For requests for the acquisition of nationality due to the will, such as those provided for in articles 2, 3 and 4 of the Nationality Law, the Portuguese State maintains the possibility of opposing the acquisition based on the four grounds that are listed in article 9.
The first and most frequent ground of opposition is the lack of an effective connection to the national community. In fact, whoever claims Portuguese nationality must, in fact, feel Portuguese and be able to prove this feeling of belonging to the community.
The Nationality Law does not define what this “effective connection” is, nor does it identify the facts that should be considered for its proof, but it establishes the hypotheses in which it can be assumed.
Thus, for applications for nationality by marriage or de facto union with Portuguese citizens – Article 3 – there is no opposition from the Portuguese State when:
- There are common children of the couple with Portuguese nationality;
- When the marriage or de facto union has been going on for at least six years.
Regarding requests for nationality made by minors or incapacitated, the Central Registry Office must assume the existence of an effective connection when the declarant, at the time of the request, legally resides in Portuguese territory in the immediately preceding five years, is registered with the Authority Tax and National Health Service and proves attendance at an educational establishment in Portugal.
Finally, the presumption of this connection is also determined when the applicant, of legal age, meets any of the following requirements:
- Be a natural and national of an official Portuguese-speaking country (PALOP), married or living in de facto union with a Portuguese citizen for at least five years, with an original Portuguese national;
- Is natural or national of an official Portuguese-speaking country (PALOP) and there are children, Portuguese of origin, from the marriage on which the declaration is based;
- Know the Portuguese language sufficiently, as long as you are married or living in de facto union with a Portuguese original for at least five years;
- Resides legally in Portuguese territory in the three years immediately preceding the application, is enrolled in the Tax Authority and the National Health Service and proves school attendance in a teaching establishment in national territory or demonstrates knowledge of the Portuguese language;
- Legally resides in Portuguese territory in the five years immediately before the application, is registered in the Tax Authority and in the National Health Service or in the regional health services.
Despite being difficult to implement, the truth is that the requirement for effective connection has been successively reviewed throughout the various legislative changes, which has allowed for its adaptation and relative flexibility.