This article addresses how long it takes to get Jewish Portuguese citizenship (or citizenship for descendants of Sephardic Jews) according to various application categories.  Many descendants of Sephardic Jews have successfully applied for Portuguese citizenship, and we help numerous clients throughout this process.

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How Long It Takes to Get Jewish Portuguese Citizenship

Sephardic Jews or their descendants who are interested in acquiring Portuguese citizenship often ask us how long the process takes.  The length of the process depends on the particular procedure one is going through. All of the time frames indicated below are accurate as of May 2019, although it is important to note that this can change, taking either more or less time due to various bureaucratic issues that can change.

Procedure 1 — Applying for Oneself

In the most straightforward procedure, which we have discussed in our article “Documents for Jewish Portuguese Citizenship,” the applicant must obtain and submit all relevant documents, we will send the documents to Portugal, the process is submitted to the relevant authorities, and shortly thereafter, the Portuguese government issues citizenship to the applicant.  Of course, this assumes that all the documentation was accurate and sufficient for the process, but this is something we help our clients with, accompanying, advising, and applying on the client’s behalf, from start to finish. This process generally takes about 23 months. (Note: Many other websites indicate that the process can take eight months; however, that was the length of time involved when the process began, but at present the time we list here is much more accurate.)

Procedure 2 — Register a Marriage to a Non-Sephardic Spouse in Portugal

Another procedure, which is in addition to the previously mentioned procedure, is applying for Portuguese citizenship for a non-Jewish or non-Sephardic descendant’s spouse.  We discuss this at length in our article “Jewish Portuguese Citizenship for Spouse and Children.”  The first step in this process is to register their marriage in Portugal.  We can assist with this process, and it takes about three months. If one has children they are also applying for, see procedures 3 and 4. If the applicant does not have children, skip down to procedure 4.

Procedure 3 — Applying for One’s Children

An additional procedure is applying for Portuguese citizenship for one’s children.  While the children can apply as Sephardic descendants, they can also apply as minors.  Once the applicant has registered their marriage in Portugal, they can apply for citizenship for their minor children.  In order to do this, they need to, among other things, demonstrate their child’s connection to Portugal, which we discuss here.  This process takes approximately 1.5 years.

Procedure 4 — Applying for a Foreign Spouse

Once the applicant’s marriage registration (and if relevant, registration of children) is submitted to Portuguese authorities, the applicant can apply for a foreign spouse through the marriage citizenship option.  This procedure takes about 1.5 years.

This Series of Articles

This article is one of many addressing Sephardic Jewish citizenship, including proving one’s Sephardic Jewish ancestry, what to do if you’ve lived in multiple residences prior to applying for Portuguese citizenship, what happens if one has a criminal record, and more.

Contact Us

The law office of Cohen, Decker, Pex & Brosh specializes in immigration law, and we are committed to making immigration procedures as easy and smooth as possible for our clients.  If you have questions about how long it takes to get Jewish Portuguese citizenship or anything related to immigration law, feel free to get in touch.

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