Portuguese Citizenship

How to get Portuguese citizenship – find out how to get Portuguese nationality so that you can get a Portuguese passport, and the documents required for the application procedure…

There are a number of different ways to acquire Portuguese citizenship; through naturalisation, marriage or birth. There are also special rules for citizens of former Portuguese territories that can help them get Portuguese nationality.

How to get Portuguese Nationality

In general, it is possible to apply for Portuguese nationality through naturalisation if you are legally resident in Portugal and have not been convicted of an offence punishable by three year’s imprisonment or more. The applicant must also speak some Portuguese.

An application for naturalisation can be submitted by anyone over the age of 18; parents of minors must submit the application on their behalf.

In order to qualify for naturalisation, the applicant must have legally resided in Portugal for at least six years. If married to a Portuguese citizen, it is possible to apply for citizenship after three years of marriage.

There are special rules for citizens of former Portuguese territories such as East Timor, Goa and Macau, who can claim citizenship. Conditions apply and it is advisable to seek advice from a Civil Registry Office in Portugal.

Application procedure

Applications for Portuguese citizenship can be filed at Citizens’ Shops (Lojas do Cidadão), a Civil Registry Office (Conservatórias do Registo Civil), at local offices of the IRN - Institute of Registries and Notaries (Instituto dos Registos e do Notariado - IRN), and at Espaço do Registo in Lisbon (Lisbon IRN offices). Contact a Citizens’ Shop for advice on where to start the procedure.

Documents required

In most cases the following documents will be required although additional documents may be requested depending on your personal situation:

  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate (if claiming citizenship through marriage)
  • Proof of identity/passport
  • Criminal records or proof of no criminal record from all countries lived in since the age of 16

All documents in a language other than Portuguese will need to be translated and legalised. Find information from the IRN on the documents required and conditions that may apply.

The naturalisation procedure takes around six months and there is a fee for the procedure.

Portuguese Nationality through Birth or Origin

Children with a Portuguese father or mother acquire Portuguese nationality from birth. Children born in Portugal to foreign parents can claim Portuguese nationality if one of the parents was legally residing in Portugal for at least five years at the time of birth.

If born outside of Portugal, and one of the grandparents is Portuguese, it is possible to claim Portuguese nationality. There is no residency requirement.

Citizens who can prove they are of Sephardic origin can also apply for Portuguese citizenship.

Further Information