portugal citizenship image

How (and Why) to Qualify for Portugal Citizenship

If you’re looking for a second passport, you need to consider Portugal citizenship. Here’s why it’s worth it and how to get started.


Olá, amigos! Como vai?


The charms of Portugal are endless.  From its culture to its food to its beaches, it’s no wonder Portugal is one of the hottest tourist destinations of the world. More and more, Portugal is also becoming a hot business destination. But in order to do business in Portugal, you need a second passport proving you’ve obtained a Portugal citizenship. Although it the road to obtaining a second passport in Portugal isn’t as grueling as it is in some other countries, it is important to understand the process so you know if it’s the right move for you and your business.


But first: is getting a second passport for you?


Whether or not you should buy a second passport (and, in turn, a second citizenship) hinges upon your own goals. Perhaps the best way to tell whether or not it’s worth your time is comparing your goals to those of the 300,000+ individuals who’ve gotten a second passport over the past ten years.


Their goals include:


  • achieving a better quality of life;
  • living in a safer environment;
  • providing better opportunities for their children;
  • obtaining better prospects to grow & preserve their wealth; and
  • improving their business & professional opportunities.


If your goals align with theirs, then you should seriously consider the benefit of getting a second passport. At any rate, it’s actually fairly easy to get a second passport. In fact, you may not even be required to step foot on your new second country’s land to start filling out the paperwork!


And now: is Portugal citizenship right for you?


portugal citizenship imageBuying a second passport for Portuguese citizenship has a few obvious benefits, such as enabling you to participate in elections. Portugal is a member of the European Union, so by extension, you’d receive benefits allotted by the EU, such as moving freely in any country that’s part of the Union. Then there are the business aspects that we were talking about earlier. In response to the global financial crisis that gripped the world not ten years ago, Portugal created the Golden Visa program.


The specific aim of this program was to attract foreign (usually non-American, mainly Chinese and Arab) high net worth individuals to the country and, in turn, attract their business. Under this program, the high net worth individual must invest so much money in various programs throughout Portugal. They must also create 10 jobs to be held by individuals who have a registered Portuguese social security number. Now, you may be thinking, “There are cheaper countries in Europe than Portugal. Why don’t I invest in one of those instead?”


An excellent point. It may interest you to know that you don’t actually have to reside in Portugal to be a resident. In fact, the most you have to be present in the country to maintain your second citizenship there is between seven and fourteen days a year. Of course, a longer stay is encouraged (RE: culture, food, beaches, etc.). A longer stay may even help eliminate your income tax for that year.


Other routes to a second citizenship in Portugal


Outside of the business realm, it can prove a bit of a bear obtaining a second passport for Portuguese citizenship. (It’s still not as hard as obtaining a first passport in some countries, though, so we’ll take what we can get.)


Blood is thicker than water.


First, there’s the “blood” route. This route follows a Portugal citizenship law that favors blood ties to the country. Thanks to this law, if one or both of your parents are Portuguese citizens, you may be eligible to be declared a citizen of Portugal yourself.


The “natural” way is a-okay!


But what if you don’t boast such a bold (well, in this case, convenient) lineage? If that’s the way your chips fell, then you can always go the “naturalization” way. To qualify to become a naturalized citizen of Portugal, you have to meet a set of stipulations.

First, you have to be 18 years of age or older.


Second, you have to have legally lived in Portugal for six years.


Third, you have to have a “sufficient knowledge” of the Portuguese language.  (Living in Portugal without learning Portuguese would prove quite an unnecessary challenging, after all.)


Fourth (and understandably), you have to have a fairly clean criminal record.


That means you haven’t have committed a crime that is punishable by three years or more in prison by Portuguese law. In other words, no murderers or con artists, por favor and obrigado!


Love and marriage.


Another route to Portugal citizenship is marriage.


If you marry a Portuguese citizen, you can become a naturalized citizen after living in Portugal only three years. If you get divorced or your marriage is annulled sometime before your three years is up, it doesn’t matter. As long as you made your declaration while married, your declaration still stands.


Love and no marriage.


Not married?  Not a problem! If you’re romantically involved with a Portuguese citizen, you can still become a citizen of Portugal on the basis that you have a de facto union. A de facto union is a relationship in which both partners live together and support each other as they would in a married relationship. But be careful with this one. Don’t assume that just because you live with your Portuguese partner, everything’s taken care of. Make sure that your relationship has been officially been recognized as such by a civil court.


Another word of warning about this route:


While there’s no waiting period for obtaining your second citizenship this way, you may be expected to prove your knowledge of Portugal and the Portuguese language as if you were going the “natural way,” so to speak. Regardless of the way you go about getting your second citizenship in Portugal, you still have the produce the following documents:


  • your birth certificate;
  • a photo ID;
  • a document proving your current nationality; and
  • any criminal records from any country you’ve lived in since you were 16


And of course, you’ll need the drive to succeed in whatever you do in your new country. But more likely you’ve already got that, or else you wouldn’t be reading this article. If you have any more questions about Portugal citizenship, feel free to contact us.


Tchau, e boa sorte!