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Jewish Portuguese Citizenship for Spouses and Children

Michael Decker
Michael Decker

This article addresses Jewish Portuguese citizenship for spouses and children of applicants. Some of our clients come to us and note that they or their spouse and children are not Jewish.  It is important to note that one can still apply for Portuguese citizenship as a descendant of Sephardic Jews (as many others have) even if the applicant, spouse and children are not Jewish.  

Addressing Jewish Portuguese Citizenship for Spouses and Children

Portuguese law grants citizenship to children of an applicant so long they are minors.  In order to apply for citizenship through marriage, the applicant must have been married to their spouse for at least three years (if they have children together) or 6 years when they apply.  Here are the steps:

Step 1: Registering a Marriage in Portugal

It is important to note that the registration procedure is not complicated and we can help you obtain and submit all the required documents. First, the candidate must register their marriage legally in Portugal. To do this, the candidate must provide the birth certificate, the registration summary, the marriage certificate, the criminal record, and the passports (Israeli and Portuguese in the case of the Portuguese citizen) of both spouses. A power of attorney must be signed (with copies in English and Portuguese) so that we can take the necessary steps for registration. The birth certificate and the marriage certificate must both be signed with an apostille stamp.

This process takes about six months.At the end of the proceess, the Portuguese citizen receives a Portuguese birth certificate and the couple receives a Portuguese marriage certificate – these two documents are required for the next steps.Portuguese Citizenship for Spouse and Children

Step 2: Registering the children

If the application for the spouse was successful, the minor children (up to the age of 18, but since the application takes time, our office handles applications up to the age of 17) of the couple can also be registered. The following documents must be presented: birth certificate with apostille, a copy of the child’s passport details, the parent’s Portuguese birth certificate, and a signed power of attorney.

If the children were born after the parents received Portuguese citizenship, the procedure takes about 6 months. If they were born before, the procedure takes about 18 months.

If the children were born before the parent obtained citizenship and are over 14 years old, they must show a connection to Portugal – a visit and mastery of the Portuguese language. If the children are under 14, just a visit is enough.

Step 3: Obtaining citizenship based on the marriage registration in Portugal

After the marriage registration and the children’s registration have been submitted, it will be possible to submit an application for the spouse. The candidate must produce the following documents:

  • Portuguese marriage certificate
  • Photocopy of the Portuguese passport of the citizen spouse
  • 4 witnesses who are not family members who can testify that they have known the couple for at least 3 years + affidavit from each and a passport photo.
  • Documents attesting to cohabitation (joint account payments, joint bank account, lease, etc.)
  • Birth certificate + apostille of the spouse
  • Registration summary + Apostille
  • Signing powers of attorney and a statement to the authorities (the power of attorney allows the office to obtain the above certificates)

The procesure takes about two years.

What to Do If Your Country Does Not Provide an Apostille

In the event you live in a country that does not provide an apostille, you must turn to the Portuguese consulate nearest your residence to legalize the documents.  Once you have this, you can proceed.

This Series of Articles

In addition to this article on Jewish Portuguese citizenship for spouse and children of an applicant, our website provides further articles on Portuguese citizenship, including proving Sephardic Jewish heritage, the time and costs involved in applying for citizenship, applying with a criminal record, and more.  

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