Nationality for Shephardic Jews

Portuguese Citizenship for Sephardic Jews

Did you know that if you are a Sephardic descendant, you can get Portuguese or Spanish citizenship? Yes, as you have read, you can obtain a European passport if you are a Sephardic Jew or a descendant.

At Cohen & Cohen, we accompany you through the Portuguese citizenship application process.We help descendants of Sephardic Jews obtain Portuguese Citizenship.

Why can Sephardic Jews obtain Portuguese citizenship?

By virtue of Decree Law no. 30 30 A/2015, of 27 February 2015, the Portuguese government approved the process for descendants of Sephardic Jews to obtain Portuguese nationality by naturalization. Now, all the Sephardim and their descendants can obtain a European passport. The Portuguese Citizenship for Sephardic Jews it’s now a reality.As a result, thousands and thousands of Sephardic Jews and their descendants from all over the world are willing to seize this opportunity and apply for Portuguese nationality, and, consequently, European nationality, with all that this implies.

Having Portuguese nationality gives you access to a world of possibilities, with all the advantages that this implies, these include the following:

Portugal is ranked 9 (of 199) in the Individual Passport Power Rank 2020, which means that it can access a number of countries without needing to apply for a visa in advance.

The most significant advantage of having a Portuguese passport is that you become a citizen of the European Union, which permits you to travel freely within the EU’s 28 countries. You can work, live, and wander freely in these countries.

If you are a Sephardic Jew and obtain the Portuguese nationality, you will be able to travel to a large number of countries, both within and outside EU, without the need for cumbersome visas or entry permits.

Portuguese Citizenship for Sephardic Jews

How do I obtain Portuguese nationality if I am a Sephardi?

Everything you need to know about Portuguese citizenship for Sephardic Jews is listed below:


We will require the scanned documents mentioned below through e-mailto initiate the process of obtaining Portuguese citizenship for Sephardim:

  • The front page of your passport
  • Non-apostilledcopy of your birth certificate
  • Evidence of residency (utility bills, like phone and electricity bills, and so on).
  • A certificate attesting to your Jewish-Sephardic ancestry from your local Jewish community, approved by the regional and traditional Rabbi. If you cannot obtain it, we can take care of it with an Orthodox Rabbi we trust.

Once we receive the documentation, we’ll file a formal application with the Portuguese Jewish Community to verify your Sephardic heritage.

If you are denied a Sephardic, we will return your payment.


When we obtain the credentials from the Portuguese Jewish Community, we’ll get in touch with you to forward us the following documents, which we will submit to the General Register Office in Portugal (Conservatória dos RegistosCentrais):

  • A complete passport copy
  • Apostilled copy of your birth certificate (applicable for a maximum of six months).
  • Apostilled criminal background check from your birthplace and residence (applicable for a maximum of three months).
  • The proof of authority given to our company (we’ll let you know the details).

You are not required to prepare the paperwork right now; once we inform you aboutreceiving the Sephardic origin certificate from the Portuguese Jewish Community, you have to get them ready.

We will immediately send these documents to the authorities in Portugal as we receive them. Then we’ll send you an application code and proof of submission.

After submitting the documents, we will have to await an official notification from the Portuguese Register Office confirming that you are granted nationality. You may make it official before the Portuguese consulate that corresponds to your place of residence.

You will not have to travel to Portugal or carry out any procedures other than those indicated here. Our law firm will carry out this process directly, together with our partners lawyers in Portugal, who will take care of the paperwork for you to obtain the Portuguese nationality for Sephardic Jews.

How can we help you to obtain Portuguese nationality?

Cohen & Cohen is a law firm based in Madrid, Spain. For many years, we have been helping thousands of Sephardic Jews from around the world to obtain their European nationality (Spanish and Portuguese).We provide comprehensive legal assistance services, made to order, dealing with the whole process thoroughly from A to Z:

  • Verifying the documents prior to proceeding with their submission.
  • Obtaining the certificate of Sephardic origin from the Jewish Community in Portugal.
  • Certificates, authentications and translations.
  • Shipping and submitting the documents in Portugal.
  • Regularly monitoring the process and informing our clients about the status of their application.
  • Providing assistance to make the nationality official before Portuguese authorities.

An expert team of lawyers will help you with all the necessary steps to obtain Portuguese citizenship for Sephardic Jews. We have the knowledge and experience to assist you in all matters related to your application.

Frequently asked questions

Here we have compiled a series of frequently asked questions and answers so that you can obtain more information.

What does Sephardi Jewish mean?

The word Sephardic makes reference to the Jews who lived in the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal) during the centuries, including the Roman Empire. This term comes from the Hebrew Sefarad, which means Spain.In 1942, the King Fernando II signed the Alhambra Decree, forcing all Jews to be converted to Christianity or to leave the country in exile. Those who chose exile decided to go to Portugal, until in 1496 King Manuel I of Portugal expelled the Jews who did not want to convert to Christianity, so many of them fled to other countries.

Who can apply for Portuguese nationality?

Those who want to apply for Portuguese nationality as Sephardic must meet two requirements: be over 18 years of age and have no legal record (according to Portuguese law those who have been imprisoned for at least 3 years are not eligible to apply.

Do I have to be a Sephardi Jew in order to obtain Portuguese nationality?

