New Rules for Portuguese Citizenship: Simplifying the Path for Applicants

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New Rules for Portuguese Citizenship


Electronic Submission and New Citizenship Law Amendments

On November 10th, 2023, a pivotal step was taken to modernize the Portuguese nationality process. With the publication of Ministerial Order No. 344/2023, the Portuguese Government introduced mandatory electronic submission for nationality applications, a move poised to significantly streamline the process for applicants and legal professionals alike.


The Dawn of Digital Applications

Beginning December 1st, 2023, lawyers and solicitors gained exclusive rights to submit nationality processes online, marking a significant shift towards digitalization. This approach mandates the use of a digital certificate provided by Professional Organisations, ensuring secure and restricted access to the submission platform. This digital leap forward promises enhanced communication between parties, safeguarding notification deadlines and expediting document submissions—areas previously mired in delays.


Benefits of Electronic Submission

The electronic submission system is designed not only for efficiency but also for accuracy. A preliminary analysis of documents is now conducted online, reducing the overall time needed for document review and procedure completion. This optimization can cut down processing times, previously up to ten times longer than legally mandated periods.


Pathways to Acquiring Portuguese Nationality

Portugal offers multiple avenues for acquiring nationality, catering to diverse applicant backgrounds, namely:


Recent Legal Amendments and Their Implications

Noteworthy legal adjustments include:

  • Children of Foreigners Born in Portugal: Now, children of legally residing foreigners can acquire Portuguese nationality, provided the residency is proven at the time of the child’s birth registration.
  • Citizenship Through Marriage or Partnership: The celebrated union must be recognized under Portuguese law, with applicants needing to demonstrate a genuine connection to the Portuguese community.


The Impact of Citizenship Law Amendment

A significant amendment was approved, addressing delays in processing residency authorizations. It introduces a provision that considers the elapsed time from the temporary residence title application towards the five-year residency requirement for citizenship, acknowledging the time effectively spent waiting for application processing.



Looking Ahead: Enhanced Access and Efficiency trough the New Rules for Portuguese Citizenship

These reforms underscore Portugal’s commitment to simplifying the nationality process and accommodating the diverse needs of its residents. The move towards digital submissions and the recent legal amendments aim to make the path to Portuguese citizenship more accessible and efficient, reinforcing the country’s welcoming stance towards international residents.

For those navigating the intricacies of Portuguese nationality and citizenship, staying informed of these changes is crucial. Whether through descent, birth, marriage, or long-term residency, the streamlined process and legal clarifications offer a clearer route to calling Portugal home.


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Maria Francisca Abreu