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Portuguese Citizenship when residing in Portugal

By Wednesday April 15th, 2020 February 15th, 2021 Direito Internacional, Nacionalidade Portuguesa
Nacionalidade Portuguesa pela Residência

 

Here´s how you can obtain Portuguese Citizenship when residing in Portugal. (Part I)*

Law 2/2018 of 05/07/2018 introduced significant changes to Portuguese Nationality Law. As you might already know, we wrote about this here. As promised then, we now publish a slightly more practical article about the actual requirements for obtaining Portuguese Citizenship when residing in Portugal.

What does the law say?

The current paragraph 1 of article 6 of the Nationality Law now states, that:

1 – The Government grants Portuguese nationality, by naturalization, to the foreign citizens that satisfy the following requirements cumulatively:

  1. a) Be of age or emancipated under Portuguese law;
  2. b) Have been legally residing in Portugal for at least five years;
  3. c) Know the Portuguese language sufficiently;
  4. d) Have not been convicted, with a final sentence of judgment, with a term of imprisonment equal to or greater than three years, punishable by Portuguese law;
  5. e) Do not constitute a danger or threat to national security or defence, for their involvement in activities related to the practice of terrorism, per the respective law.

The said organic law introduced significant changes to the requirements of subparagraphs b) – previously the minimum legal residence time was six years, and (d) – what is now relevant is the actual condemnation with a term of imprisonment and no longer the penal frame of the crime for which it was condemned as explained before here.

So what are the requirements?

Let us see, one by one, how a foreign citizen can apply for Portuguese citizenship when residing in Portugal.

In this article, we take a look at the first two requirements of the law- subparagraphs a) and b),

What are the first two requirements?

The Government grants Portuguese nationality, by naturalization, to foreigners who:

A – Are of age or emancipated under Portuguese law.

Only citizens of age (over 18) who are legally residing in Portugal can obtain citizenship via residency.

The law reserves specificities to grant Portuguese citizenship to underage citizens via naturalization in article 6, which we will revise in later reports.

B – Have resided legally in Portuguese territory for at least five years.

The reduction of the timeline is a direct result of the intention of the legislator to standardize the deadlines provided by the Law in this regard, especially in the Aliens Act, which is, as a rule, five years, thus reducing the period from 6 to 5 years.

We speak of the legal residency permit – that is, the residence permit granted by the Portuguese State by issuing a valid residence authorization certificate, whatever it may be.

But what does it mean “at least five years”?

Well, this was, in fact, perhaps the most substantial amendment to the law regarding this matter.

Article 15 (3) of the Nationality Law now provides that one can apply to Portuguese citizenship when residing in Portugal when they have resided in Portugal for 5 years…. in the last 15 years counting from the request.

So, all periods of legal residence, continuous or interrupted, that add to the amount of five years, within a maximum interval of fifteen years, are counted for Citizenship purposes.

Can you give an example?

A non-EU citizen, had a temporary residence for 1 year from 2005-2006;

Left the country for any reason and did not renew their residency permit;

Came back in 2009. Applied again and a temporary one-year residence permit was granted;

Left the country for any reason and did not renew the residence permit;

Returned back in 2017 and obtained a temporary residence permit again, for one year. Renewed it for 2 more years.

In 2020, they meet the criteria – they can now apply for Portuguese citizenship, provided they hold a valid residence permit at the time of application.

This is because the sum of all these periods amounts to five years. Even while never having had a permanent residence permit. 

What about EU citizens?

EU citizens who are no longer residing in Portugal may also apply immediately for Portuguese citizenship if they were legal residents for five years in the last fifteen, either by proving that:

– in the last 15 years, they have had the right to reside in Portugal for more than three months, and that they have retained that right for 5 years;

– OR that they had this right for certain periods of time that amount to 5 years, even if they have not kept that right for 5 consecutive years (except if that right was lost due to a formal order of removal).

And what do you mean by “legally residing”

Well, it means the applicant had to have the formally approved right to be residing here during those periods, either by being an EU citizen or a third-country national. 

EU Citizens will be eligible when being holders of the temporary residence issued by the City Hall – residence permits issued under the Law 37/2006 of 9 August.

This is the law that regulates the exercise of the right of free movement and residence of citizens from the European Union and their family members in the national territory.

In this case, the residence permit is granted immediately for a period of five years, and permanent residence after five consecutive years of residing in Portugal;

What about non-EU citizens?

As to third-country nationals, they have to be holders of residence permits issued under Law No. 23/2007, of July 4.

This is the law that regulates the legal regime for entry, permanence, departure, and removal from the national territory of foreign nationals of third countries.

In this case, the first temporary residence permit may be granted for periods of 1 or 2 years. Only after 5 consecutive years of legal residence may a permanent residence permit be applied for.

So, what are the differences?

It should be noted that for EU citizens, what is considered to be legal residence is slightly different than for third-country nationals! 

