For individuals seeking the invaluable advantages of a second citizenship, Portuguese citizenship stands as a remarkable privilege. Moreover, it not only bestows upon you the strength of a Portuguese passport but also offers a myriad of benefits. These include the freedom to travel and reside seamlessly within the European Union.

The avenues to acquire Portuguese citizenship are diverse. Within this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the array of possibilities available to make this aspiration a reality. Whether you’re interested in pursuing economic opportunities, cultural immersion, or simply enhancing your global mobility, the path to Portuguese citizenship offers an enticing array of opportunities. Moreover, the process is designed to be accessible and accommodating to individuals from various backgrounds and circumstances.

Portuguese Citizenship or Permanent Residence in Portugal?

Citizenship in Portugal presents an alternative to permanent residence. Although there are similarities between the two, obtaining Portuguese citizenship offers additional advantages, including the right to participate in all elections and the entitlement to a Portuguese passport and citizen card (referred to as “bilhete de identidade” in Portuguese). 

Nevertheless, the process of becoming a citizen can more challenging, potentially necessitating the renunciation of your current citizenship if your home country doesn’t permit dual nationality. Depending on your eligibility, you may also need to meet a residency requirement, which can extend up to five years when following the naturalization pathway.

Check out our article about Portuguese Citizenship and Permanent Residency.

Portugal Golden Visa Investment Funds

Benefits of Portuguese Citizenship

Portuguese nationality grants you numerous benefits and rights.

Freedom to Live and Work

 Portuguese citizenship grants you the valuable freedom to choose Portugal as your place of residence and employment, as well as providing the unique opportunity to work in any European Union (EU) country without the necessity of additional visas or work permits. This freedom enables a flexible and diverse lifestyle within the EU.

Access to Social Services

As a Portuguese citizen, you gain access to Portugal’s comprehensive social services. This includes quality healthcare, education, and social welfare programs, ensuring that you and your family can enjoy a high standard of living and security.

Right to Vote

Portuguese citizenship comes with the right to participate in national and EU elections. Your voice matters, and this privilege allows you to influence political decisions and policies both in Portugal and the broader EU, contributing to the democratic process.

Visa-Free Travels

A Portuguese passport is your key to visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to numerous countries across the globe. This convenience provides you with greater travel freedom, whether for business, leisure, or personal exploration, making the world more accessible.

Strong Portuguese Passport

Holding a Portuguese passport is a symbol of global mobility and respect. It’s among the most powerful passports worldwide, granting you the ease of international travel. The strength of this passport simplifies travel arrangements and offers peace of mind when crossing borders.

Economic Opportunities

Acquiring Portuguese citizenship opens doors to a world of economic opportunities. Portugal’s EU membership, along with its economic stability and growth potential, allows citizens to engage in business ownership, investments, and entrepreneurial ventures, fostering financial growth and prosperity.

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How to Get Portuguese Citizenship?

Eligibility for Portuguese citizenship can establish through various pathways, with each criterion designed to accommodate specific circumstances and conditions:

  1. Portuguese Citizenship by descent or birth 
  2. Portuguese Citizenship by naturalization (after five years of residence) 
  3. Portuguese Citizenship by marriage 
  4. Portuguese Citizenship by resident of former Portuguese territories 
  5. Portuguese Citizenship by Sephardic Jewish ancestry

1. Portuguese Citizenship by Descent or Birth

Portuguese citizenship may be grantee to individuals with Portuguese ancestry or those born to Portuguese parents. This form of citizenship acquisition root in the principle of jus sanguinis (right of blood).

