Nationality for Shephardic Jews

Portuguese Nationality & Citizenship Law Explained

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A passport with a visa

The minute you land in Portugal, you’ll know which it’s a top choice among ex-pats. Let’s face it, who doesn’t love stunning landscapes, unique architecture, wide beaches, and a pleasant climate? The country comprises cosmopolitan cities as well as medieval towns and villages that perfectly encapsulate diversity and culture. If you’re planning to relocate, now’s the time to do it! Here’s everything you need to know about the citizenship law and process: 

The Naturalization Procedure

Along with gaining citizenship through marriage, descent, and investment, the Portuguese government has set a Jewish Law of Return. On 12 April 2013, the parliament passed legislation that allowed the naturalization of Portuguese Jew descendants who left the country due to persecution. All applicants should be able to prove their Sephardic surnames and demonstrate their connection to their Portuguese roots. This can be done by submitting a certificate or letter from a rabbi.

This Law of Return states that apart from the naturalization residency requirement, applicants don’t need to stay in Portugal to maintain citizenship. It should be noted that you don’t have to be Jewish to apply for the procedure; all you have to do is demonstrate a Sephardic lineage through your paternal or maternal route.

Portugal beach with boats

Who Can Apply?

In 1492, King Fernando II signed the Alhambra Decree, which meant all Jews had to convert to Christianity or leave the country. Those who chose exile fled to Portugal, but it didn’t last long. King Manuel I of Portugal expelled the Jews who refused to convert in 1496, which is why they were compelled to flee to other countries. The term “Sephardic” relates to Jews who lived in Spain and Portugal during the late fifteenth century. The word comes from the Hebrew term Sefarad, which means Spain. Those who have ancestors originating from countries like Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya in North Africa, the Middle East, the Mediterranean, such as Greece, Macedonia, Italy, or even the Netherlands, can apply for citizenship under the amendment. 


What Are The Benefits of a Portuguese Citizenship?

As a Portuguese citizen, you’ll be able to participate in full employment or any type of self-employment without needing a Portuguese work permit. You can enroll in public or private schools and study in the country. You will also have access to Portuguese social security benefits and can buy property in Portugal.

Apply For Portuguese Citizenship Today!

Cohen & Cohen works with associate lawyers from Portugal to carry out the process successfully. From reviewing all the documentation to obtaining rabbinical certificates to be able to demonstrate the Sephardic origin, we do it all. Our professional attorneys study the documentation and offer advice for obtaining evidence of Sephardic origin without any charges. We have been helping countless Sephardic Jews with their Portuguese Sephardic citizenship applications, ensuring a successful process. What sets us apart from the rest is that we submit the application directly to the Portuguese Registry, not to the Embassy. 

Don’t wait any longer; begin your process today. Get in touch with us to learn more.

Warning: The Portuguese government is expected to change the laws in the future. The best time to apply for Portuguese nationality due to Sephardic Origin is now!

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