7] It did the same for a child seeking naturalisation, while also allowing a child's naturalisation if the parent was resident unlawfully.[3][7]

Portuguese nationality regulation[edit]

A number of decrees have been issued by Portuguese governments implementing the terms of the nationality laws. These include Decreto n.º 43090 of 1960,[8] Decreto-Lei n.º 322/82,[9] and Decreto-Lei n.º 237-A/2006 of 2006.[10]

These regulations are amended as needed; the 2006 regulations were amended in 2013, 2015, and 2017.[11]

Portuguese by origin[edit]

Portuguese by origin are:

  • The children of a Portuguese mother or father born in Portuguese territory
  • The children of a Portuguese mother or father born abroad if the Portuguese parent is there serving the Portuguese State;
  • The children of a Portuguese mother or father born abroad if they have their birth registered at the Portuguese civil registry or if they declare that they want to be Portuguese;
  • The persons born in Portuguese territory to foreign parents if at least one of the parents was also born in Portugal and resides here, irrespective of title, at the time of birth;
  • The persons born in Portuguese territory to foreign parents who are not serving their respective State, if they do not declare that they do not want to be Portuguese and provided that one of the parents has resided legally in Portugal or illegally for at least one year at the time of the request (there is no age limit for the registration or declaration and it is retroactive to the time of birth. This right is extensive to the next generation only if the previous one completed it before death. No generations can be skipped);[12]
  • The persons born in Portuguese territory who do not possess another nationality.
  • Persons born abroad with, at least, one Portuguese ancestor in the second degree (grandparent) of the direct line who has not lost this citizenship.

Naturalisation as a Portuguese citizen[edit]

A person aged 18 or over is entitled to be naturalised as a Portuguese citizen after five years of legal residence, subject to a few other conditions. Previously, six years of legal residence were needed. The 2018 decree-law that reduced the requirement to five years was published in the official website of the Portuguese government website.[12] There is a requirement to have sufficient knowledge of the Portuguese language, not to have been convicted of a crime punishable in Portugal by three or more years of imprisonment, and not to pose a threat of terrorism. Children aged under 18 may acquire Portuguese citizenship by declaration when a parent is naturalised, and future children of such Portuguese nationals will be considered Portuguese citizens by birth. Nationality acquired through naturalisation is not transmitted to descendants already adult when their parents' naturalisation is completed.

From 2006 until 2015, a person whose grandparent did not lose Portuguese citizenship was exempt from the residence requirement when applying for naturalisation.[13]

From 29 July 2015, those born outside Portugal who have at least one grandparent of Portuguese nationality are granted Portuguese citizenship by extension immediately (Portuguese Nationality Act 9/2015, Article 1, n. 1, paragraph d). The new registration procedure replaces the previous provision of Article 6, no. 4—according to which a person who was born abroad and is a 2nd generation descendant of a citizen who has not lost his or her citizenship can acquire Portuguese citizenship by naturalisation, without a residence requirement.[14][needs update]

Portuguese citizenship by adoption[edit]

A child adopted by a Portuguese citizen acquires Portuguese citizenship. The child should be under 18. This is broken as you can adopt someone when you are 18 and they are 17 and they get a free EU citizenship

Portuguese citizenship by marriage[edit]

A person married to, or living in a de facto union with, a Portuguese citizen for at least three years may apply to acquire Portuguese citizenship; the foreigner is required to prove sufficient knowledge of the Portuguese language and that there are effective ties with the Portuguese community.[15]

Jewish Law of Return[edit]

An amendment to Portugal's 'Law on Nationality' allows descendants of Portuguese Jews who were expelled in the Portuguese Inquisition to become citizens if they 'belong to a Sephardic community of Portuguese origin with ties to Portugal.'[16] In 2020 there were reports that changes to the Law of Return were proposed which would restrict eligibility for citizenship to people who had lived in Portugal for two years. The restrictions were rejected by the ruling Socialist party and did not become law at the time.[citation needed]

The Portuguese parliament passed legislation facilitating the naturalisation of descendants of 16th-century Jews who fled because of religious persecution. On that day Portugal became the only country besides Israel enforcing a Jewish Law of Return. Two years later, Spain adopted a similar measure.

The motion, which was submitted by the Socialist and Center Right parties, was read on Thursday 11 April 2013 in parliament and approved unanimously on Friday 12 April 2013 as an amendment to Portugal's "Law on Nationality" (Decree-Law n.º 43/2013). Portuguese nationality law was further amended to this effect by Decree-Law n.º 30-A/2015, which came into effect on 1 March 2015.[17]

The amended law allows descendants of Jews who were expelled in the 16th century to become citizens if they "belong to a Sephardic community of Portuguese origin with ties to Portugal," according to José Oulman Carp, president of Lisbon's Jewish community. The website of the World Jewish Congress says that the Jewish Community of Lisbon is the organization that unites local communal groups of Lisbon and its environs, while the Jewish Community of Oporto is the organization that unites local communal groups of Oporto.