To qualify, one of the following conditions must be met by you:

  • If you have one Portuguese parent who held Portuguese nationality at the moment of your birth, regardless of your place of birth.
  • If you possess a Portuguese grandparent who maintain their nationality, provided that you have reside in Portugal for a minimum of three years and are engaged with the Portuguese community, which includes proficiency in the Portuguese language.
  • If you were born in Portugal to foreign parents, and at least one of them had been residing in Portugal for a minimum of five years.
  • In case you were born in Portugal to foreign parents, are 18 years old or older, and have been residing in Portugal for five years.
  • For individuals under 18 years of age or those with a significant disability, you meet the criteria if at least one of your parents became a Portuguese national after your birth, as long as you have been living in Portugal for at least five years.
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2. Portuguese Citizenship by Naturalization after Five Years of Residence

Foreign nationals who have lived in Portugal for at least five years can initiate the path to Portuguese citizenship through the naturalization process. It is important to note that before attaining permanent residency status, foreigners must commence with a temporary residency visa, initially valid for two years and renewable for an additional three years. 

You can choose from various visa options, including the investment visa, commonly known as the Portugal Golden Visa, or opt for the D7 or D2 Visa. Upon completing five years of maintaining a temporary residency permit, individuals become eligible to apply for permanent residency or citizenship. Conversely, if you are an EU member, you can legally reside in Portugal without the need for a visa and pursue citizenship after completing five years of residency.

Portuguese Citizenship by Investment

The Portugal Golden Visa program in Portugal, also known as the Residence Permit Program, is an investment immigration program that grants residency and citizenship rights to foreign investors who make a significant economic contribution to the country.  Here you can find the most popular Golden visa investment options:

  • Investment funds: Contribution of €500,000 or higher, for the acquisition of units of investment funds or venture capital fund of funds under the Portuguese legislation.
  • Business Investment: Minimum investment of €500,000 for constitution of a company in Portugal, combined with the creation of five permanent working jobs, or for the reinforcement of the share capital of a already existing company.
  • Scientific research: Capital transfer with a value equal to or above €500,000 for investing in research activities conducted by public or private scientific research institutions involved in the national scientific or technologic system.
  • Cultural heritage contribution: Donation of a minimum of €250,000 for investing in artistic output or supporting the arts, for reconstruction or refurbishment of the national heritage.
  • Job Creation: Incorporating a company and creation of at least, ten jobs positions.

Portuguese Citizenship by D7 Visa

Portugal D7 Visa, which is perfect for retirees or those with passive income. This visa requires proof of regular income or savings, and the ability to support yourself without working in Portugal. 

Portuguese Citizenship by D8 Visa

Digital Nomad Visa Portugal, for remote workers and freelancers allow them to live and work in the country while working remotely from Portugal., enjoying all the benefits of the Portuguese lifestyle.

Portuguese Citizenship by D2 Visa

D2 Visa Portugal also known as the “Entrepreneur Visa” or “Business Visa” is issued to individuals who wish to invest in a Portuguese company or start their own business in Portugal. The visa aims to support the growth of innovative and sustainable startups that can contribute to Portugal’s economy.

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3. Portuguese Citizenship by Marriage & Adoption

After a significant period of cohabitation or marriage with a Portuguese citizen lasting a minimum of three years, you have the opportunity to obtain Portuguese citizenship, and this doesn’t require you to establish residence in Portugal. An essential advantage of this pathway is that your citizenship remains secure even if you later go through a divorce.

In cases where marriage is not a factor but you have shared your life with your partner for a duration exceeding two years and can substantiate this fact, you are also eligible. This recognition extends to relationships deemed as de facto unions, acknowledging the depth and commitment present in such partnerships.

Additionally, for those who have adopted a child from another country, provided the child is under the age of 18. In such instances, the child has the right to apply for Portuguese citizenship without delay, facilitating the integration of adopted minors into the Portuguese community. 

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4. Portuguese Citizenship by residents of former Portuguese territories

Individuals who originate from former Portuguese colonies and were born during the era of Portuguese colonial rule are granted the right to Portuguese citizenship. This inclusive policy extends to various regions, such as Angola, Cape Verde, Portuguese India, Guinea Bissau, East Timor, Macao, Mozambique, and Sao Tome and Principe.

