Does Portugal Have a Citizenship Exam?

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Written by: | Last updated on February 27, 2024 | Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes
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If you’re planning to apply for Portuguese citizenship, you might be wondering whether Portugal requires you to take a citizenship test.

The US has the American Civics test and the UK has the Life in the United Kingdom test, but, according to Sandra Gomes Pinto [source], Portugal does not require citizen applicants to take a similar type of test.

Portugal stands out because it doesn’t have a citizenship exam that quizzes you on its history or culture. This means you won’t have to sit through a formal test about Portuguese history, the key figures, or the country’s significant periods.

However, this doesn’t mean that learning about Portugal isn’t beneficial. On the contrary, diving into Portugal’s rich history and culture can be both enlightening and rewarding. It’s a great idea to familiarise yourself with the contributions of famous Portuguese figures like the poet Fernando Pessoa, understand Portugal’s pivotal role during the Age of Discoveries, and reflect on the era of António de Oliveira Salazar and how it affects modern day life in Portugal. These insights won’t just enrich your knowledge; they’ll deepen your connection to the country you’re choosing to make your home.

But what does Portugal consider important for granting citizenship? The focus here is more on establishing tangible connections with the Portuguese community. This means that instead of testing your knowledge about the country’s past, Portugal looks at practical aspects of your life to determine your eligibility for citizenship. Here are some of the key factors:

  • Language Proficiency: You need to show you can communicate in Portuguese at least at an A2 level. This means you should be able to understand and express yourself on everyday topics. Thankfully, there are some fantastic courses and resources that cover European Portuguese.
  • Property Ownership: Owning property in Portugal is seen as a strong tie to the country. It is not mandatory, however.
  • Bank Account: Having a Portuguese bank account is another indicator of your integration into the Portuguese community. Again, it is not mandatory, although if you live here, it’s assumed you’ll have one.
  • Business Activities: If you’re contributing to the Portuguese economy by running a business, it’s a positive sign of your commitment to the country.
  • Community Involvement: Being active in local communities or associations, like joining a soccer club, shows your willingness to be part of Portuguese society.

Portugal requires a language exam to ensure you have a basic understanding of Portuguese (A2 or higher). This requirement emphasises the importance of being able to engage with the community and navigate daily life in Portugal.

In summary, while Portugal doesn’t require you to pass a history or culture test for citizenship, it places great importance on your active involvement and ties to the country. Learning the language, participating in the community, and establishing your life in Portugal are crucial steps towards becoming a citizen.

Written by

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.