Third-country nationals have to hold now and in the past a valid residence permit issued by SEF.

EU citizens and their family members, on the other hand, may prove legal residence by:

– submitting the certificates from the respective City Council or SEF, under the provisions of articles 14 or 16 of Law 37/2006 of August 9;

– OR, upon presentation of documents proving the right of residence for more than three months or of the right to permanent residence. This is so under the provisions of articles 7 and 9 or 10 and 11 of the same law. That is, that one met the conditions to be entitled to reside in Portugal and that those were maintained during the required five years.

This is still valid to UK citizens after Brexit. We are waiting for a new procedure to be developed so UK citizens that were residing here by 31st December can still exercise their rights. We just don´t know how yet. 

Now that you mention it, what about those who were affected by Brexit?

Well, as discussed here, all British citizens and their family members who are CRUE or permanent residence holders under Law 37/2006 of 9 August, must exchange their residence permit here.

After, they will be able to remain in Portugal legally.

Residence time will be counted as one, so naturally, all periods of residence in Portugal will be taken into consideration for citizenship.

However, it is worth noting that after Brexit, British citizens will now be residents under the withdrawal agreement, and not as European Citizens, and will NOT have the same freedom of movement. Only having European citizenship will grant them that freedom again.

This means they are granted the same rights as third-country nationals with a residence permit in terms of freedom of circulation.

That is to say – are under the 90 / 180 days Schengen area rule when traveling across Europe.

They can no longer just choose to spend more than 3 months anywhere else.

Other benefits were granted when comparing to third-country nationals. Benefits such as maintaining the residence for 5 years without the need for renewal, or not lose the right to residence when not remaining out of the country for more than 6 straight months (another article coming out on this soon).

An additional note would be that having Portuguese Citizenship will not make one lose NHR either.

 

* Updated according to Lei Orgânica n.º 2/2020, de 10/11, and the withdrawal agreement.

 

 

Law 2/2018 of 05/07/2018 introduced significant changes to Portuguese Nationality Law. As you might already know, we wrote about this here. As promised then, we now publish a slightly more practical article about the actual requirements for obtaining Portuguese Citizenship when residing in Portugal.

What does the law say?

The current paragraph 1 of article 6 of the Nationality Law now states, that:

1 – The Government grants Portuguese nationality, by naturalization, to the foreign citizens that satisfy the following requirements cumulatively:

  1. a) Be of age or emancipated under Portuguese law;
  2. b) Have been legally residing in Portugal for at least five years;
  3. c) Know the Portuguese language sufficiently;
  4. d) Have not been convicted, with a final sentence of judgment, with a term of imprisonment equal to or greater than three years, punishable by Portuguese law;
  5. e) Do not constitute a danger or threat to national security or defence, for their involvement in activities related to the practice of terrorism, per the respective law.

The said organic law introduced significant changes to the requirements of subparagraphs b) – previously the minimum legal residence time was six years, and (d) – what is now relevant is the actual condemnation with a term of imprisonment and no longer the penal frame of the crime for which it was condemned as explained before here.

So what are the requirements?

Let us see, one by one, how a foreign citizen can apply for Portuguese citizenship when residing in Portugal.

In this article, we take a look at the first two requirements of the law- subparagraphs a) and b),

What are the first two requirements?

The Government grants Portuguese nationality, by naturalization, to foreigners who:

A – Are of age or emancipated under Portuguese law.

Only citizens of age (over 18) who are legally residing in Portugal can obtain citizenship via residency.

The law reserves specificities to grant Portuguese citizenship to underage citizens via naturalization in article 6, which we will revise in later reports.

B – Have resided legally in Portuguese territory for at least five years.

The reduction of the timeline is a direct result of the intention of the legislator to standardize the deadlines provided by the Law in this regard, especially in the Aliens Act, which is, as a rule, five years, thus reducing the period from 6 to 5 years.

We speak of the legal residency permit – that is, the residence permit granted by the Portuguese State by issuing a valid residence authorization certificate, whatever it may be.

But what does it mean “at least five years”?

Well, this was, in fact, perhaps the most substantial amendment to the law regarding this matter.

Article 15 (3) of the Nationality Law now provides that one can apply to Portuguese citizenship when residing in Portugal when they have resided in Portugal for 5 years…. in the last 15 years counting from the request.

So, all periods of legal residence, continuous or interrupted, that add to the amount of five years, within a maximum interval of fifteen years, are counted for Citizenship purposes.

Can you give an example?

A non-EU citizen, had a temporary residence for 1 year from 2005-2006;

Left the country for any reason and did not renew their residency permit;

Came back in 2009. Applied again and a temporary one-year residence permit was granted;

Left the country for any reason and did not renew the residence permit;

Returned back in 2017 and obtained a temporary residence permit again, for one year. Renewed it for 2 more years.

In 2020, they meet the criteria – they can now apply for Portuguese citizenship, provided they hold a valid residence permit at the time of application.