Furthermore, descendants of those who can trace their heritage to Portuguese India and Macao during the period of Portuguese colonialism also enjoy eligibility for Portuguese citizenship. This approach acknowledges the historical ties and shared legacies between Portugal and these regions, facilitating a seamless path to citizenship for individuals and their descendants who have roots in the former Portuguese colonies.

macau a former portuguese territory

5. Portuguese Citizenship by Sephardic Jewish ancestry

In accordance with the Jewish Law of Return, the Portuguese government extends the opportunity for Portuguese citizenship through the naturalization process to the descendants of Portuguese Sephardic Jews who faced expulsion from Portugal during the tumultuous period of the Portuguese Inquisition.

This legal provision demonstrates Portugal’s commitment to recognizing and addressing the historical injustices faced by the Sephardic Jewish community, offering a path to citizenship that is rooted in historical reparation and the restoration of historical ties.

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Dual nationality in Portugal

In a testament to its inclusive and forward-thinking approach to citizenship, Portugal extends the privilege of dual citizenship. This means that Portuguese citizens who acquire foreign citizenship do not risk losing their Portuguese nationality, and conversely, foreign nationals who become Portuguese citizens can still maintain their original nationality. 

This stance reflects a commitment to acknowledging and respecting the diverse identities and affiliations that individuals may have in an increasingly interconnected world.

Portuguese Language Test for Citizenship

The CIPLE (Certificado Inicial de Português Língua Estrangeira) is a compulsory language proficiency examination for individuals seeking Portuguese citizenship. This straightforward A2 Portuguese examination is designed to confirm that future Portuguese citizens possess a fundamental grasp of the language. All candidates eligible for Portuguese nationality are required to take the CIPLE assessment.

The A2 Portuguese language examination has a duration of approximately 2 hours and comprises three distinct sections:

  • Oral Comprehension (30% of total score) – This section lasts for 30 minutes. 
  • Reading and Writing (45% of total score) – This part spans an hour and a half.
  • Oral Expression (25% of total score) – This part is a concise 15 minute test.

To successfully pass the exam, you must achieve a minimum score of 55%. The examination also incurs a fee of €72.

You can read our Article about the Portuguese Language test here.

portuguese language test

Applying for Portuguese Citizenship

To initiate the application for Portuguese citizenship, you have the option to apply at either a Portuguese consulate in your country of residence or at designated locations in Portugal, such as:

Documents required for Portuguese citizenship application

When seeking Portuguese citizenship, you are required to furnish the following documentation:

  • Your birth certificate or a comparable document.
  • Passport or an alternative identification document.
  • A criminal record certificate from your country of origin.
  • Evidence of uninterrupted legal residency in Portugal spanning 5 years.
  • A demonstration of your proficiency in the Portuguese language at the A2 level.
  • An up-to-date tax identification number (NIF) registration.
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Portuguese Nationality processing time

The current processing duration for a Portuguese citizenship application is typically estimated to span up to 24 months. During this period, the relevant authorities thoroughly evaluate your submission to determine your eligibility.

In the event that your application is declined, there is a recourse available to you. You have the right to appeal the decision, and this appeal must be initiated within a time frame of 30 days from the date of your rejection notice.

Cost of Portuguese Citizenship application

The application fees for Portuguese citizenship vary based on the applicant’s age. For adults, the application fee amounts to €250, while children under the age of 18 are subject to a reduced fee of €175.

These fees are essential to cover the administrative and processing costs associated with citizenship applications, including document verification, background checks, and other necessary procedures.

residency in Portugal

The Portuguese Passport

The Portuguese passport is a powerful travel document that holds a prestigious rank on the Global Passport Index for the year 2023. This index, which measures the strength of passports from countries around the world, has placed the Portuguese passport in the 14th position. 