In order to apply for Portuguese citizenship, you must be a Sephardic Jew or a direct descendant and also prove it with supportive documentation, such as a certificate issued by the Orthodox Jewish authorities.

Can my application be rejected? If so, can I get my money back?

Portuguese citizenship for Sephardi can be rejected, since it depends on the Ministry of Justice, however, being assisted by a professional legal assistance that will instruct you in every step of the process and will take care of all the formalities reduces considerably the risk of rejection.At Cohen & Cohen, none of the applications we have handled have been rejected up to date. Moreover, in case your application is rejected, we commit to refund 100% of your money.

What documents do I need to submit to start the procedure to obtain Portuguese nationality?

To start the process of obtaining Portuguese citizenship for Sephardim, you will only need to provide a copy of the following documents: first page of your passport, birth certificate, proof of residence and a certificate issued by the rabbi or president of the Jewish-Sephardic (Orthodox community) corresponding to your place of residence indicating that you are of Jewish and Sephardic origin.

Will I need any additional documents?

To apply for the procedure only the documents mentioned above will be necessary.Once they are presented to the Jewish Community of Portugal and the certificate of Sephardic origin is issued, we will take care of presenting to the Portuguese General Register Office (Conservatória dos Registos Centrais) the documents that we will have requested from you well in advance in order to guarantee that everything is ready at the moment they are needed.

Which Jewish authorities can issue a certificate stating that I am a descendant?

To apply for a Sephardic certificate of origin you should contact one of the following Jewish authorities:

– Jewish Community of Lisbon

– Jewish Community of Porto

At Cohen & Cohen we take care of all the paperwork ourselves, so you don’t have to worry about anything. You only have to send us the required documentation and we will take care of the rest.

What happens to minors of Sephardic Jewish descent?

In the case of minors, once their parents have obtained the Portuguese nationality for Sephardic Jews, they themselves will obtain the nationality with the same effects.

Do I have to live in Portugal or speak Portuguese?

This procedure does not demand the applicants to live in Portugal or to speak the language, just to prove that they have a Sephardic origin. The final purpose of the Law is to rectify the moral and historical mistakes that were made in the past, and that the descendants of those who had to escape can obtain nationality.In addition, you will not have to travel to Portugal to carry out the formalities, since we take care of the whole process electronically on behalf of our clients.

Do I have to pay taxes if I obtain Portuguese nationality?

One of the most frequent questions that our clients ask us, the answer to which is simple and clear: no.Unless your tax residence is in Portugal or you receive income derived from economic activities carried out in this country, you are not required to pay taxes. Moreover, you do not have any obligation to inform the local tax authorities about your wealth, assets, income or profits received outside Portugal.

Which benefits will I enjoy as a Portuguese national?

You will be able to enjoy all the advantages of being a Portuguese citizen, as well as a citizen of the European Union since Portugal is a member. Thanks to this, you will be able to travel, live, work or simply walk around the 27 member countries with no problem.So, as we have already mentioned, being one of the countries whose passport has a high rank of power, you will be able to travel freely without the need of previous visa formalities to many countries in the world.

How long does the process take? What about citizenship?

Since we receive all the documents required for the application for Portuguese citizenship as Sephardic. We take care to submit them to the corresponding Jewish Community and once the certificate is obtained, we submit the documents to the Portuguese Registry office.The average time to obtain Portuguese citizenship is difficult to predict, but the average is a year and a half from the time the documents are presented to the Portuguese Registry Office.

The times indicated are estimates.

How can I know if I have obtained Portuguese citizenship?

The Portuguese Registry Office will inform you once you have obtained the nationality.

What should I do once I become a citizen?

Once you have obtained citizenship, you can apply for a Portuguese passport at the consulate of the city where you reside, or you can travel directly to Portugal.

What are the most frequent Sephardic Jewish surnames among the Portuguese community?

These are the most common surnames of Jewish origin among the Portuguese community:Abrantes, Aguilar, Amorim, Andrade, Azevedo, Almeida, Álvares, Avelar, Brandão, Barros, Basto, Belmonte, Bravo, Brito, Bueno, Cáceres, Caetano, Cardoso, Carvalho, Castro, Campos, Carneiro, Crespo, Costa, Coutinho, Cruz, Carvajal, Dias, Duarte, Dourado, Elias, Estrela, Ferrerira, Franco, Fonseca, Furtado, Gaiola, Gato, Gonçalves, Guerreiro, Gomes, Gouveia,  Granjo, Henriques, Josué, Lara, Lemos, Lombroso, Leão, Lopes, Leiria, Lobo, Lousada, Macias, Machado, Machorro, Marques, Martins, Mascarenhas, Mattos, Meira, Melo, Mello e Canto, Mendes, Mendes da Costa, Miranda, Montesino, Morão, Moreno, Morões, Mota, Moucada, Negro, Neto, Nunes, Oliveira, Osório (u Ozório), Pardo, Paiva, Pereira, Pilão, Pina, Pinheiro, Pinto, Pimentel, Pizarro, Pessoa, Preto, Querido, Rei, Ribeiro, Rodrigues, Rosa, Salvador, Sarmento,  Silva, Soares, Souza, Torres y Viana, Teixeira, Teles, Vaz y Vargas.

For more information about how to obtain the Portuguese nationality for Sephardic Jews do not hesitate to ask us:

If you’re Sephardic, don’t miss the opportunity to obtain an European passport and contact us!