Thursday, 27 April 2017
A- A A+

Become a Portuguese Citizen AND keep your British passportMost Brits who contemplate taking on Portuguese citizenship don’t want to give up their British nationality so the good news is that Portugal permits dual nationality and you can keep your British passport. Other countries, e.g. Spain, do not permit a person to have dual nationality.

Several reasons for taking on Portuguese nationality:

• Lifelong access to state healthcare. Amongst retired UK expats across Europe, access to state healthcare is the most cited reason to move back to the UK.
• Should you become mentally or physically incapacitated you will not have the worry of reapplying for a UK passport or Portuguese permanent residency, both of which only last for 10 years.
• Certainty regarding your status in an EU country after Brexit.
• The ability to move around Europe unhindered after Brexit and enjoy all the benefits of being an EU citizen.
• Being able to vote in national elections.

At the time of writing, (Feb, 2017) there is no agreement in place regarding our future rights when the UK leaves the EU.

Any UK citizen aged 18 or over may apply for naturalisation as a citizen of Portugal once they have resided legally for six or more years in the country. Currently, as an EU citizen, this will require first having the 5 year EU temporary residency from your local Câmara and then applying for permanent residency from your local SEF (O Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras) office.

NOTE: EU citizens are not required to sit the language test for permanent residency but non-EU citizens are. This means that once the UK departs from the EU, Britons will become non-EU citizens and are likely to be treated as such so if you are considering taking out Portuguese permanent residency do it ASAP and before Brexit.

Citizenship is handled by the IRN (Instituto dos Registos e do Notariado) and advice can be sought from the local Conservatória. However, depending on where you live, you may find that you are the first person to ask and you may not get very far. I found this at my local Conservatória in Ourique, and whilst they were very friendly all they could do was to point me at the IRN website (see link below).

There are a variety of individual situations and therefore there are different forms from which to choose on the IRN website. All are in Portuguese only - visit: 

http://www.irn.mj.pt/sections/irn/a_registral/servicos-externos-docs/impressos/nacionalidade/impressos-nacionalidade

You will need to prove you have sufficient command of the language so see HERE for the detailed information on the language test.

HERE is copy of a test paper sent to me before I did my test. No answers I'm afraid but at least anyone can see the standard required.

You must provide a certificate of your criminal record both from the UK and in Portugal. For the UK record you can apply online via: 

https://www.acro.police.uk/police_certificates.aspx

Choose the ‘Police Certificates’ tab. Cost £45. It should take around 2 weeks and is sent by first class post.

For Portugal you need to go to your local Tribunal with either your passport or residencia. The cost is 5 euros and it takes around a week.

NOTE: Police record checks are only valid if issued within the 6-months prior to your application. The Portuguese check is only valid for 3-months. Therefore the advice is not to apply for either before you have had the results of your language test, just in case you fail.

Naturalisation by marriage
If you are married to a Portuguese citizen you may obtain Portuguese citizenship after three years as long as you make your declaration while you remain married. If you divorce or the marriage is annulled at a later date your Portuguese citizenship will not be rescinded.

My solicitor explained to me that the three year rule is to ensure that the relationship is stable and is to prevent marriages of convenience to gain citizenship. In the case of two Brits married for longer than three years, only one partner needs to apply and do the language test as the other can apply without the language test as soon as the former has acquired citizenship. There is a different form for this partner. At the time of writing the form is Modelo 3.

Unmarried partners
If you are in a relationship with a Portuguese citizen but not married, you may still obtain citizenship on the basis that you are in a de facto union as long as the union has been officially recognised by a civil court.

There is no required residence period for obtaining citizenship in this way, but you may be required to take Portuguese language test and show integration into Portuguese society.

All documents in English need to be translated into Portuguese and certified.

A payment of €250 must be made by cheque in euros and must be verified by your Portuguese bank (cheque visado). Ask for this at the counter of your local branch.

Once you have all the paperwork assembled and checked (I used a Portuguese solicitor), you should deliver it or post by registered mail to:

Conservatória dos Registos Centrais
Rua Rodrigo da Fonseca, 200
1099-003 Lisboa

Or:

Visit the following Conservatórias do Registo Civil:

Almada, Amadora, Aveiro, Barreiro, Braga, Coimbra, Évora, Faro, Guimarães, Lisboa, Mangualde, Ovar, Pombal, Ponta Delgada, Portalegre, Arquivo Central do Porto, Santarém, Silves, Tondela, Torres Vedras.

The process takes around 3-6 months.

Good luck!

