Portuguese Citizenship based on Marriage

How to Acquire Portuguese Citizenship by Way of Marriage or Non-Marital Partnership

Under the stipulations of the Portuguese constitution and statutory provisions, any foreigner who is either married or is in a non-marital partnership with a Portuguese citizen for at least three years is eligible to apply for Portuguese citizenship by way of marriage during the existence of the union. However, this can only happen if none of the circumstances which suffice as grounds for opposing the acquisition of Portuguese nationality is verified.

What You Must Do Before the Acquisition of Citizenship by Marriage

For a married couple, the marriage has to be transcribed to Portugal if the marriage was celebrated abroad. For life partners in a non-marital partnership, on the other hand, you must first obtain judicial recognition of the union in Portugal. Where the non-marital partnership was birthed abroad, the deed or sentence recognizing the union must be swotted and approved by a Portuguese court of competent jurisdiction. 

  1. Circumstances That Can Suffice as Ground for Opposition

Here are the circumstances that can hurt and frustrate your Portuguese citizenship acquisition application:

Having performed non-compulsory military service in a foreign country 
Being convicted of a crime punishable by an imprisonment sentence of three years or more under Portuguese law
Lack of effective link to the Portuguese partner
Having performed public functions short of predominantly technical character to the foreign country
Existence of any threat to national security through involvement in activities tied to terrorism 

If the registrar of persons considers that any of these circumstances exist in your application, they are obliged to report it to the Public Prosecutor. Upon receipt of such a report, the prosecutor can initiate legal action before the Portuguese Administrative Court. When contemplating or considering the above-mentioned circumstances, the person concerned is allowed a chance to adduce evidence to their defense. The Public Prosecutor and the Registry Office can also adduce evidence to build a case against the person concerned. Knowing which evidence to gather to support your Portuguese citizenship acquisition application is critical to guarantee expediency and success of the process. As such, it is imperative to have and exercise discretion when deciding what to add to your case.

How to Establish Effective Connection to the Portuguese Society

  1. For you to be granted citizenship by way of marriage or non-marital partnership, you must show that there exists an effective connection between you and the Portuguese community.

    Such a connection is presumed if you:

    Are a native and national of any Portuguese-speaking state, married or living in a non-marital partnership with a Portuguese for at least five years;

    Are a native and national of a Portuguese-speaking state and the union has children of Portuguese origin;

    Are proficient in the Portuguese language and have been married or living in a non-marital partnership with a Portuguese citizen for at least five years;

    Have legally resided in Portuguese territory within six years immediately before the application and is registered with the Portuguese Tax Administration, National Health Service, or regional health; 

    Have resided in the Portuguese territory for at least three years immediately before the application, attests to school attendance in any educational institution in the national territory, demonstrates knowledge of the Portuguese language, and is registered with the Tax Administration, the National Health Service, or regional health.

    P.S. Due to the recent amendment of the country’s Nationality Law, opposition to nationality acquisition based on lack of effective link does not apply when the couple has kids in common or where the marriage has lasted for over six years. For more information on how to acquire Portuguese citizenship by way of marriage or non-marital partnership, contact us here.