Portuguese Citizenship for Sephardic Jews

Who is illegible?

This new Decree-Law 30-A/2015, 27/02 changed the Portuguese Rules on Citizenship establishing the requirements for the acquisition of Portuguese citizenship by descendants of Portugal’s Sephardic Jews.

Sephardic are Jews from Iberian Peninsula Community who was expelled by Inquisition during the 15th and 16th centuries.

The Portuguese Citizenship Act allows that a foreign citizen descendant from Sephardic Jews that intended to obtain Portuguese citizenship by naturalization had to demonstrate the tradition of belonging to a Sephardic community of Portuguese Origin.

The language, family names, objects and documents, which demonstrate a strong bond to the Portuguese Jewish Cult, can prove the historical heritage to Portugal.


  • Be of age or emancipated under Portuguese Law;
  • Not have been convicted of a crime punishable under Portuguese Law with imprisonment of three years or more.


  • Birth certificate
  • Copy of Passport
  • Criminal Record issued by the authorities of the country of birth, country of nationality and country of residence (if other from the country of birth or nationality);
  • Document that proves the direct relationship to a Sephardic community of Portuguese Origin;
  • Or document that proves the tradition of belonging to a Sephardic community of Portuguese Origin, such as, a document issued by Jewish community of applicant which certify that the applicant uses Portuguese expressions in Spoken rites.
  • Or some documents such as copies of Synagogue and Jewish Cemeteries archives, residency certificates, property deeds and wills, family records, family tree etc.

Therefore, a foreign citizen who descends from Portugal’s Sephardic Jews may obtain Portuguese Citizenship without speaking Portuguese, residing in Portugal or come to Portugal in person to obtain Portuguese Citizenship.

The average time to complete the process after submission in Portuguese Central Registration is about 6 months.

This process allows to descendants of Portugal’s Sephardic Jews connect to their historical heritage and obtain Portuguese Citizenship.

The acquisition of Portuguese nationality has many benefits, including the right to free movement throughout the Schengen area and opportunities of life and work within the European Union member countries.