 __________

See also: 'Are you legal in Portugal? Rules on residency for citizens of the EU, EEA and Switzerland'

Comments  

0 #24 Sue Fletcher 2017-04-18 12:48
Quoting DonnaMaria:
Hi, thanks for this great article. Helped me, but I still have some questions. Can you help me please? I currently live in Spain (resident) I was born in London and my father was born in Portugal. I would like a dual nationality passport Uk/Portuguese so that when Brexit kicks in I do not have to worry. Am I allowed to apply for a dual nationality passport on the basis of my father being Portuguese? Do I need to sit the language test? Help would be appreciated. kind regards Donna


Hi Donna

Thanks for your question. I believe the form you require is Modelo 1C, which can be found on this link. Looking through the requirements you don't appear
to have to do a language exam.

http://www.irn.mj.pt/IRN/sections/irn/a_registral/registos-centrais/docs-da-
nacionalidade/declaracao-para1654/

Portugal permits dual residency.

If this doesn't help please come back. A full list of all the forms can be found on the IRN website:

http://www.irn.mj.pt/sections/irn/a_registral/servicos-externos-docs/impress
os/nacionalidade/impressos-nacionalidade

Regards, Sue Fletcher
Quote
0 #23 DonnaMaria 2017-04-18 10:54
Hi, thanks for this great article. Helped me, but I still have some questions. Can you help me please? I currently live in Spain (resident) I was born in London and my father was born in Portugal. I would like a dual nationality passport Uk/Portuguese so that when Brexit kicks in I do not have to worry. Am I allowed to apply for a dual nationality passport on the basis of my father being Portuguese? Do I need to sit the language test? Help would be appreciated. kind regards Donna
Quote
0 #22 MariaF 2017-03-25 17:46
Quoting Ana Camille:
Great article. Shame it was so long in coming.

Anything else you want to bitch about?
Quote
0 #21 PeterT 2017-03-25 17:45
Quoting Ana Camille:
I was was really starting to wonder if the Algarve Daily News would ever wake up to the very real needs and concerns of its readers.

An unnecessarily snide remark from Ana, if I may say so. Algarvedailynews is not a community help centre - for that you need to join afpop - but does a sterling job in keeping us all up to date with news and views - very much appreciated and well done Ed!
Quote
-2 #20 Ana Camille 2017-03-25 16:26
Great article. Shame it was so long in coming.
Quote
-1 #19 Ana Camille 2017-03-25 16:26
I was was really starting to wonder if the Algarve Daily News would ever wake up to the very real needs and concerns of its readers.
Quote
0 #18 SueFletcher 2017-03-25 14:38
[quote name="Jackie D"]Hello Jackie, Thanks for your question. The very short answer is that no-one yet knows anything as the negotiations about all EU migrants has yet to be started.
However, reading the press, there has never been a suggestion that citizenship would be the sole requirement to stay here legally, simply permanent residency. Citizenship would be the totally secure way but in my personal opinion, taking into account everything I have read, permanent residency will be sufficient to stay. However, permanent residency is only valid for 10 years and so the big question is what's going to happen at renewal? Will we be expected to do the language test like all other non-EU
citizens? We don't know.
Health care is another issue for the negotiations but this quote from:
http://www.expatica.com/pt/healthcare/Health-insurance-in-Portugal_105298.html
may be reassuring:
All international citizens who become official residents or employees in Portugal, however, whether from the EU or outside of Europe, typically gain
the same healthcare rights as Portuguese nationals and will be covered by health insurance in Portugal - although not all types of treatment are available for free, with many requiring a patient contribution.

Most Brexit commentators believe that the EHIC health card and the S1 form will be withdrawn.
Quote
+2 #17 NSeromenho 2017-03-25 13:41
I have recently got my dual nationality and it took FAR longer than 3-6 months. I waited 1 YEAR AND 3 MONTHS from sending the application to having it approved so if this is something you are interested in then don't wait as it takes ages!!
Quote
+1 #16 Ed 2017-03-24 23:52
Quoting TT:
Very helpful piece, thank you.
I would like to have seen an example of the test paper but the "HERE" link doesn't work :-(

The link should be working OK, try it again.
Ed
Quote
+1 #15 Jackie D 2017-03-24 14:51
My husband and myself have permenant residency.
Despite having many years of private and school lessons,still struggle with the language. We would certainly not be up to the standard of the required language test.
Can someone make it clear,will permenant residency,post brexit enable us to remain here and use the health service.we are too old for private health .care?
Your information is useful,and I know that there is very little anyone can tell us,but clarity on this point would be useful.
(See answer from Sue Fletcher above.Ed)
Quote