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Portuguese Citizenship for Children of Portuguese Parents

11 de September, 2023

Portuguese Citizenship for Children of Portuguese Parents

Here's how to apply for Portuguese nationality for the children of Portuguese parents (one or both), even if they were born abroad: requirements, documents and costs.
Reading: 8 min

Do you have Lusitanian ancestry and are you thinking about dual citizenship? Here’s how to apply for
Portuguese citizenship for the children of Portuguese parents (one or both). Even if you were born on foreign soil and are over 18, you will most likely have the right to apply for Portuguese nationality and your Portuguese passport. However, there are rules to comply with, according to the Nationality Law. Read on to find out if you meet all the requirements, what documents you’ll need to gather for your application, and how much you’ll spend on the process.

A word of advice: if you can apply for citizenship now, don’t let the opportunity pass you by. The laws are constantly changing, so secure your right while you can.

Read also: Is the great-grandson of a Portuguese citizen entitled to apply for dual citizenship?

Is every child of a Portuguese citizen entitled to Portuguese citizenship?

Generally speaking, anyone who is the child of a Portuguese citizen is entitled to Portuguese citizenship. It can be obtained at birth or as an adult. There are, however, some requirements to meet, as we’ll see below.

It is important to say that for the child of a father and/or mother Portuguese even born outside Portugal the attribution is considered original. It is retroactive to the moment of the individual’s birth, in other words: once the process has been completed, the applicant is considered Portuguese from the date of their birth. This type of citizenship can be passed down through the generations.

For children of Portuguese origin, the right applies to both children over the age of 18 and minors.

The following are considered to be native Portuguese:

  • Children of a Portuguese mother or father who were born in Portugal.
  • Children of a Portuguese mother or father who were born outside Portugal, provided that one of the parents was in the service of Portugal.
  • Children of a Portuguese mother or father born outside Portugal, if they expressly declare their wish to obtain Portuguese nationality, using the declaration form for the acquisition of Portuguese citizenship
Daughter of a Portuguese man, seen from the back, holding the flag of Portugal.

What is the difference between original and derived nationality?

There are two ways of obtaining Portuguese nationality: original (granted by origin, from birth) and derived (acquired by purchase, after birth). This small detail will influence the viability of the application, as well as the requirements that the applicant must meet.

What is original nationality?

A Originating nationality is that which is attributed to a person from the moment they are born. In other words, it is the nationality that a person acquires automatically at birth.

What is derived nationality?

A Derivative nationality is one that is not automatic, it results from the voluntary expression of will of the individual who wishes to acquire nationality. It is a right that the law establishes for those who meet a set of requirements. It only takes effect from the date on which the record of the acquisition of nationality is drawn up at the Central Registry Office. This is the case for those who obtain citizenship through length of residence or marriage.

Original and derived citizenship: what changes in the application?

The transmission of nationality to Portuguese descendants born on foreign soil follows different criteria depending on the situation:

For children of Portuguese nationals with nationality , it is not necessary to comply with bond requirements only the regular legal requirements.

For children of Portuguese citizens who have nationality, they can only receive nationality if they are minors and have proof of ties with Portugal. In this case, there are two possible situations:

  • If the child was born before the ancestor obtained Portuguese nationality they need to prove real ties with Portugal. This child will not have original nationality, it will be derived like that of the parents.
  • If the child was born after the ancestor obtained Portuguese nationality he or she can apply for original nationality, in which case it is not necessary to prove real ties with Portugal.

Please note: in the case of child born in Portugal even if their parents do not have Portuguese nationality, they are entitled to Portuguese citizenship. To do so, one of their parents must be living legally in Portugal or even living there without a residence permit, as long as they can prove that they have been in the country for at least a year. The rule became valid in 2020, according to the amendment to the Nationality Law.

Declarant of birth and unfeasibility of the request

Pay attention to a detail that could make it impossible to apply for Portuguese citizenship for your children!

Who is the Portuguese ancestor in your family? Who was the declarant of your birth on your birth certificate?

