A foreign citizen who is able, knowledgeable of the Portuguese language, who has not been sentenced to a penalty of 3 (three) years or more and who has been legally resident in Portugal for at least five years, may apply for Portuguese nationality.
LENGTH LEGAL RESIDENCE
With the amendment of the Portuguese Nationality Law in 2018 , foreigners who have lived legally in Portugal in a consecutive or interspersed manner for at least five years may apply for Portuguese nationality. Before the amendment of the Law it was necessary to have at least six years of legal residence in Portugal.
It should be noted that it is now possible to add up all the periods, consecutive or interspersed, of legal residence in Portugal, provided that they do not exceed a maximum period of 15 (fifteen) years. In the past, it was only possible to add the period of residence if it was uninterrupted.
In a Simple way, if you lived in Portugal for two (2) years and returned to Brazil in 2013. Then you returned to Portugal in 2016 and lived in the country for another 3 (three) years. Total of 5 years of legal residence, you are able to apply for Portuguese nationality.
TEST OF KNOWLEDGE OF THE PORTUGUESE LANGUAGE IS NOT REQUIRED
Another significant change in the law is that applicants born in Portuguese-speaking countries are now exempt from the language test. This facilitates and reduces bureaucracy, promoting speed in the analysis of nationality applications by the Conservatories.
Prior to the amendment of the Nationality Law, an individual who had been convicted of a crime punishable by a maximum imprisonment of three (3) years or more was not able to apply for nationality. Now, the individual will only encounter an obstacle to the acquisition of Portuguese nationality if the crime has a punishable sentence of three years and if the individual has been effectively sentenced to imprisonment.
WILL I LOSE MY BRAZILIAN NATIONALITY IF I BECOME A PORTUGUESE CITIZEN?
No. The Federal Constitution admits the possibility of Brazilian citizens having double or multiple nationalities in only two cases: when there is the recognition of original nationality by foreign law (by birth in foreign territory or by foreign ancestry) or when there is an imposition of naturalization, by foreign rule, to the Brazilian resident in a foreign state, as a condition for permanence in its territory or for the exercise of civil rights.
Brazilian citizens who become naturalized Portuguese do not automatically lose their Brazilian citizenship, but have dual citizenship: Brazilian citizenship, by birth, and foreign citizenship, by naturalization. Information found in the Itamaraty website (Available on the website: http://www.portalconsular.itamaraty.gov.br/outros-servicos/nacionalidade-brasileira (Acess in November 19, 2019).
After acquiring Portuguese nationality it is possible to live in the country and enjoy rights inherent to a Portuguese citizen, such as studying and working in Portugal or in any other member country of the European Union, such as Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and others. In addition, Portugal is part of the Visa Waiver Program which allows European citizens to travel to countries such as the United States and Canada without the need for a visa, as long as their stay in the country is equal to or less than 90 days.
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Author: Dr. Ingls Aguiar
Immigration lawyer in Brazil & Portugal
Legal consultant in New York.