Portuguese Nationality: A Bit of History!

In the Philippine ordinances, those who were not born in the Kingdom were not considered natives—even if they had lived or married natives of the kingdom. Here, jus soli was considered. Fortunately, this rule was modified over time, and in the First Republic, through the Seabra Code, it was established that the interested party would be entitled to naturalization if they: i) fulfilled military service, ii) had no criminal record, and iii) had resided in Portugal for at least 3 years. Another curious fact is that in 1916 during World War I when Portugal and Germany were on opposite sides, all children of Germans born in Portugal automatically lost their nationality—thankfully, things have changed, don’t you agree? The Constitution of 1976 brought significant changes to the Nationality Law: with the reduction of territory, many citizens who lived in former colonies lost their nationality, and principles such as equality among children born out of wedlock were established. But it was only in 1981, with Law 31/81, that more emphasis was given to the acquisition of nationality through jus sanguinis, so that foreigners who married a Portuguese person and minor children of those who became Portuguese and were therefore integrated into the Portuguese State would have such a right. And the good news doesn’t stop here: dual nationality was allowed, and some causes of loss of nationality were revoked, such as accepting a public function abroad. Over the years, numerous changes have been made. During the presidency of Cavaco Silva in 1994, the requirements for naturalization became even stricter, all in an effort to control the arrival of immigrants. In 2006, with the help of the immigrant association alongside the Socialist Party, Organic Law No. 2/2006 of April 17 was approved, substantially modifying the legal perspective. From 2013 to the present day, there have been some significant legislative changes for access to the highly valued Portuguese passport: recognition of the right to nationality for Sephardic Jews, the introduction of the requirement regarding the absence of committing crimes or convictions, and the facilitation of some scenarios, whether due to marriage, naturalization, or the expression of the interested party’s will. Currently, with the latest legal changes (the most recent being Decree-Law No. 26/2022 published on March 18, 2022), notably the Nationality Law and the Nationality Regulation, it is possible to apply for the attribution or acquisition of nationality. Do you have any questions about Portuguese nationality? Send us a message here


About me

Luana Araujo

I have been a lawyer for over 10 years in Brazil and I have been an immigrant for almost 6 years.

I had a stable life and a solid career in São Paulo, but in 2017 I decided to do a 2-year exchange in Ireland and from that moment on, I started to see
other opportunities

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