As of 2023, the Portuguese passport provides its bearers with visa-free access to an impressive 175 countries across the globe. This means that Portuguese passport holders can embark on international journeys with ease, experiencing the cultures, landscapes, and wonders of a wide array of destinations without the hassle of obtaining a visa in advance.

The 14th position on the Global Passport Index is a reflection of Portugal’s diplomatic relationships, political stability, and the trust that other nations place in Portuguese travelers. It signifies the openness of borders and the warm welcome that Portuguese citizens receive when exploring the world. 

How to get a Portuguese Passport?

Upon acquiring Portuguese citizenship, you become eligible to request a Portuguese passport, which grants you access to 167 countries with little or no visa restrictions.

To apply for a Portuguese passport, you have several options, including:

  • Instituto dos Registos e do Notariado (IRN) offices.
  • Citizen shops, known as “Lojas do Cidadão.”
  • A Portuguese embassy or consulate located in your area of residence if you are residing abroad.

Why to work with us?

Hiring a Portuguese immigration lawyer for assistance with your Portuguese citizenship application is a prudent choice, supported by several compelling reasons. Here are key factors that highlight the importance of legal representation:


Immigration lawyers specialize in the intricacies of immigration law and are familiar with the specific requirements, procedures, and documentation needed for different immigration processes. They can help you gather the required documentation, fill out application forms correctly, and submit them within the specified deadlines.


If necessary, an immigration lawyer can represent you during interviews, hearings, or appeals. They can effectively communicate and advocate on your behalf, ensuring that your rights and interests are protected throughout the process.


If you are not fluent in Portuguese or unfamiliar with the local culture and customs, an immigration lawyer can bridge the language and cultural gaps. They can communicate with immigration authorities on your behalf, translate documents, and provide culturally appropriate advice to ensure effective communication and understanding.


By working with an immigration lawyer, you increase your chances of a successful outcome. Any mistakes or oversights can have serious consequences, including delays, rejections, or even immigration violations. An immigration lawyer can help minimize risks by providing guidance, ensuring compliance with regulations, and avoiding common pitfalls.

Greee vs Golden Visa Portugal

Frequently asked questions about Portuguese Citizenship and Nationality

What are the different pathways to obtain Portuguese citizenship?

Paths include descent, naturalization, marriage, investment, residence in former Portuguese territories, and Sephardic Jewish ancestry, among others.

Is dual citizenship allowed in Portugal?

Yes, Portugal generally permits dual citizenship, allowing individuals to hold Portuguese citizenship alongside the citizenship of another country.

What is the language requirement for Portuguese citizenship?

The language proficiency requirement often involves demonstrating proficiency in Portuguese, typically at the A2 level.

What is the processing time for Portuguese citizenship applications?

The processing time can vary, but it may take up to 12 months for a decision to be made on a citizenship application.

What are the costs of the Portuguese citizenship application?

The application fees for Portuguese citizenship vary based on the applicant’s age. For adults, the application fee amounts to €250, while children under the age of 18 are subject to a reduced fee of €175.

Can I apply for Portuguese citizenship from abroad?

Yes, you can often apply for Portuguese citizenship from a Portuguese consulate or embassy in your country of residence.

What should I do if my citizenship application is rejected?

In the event that your application you have the right to appeal the decision within a time frame of 30 days from the date of your rejection notice.

How long does it take to get Portuguese citizenship?

You can become eligible for Portuguese citizenship after residing in the country for a period of six years, which is reduced to three years if you are seeking citizenship through marriage.

Can a US citizen get Portuguese citienship?

Yes, it is possible for a US citizen to obtain Portuguese citizenship, but the process typically involves meeting specific eligibility requirement, such as, five year of legal residence or investing investing in Portugal

How long is the Portuguese nationality processing time?

The processing time for Portuguese nationality can vary depending on various factors, such as the specific circumstances of the applicant and the current workload of the authorities handling the applications. Currently you may expect a processing time up to 24 months.