Obtaining Portuguese Citizenship Through Your Parents or Grandparents

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If you have a Portuguese parent (or even grandparent), you’re in luck: you may be eligible for Portuguese citizenship.

In comparison to other routes to citizenship, the process is fairly straight-forward. Getting a parent’s or grandparent’s birth certificate is usually quite easy, and there’s no language requirement or requirement to live in Portugal for a certain amount of time.

And, you don’t have to come to Portugal: you can normally do it from wherever you are in the world. Simply apply at your nearest Portuguese consulate.

What You Need to Know

  • Using a lawyer, particularly one that specialises in obtaining Portuguese citizenship, will make the process easier, but it’s not always necessary.
  • There is a €200 admin charge when applying for citizenship.
  • You may incur other costs such as the cost of translating documents.
  • The cost of a passport is not included in the admin charge.
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Case Studies

Example 1: Jayme H. Simões

Jayme H. Simões from Concord, New Hampshire decided to take advantage of this scheme as he had a Portuguese father. Since then, Jayme’s son has also applied for Portuguese citizenship.

How were you eligible to apply for Portuguese citizenship?

I was born in Chicago in 1967. My mother was an American, my dad, Portuguese. Because he did not become a US citizen until 1969, I was eligible to ask for citizenship. This was a few years back, and today it is much simpler — as all records are digital. Now, once you register anything with the Portuguese government it is stored electronically and you never have to produce paper proof again.

Did you apply directly or use a citizenship agency or specialist service to apply?

I went to the Consulate in Boston. To get my citizenship it took 4 trips, one thing after another — it was a process. But for my son, it was easy, just a few papers — and they do it all in house now — the photography, scanning, info — then you get a national ID card and after you have that — you can apply to get a passport.

What costs were involved?

About $40 for an ID card (has you tax, health, and retirement info on it too), $120 for a passport.

What documents did you need to provide?

You have to prove that one parent or grandparent is Portuguese, and that means birth certificates, marriage licenses, and any supporting materials. Or you can apply for residency, and you need to go to the consulate and apply. After 5 years, you can apply to be a citizen.

How long did the process take?

For my son, it took 3 months to get citizenship once we applied. And then 30 days to get a passport.

What were your reasons for applying for Portuguese citizenship, and how do you hope to use your new Portuguese citizenship?

Portugal is my ancestral home. We go back their many generations. It is a peaceful nation — that is diverse and inclusive. The current government puts the well being of its citizens first and treats those seeking citizenship with respect.

There is national health service, a university education costs less than 10% of what it does in the US. The cost of living is affordable, and it is one of the safest nations on earth. I am so proud of Portugal’s journey — and am a proud citizen of it Republic. It is not perfect, but the culture, the people, the food, the landscape — it is a very special and welcoming place.

Thanks to Jayme H. Simões, President of Louis Karno & Company Communications, LLC in Concord, New Hampshire for taking part in this article.

Example 2: Katherine Alvernaz

Katherine Alvernaz from Vancouver Canada also took advantage of this scheme.

How were you eligible to apply for Portuguese citizenship?

I was able to obtain citizenship as my father was born in Portugal.

Did you apply directly or use a citizenship agency or specialist service to apply?

I applied directly through the Portuguese consulate. The consulate here in Vancouver, Canada helped me, but ultimately, all of the documents were sent to be processed in Lisbon. They are not processed here.

What costs were involved?

The actual cost of applying for citizenship is 200 Euros. But there end up being additional costs as well through the process. All documents sent must be translated to Portuguese. As I am not a fluent speaker, I had to pay for this service. Based on my specific situation (I was born in the USA, but reside now in Canada), I had additional fees related to traveling to San Francisco and having the Portuguese consulate there authenticate my birth certificate.

What documents did you need to provide?

I had to provide:

  • My birth certificate, which was authenticated by the Portuguese consulate in California.
  • My Canadian passport
  • My father’s Portuguese birth certificate
  • My father’s Portuguese citizenship information
  • My parents’ marriage certificate
  • My claim/justification to Portuguese citizenship (ie through my father)
  • All respective Portuguese translations

How long did the process take?

It took about 6 months, perhaps slightly longer.

What were your reasons for applying for Portuguese citizenship, and how do you hope to use your new Portuguese citizenship?

Mostly, I wanted to keep my options open if I ever decided to move to Europe. I have been to Portugal several times and absolutely love the country. I could see myself living there one day.

In the shorter term, my partner and I are wanting to elope in Portugal once travel is possible again. Legally getting married in Portugal is possible for citizens who are not residents.

Thanks to Katherine Alvernaz, Founder at Off the Clock Adventurers, for taking part in this article.


What about Great Grandparents?

Normally you’re only eligible to apply if a parent of grandparent was Portuguese, and not a great grandparent. However, you could be eligible to apply if your parent of grandparent obtains it first.

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