Nationality for Shephardic Jews

Sephardic Jews: Who They Are and How to Prove Sephardic Ancestry

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A country with rich history and hidden secrets, Portugal has been one of the top-rated tourist destinations in recent decades. Offering countless citizenship opportunities, people from across the globe are finding ways to get hold of this powerful passport. Along with getting citizenship by marriage and descent, the Decree-Law no. 30 30 A/2015 states that descendants of Sephardic Jews can also obtain Portuguese nationality by the process of naturalization. Read on to learn more:

Who Are Sephardic Jews?

Before we get into the application process, let’s understand who Sephardic Jews are. The term “Sephardic” refers to those Jews who resided in the Iberian Peninsula during the centuries. This includes Spain and Portugal. The work is derived from the Hebrew term Sefarad, which loosely translates to Spain. King Fernando II went to sign the Alhambra Decree in 1942, which compelled all Jews to convert to Christianity or leave the country. Now those who chose exile over conversion fled to Portugal, but this wasn’t for long. In 1496, King Manuel I of Portugal expelled the Jews who refused to convert, which is why they fled to other countries.

How To Obtain Portuguese Nationality If You’re a Sephardi?

Sephardic Jews can Portuguese citizenship by providing the following:

  1. The front page of the passport
  2. Copy of birth certificate
  3. Evidence of residency (this includes your utility bills such as phone and electricity).
  4. A certificate that attests to your Jewish-Sephardic ancestry from your local Jewish community. This should be approved by the Rabbi (both regional and traditional). 

Once all the documentation is gathered, a formal application will be filed with the Portuguese Jewish Community. This is done to confirm your heritage. 

How to Prove Your Heritage?

1. Discover Your Last Name

One easy way to prove your ancestry is by finding out whether your ancestors have a Spanish or Portuguese surname. Although this evidence isn’t enough for confirmation, it helps you find more information, which can be used for the process.

You’ll need to access the records of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews’ Congregation of London to find out your ancestor’s last name.

2. Provide a Ketubah

Another way to prove your Sephardic Jewish lineage is by providing a Ketubah. This is a prenuptial contract or marriage contract that proves your ancestry. This document is written in Aramaic and includes the name of the spouse and their father’s name and signed by the groom. The synagogue and the bride will receive a copy of this certificate. The synagogue copy can be found in the Bevis Marks Records and can be used as solid proof.

At Cohen & Cohen, we’ve been helping several Sephardic Jews with the Portuguese Sephardic citizenship application. We ensure to guide you through the entire process, offering expert advice. 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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