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How can Sephardic Jews obtain Portuguese nationality?

The Portuguese Nationality Law establishes that Jews of Sephardic origin can obtain Portuguese nationality by naturalization. Sephardic Jews (Hebrew ספרדים, Sepharadi; in the plural, Sepharadim) are the descendants of the ancient and traditional Jewish communities of the Iberian Peninsula (Portugal and Spain).

The acquisition of nationality under the terms of Art. 6, no. 7 of Law 37/81, allows Sephardic Jews of legal age or emancipated under Portuguese law, who have not been convicted, with final judgment of the sentence, for the practice of a crime punishable by a prison sentence of three years or more, according to Portuguese law, proving your descent and meeting the requirements of the Portuguese Nationality Law, to become European citizens.

How to prove Sephardic origin?

The first step is to obtain a Certificate from the Portuguese Jewish Community. Through this Certificate it is possible to prove the quality of descendant of Sephardic Jews. The certificate is essential to start the process of Portuguese nationality. In some cases, however, when it is not possible to submit this document, the Law authorizes the submission of other means that can be admitted as evidence, such as:

I. Authenticated document, issued by the Jewish Community to which the applicant belongs, attesting to the use of expressions in Portuguese in Jewish rites or, as a language spoken by you within that community, Ladino;

II. Authenticated documentary records (for example: records of Jewish synagogues and cemeteries, residence titles, property titles, wills and other evidence of family connection in the collateral line of common parent from the Sephardic Community of Portuguese origin).

Once the Portuguese Jewish Community Certificate or equivalent document has been obtained, as described above, it is also necessary to attach other documents to the nationality application, for example: birth certificate, photocopy of the applicant's birth record book; certified copy of the identity card (RG), certificate of criminal record, among others.

It is worth mentioning that the documents mentioned above must be current, that is, issued less than a year ago; booklets and, when necessary, translated before a sworn translator. With the exception of the Portuguese Jewish Community Certificate, which does not need to be handled. It is important to note that the list of documents may differ depending on the Conservatory in which your request is filed. Each case is different, so it is important to consult a qualified immigration lawyer so that he/she can assist you in this procedure. Proper preparation can make all the difference in order approval.

I am Ingls Aguiar, Brazil & Portugal immigration lawyer and Legal Consultant in New York. With offices located in New York and Lisbon. For additional information, contact us by email, by phone + 1 (212) 541-2405 or through our website http://

Disclaimer: "The information in this article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be interpreted as providing legal advice on any matter, nor should it be viewed as establishing an attorney-client relationship of any kind."


Diario da Republica Eletronico – Portugal

Instituto dos Registros e do Notariado –Portugal

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