This is because the sum of all these periods amounts to five years. Even while never having had a permanent residence permit. 

What about EU citizens?

EU citizens who are no longer residing in Portugal may also apply immediately for Portuguese citizenship if they were legal residents for five years in the last fifteen, either by proving that:

– in the last 15 years, they have had the right to reside in Portugal for more than three months, and that they have retained that right for 5 years;

– OR that they had this right for certain periods of time that amount to 5 years, even if they have not kept that right for 5 consecutive years (except if that right was lost due to a formal order of removal).

And what do you mean by “legally residing”

Well, it means the applicant had to have the formally approved right to be residing here during those periods, either by being an EU citizen or a third-country national. 

EU Citizens will be eligible when being holders of the temporary residence issued by the City Hall – residence permits issued under the Law 37/2006 of 9 August.

This is the law that regulates the exercise of the right of free movement and residence of citizens from the European Union and their family members in the national territory.

In this case, the residence permit is granted immediately for a period of five years, and permanent residence after five consecutive years of residing in Portugal;

What about non-EU citizens?

As to third-country nationals, they have to be holders of residence permits issued under Law No. 23/2007, of July 4.

This is the law that regulates the legal regime for entry, permanence, departure, and removal from the national territory of foreign nationals of third countries.

In this case, the first temporary residence permit may be granted for periods of 1 or 2 years. Only after 5 consecutive years of legal residence may a permanent residence permit be applied for.

So, what are the differences?

It should be noted that for EU citizens, what is considered to be legal residence is slightly different than for third-country nationals! 

Third-country nationals have to hold now and in the past a valid residence permit issued by SEF.

EU citizens and their family members, on the other hand, may prove legal residence by:

– submitting the certificates from the respective City Council or SEF, under the provisions of articles 14 or 16 of Law 37/2006 of August 9;

– OR, upon presentation of documents proving the right of residence for more than three months or of the right to permanent residence. This is so under the provisions of articles 7 and 9 or 10 and 11 of the same law. That is, that one met the conditions to be entitled to reside in Portugal and that those were maintained during the required five years.

This is still valid to UK citizens after Brexit. We are waiting for a new procedure to be developed so UK citizens that were residing here by 31st December can still exercise their rights. We just don´t know how yet. 

Now that you mention it, what about those who were affected by Brexit?

Well, as discussed here, all British citizens and their family members who are CRUE or permanent residence holders under Law 37/2006 of 9 August, must exchange their residence permit here.

After, they will be able to remain in Portugal legally.

Residence time will be counted as one, so naturally, all periods of residence in Portugal will be taken into consideration for citizenship.

However, it is worth noting that after Brexit, British citizens will now be residents under the withdrawal agreement, and not as European Citizens, and will NOT have the same freedom of movement. Only having European citizenship will grant them that freedom again.

This means they are granted the same rights as third-country nationals with a residence permit in terms of freedom of circulation.

That is to say – are under the 90 / 180 days Schengen area rule when traveling across Europe.

They can no longer just choose to spend more than 3 months anywhere else.

Other benefits were granted when comparing to third-country nationals. Benefits such as maintaining the residence for 5 years without the need for renewal, or not lose the right to residence when not remaining out of the country for more than 6 straight months (another article coming out on this soon).

An additional note would be that having Portuguese Citizenship will not make one lose NHR either.

 

* Updated according to Lei Orgânica n.º 2/2020, de 10/11, and the withdrawal agreement.

 

Law 2/2018 of 05/07/2018 introduced significant changes to Portuguese Nationality Law. As you might already know, we wrote about this here. As promised then, we now publish a slightly more practical article about the actual requirements for obtaining Portuguese Citizenship when residing in Portugal.

What does the law say?

The current paragraph 1 of article 6 of the Nationality Law now states, that:

1 – The Government grants Portuguese nationality, by naturalization, to the foreign citizens that satisfy the following requirements cumulatively:

  1. a) Be of age or emancipated under Portuguese law;
  2. b) Have been legally residing in Portugal for at least five years;
  3. c) Know the Portuguese language sufficiently;
  4. d) Have not been convicted, with a final sentence of judgment, with a term of imprisonment equal to or greater than three years, punishable by Portuguese law;
  5. e) Do not constitute a danger or threat to national security or defence, for their involvement in activities related to the practice of terrorism, per the respective law.

The said organic law introduced significant changes to the requirements of subparagraphs b) – previously the minimum legal residence time was six years, and (d) – what is now relevant is the actual condemnation with a term of imprisonment and no longer the penal frame of the crime for which it was condemned as explained before here.

So what are the requirements?

Let us see, one by one, how a foreign citizen can apply for Portuguese citizenship when residing in Portugal.

In this article, we take a look at the first two requirements of the law- subparagraphs a) and b),

What are the first two requirements?

The Government grants Portuguese nationality, by naturalization, to foreigners who:

A – Are of age or emancipated under Portuguese law.

