How Long Does It Take For Portuguese Citizenship to be Approved?

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Last updated on June 4, 2024 | Est. Reading Time: 2 minutes

If you’re thinking about applying for Portuguese citizenship, you may be wondering how long the whole process will take. Just how long will it be before you can hold a Portuguese passport in your hands?

Sandra Gomes Pinto of Sandra Gomes Pinto & Associados in Lisbon suggests that the process takes around 1-2 years, but says it’s not uncommon to see cases that take 2 years. This can depend on the route or claim to citizenship.

It used to take around one year. Now we’re seeing it take around two years. As with anything related to public services in Portugal, it’s extremely difficult to give a specific timeframe but I would say one or two years is normal. However, we’re hoping that the introduction of online procedures will make things more efficient and that it would become quicker in the future. 

Sandra Gomes Pinto

In practice, that means if you moved to Portugal, you would normally be able to apply for Portuguese citizenship via naturalisation after five years. Your citizenship application could take another two years. This means it would be seven years before you would have a Portuguese passport in your hands. However, for some people it will take even longer as they may have to wait up to a year or longer for their residency visa application to be approved.

Thankfully, there’s a proposal that would count the time spent waiting for a residency application to be approved. This means the clock wouldn’t start ticking when you received your residency permit (typically a few months into your stay in Portugal) but from when you actually submit the application.

Recently, it has taken some people a long time to get their residency applications approved and, thankfully, there is a proposal that the time spent waiting for a residency application to be approved should count towards citizenship. Currently, the clock starts ticking once you have your residence permit but if approved, it would start from when you submit your application – assuming your application is ultimately successful, of course.

Sandra Gomes Pinto

It’s also worth noting that in some other European countries, like Spain, you typically need to live there for ten years before you’re able to apply for citizenship via naturalisation.

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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.

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