Applicants must be able to prove Sephardic surnames in their family tree. Another factor is "the language spoken at home," a reference which also applies to Ladino (Judeo-Portuguese and/or Judeo-Spanish). Furthermore, applicants must be able to prove an "emotional and traditional connection with the former Portuguese Sephardic Community," commonly established through a letter from an orthodox rabbi confirming Jewish heritage.[18] The amendment also says applicants need not reside in Portugal, an exception to the requirement of six years of consecutive residency in Portugal for any applicant for citizenship.

From 2015 several hundred Turkish Jews who were able to prove Sephardi ancestry have immigrated to Portugal and acquired citizenship.[19][20][21] Nearly 1,800 descendants of Sephardic Jews acquired Portuguese nationality in 2017.[22] By February 2018, 12,000 applications were in process, and 1,800 applicants had been granted Portuguese citizenship in 2017.[23] By July 2019 there had been about 33,000 applications, of which about a third had already been granted after a long process of verification.[24] By November 2020 Portugal had granted citizenship to about 23,000 people, about 30% of the roughly 76,000 applications submitted since 2015;[25] the number was stated as 56,685 granted, with 80,102 pending, at the end of January 2022.[26]

After some notorious cases where it was reported that people without a valid claim had been granted citizenship, with falsification of documents and other misdeeds, the Portuguese government on 9 March 2022 implemented a decree-law to increase scrutiny of candidates, who will have to prove an "effective connection with Portugal".[27] Among cases being investigated was that of Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, although it was not expected that changes would be retroactive for people already granted citizenship.[28]

Dual citizenship[edit]

Portugal allows dual citizenship. Hence, Portuguese citizens holding or acquiring a foreign citizenship do not lose Portuguese citizenship. Similarly, those becoming Portuguese citizens do not have to renounce their foreign citizenship.

Citizenship of the European Union[edit]

Because Portugal forms part of the European Union, Portuguese citizens are also citizens of the European Union under European Union law and thus enjoy rights of free movement and have the right to vote in elections for the European Parliament.[29] When in a non-EU country where there is no Portuguese embassy, Portuguese citizens have the right to get consular protection from the embassy of any other EU country present in that country.[30][31] Portuguese citizens can live and work in any country within the EU as a result of the right of free movement and residence granted in Article 21 of the EU Treaty.[32]

Former territories of Portugal[edit]

Special rules exist concerning the acquisition of Portuguese citizenship through connections with Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Portuguese India, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, Macau and São Tomé and Príncipe.

Portugal enacted Decree-Law 308-A/75 of 24 June 1974 to address the issue of losing or retaining Portuguese citizenship by those who had been born or were living in the Portuguese overseas territories which had gained independence. It was assumed that these persons would acquire the citizenship of the new state. The Decree-Law thus merely stipulated that Portuguese citizenship would be retained by those persons who had not been born overseas but were living there. In addition were those who, despite having been born in the territory of the colonies, had maintained a special connection with mainland Portugal by having been long-term residents there. All those not covered by one of the situations which enabled them to keep Portuguese citizenship would lose it ex lege.

Portuguese India[edit]

Formerly known as the Estado da Índia this territory was an integral part of Portugal (as distinct from a colony) under Portugal's Constitution of 1910.

On 19 December 1961 India annexed the territory by military force. The annexation was not recognised by Portugal until 1975, at which time Portugal re-established diplomatic relations with India. The recognition of Indian sovereignty over Portuguese India was backdated to 19 December 1961.

Portuguese nationality law allows those who were Portuguese citizens connected with Portuguese India before 1961 to retain Portuguese nationality. Acquisition of Indian citizenship was determined to be non-voluntary at the time.

One practical obstacle is that the civil records of Portuguese India were abandoned by Portugal during the invasion and hence it can be difficult for descendants of pre-1961 Portuguese citizens from Portuguese India to prove their status.

East Timor[edit]

East Timor was a territory of Portugal (Portuguese Timor) until its invasion by Indonesia in 1975, followed by annexation in 1976. Indonesian citizenship was conferred by Indonesia; however, while the Indonesian annexation was recognised by Australia and some other countries, Portugal did not recognise Indonesian sovereignty over East Timor. As a result, Decree-Law 308-A/75 of 24 June 1974 was not enforced to revoke the Timorese of their Portuguese nationality.

The question of whether East Timorese were entitled to Portuguese citizenship was raised on numerous occasions in the Australian courts in the context of applications for refugee status in Australia by East Timorese. The Australian immigration authorities argued that if East Timorese were Portuguese citizens, they should be expected to seek protection there and not in Australia.[33][34]

In 1999, East Timor no longer remained a territory under Portuguese administration, which meant that children born in East Timor from then on were to be considered born abroad. Under Law 37/81, the attribution of Portuguese citizenship by origin to persons born in East Timor to a Portuguese parent is now dependent upon registration at the Portuguese civil registry or, alternatively, upon declaration of the will to be Portuguese.

