Portuguese Citizenship Law | Updated

Portuguese Citizenship Law | Updated

The President of the Portuguese Republic requested a review of the constitutionality of the decree-law amending the citizenship law, on January 26, not related to the proposed timeline adjustment. The Portuguese Parliament previously approved the cited Decree.


The President’s inquiry explicitly targeted Article 6 of the Decree, addressing the pending cases of the acquisition of nationality by descendants of Portuguese Sephardic Jews. After the modifications, applicants will have to demonstrate their eligibility by proving a relationship to the Portuguese community over real estate ownership, frequent visits to the country, or, in the case of pending cases, the ownership of residency permits valid for at least a year. Considering the current state of affairs between Israel and Palestine, the President believes that adding more requirements to become a citizen of Portugal could be interpreted as a violation of the human dignity principle.


The President’s investigation did not focus on any examination of other Decree articles, namely the amendments that were suggested to account for the five-year deadline for lawful residency durations, including for Golden Visa owners.


The stated constitutional review stands independent of the approval of an addendum to the clause regulating the acquisition of Portuguese citizenship through a five-year legal residency. However, one noteworthy change is that the period for counting the legal residence periods is changed to begin at the time the temporary residence permit is requested.


The Portuguese Constitutional Court now has 25 days to rule on whether Article 6 of the Decree is constitutional or unconstitutional. The President will have to veto the decree and it will be sent back to the Parliament for revision if the Constitutional Court finds that the provision violates the Portuguese Constitution. The President may publish the decree or exercise a political veto if the article is considered to comply with the Constitution.