Nationality for Shephardic Jews

Sephardic surnames eligible for Portuguese citizenship | Back to Sepharad

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Do you think you are a descendant of the Jews who lived in Portugal and were expelled? If you suspect so, Cohen & Cohen Abogados has prepared a list of all the Sephardic surnames eligible for Portuguese citizenship.

If you hold or know someone who has one of the Sephardic surnames on the list below, you are likely to be entitled to Portuguese citizenship. Search for your surname in the list below and contact us if you believe you are a descendant of a Sephardic Jew.

Which are the Sephardic surnames eligible for Portuguese citizenship?

There are many Sephardic surnames which indicate that a person may be descended from one of them, however, having a surname is not a guarantee of being able to obtain the Portuguese nationality, and consequently the passport, since it must comply with other requirements which are detailed below.

Having a Sephardic surname is the first step, but those who claim their entitlement must demonstrate a clear and real Jewish-Sephardic lineage according to Portuguese Law.

Some of the most common Sephardic surnames are the following: Rodrigues, Nunes, Mendes, Lopes, Miranda, Gomes, Herinques, Costa, Fernandes, Pereira and Dias.

Even if you have one of these surnames or others of Sephardic-Jewish origin, proof of ancestry is a prerequisite for obtaining a Portuguese passport.

The most recommendable option is to let all these procedures that have to be carried out before the different organizations and entities be done by real professionals, since they deal with these institutions on a day-to-day basis and they know perfectly well what they have to do.

Many people believe that by having a surname of Sephardic Jewish origin they can immediately have the Portuguese nationality, what they do not know is the amount of paperwork and paperwork that must be done, wasting a lot of time and money for not knowing how to proceed.

We can help you, moreover, we study each case in a particular way in order to offer our clients a personalized and individualized treatment. We guide you through the whole process and we solve all the doubts that may arise.


Why does the Portuguese Government grant nationality to descendants of Sephardic Jews?

The Sephardic Jews inhabited the Iberian Peninsula practically from the Roman Empire until the year 1492, year in which they were expelled from that territory. Due to the area in which they were located, they adopted the name “Sefardim”, which in Hebrew translates as Spain.

Given the large number of years that they inhabited the territories that belong today to Spain and Portugal, the Sephardic Jews developed large communities and many customs.

In 1492, as we have already mentioned, the Catholic Monarchs Isabella and Ferdinand of Aragon promulgated the Decree of Alhambra, by means of which they forced the Jews who lived in their territories to be converted to the Christianity.

Many of the Jews who were affected by this law decided to flee to the neighboring kingdom of Portugal, where they found a royal residence until 1496. In 1497 King Manuel I of Portugal began to persecute the Jews who had come from Spain and forced them to convert to Christianity.

Some of them, because of the importance of religion at that time, decided to stay and follow the king’s orders. Others, however, fled to other countries and thus did not pay for their beliefs.

The Portuguese Government decided in 2015 to return the Portuguese nationality to those Sephardic Jewish descendants who were expelled from the Peninsula generations ago.

To this end, it enacted Decree-Law 30-A/2015, by means of which it offers Portuguese citizenship to Sephardic Jews as long as a series of requirements are met.

Moreover, for this reason, there are Sephardic surnames eligible for Portuguese citizenship.

Which are the requirements I have to meet?

In order to apply for this process, apart from having one of the Sephardic surnames eligible for Portuguese citizenship, you must have the following documents:

  • Passport (only the first page)
  • Birth certificate (no apostille is required)
  • Proof of residence (utility bills such as electricity/telephone bills, official certificate, etc.).
  • Certificate issued by the Jewish Community of your place of residence, signed by the local Rabbi (an Orthodox Rabbi), indicating your Jewish-Sephardic origin.
  • A certificate from the Jewish Community in Portugal

At Cohen & Cohen Abogados we can help you to obtain Portuguese Citizen

If you have one of the Sephardic surnames eligible for Portuguese citizenship that are on the list and you think you may be a descendant, Cohen & Cohen Abogados can help you with the whole process of applying for nationality, remotely and without having to travel from your country of residence.

We are a professional law firm specialized in immigration law, we offer a comprehensive and personalized service from our offices in Oporto and Lisbon.

Every day we help thousands of Sephardic Jews to obtain their Portuguese nationality. How do we make it possible? By providing the best legal assistance services and approaching the whole process in a comprehensive manner.

  • 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.

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!

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