Only citizens of age (over 18) who are legally residing in Portugal can obtain citizenship via residency.

The law reserves specificities to grant Portuguese citizenship to underage citizens via naturalization in article 6, which we will revise in later reports.

B – Have resided legally in Portuguese territory for at least five years.

The reduction of the timeline is a direct result of the intention of the legislator to standardize the deadlines provided by the Law in this regard, especially in the Aliens Act, which is, as a rule, five years, thus reducing the period from 6 to 5 years.

We speak of the legal residency permit – that is, the residence permit granted by the Portuguese State by issuing a valid residence authorization certificate, whatever it may be.

But what does it mean “at least five years”?

Well, this was, in fact, perhaps the most substantial amendment to the law regarding this matter.

Article 15 (3) of the Nationality Law now provides that one can apply to Portuguese citizenship when residing in Portugal when they have resided in Portugal for 5 years…. in the last 15 years counting from the request.

So, all periods of legal residence, continuous or interrupted, that add to the amount of five years, within a maximum interval of fifteen years, are counted for Citizenship purposes.

Can you give an example?

A non-EU citizen, had a temporary residence for 1 year from 2005-2006;

Left the country for any reason and did not renew their residency permit;

Came back in 2009. Applied again and a temporary one-year residence permit was granted;

Left the country for any reason and did not renew the residence permit;

Returned back in 2017 and obtained a temporary residence permit again, for one year. Renewed it for 2 more years.

In 2020, they meet the criteria – they can now apply for Portuguese citizenship, provided they hold a valid residence permit at the time of application.

This is because the sum of all these periods amounts to five years. Even while never having had a permanent residence permit. 

What about EU citizens?

EU citizens who are no longer residing in Portugal may also apply immediately for Portuguese citizenship if they were legal residents for five years in the last fifteen, either by proving that:

– in the last 15 years, they have had the right to reside in Portugal for more than three months, and that they have retained that right for 5 years;

– OR that they had this right for certain periods of time that amount to 5 years, even if they have not kept that right for 5 consecutive years (except if that right was lost due to a formal order of removal).

And what do you mean by “legally residing”

Well, it means the applicant had to have the formally approved right to be residing here during those periods, either by being an EU citizen or a third-country national. 

EU Citizens will be eligible when being holders of the temporary residence issued by the City Hall – residence permits issued under the Law 37/2006 of 9 August.

This is the law that regulates the exercise of the right of free movement and residence of citizens from the European Union and their family members in the national territory.

In this case, the residence permit is granted immediately for a period of five years, and permanent residence after five consecutive years of residing in Portugal;

What about non-EU citizens?

As to third-country nationals, they have to be holders of residence permits issued under Law No. 23/2007, of July 4.

This is the law that regulates the legal regime for entry, permanence, departure, and removal from the national territory of foreign nationals of third countries.

In this case, the first temporary residence permit may be granted for periods of 1 or 2 years. Only after 5 consecutive years of legal residence may a permanent residence permit be applied for.

So, what are the differences?

It should be noted that for EU citizens, what is considered to be legal residence is slightly different than for third-country nationals! 

Third-country nationals have to hold now and in the past a valid residence permit issued by SEF.

EU citizens and their family members, on the other hand, may prove legal residence by:

– submitting the certificates from the respective City Council or SEF, under the provisions of articles 14 or 16 of Law 37/2006 of August 9;

– OR, upon presentation of documents proving the right of residence for more than three months or of the right to permanent residence. This is so under the provisions of articles 7 and 9 or 10 and 11 of the same law. That is, that one met the conditions to be entitled to reside in Portugal and that those were maintained during the required five years.

This is still valid to UK citizens after Brexit. We are waiting for a new procedure to be developed so UK citizens that were residing here by 31st December can still exercise their rights. We just don´t know how yet. 

Now that you mention it, what about those who were affected by Brexit?

Well, as discussed here, all British citizens and their family members who are CRUE or permanent residence holders under Law 37/2006 of 9 August, must exchange their residence permit here.

After, they will be able to remain in Portugal legally.

Residence time will be counted as one, so naturally, all periods of residence in Portugal will be taken into consideration for citizenship.

However, it is worth noting that after Brexit, British citizens will now be residents under the withdrawal agreement, and not as European Citizens, and will NOT have the same freedom of movement. Only having European citizenship will grant them that freedom again.

This means they are granted the same rights as third-country nationals with a residence permit in terms of freedom of circulation.

That is to say – are under the 90 / 180 days Schengen area rule when traveling across Europe.

They can no longer just choose to spend more than 3 months anywhere else.

Other benefits were granted when comparing to third-country nationals. Benefits such as maintaining the residence for 5 years without the need for renewal, or not lose the right to residence when not remaining out of the country for more than 6 straight months (another article coming out on this soon).

An additional note would be that having Portuguese Citizenship will not make one lose NHR either.

 

* Updated according to Lei Orgânica n.º 2/2020, de 10/11, and the withdrawal agreement.

