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How to Prove Sephardic Ancestry


Michael Decker

This article will discuss how to prove Sephardic ancestry. This is particularly relevant if you seek to apply for Portuguese citizenship under the Sephardic Law. Our law offices have been involved in assisting Israelis of Sephardic descent with this process, and as media coverage has noted, many Israelis have applied for and received Portuguese citizenship. 

How to Prove Sephardic Ancestry for Citizenship

How to Prove Sephardic Ancestry

The most frequent ways Israelis or foreign descedants of Sefardi Jews prove their Sephardic ancestry is:

  1. Through their family name.
  2. Through the family name of their ancestors.
  3. Demonstrating their Sephardic connection due to speaking Eastern or Western Ladino in their home.
  4. Through a genealogical report.
  5. Proving one’s connection to Sephardic communities or a Sephardic synagogue. This can include documents indicating family members are buried in a Sephardic cemetery, a ketuba, and more.

Of all the documents required for Portuguese citizenship based on Sephardic ancestry, the document proving one’s Sephardic heritage is the most important. This document is submitted to the Jewish community in Porto or Lisbon, which has the opportunity to recognize or reject the applicant’s ancestral claims based on the documentation. Based on this document, the Jewish community of Portugal will write the applicant a letter of recommendation.

Required Paperwork for the Jewish Community in Portugal

The paperwork that the Jewish community in Portugal will require in order for them to provide a letter to the applicant recognizing their connection to the Sephardic community is listed below. 

  • Birth certificate
  • A copy of the Israeli ID, including the attachment
  • A copy of the applicant’s Israeli passport
  • A copy of a marriage or divorce certificate. In the event the applicant is unmarried, they should provide a copy of their parents’ marriage certificate.
  • A family tree with as many details as possible (years of birth, marriage, death, etc.). 

How to Apply for Portuguese Citizenship

Once you have a document proving your Sephardic ancestry, the rest of the process is relatively straightforward, although a lawyer can help ensure your process goes as quickly and smoothly as possible.  

In other places on our website, we have articles on applying for Portuguese citizenship for one’s spouse and children, the duration of the application process, and the costs involved. We also have a comprehensive document explaining many different aspects of this process. 

Contact Us

Cohen, Decker, Pex & Brosh law offices have over 30 years of experience in immigration law. We have successfully assisted clients to obtain Portuguese citizenship over the last few years of this immigration opportunity. If you have questions about how to prove Sephardic ancestry, or if you would like legal assistance with your Portuguese immigration process, please contact us.

How to Prove Sephardic Ancestry

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