Is it true that any Five Years in the past 15 Count Towards Portuguese Citizenship?

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Written by: | Last updated on January 12, 2024 | Est. Reading Time: 2 minutes

For most people, the path to Portuguese citizenship through naturalisation is relatively straightforward. They live in Portugal and after five years of residency submit a citizenship application.

But what if you lived in Portugal a few years ago (for five years) but now no longer do? Or what if you lived in Portugal for two years, left for two years, and then lived in Portugal for another three? Do the five years required for naturalisation have to be consecutive?

According to Sandra Gomes Pinto of Sandra Gomes Pinto & Associados in Lisbon, “It doesn’t necessarily have to be five consecutive years but could be any five years within a 15-year period.”

This will be good news for those that lived in Portugal and no longer do, or those that had to leave Portugal during their residency. But Sandra notes that although the law does allow for five years within a 15-year period, sporadically living in Portugal could make it harder to prove you are connected to Portugal.

“You still need to show ties to the Portuguese community as you would be applying through naturalisation. Normal ties are things like having property in Portugal or being a member of local clubs and associations. If you’ve only been living in Portugal sporadically, it’s going to be harder to show some of these ties.”

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James Cave is the founder of Portugalist and the author of the bestselling book, Moving to Portugal Made Simple. He has visited just about every part of Portugal, including Madeira and all nine islands of the Azores, and lived in several parts of Portugal including Lisbon, the Algarve, and Northern Portugal.

You can contact James by emailing james@portugalist.com or via the site's contact form.

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