 

 

Here´s how you can obtain Portuguese Citizenship when residing in Portugal. (Part I)*

 

Law 2/2018 of 05/07/2018 introduced significant changes to Portuguese Nationality Law. As you might already know, we wrote about this here. As promised then, we now publish a slightly more practical article about the actual requirements for obtaining Portuguese Citizenship when residing in Portugal.

What does the law say?

The current paragraph 1 of article 6 of the Nationality Law now states, that:

1 – The Government grants Portuguese nationality, by naturalization, to the foreign citizens that satisfy the following requirements cumulatively:

  1. a) Be of age or emancipated under Portuguese law;
  2. b) Have been legally residing in Portugal for at least five years;
  3. c) Know the Portuguese language sufficiently;
  4. d) Have not been convicted, with a final sentence of judgment, with a term of imprisonment equal to or greater than three years, punishable by Portuguese law;
  5. e) Do not constitute a danger or threat to national security or defence, for their involvement in activities related to the practice of terrorism, per the respective law.

The said organic law introduced significant changes to the requirements of subparagraphs b) – previously the minimum legal residence time was six years, and (d) – what is now relevant is the actual condemnation with a term of imprisonment and no longer the penal frame of the crime for which it was condemned as explained before here.

So what are the requirements?

Let us see, one by one, how a foreign citizen can apply for Portuguese citizenship when residing in Portugal.

In this article, we take a look at the first two requirements of the law- subparagraphs a) and b),

What are the first two requirements?

The Government grants Portuguese nationality, by naturalization, to foreigners who:

A – Are of age or emancipated under Portuguese law.

Only citizens of age (over 18) who are legally residing in Portugal can obtain citizenship via residency.

The law reserves specificities to grant Portuguese citizenship to underage citizens via naturalization in article 6, which we will revise in later reports.

B – Have resided legally in Portuguese territory for at least five years.

The reduction of the timeline is a direct result of the intention of the legislator to standardize the deadlines provided by the Law in this regard, especially in the Aliens Act, which is, as a rule, five years, thus reducing the period from 6 to 5 years.

We speak of the legal residency permit – that is, the residence permit granted by the Portuguese State by issuing a valid residence authorization certificate, whatever it may be.

But what does it mean “at least five years”?

Well, this was, in fact, perhaps the most substantial amendment to the law regarding this matter.

Article 15 (3) of the Nationality Law now provides that one can apply to Portuguese citizenship when residing in Portugal when they have resided in Portugal for 5 years…. in the last 15 years counting from the request.

So, all periods of legal residence, continuous or interrupted, that add to the amount of five years, within a maximum interval of fifteen years, are counted for Citizenship purposes.

Can you give an example?

A non-EU citizen, had a temporary residence for 1 year from 2005-2006;

Left the country for any reason and did not renew their residency permit;

Came back in 2009. Applied again and a temporary one-year residence permit was granted;

Left the country for any reason and did not renew the residence permit;

Returned back in 2017 and obtained a temporary residence permit again, for one year. Renewed it for 2 more years.

In 2020, they meet the criteria – they can now apply for Portuguese citizenship, provided they hold a valid residence permit at the time of application.

This is because the sum of all these periods amounts to five years. Even while never having had a permanent residence permit. 

What about EU citizens?

EU citizens who are no longer residing in Portugal may also apply immediately for Portuguese citizenship if they were legal residents for five years in the last fifteen, either by proving that:

– in the last 15 years, they have had the right to reside in Portugal for more than three months, and that they have retained that right for 5 years;

– OR that they had this right for certain periods of time that amount to 5 years, even if they have not kept that right for 5 consecutive years (except if that right was lost due to a formal order of removal).

And what do you mean by “legally residing”

Well, it means the applicant had to have the formally approved right to be residing here during those periods, either by being an EU citizen or a third-country national. 

EU Citizens will be eligible when being holders of the temporary residence issued by the City Hall – residence permits issued under the Law 37/2006 of 9 August.

This is the law that regulates the exercise of the right of free movement and residence of citizens from the European Union and their family members in the national territory.

In this case, the residence permit is granted immediately for a period of five years, and permanent residence after five consecutive years of residing in Portugal;

What about non-EU citizens?

As to third-country nationals, they have to be holders of residence permits issued under Law No. 23/2007, of July 4.

This is the law that regulates the legal regime for entry, permanence, departure, and removal from the national territory of foreign nationals of third countries.

In this case, the first temporary residence permit may be granted for periods of 1 or 2 years. Only after 5 consecutive years of legal residence may a permanent residence permit be applied for.

So, what are the differences?

It should be noted that for EU citizens, what is considered to be legal residence is slightly different than for third-country nationals! 

Third-country nationals have to hold now and in the past a valid residence permit issued by SEF.

