Portuguese Citizenship

Portuguese Citizenship

Portuguese Nationality

Pursuant to Portuguese Nationality Law of 37/81 - Latest amendment 2018, July, 5

The Portuguese Nationality is the status that recognizes citizens of Portugal. Portugal was one of the very first countries to waive the right of soil in granting citizenship to foreigners. Only those born to Portuguese parents or ancestors are able to organically register as citizens of the country. Naturalization however is the purpose of the enactment of the Portuguese nationality law, where provisions that allow foreign nationals to be naturalized were put in place.

If a foreign national wishes to be naturalized as a citizen of Portugal, certain conditions have to be met. Section 6 of the Portuguese Nationality Law sets the following conditions as mandatory for an application for Portuguese citizenship to be submitted:

  • Applicants must be 18 years of age or older.
  • The foreign national must have maintained residence status in the republic for a period no less than 5 years.
  • The foreign national must have proven knowledge of the Portuguese language that is no less than level A2 pursuant to the Portuguese IEFP's language benchmarks.
  • The foreign national must prove that s/he has a clean criminal background.
  • Maintain the residence status at the time of submission and throughout the processing of the citizenship application.  
  • Submit the relevant documentation in support of the citizenship application.

The Portuguese Language Requirement

Mandatory Requirement:

Applicants who wish to acquire Portuguese citizenship must prove that they have attained the A2 level of proficiency in the Portuguese language. The A2 certificate can be obtained through one of the following exercises:

  1. Article 25 (1) (a) –2 years education in Portugal.
  2. Ordinance 176/2014 of 11/09 –Learn Language at a public institute.
  3. A2 certificate under CAPLE.
  4. Decree n°1262109 of 15 October –A2 certificate after 150 hours tutoring.

Learning the Portuguese language can be done in many ways; some of the learning methods are considered by the IEFP as an actual proof of the language proficiency. But in order for a foreign national, whose mother tongue is not Portuguese, to prove their efficiency in the Portuguese language, they have to attain one of the evidences above.

Online tutoring pursuant to Decree n°1262109 of 15 October makes it possible for certain institutions in Portugal to hold online courses that are accredited and approved by the IEFP's Centro de Qualifica for issuing confirmations of language efficiency. ACIC has entered into multiple partnerships with a variety of Centro de Qualifica outlets where occasional online courses are held for the purposes of teaching the Portuguese language. 

Processing times

As of September 2022

Nationality applications are processed by the Conservatoria – a division of the Portuguese Ministry of Justice. Processing times of nationality applications are currently at 12-14 months. Depending on the security and criminality backgrounds of each applicant, processing times may vary.

Citizenship application process at ACIC

ACIC has designed a well-rounded suite for applicants of the ARI (Authorization for Residence by Investment Activity) who have been status holders for 5 years or more and who are interested in acquiring Portuguese citizenship. Our model involves the management of the entire process of learning the language, attaining the relevant proof of language proficiency, collecting the relevant documents for the file, translating and legalizing the documents and finally managing the legal representation of clients before the Conservatoria – a division of the Portuguese Ministry of Justice.

Language tutoring

Through its third party partners, ACIC organizes courses through the Centro de Qualifica outlets or associate entities. We guide our students throughout the entire language learning initiative and ensure that citizenship applications are made  in full conformity with the laws and regulations of Conservatoria – a division of the Portuguese Ministry of Justice

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