  • Paternal Portuguese ancestry (Portuguese father) and the father is the declarant of the applicant’s birth: the process is viable.
  • Portuguese maternal ancestry (Portuguese mother) and the mother declaring the applicant’s birth: the process is viable.
  • Portuguese maternal ancestry and the father is the declarant of the birth. One more question arises: were the parents married at the time of the birth?
    • Yes, if they are married, the application is viable. The applicant will have to present the parents’ marriage transcription file (for marriages performed abroad after 1911).
    • No. The case may be more complex, but not impossible. You will be able to proceed with the process as long as there are documents capable of proving parentage when you were a minor. For example: a report card signed by the mother, a baptismal certificate, photographs, etc. The larger the collection of documents to be presented, the greater the chance of success. The registry offices have required documents signed by the mother during the child’s minority. It should be noted that this is a discretionary assignment, i.e. it depends on the assessment of the registrar who will judge your case.
  • Paternal Portuguese ancestry (Portuguese father) and the mother the declarant of the applicant’s birth. One more question arises: were the parents married at the time of the birth?
    • Yes, if they are married, the application is viable. The applicant will have to present the parents’ marriage transcription file (for marriages performed abroad after 1911).
    • No. In this case, the process is unfeasible. The child will not be entitled to Portuguese citizenship.

Birth registration at the age of majority

Another very important aspect to check is when your birth was registered. Nowadays, babies are registered at birth, but this wasn’t always the case. And for your case to be viable, your birth registration must have taken place during your minority. Check the law in your country to see at what age you reach the age of majority. If you were registered after the age of majority, your case is not viable.

Citizenship for children of naturalized Portuguese foreigners

As explained above, foreigners who have become naturalized Portuguese can only pass on Portuguese citizenship to their minor children.

Documents needed to apply for Portuguese citizenship for your child

Now that you know the criteria you need to analyze to see if you can apply for Portuguese nationality, here are the documents that are required:

  • Declaration of birth completed and signed in the presence of an official of the Consulate General of Portugal (or power of attorney)
  • Identification document of the applicant
  • Applicant’s birth certificate
  • Portuguese birth certificate of the Portuguese parent
  • If the Portuguese parent is deceased, it will be necessary to have the death certificate transcribed so that this record can be registered in Portugal.
  • Parents’ Portuguese marriage certificate
  • If the parents are married: a transcript of the marriage certificate (or marriage registration in Portugal) of the applicant’s parents,
  • Documents proving parentage as a minor (if the mother is Portuguese, is not the declarant of the birth and the parents were not married at the time of the birth)
  • Proof of life if the applicant is over 70 years old
  • If the applicant is a married woman and has changed her name as a result of marriage, she must also present her marriage certificate
  • If one of the parents comes from a country where Portuguese is not the official language, you will need to arrange for a sworn translation of the documents relating to that party.

Where can I apply for Portuguese citizenship for my son?

The application for Portuguese nationality can be made online, if it is done through a lawyer. It can also be done at the Portuguese consulate in the area where the applicant lives, or in Portugal, at a Civil Registry Office, at the counter of the Institute of Registries and Notaries, at the National Support Center for the Integration of Migrants, and at the Nationality Counter.

Talk to our consultants!

What are the stages of the nationality process?

The nationality process consists of seven phases:

  1. Nationality application protocol
  2. Order registration
  3. Consultation with external entities, if necessary
  4. Checking the documentation submitted
  5. Analysis of compliance with the legal requirements for granting nationality
  6. Decision on whether or not to grant nationality
  7. Registration as a Portuguese citizen or filing of the case.

If citizenship is granted, the birth certificate will be issued. From then on, the applicant will be able to obtain their Portuguese identification document (called a citizen’s card) and their passport. This application can be made at any Portuguese Consulate or Embassy, or in Portugal, at any Citizen’s Bureau or Civil Registry Office.

How much does Portuguese nationality cost for the child of a Portuguese citizen?

For minors, the application is free of charge at the Civil Registry Offices.

For individuals of legal age, the cost of processing the application is 175€.

It is important to remember that there will still be costs related to issuing the necessary documents, as well as copies and apostilles.

In addition, you may need the support of a historian to locate historical data and documents. Finally, if you want the assistance of a consultancy, you will have to pay an additional fee for the service.

How long does it take for a child’s nationality to be ready?

The time can vary depending on the Civil Registry Office you choose, but on average the wait is between 9 and 12 months.

Living in Portugal without Portuguese citizenship

If your family citizenship process is not viable, it’s important to know that not all hope is lost!!!

If you really want to become a Portuguese citizen, you can obtain your citizenship through your length of residence in the country. In this case, you will need to obtain a residence visa that suits your profile and allows you to live legally in Portugal for at least 5 years.

But don’t forget! Never move without a visa that allows you to live legally in the country! Talk to our consultants and find out about all the visa options for living peacefully in Portugal!

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Silvia Resende

Author:

Silvia Resende

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