Owing to the lack of employment opportunities in their country and the becoming a member of Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries, many East Timorese have taken advantage of Portuguese citizenship to live and work in Portugal and other EU countries.[35]


The former Portuguese territory of Macau became a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China on 20 December 1999.

Portugal had extended its nationality laws to Macau with those born before 1981 acquiring nationality by jus soli and by jus sanguinis after 1981. Many residents of Macau (either of Chinese & Portuguese descent) hold Portuguese citizenship on this basis. It is no longer possible to acquire Portuguese citizenship by connection with Macau before 3 October 1981 and after 20 December 1999 transfer of sovereignty to China, except by birth or association with the territory previous to that date.[36][37]

However, those born after 20 December 1999 to Portuguese from Macau or Macanese that hold Portuguese citizenship, and/or to Chinese who hold Portuguese citizenship, are eligible to the citizenship themselves due to the Portuguese heritage law[38] (Jus Sanguinis), except when born to Chinese and/or Portuguese parents who possess Chinese citizenship after 20 December 1999 or when Chinese and/or Portuguese couple with Portuguese citizenship renounced their nationality by naturalisation after 20 December 1999.

Rights and obligations of Portuguese citizens[edit]

All Portuguese citizens are:

  • able to vote in political elections upon reaching the age of 18.
  • able to run for political office.
  • able to vote in referendums.
  • able to obtain a Portuguese passport.
  • prevented from getting deported from Portugal.

As Portuguese citizens are also European citizens, their rights include:

  • the right to live, work and retire in any member state of the European Union, for unlimited period.
  • the right to vote in local and European elections in other members states.
  • the right to stand in local and European elections in other members states.
  • the right to protection by the diplomatic or consular authorities of other member states when in a non-member state, if there are no diplomatic or consular authorities from the citizen's own state.

More information: Citizenship of the European Union

Travel freedom of Portuguese citizens[edit]

Visa requirements for Portuguese citizens
  Freedom of movement
  Visa not required
  Visa on arrival
  Visa available both on arrival or online
  Visa required prior to arrival

Visa requirements for Portuguese citizens are administrative entry restrictions by the authorities of other states placed on citizens of Portugal. As of October 2021, Portuguese citizens had visa-free or visa on arrival access to 188 countries and territories, ranking the Portuguese passport 5th in terms of travel freedom according to the Henley Passport Index.[39]

The Portuguese nationality is ranked twelfth in Nationality Index (QNI). In addition to external factors including travel freedom, the QNI considers internal factors such as peace and stability, economic strength, and human development.[40]

Recent changes[edit]

As of May 2015, under the newly approved Portuguese Nationality Act (Article 1, n.1, paragraph d) persons born abroad with, at least, one Portuguese ascendant in the second degree of the direct line who has not lost this citizenship, are Portuguese by origin, provided that they declare that they want to be Portuguese, that they have effective ties with the national community and, once these requirements are met, that are only required to register their birth in any Portuguese civil registry.[14]

Portuguese nationality law was amended in 2006[41] based on the proposals of deputy Neves Moreira, member of the Democratic Social Party (PSD): a foreign-born person whose grandparent never lost Portuguese citizenship became able to request naturalisation without the need to document 6 years residence in Portugal.[42]

Because nationality acquired through naturalisation is not the same as nationality acquired through descent, members of the PSD proposed in 2009 another change in the law. This proposal would have given nationality by origin (descent) rather than by naturalisation to the grandchildren of Portuguese citizens but it was rejected.[43] In 2013, members of the PSD tried to pass a similar measure again[44] but due to the political and economic crisis that engulfed the country, no vote was ever taken on the measure.[45]


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  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg Gil, Ana Rita; Piçarra, Nuno (2020). "Report on Citizenship Law: Portugal" (PDF). Global Citizenship Observatory European University Institute. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
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  10. ^ "Regulamento da Nacionalidade Portuguesa [consolidado]". Diário do Governo. 14 December 2006.
  11. ^ Decreto-Lei n.º 237-A/2006 [Alterações], 20 April 2021
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  30. ^ Article 20(2)(c) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
  31. ^ Rights abroad: Right to consular protection: a right to protection by the diplomatic or consular authorities of other Member States when in a non-EU Member State, if there are no diplomatic or consular authorities from the citizen's own state (Article 23): this is due to the fact that not all member states maintain embassies in every country in the world (14 countries have only one embassy from an EU state). Antigua and Barbuda (UK), Barbados (UK), Belize (UK), Central African Republic (France), Comoros (France), Gambia (UK), Guyana (UK), Liberia (Germany), Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (UK), San Marino (Italy), São Tomé and Príncipe (Portugal), Solomon Islands (UK), Timor-Leste (Portugal), Vanuatu (France)
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