EU citizens and their family members, on the other hand, may prove legal residence by:

– submitting the certificates from the respective City Council or SEF, under the provisions of articles 14 or 16 of Law 37/2006 of August 9;

– OR, upon presentation of documents proving the right of residence for more than three months or of the right to permanent residence. This is so under the provisions of articles 7 and 9 or 10 and 11 of the same law. That is, that one met the conditions to be entitled to reside in Portugal and that those were maintained during the required five years.

This is still valid to UK citizens after Brexit. We are waiting for a new procedure to be developed so UK citizens that were residing here by 31st December can still exercise their rights. We just don´t know how yet. 

Now that you mention it, what about those who were affected by Brexit?

Well, as discussed here, all British citizens and their family members who are CRUE or permanent residence holders under Law 37/2006 of 9 August, must exchange their residence permit here.

After, they will be able to remain in Portugal legally.

Residence time will be counted as one, so naturally, all periods of residence in Portugal will be taken into consideration for citizenship.

However, it is worth noting that after Brexit, British citizens will now be residents under the withdrawal agreement, and not as European Citizens, and will NOT have the same freedom of movement. Only having European citizenship will grant them that freedom again.

This means they are granted the same rights as third-country nationals with a residence permit in terms of freedom of circulation.

That is to say – are under the 90 / 180 days Schengen area rule when traveling across Europe.

They can no longer just choose to spend more than 3 months anywhere else.

Other benefits were granted when comparing to third-country nationals. Benefits such as maintaining the residence for 5 years without the need for renewal, or not lose the right to residence when not remaining out of the country for more than 6 straight months (another article coming out on this soon).

An additional note would be that having Portuguese Citizenship will not make one lose NHR either.

 

* Updated according to Lei Orgânica n.º 2/2020, de 10/11, and the withdrawal agreement.

 

 

Law 2/2018 of 05/07/2018 introduced significant changes to Portuguese Nationality Law. As you might already know, we wrote about this here. As promised then, we now publish a slightly more practical article about the actual requirements for obtaining Portuguese Citizenship when residing in Portugal.

What does the law say?

The current paragraph 1 of article 6 of the Nationality Law now states, that:

1 – The Government grants Portuguese nationality, by naturalization, to the foreign citizens that satisfy the following requirements cumulatively:

  1. a) Be of age or emancipated under Portuguese law;
  2. b) Have been legally residing in Portugal for at least five years;
  3. c) Know the Portuguese language sufficiently;
  4. d) Have not been convicted, with a final sentence of judgment, with a term of imprisonment equal to or greater than three years, punishable by Portuguese law;
  5. e) Do not constitute a danger or threat to national security or defence, for their involvement in activities related to the practice of terrorism, per the respective law.

The said organic law introduced significant changes to the requirements of subparagraphs b) – previously the minimum legal residence time was six years, and (d) – what is now relevant is the actual condemnation with a term of imprisonment and no longer the penal frame of the crime for which it was condemned as explained before here.

So what are the requirements?

Let us see, one by one, how a foreign citizen can apply for Portuguese citizenship when residing in Portugal.

In this article, we take a look at the first two requirements of the law- subparagraphs a) and b),

What are the first two requirements?

The Government grants Portuguese nationality, by naturalization, to foreigners who:

A – Are of age or emancipated under Portuguese law.

Only citizens of age (over 18) who are legally residing in Portugal can obtain citizenship via residency.

The law reserves specificities to grant Portuguese citizenship to underage citizens via naturalization in article 6, which we will revise in later reports.

B – Have resided legally in Portuguese territory for at least five years.

The reduction of the timeline is a direct result of the intention of the legislator to standardize the deadlines provided by the Law in this regard, especially in the Aliens Act, which is, as a rule, five years, thus reducing the period from 6 to 5 years.

We speak of the legal residency permit – that is, the residence permit granted by the Portuguese State by issuing a valid residence authorization certificate, whatever it may be.

But what does it mean “at least five years”?

Well, this was, in fact, perhaps the most substantial amendment to the law regarding this matter.

Article 15 (3) of the Nationality Law now provides that one can apply to Portuguese citizenship when residing in Portugal when they have resided in Portugal for 5 years…. in the last 15 years counting from the request.

So, all periods of legal residence, continuous or interrupted, that add to the amount of five years, within a maximum interval of fifteen years, are counted for Citizenship purposes.

Can you give an example?

A non-EU citizen, had a temporary residence for 1 year from 2005-2006;

Left the country for any reason and did not renew their residency permit;

Came back in 2009. Applied again and a temporary one-year residence permit was granted;

Left the country for any reason and did not renew the residence permit;

Returned back in 2017 and obtained a temporary residence permit again, for one year. Renewed it for 2 more years.

In 2020, they meet the criteria – they can now apply for Portuguese citizenship, provided they hold a valid residence permit at the time of application.

This is because the sum of all these periods amounts to five years. Even while never having had a permanent residence permit. 

What about EU citizens?

