Applications for Portuguese nationality soar as new law comes into force in September


Changes to the nationality law, which applies to descendants of Sephardic Jews who wish to acquire Portuguese nationality, have seen a push, while the new law is expected to come into force in September 2022.

The change in the law caused an increase in requests, which led to a strike and long queues at the registry and other offices. In view of the situation, the Portuguese government has extended services until Wednesday, reports

Specifically, in an effort to redress the wrongs suffered by Sephardic Jews in 1492, the latter will be able to acquire Portuguese nationality, the criterion being the demonstration of links with this category.

Furthermore, the criteria required to prove a Sephardic connection include the use of the Landino language within a family, a surname linked to Sephardic ancestry as well as a range of documents from official records such as cemetery registers, as well as birth, death and marriage certificates.

The possibility of obtaining Portuguese nationality for Sephardic Jews was not limited by the nationality of the applicant.

However, in March 2022, the Sephardic Genealogical Society expressed the problem of abuse of Portuguese laws relating to Sephardic rights to citizenship in the country.

The Society felt that the lack of seriousness about the candidacy criteria put the Jewish community at a disadvantage, believing that it reflected negatively on people of Sephardic origin, and Portuguese citizens acted quickly on the matter.

“The main changes made to the law relating to the Sephardic right of Portuguese citizenship are the requirement of a certificate or other evidentiary document relating to the ownership, transmitted mortis causa, of rights in rem over immovable property in Portugal, d ‘other personal rights or participations, in commercial companies or cooperatives based in Portugal’, Rute Lourenço, a partner in the Porto office, said.

According to Israeli media, at least 90,000 descendants of Sephardic Jews have acquired Portuguese or Spanish citizenship since 2015, with Spain receiving around 153,000 applications while Portugal received 86,000.

Spain granted citizenship to 36,000 applicants, or 23% of the total number of applicants, while Portugal granted citizenship to 63% of applicants, or about 54,000 people. Thousands of applications still need to be reviewed in both countries.

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