General information

Below is some summary information about the granting of Portuguese citizenship to Sepharadim by the government of Portugal.

According to a Portuguese law already in force, the government of Portugal started granting citizenship rights to the descendants of Portuguese Sephardic Jews, including the descendants of Spanish Jews who lived in Portugal after 1492. In October 2015, the Portuguese Ministry of Justice approved the first orders.

The average time it takes, from the moment an application for Portuguese nationality is submitted to the Portuguese government, is approximately eighteen months. It is not necessary for the candidate to go to Portugal personally to obtain Portuguese citizenship.

Portuguese nationality can be granted in the following cases:

  1. For descendants of Portuguese Sephardic Jews who, after leaving Portugal due to religious persecution (1496–1821), maintained ties with "organized communities" typically Portuguese.
  2. To candidates from families who left the Iberian Peninsula (Portugal and Spain) and were later integrated into "sephardic" communities (Turkey, Greece, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Morocco, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Tunisia, Libya, etc.), which were full of marriages involving Jews of Portuguese origin and Jews of Spanish origin. These candidates can obtain the certificate even if they cannot find "portuguese" surnames in your known genealogy.

Requests from Brazilian citizens who claim to be descendants of people condemned by the Inquisition for heresies will not be automatically accepted . Usually, they are not Jews, nor do they have a Sephardic Jewish grandfather.

How to obtain Portuguese nationality and passport

Step 1: Obtain a certificate issued by the Portuguese Jewish community.

The applicant must first obtain a certificate from the Portuguese Jewish Community that attests to its links with the Sephardic Jewish community.

For this, you must provide your personal data, the data of your ancestors and the following documents:

  • Copy of passport;
  • Birth certificate or similar document containing date of birth, place of birth and the names of the applicant's parents;
  • Proof of residence;
  • Supporting documentary evidence for an adequate assessment of the candidate.

The candidate for Portuguese nationality must have at least one Jewish grandfather or grandmother, without whom it is not possible to affirm an emotional and traditional connection with the Portuguese Sephardic community of the past.

Step 2: Apply to the Portuguese government for Portuguese nationality.

Once the applicant has received a certificate from the Portuguese Jewish Community that attests to his ties with a Jewish community of Portuguese origin, it is prudent to seek legal advice in the preparation and presentation of the documents necessary for its application to the Portuguese government.

The request for Portuguese nationality addressed to the Portuguese government by lawyers must be accompanied by the following documents:

  1. Certificate issued by a recognized Jewish community in Portugal, which attests to the recurrent links with a Sephardic Jewish community of Portuguese origin.
  2. Power of attorney granting specific powers to lawyers of the chosen law firm, who will provide the respective Portuguese text.
  3. Recent birth certificate, issued in the last six months, translated and handouted.
  4. Criminal record certificate of the candidate's country of birth and the countries in which he is a citizen, as well as the countries in which the applicant has resided in the last five years, issued in ninety days, translated and certified by the Portuguese consulate of the country of origin of the documents in question.
  5. Portuguese criminal record (which can be obtained by the applicant's lawyers).
  6. Full copy of the applicant's passport authenticated and appended.
  7. Indication of the circumstances that establish the connection to a Portuguese community of Sephardic origin mentioned in the certificate issued by the Jewish community of Portugal.
  8. Specific requirement filled out to request documentation review.

Step 3: Apply for the Portuguese passport.

Once the Portuguese nationality has been granted to the applicant, the secretary of the Portuguese Central Registry will issue the applicant's Portuguese birth certificate. The birth certificate will be sent to the applicant, who must take it to the nearest Portuguese consulate in order to obtain a Portuguese passport.