Waiver of Language Requirement for Portuguese Naturalization Applicants

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Tuesday, December 24, 2019


Lisbon, Portugal

By Muhannad Samara, RCIC
December 24, 2019

Around the 15th of December, 2019, the Portuguese Parliament discussed the prospect of removing the Language requirement as a pre-requisite to bestowing Portuguese Nationality on foreigners.

The law as it stands today

Currently, an investor for instance, is expected to demonstrate Level A2 knowledge of the Portuguese language before they submit their application for naturalization in Portugal.

The A2 level was defined as: Basic knowledge of Portuguese language.

The required basic knowledge of the Portuguese language is proved by the certificate of A2 level proficiency, issued by one of the following institutions:

  1. Certificate of qualification issued by a public, private or cooperative educational institution recognized in accordance with the law, provided that its holder has successfully completed the course / discipline of Portuguese in at least two academic years;
  2. Certificate of approval of the Portuguese language in public institutes of education when made in the national territory or in places approved by Camões – Instituto da Cooperação e da Língua, I.P., when made abroad;
  3. Certificate of Portuguese language as a foreign language issued upon completing an exam at the Portuguese evaluation center, as a foreign language, recognized by the Ministry of Education and Science according to the protocol;
  4. Certificate of qualifications that proves the accomplishment of the level A2 or higher issued by an institution of the public education, job centers and training and protocol centers of the IEFP-Instituto do Emprego e da Formação Profissional, I.P. (IEFP, I.P.);


In order to obtain the language certificate through and exam there are several qualified centers for such purposes in Portugal or abroad and can be found on here: The application for the language exam is also made through the website.


The Portuguese nationality law was drafted in accordance with the constitution of Portugal. The proposal to remove the language requirement that is currently imposed on foreigners seeking naturalization conflicts with the spirit of the constitution act of Portugal.

Moreover, and due to the current climate of obscure fate of the residency by real estate investment programme, and whether or not the programme will resume, the committees entrusted with the assessment of the proposed law will more likely be influenced by the political bias of Socialist Party who gained power in October 2019. The views of the party may be interpreted in a manner that instills a sense that they do not wish to make it easier for people to even acquire residency; surely making it easier for foreigners to be naturalized is not something conservatives are happy about.

Promoters of the Residency by investment programme continue to fish for similar news releases to paint a rosier pictures of the programme.

We maintain our view that the amendment to the law may not pass and that the language requirement will remain in place.




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