Frequently asked questions about Portuguese nationality due to Sephardic origin

portada preguntas frecuente nacionalidad portuguesa origen sefardi

In a previous opportunity, we talked about how to obtain the Portuguese nationality by Sephardic origin, we also told you about the laws governing this process, the documents required, and why this decision was made to open the doors to people of Sephardic descent.

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Seeing that the subject can be somewhat complex, we want to make a compilation of frequently asked questions about the Portuguese nationality by Sephardic origin, so that you can clarify all your doubts about this process.

1 Who can apply for Portuguese nationality due to Sephardic origin?

In principle, this application may be submitted by men and women of legal age, who can prove some connection with or descent from the Sephardic Jewish people who were expelled from the Iberian Peninsula between 1492 and 1497.

2 Do I have to renounce my nationality of origin if I want to obtain Portuguese nationality?

In principle, Portugal allows individuals to retain their nationality of origin. This also depends on the laws in force in a country, therefore, it is necessary to consult an expert to know whether or not you should renounce your nationality of origin.

3 Is there a deadline for submitting an application for Portuguese nationality by Sephardic origin?

Decree-Law No. 30-A / 2015, which is the one that establishes the process for acquiring nationality by Sephardic origin, does not specify a deadline for filing the application, i.e., so far, the decree-law does not present an expiration date.

This represents a great benefit for people to prepare themselves, get advice, save money and gather all the necessary documentation to be able to acquire their nationality.

4 Do I have to take a culture or Portuguese language proficiency test?

Unlike Spain’s process, which required individuals to submit a language and culture test from the Cervantes Institute, Portugal’s process does not require the individual to submit a language or culture test.

5 Can a minor apply for Portuguese nationality due to Sephardic origin?

No, Decree-Law No. 30-A / 2015, specifies that only persons of legal age may apply. However, if the parents of the minor acquire their nationality, their children may acquire it through naturalization.

6 Our family consists of several members, can we submit a single application for all members?

No, Decree-Law No. 30-A / 2015, also specifies that an application must be made for each person of legal age interested in acquiring Portuguese nationality by Sephardic origin.

7 How can I certify that I am a descendant of Sephardic Jews?

You must submit a genealogical study performed by a qualified academic, showing that you are indeed a descendant of Sephardic Jews.

You may also submit family documents, such as birth records, marriage death records, lineage documents or witness documents.


8 To whom should I submit documentation of my Sephardic origins?

You must present yourself to the Jewish communities of Lisbon or Oporto, which are qualified by Portugal, to study the documentation and issue a certificate of Sephardic descent.

9 If my last name is of Sephardic Jewish origin, can I apply?

Although there is a list of surnames that are of Sephardic Jewish origin, this does not have full probative value, although it can be used as an argument before the Jewish communities of Lisbon or Oporto.

10 If I acquire Sephardic nationality, can my spouse also acquire Sephardic nationality?

Yes, through the naturalization process, but, for this, you must certify the existence of marriage or affective bond for a certain period of time, and your spouse must show a strong bond with Portugal.

11 Do I have to travel to Portugal to complete the paperwork?

No, this procedure can be carried out by means of a proxy, so that a third party carries out all the procedures in Portugal, which means a saving in transportation costs.

12 How long does it take to obtain Portuguese nationality of Sephardic origin?

It is a slow procedure, which also depends on the number of applications to be reviewed.

It may take 2 to 6 months to obtain the certificate proving that the person is of Sephardic origin.

On the other hand, once the certificate has been acquired, the nationality application process can take between 1 and 1.5 years.

13 What are the benefits of having Portuguese nationality due to my Sephardic origin?

As Portugal is a country belonging to the European Union, a person who obtains Portuguese nationality due to Sephardic origin will enjoy the same benefits (and obligations) as a national of the European Union, including the right to free transit, residence or work in any of the member countries.

14 How much does it cost to apply for Portuguese nationality by origin? Sephardic?

It has the following costs: From €1,200 to €2,400 per applicant. In addition, there are expenses for the certification of the Jewish community (250 euros) and the filing and signing of documents before the Portuguese authority (250 euros).