EU citizens who are no longer residing in Portugal may also apply immediately for Portuguese citizenship if they were legal residents for five years in the last fifteen, either by proving that:

– in the last 15 years, they have had the right to reside in Portugal for more than three months, and that they have retained that right for 5 years;

– OR that they had this right for certain periods of time that amount to 5 years, even if they have not kept that right for 5 consecutive years (except if that right was lost due to a formal order of removal).

And what do you mean by “legally residing”

Well, it means the applicant had to have the formally approved right to be residing here during those periods, either by being an EU citizen or a third-country national. 

EU Citizens will be eligible when being holders of the temporary residence issued by the City Hall – residence permits issued under the Law 37/2006 of 9 August.

This is the law that regulates the exercise of the right of free movement and residence of citizens from the European Union and their family members in the national territory.

In this case, the residence permit is granted immediately for a period of five years, and permanent residence after five consecutive years of residing in Portugal;

What about non-EU citizens?

As to third-country nationals, they have to be holders of residence permits issued under Law No. 23/2007, of July 4.

This is the law that regulates the legal regime for entry, permanence, departure, and removal from the national territory of foreign nationals of third countries.

In this case, the first temporary residence permit may be granted for periods of 1 or 2 years. Only after 5 consecutive years of legal residence may a permanent residence permit be applied for.

So, what are the differences?

It should be noted that for EU citizens, what is considered to be legal residence is slightly different than for third-country nationals! 

Third-country nationals have to hold now and in the past a valid residence permit issued by SEF.

EU citizens and their family members, on the other hand, may prove legal residence by:

– submitting the certificates from the respective City Council or SEF, under the provisions of articles 14 or 16 of Law 37/2006 of August 9;

– OR, upon presentation of documents proving the right of residence for more than three months or of the right to permanent residence. This is so under the provisions of articles 7 and 9 or 10 and 11 of the same law. That is, that one met the conditions to be entitled to reside in Portugal and that those were maintained during the required five years.

This is still valid to UK citizens after Brexit. We are waiting for a new procedure to be developed so UK citizens that were residing here by 31st December can still exercise their rights. We just don´t know how yet. 

Now that you mention it, what about those who were affected by Brexit?

Well, as discussed here, all British citizens and their family members who are CRUE or permanent residence holders under Law 37/2006 of 9 August, must exchange their residence permit here.

After, they will be able to remain in Portugal legally.

Residence time will be counted as one, so naturally, all periods of residence in Portugal will be taken into consideration for citizenship.

However, it is worth noting that after Brexit, British citizens will now be residents under the withdrawal agreement, and not as European Citizens, and will NOT have the same freedom of movement. Only having European citizenship will grant them that freedom again.

This means they are granted the same rights as third-country nationals with a residence permit in terms of freedom of circulation.

That is to say – are under the 90 / 180 days Schengen area rule when traveling across Europe.

They can no longer just choose to spend more than 3 months anywhere else.

Other benefits were granted when comparing to third-country nationals. Benefits such as maintaining the residence for 5 years without the need for renewal, or not lose the right to residence when not remaining out of the country for more than 6 straight months (another article coming out on this soon).

An additional note would be that having Portuguese Citizenship will not make one lose NHR either.

 

* Updated according to Lei Orgânica n.º 2/2020, de 10/11, and the withdrawal agreement.

 

 

Here´s how you can obtain Portuguese Citizenship when residing in Portugal. (Part I)*

 

Law 2/2018 of 05/07/2018 introduced significant changes to Portuguese Nationality Law. As you might already know, we wrote about this here. As promised then, we now publish a slightly more practical article about the actual requirements for obtaining Portuguese Citizenship when residing in Portugal.

What does the law say?

The current paragraph 1 of article 6 of the Nationality Law now states, that:

1 – The Government grants Portuguese nationality, by naturalization, to the foreign citizens that satisfy the following requirements cumulatively:

  1. a) Be of age or emancipated under Portuguese law;
  2. b) Have been legally residing in Portugal for at least five years;
  3. c) Know the Portuguese language sufficiently;
  4. d) Have not been convicted, with a final sentence of judgment, with a term of imprisonment equal to or greater than three years, punishable by Portuguese law;
  5. e) Do not constitute a danger or threat to national security or defence, for their involvement in activities related to the practice of terrorism, per the respective law.

The said organic law introduced significant changes to the requirements of subparagraphs b) – previously the minimum legal residence time was six years, and (d) – what is now relevant is the actual condemnation with a term of imprisonment and no longer the penal frame of the crime for which it was condemned as explained before here.

So what are the requirements?

Let us see, one by one, how a foreign citizen can apply for Portuguese citizenship when residing in Portugal.

In this article, we take a look at the first two requirements of the law- subparagraphs a) and b),

What are the first two requirements?

The Government grants Portuguese nationality, by naturalization, to foreigners who:

A – Are of age or emancipated under Portuguese law.

Only citizens of age (over 18) who are legally residing in Portugal can obtain citizenship via residency.

