Last Friday, January 5, 2024, the Portuguese Parliament voted on the tenth amendment to Law No. 37/81, of October 3, bringing a series of amendments to the Nationality Law.

One of the most significant changes was the elimination of the age restriction for access to nationality by affiliation. We highlight the repeal of Article 14 of that law, which conditioned the effects of nationality to the filiation established during minority. Now, the affiliation established in adulthood also allows obtaining Portuguese nationality, provided that it occurs judicially or is recognized. However, the application for nationality must be made within three years of the final decision.

Regarding the regime of naturalization of descendants of Portuguese Sephardic Jews, although its end has been announced in the past, the new amendments maintain the possibility of granting nationality, provided that they comply with specific requirements, such as demonstrating links with a Sephardic community of Portuguese origin and having resided legally in Portugal for at least three years.

In addition, the law also solidifies the possibility of suspending the process of obtaining Portuguese nationality for applicants subject to restrictive measures by the United Nations or the European Union.

Another relevant change concerns the counting of the period of residence for obtaining nationality by naturalization. Now, in addition to being possible to apply for nationality after residing for at least five years in Portugal from the issuance of the first residence permit, the time since the application for the temporary residence permit will also be considered, provided that the permit “will be granted”.

These changes aim to mitigate the impacts of delays in authorities processing residence applications, which means that someone who is waiting for the approval of their residence, or the issuance of their card will not see this long waiting period “wasted”, as the date on which the residence application was submitted will be the one that will count for the purposes of the nationality application.

Currently, it is still expected that the bill will be ratified by the President of the Republic and consequently published in the “Diário da Republica”.


By Almeida, Dias & Associados – Law Firm

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