Portuguese Parliament approves changes to the Nationality Law

On January 5th, 2024, Portuguese Parliament approved amendments to the Portuguese Nationality Law in a final overall vote.

In an initiative by the Socialist Party, which received votes in support from the PS, IL, BE, PAN and Livre, there were some important changes to Nationality Law approved.

The naturalization of descendants of Sephardic Jews now include validation of the connection to Portugal by an evaluation commission and the need to reside in Portugal for three years.

According to the approved initiative, the “certification of the demonstration of a tradition of belonging to a Sephardic community of Portuguese origin based on proven objective requirements of connection to Portugal (…) is subject to final approval by an evaluation commission appointed by the member of the government responsible for the area of Justice”.

Among the changes is also the suspension of the procedure for acquiring nationality while the applicant is the target of “restrictive measures approved by the United Nations or the European Union”.

Thus, the government will now be able to grant nationality to descendants of Sephardic Jews who demonstrate a tradition of belonging to a Sephardic community of Portuguese origin, based on proven objective requirements of connection to Portugal, namely surnames, family language, direct or collateral descent” and who have resided in Portugal for at least three years.

Another long-awaited change was the proposal by the PSD and IL, who saw their proposals for the elimination of age in access to nationality through filiation being approved.

Until this change, citizenship could only be obtained if filiation was recognized up to the age of 18. The legislative amendment now allows children of Portuguese nationals to obtain nationality, even if filiation is established after 18th birthday, provided that the determination of filiation occurs as the result of a judicial process or when it is recognized in a judicial action. The attribution of nationality must be requested within three years counting from when the verdict has become final.