The law reserves specificities to grant Portuguese citizenship to underage citizens via naturalization in article 6, which we will revise in later reports.

B – Have resided legally in Portuguese territory for at least five years.

The reduction of the timeline is a direct result of the intention of the legislator to standardize the deadlines provided by the Law in this regard, especially in the Aliens Act, which is, as a rule, five years, thus reducing the period from 6 to 5 years.

We speak of the legal residency permit – that is, the residence permit granted by the Portuguese State by issuing a valid residence authorization certificate, whatever it may be.

But what does it mean “at least five years”?

Well, this was, in fact, perhaps the most substantial amendment to the law regarding this matter.

Article 15 (3) of the Nationality Law now provides that one can apply to Portuguese citizenship when residing in Portugal when they have resided in Portugal for 5 years…. in the last 15 years counting from the request.

So, all periods of legal residence, continuous or interrupted, that add to the amount of five years, within a maximum interval of fifteen years, are counted for Citizenship purposes.

Can you give an example?

A non-EU citizen, had a temporary residence for 1 year from 2005-2006;

Left the country for any reason and did not renew their residency permit;

Came back in 2009. Applied again and a temporary one-year residence permit was granted;

Left the country for any reason and did not renew the residence permit;

Returned back in 2017 and obtained a temporary residence permit again, for one year. Renewed it for 2 more years.

In 2020, they meet the criteria – they can now apply for Portuguese citizenship, provided they hold a valid residence permit at the time of application.

This is because the sum of all these periods amounts to five years. Even while never having had a permanent residence permit. 

What about EU citizens?

EU citizens who are no longer residing in Portugal may also apply immediately for Portuguese citizenship if they were legal residents for five years in the last fifteen, either by proving that:

– in the last 15 years, they have had the right to reside in Portugal for more than three months, and that they have retained that right for 5 years;

– OR that they had this right for certain periods of time that amount to 5 years, even if they have not kept that right for 5 consecutive years (except if that right was lost due to a formal order of removal).

And what do you mean by “legally residing”

Well, it means the applicant had to have the formally approved right to be residing here during those periods, either by being an EU citizen or a third-country national. 

EU Citizens will be eligible when being holders of the temporary residence issued by the City Hall – residence permits issued under the Law 37/2006 of 9 August.

This is the law that regulates the exercise of the right of free movement and residence of citizens from the European Union and their family members in the national territory.

In this case, the residence permit is granted immediately for a period of five years, and permanent residence after five consecutive years of residing in Portugal;

What about non-EU citizens?

As to third-country nationals, they have to be holders of residence permits issued under Law No. 23/2007, of July 4.

This is the law that regulates the legal regime for entry, permanence, departure, and removal from the national territory of foreign nationals of third countries.

In this case, the first temporary residence permit may be granted for periods of 1 or 2 years. Only after 5 consecutive years of legal residence may a permanent residence permit be applied for.

So, what are the differences?

It should be noted that for EU citizens, what is considered to be legal residence is slightly different than for third-country nationals! 

Third-country nationals have to hold now and in the past a valid residence permit issued by SEF.

EU citizens and their family members, on the other hand, may prove legal residence by:

– submitting the certificates from the respective City Council or SEF, under the provisions of articles 14 or 16 of Law 37/2006 of August 9;

– OR, upon presentation of documents proving the right of residence for more than three months or of the right to permanent residence. This is so under the provisions of articles 7 and 9 or 10 and 11 of the same law. That is, that one met the conditions to be entitled to reside in Portugal and that those were maintained during the required five years.

This is still valid to UK citizens after Brexit. We are waiting for a new procedure to be developed so UK citizens that were residing here by 31st December can still exercise their rights. We just don´t know how yet. 

Now that you mention it, what about those who were affected by Brexit?

Well, as discussed here, all British citizens and their family members who are CRUE or permanent residence holders under Law 37/2006 of 9 August, must exchange their residence permit here.

After, they will be able to remain in Portugal legally.

Residence time will be counted as one, so naturally, all periods of residence in Portugal will be taken into consideration for citizenship.

However, it is worth noting that after Brexit, British citizens will now be residents under the withdrawal agreement, and not as European Citizens, and will NOT have the same freedom of movement. Only having European citizenship will grant them that freedom again.

This means they are granted the same rights as third-country nationals with a residence permit in terms of freedom of circulation.

That is to say – are under the 90 / 180 days Schengen area rule when traveling across Europe.

They can no longer just choose to spend more than 3 months anywhere else.

Other benefits were granted when comparing to third-country nationals. Benefits such as maintaining the residence for 5 years without the need for renewal, or not lose the right to residence when not remaining out of the country for more than 6 straight months (another article coming out on this soon).

An additional note would be that having Portuguese Citizenship will not make one lose NHR either.

 

* Updated according to Lei Orgânica n.º 2/2020, de 10/11, and the withdrawal agreement.