Everything you need to know about Portuguese Citizenship for Sepharadim.
Portuguese nationality for Sephardic Jews? Is this true?
As true as it can be. By virtue of Decree Law no. 30-A/2015, of 27 February 2015, the Portuguese government approved the process for descendants of Sephardic Jews to obtain Portuguese nationality.
As a result, thousands and thousands of Sephardic Jews from all over the world are willing to seize this opportunity and apply for Portuguese nationality, and, consequently, European nationality, with all that this implies.
About the process
Who can apply?
Sephardic Jews over 18 who can prove their Jewish and Sephardic origin and have no criminal records.
Which are the benefits of holding Portuguese nationality?
Portugal is ranked among the 10 best passports in the world.
The main benefit of holding a Portuguese passport is being an EU citizen, which allows you to move freely across the 28 countries of the European Union. You will be able to live, work, or simply walk around these countries without any limitation. You will also be able to travel to other countries without needing cumbersome visas or entry permits.
Which initial documents do I need to apply?
To start the process, you will only need to submit a copy of your passport, birth certificate, proof of residence (for instance, bills of services or official documents), and a certificate issued by the rabbi or president of the Jewish (orthodox) community corresponding to your place of residence indicating that you are of Jewish and Sephardic origin (if you cannot get this document, we will do it for you).
What about minor children?
Minors will obtain Portuguese nationality once any of their parents obtain it, with the same effects.
Will I have to pay taxes if I become Portuguese?
This is the most frequent question due to obvious reasons. The answer is clear: no, unless you are a tax resident in Portugal or you receive earnings from economic activities in this country. You will not have to inform Portuguese tax authorities about your equity, income or earnings received outside Portugal either.
Do I have to go to Portugal or speak Portuguese? Do I need to prove anything else?
You don’t have to travel nor speak Portuguese. We carry out the full process electronically on behalf of our clients. The main circumstance you will need to prove is your Sephardic origin.
How long does the process take?
Around six months from the time you send us all the documents required. We then submit these documents directly before the Portuguese Register Office.
How long does it take to get the citizenship?
This is harder to predict, but the average is around one year and a half as of the date the documents are submitted to the Register Office. These are estimate and approximate time frames.
Is there any chance that my application might be rejected?
None of the applications we manage have been rejected so far.
How will I know if I have been granted citizenship? What are the next steps?
The Portuguese Register Office will inform us once you are granted nationality. You will then be able to start the process to obtain your Portuguese passport at the Portuguese consulate corresponding to your place of residence, or by travelling directly to Portugal, as you wish.
Can I apply if I am not a Sephardic Jew?
You cannot apply for this process if you are not a Sephardic or do not have direct ascendants of Sephardic origin.
At Cohen & Cohen Lawyers we are specialists in this type of process.