15 de August, 2019
This article was originally written in 2017, but the answer to this question remains the same: NO, you do not need to hire legal advice to apply for Portuguese nationality for you or any of your relatives.
The procedure can be done by the interested party himself, or by his attorney-in-fact, at the Consulates or Embassies of Portugal in Brazil or even at the Civil Registry Offices or at the Central Registries of Portugal.
The compulsory requirements to apply for nationality are set in the Portuguese Nationality Law and in the Portuguese Nationality Regulation, and there are also articles published on the internet on the subject that give general guidelines for people who want to do the procedure on their own.
This remains a good option for people who are willing to resolve everything on their own, who have no urgency, who can easily move around to obtain and send the documentation and who can manage the relationship with various public institutions involved in the procedure well.
Although it is not necessary and involves an additional cost, which in fact I would say is an additional “investment”, in many cases of Portuguese nationality the hiring of a specialized legal advisor is usually an added value to the interested party for several reasons, among which we highlight:
In the specific case of processes of Portuguese nationality, both the requirements and the necessary documentation for their processing seem to be well detailed both in the Nationality Law and in the Regulation that applies it. However, this is not the case in practice, especially in the case of more complex nationality hypotheses or those that require the demonstration of a link with the Portuguese community for their acceptance.
In other words, in addition to what seems to be clear from the mere reading of some articles of the law not really being so, since the requirements of nationality are not always grouped in just one title or chapter, thus requiring a complete and attentive reading and analysis of the Law and the Regulation on Nationality, the lack of precision of the legislator also leaves many situations unanswered.
For example, in some hypotheses of Nationality one of the most delicate requirements is the demonstration of the existence of links with the national community. An indeterminate legal concept that it is up to the applicator of the Law to complete and verify in the concrete case. Therefore, what documents or facts indicate the existence of such links?
Neither the Regulation nor the Nationality Law list them clearly (although they recently began to provide for some hypotheses of presumption of ties). In this sense, the practical experience of qualified professionals can be very helpful.
In addition, there are some additional requirements that are not provided for, or at least explicit, in the Law and in the Regulation of Portuguese Nationality. For example, in certain cases of Portuguese nationality it is required: the prior transcription of the marriage of parents or grandparents, or the recognition of the divorce of the spouse in Portugal.
Moreover, many do not know, but for purposes of nationality by descent it is necessary to be duly demonstrated that the affiliation was established in the minority and by the Portuguese or Portuguese child, with some chances of presumption of paternity/maternity, under penalty of rejection of the application.
Or, still, the requirement that the Consulates and Conservatories are making of the presentation of the reprographic copy of the birth registration book (and not only birth certificate in full content), as a necessary condition to grant the request for nationality in many cases, stands out.
Therefore, having a qualified professional to carry out a previous analysis of your chances of success in the application, so that the interested party really only advances if your application is minimally viable, as well as to properly advise and instruct your process, which translates into an increase in the probability of success of your application and with a shorter deadline, usually compensates the value of this investment.
Due to his experience in executing several times similar processes, a qualified lawyer knows well the “path of the stones” that characterizes these processes, unlike someone who is starting his path for the first time and who, naturally, will have to go through a learning curve to have the same result.
As we have already said, everyone may be able to do their own process, with more or less mistakes, with more or less time, with more or less dedication and effort, with more or less cost and comfort/commodity.
However, the minimization of the total treatment time of the process is significant when treated by an experienced professional, by a series of factors, which list some:
Therefore, in the case of people who have an urgent need to apply for Portuguese nationality, due to various reasons (such as wanting to come to Portugal because they have found an attractive job vacancy, or because they intend to give their children school education in a European country and want their children to have the same rights as the students who were born in Portugal), having professional advice is usually the fastest way.
In addition to all the reasons mentioned above, we would like to point out that the nationality processes involve administrative structures of two different countries and applicants who, in many cases, do not even know or are residing in Portugal.
Thus, the formulation of the process usually involves some effort on the part of the interested party (reading, searching for information, bureaucracy, insecurity, time), and the fact that the Consulates, Embassies and Conservatories are increasingly overcrowded only hinders their lives, because these would be the appropriate places, in Brazil and Portugal, to clarify doubts and provide information for the specific cases.
In this context, having legal advice to apply for Portuguese nationality means having professionals who will take care of your process for you or together with you, with all the necessary attention and expertise.
In other words, it is having someone you trust to clarify your doubts quickly, having a team that guides your actions and provides the documentation, knowing that a qualified professional will represent you before the competent authorities during the procedure and until the conclusion of your process, answering any subsequent question and giving you the necessary knowledge. Finally, it is to invest in comfort and tranquility for the applicant.
As mentioned above, you do not need to hire a legal advisor to apply for Portuguese nationality and you can do so on your own behalf with the competent authorities. This is a good option for people who are willing to resolve everything on their own, who do not have urgency, who can easily move around to obtain and send the documentation and who can manage the relationship with various public institutions involved in the procedure well.
However, in the case of people who have urgency or who do not want to run the risk of wasting a lot of time and money learning and executing their own process, the hiring of a legal advisor to apply for Portuguese nationality is usually a good alternative, either to ensure more security and increase the probability of success in the application, or to obtain greater speed in its processing, or even by the desire to have a more comfortable and peaceful experience.
Of course, before hiring the services it is very important that the interested party verifies the origin and professional experience of the lawyers, as well as feeling comfortable with the services, values and conditions offered.
Basically, since potential applicants for nationality applications are on the other side of the ocean, the objective is to seek in Portugal a transparent, rigorous team that manages, from the first contact, trust between the parties, thus enabling a service of excellence and allowing, if necessary, a smooth and desired transition to Portugal.
Article published on the Euro Tips website: https://www.eurodicas.com.br/assessoria-para-nacionalidade-portuguesa/
Author: Roberta Fraser
Citizenship & Immigration