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Is it possible to obtain Portuguese nationality through marriage or stable union?

Yes. After acquiring Portuguese nationality it is possible to live in the country and enjoy rights inherent to a Portuguese citizen, such as studying and working in Portugal or in any other member country of the European Union, such as Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, Spain and others. In addition, Portugal is part of the Visa Waiver Program which allows European citizens to travel to countries such as the United States without the need for a visa, as long as their stay in the country is equal to or less than 90 days and that they complete the Electronic Travel Authorization designated as ESTA.

According to article 3 of the Portuguese Nationality Law, foreigners who are married or living in a de facto union (stable union) for at least three years with a Portuguese citizen may acquire Portuguese nationality. In addition, it is necessary to prove an effective connection with Portugal; not having been convicted of crimes with a maximum sentence of three years or more, according to Portuguese law; not having been a civil servant of a foreign state; not having provided non-mandatory military service to a foreign state.


The effective connection with Portugal can be proved through the demonstration of regular contacts with the Portuguese community, such as having a legal residence or rented or owned property in Portugal for at least three years prior to your nationality application; making regular trips to the country or participating in a cultural or recreational association of Portuguese origin in Brazil, such as a Portuguese club, Athletic Club of Vasco da Gama for at least five years prior to your nationality application.

It should be noted that the above requirements are not cumulative and the applicant may demonstrate one or more of a requirement. The more requirements that can be demonstrated, the better, as this will increase your chances of having your nationality application granted.


It is important to mention that Decree-Law no. 71/2017 promoted changes in the Portuguese Nationality Regulation and, now, in some circumstances, it is possible to presume the bond with the Portuguese community, especially in the case of:

1. The native applicant of a Portuguese-speaking country, or has enough knowledge of the Portuguese language, married or living in a stable union (de facto) for at least 5 years with the original Portuguese national; or

2. The native applicant of a Portuguese-speaking country, married or living in a stable union with a native Portuguese, provided that there are children, coming from the marriage with the native Portuguese and the basis on which the application for nationality is based.

In the above cases, the bond with the Portuguese community will be presumed, thus complying with the legal requirement.


The request of Portuguese nationality based on marriage or facto union must be made obligatorily in the constancy of the marriage. Otherwise, the application will be rejected. It should be noted that a declaration of nullity or annulment of marriage does not prejudice the nationality acquired by the spouse who contracted it in good faith.


The application for nationality by the spouse must be made upon prior recognition of the marriage in Portugal, through the transcription of marriage.

On the other hand, the partner's request for nationality must be recognized by a Portuguese court. In this case, representation by a lawyer registered with the Portuguese Bar Association will be mandatory.

Once the marriage has been transcribed or the de facto union has been recognized by the Portuguese Government; once the effective connection to the Portuguese community has been proven and the requirements of the Nationality Law have been met, the applicant will be able to apply for Portuguese nationality by naturalization.

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Author: Ingls Aguiar

Immigration lawyer in Brazil & Portugal

Legal consultant in New York

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