Sephardic Jews (FAQS)

Frequently asked questions:

Who is the Sephardic Jew?

Sefarad, in Hebrew, means Spain, thus, Sephardic means Spanish. The term Sephardi refers to the Jews who lived in the Iberian Peninsula until 1492 and to their descendants.

I am not Jewish, but I have Sephardic roots. Can I apply?

Yes, you can. The Law is open to Jewish and non-Jewish people of Sephardic origin, provided that they can prove their Sephardic origin. The religion of the applicant does not matter, what matters is proving the Sephardic ancestry.

How can I prove my Sephardic origin?

The main step:  the applicant who aims obtain Portuguese nationality must require a certificate to the Portuguese Jewish community. This certificate attests his ties with a Sephardic community of Portuguese origin. The request to obtain the certificate must be addressed to the Jewish community of Porto or the Jewish Community of Lisbon.

In order to get the certificate above, the following documents (which will be assessed together) can be requested:

  • Evidence of the applicant’s family history of connection to a Sephardic Community of Portuguese origin, by means of family names, direct or collateral succession, or other elements which are indicative of this connection;
  • Proof of use of Ladino as family language; this proof can be done by filmed records, pictures of graves (with inscriptions in Ladino) or written documents (in Ladino);
  • Any other document proving that the applicant is a Sephardic of Spanish ancestry, such as family records, family tree, births, marriages and deaths certificates, cemeteries and lists of tombs, Brit Milah records, general Government archives that show arrivals from Portugal, lists of ships and passengers arriving from Portugal;

For more information, please contact us.