Portuguese Nationality Through Marriage

2 de October, 2023

Portuguese Nationality Through Marriage

Foreigners who have been married or in a stable union for more than 3 years with a Portuguese national may request Portuguese citizenship.
Reading: 6 min

The acquisition of Portuguese citizenship for a spouse (by marriage) or partner (by stable union) is a hypothesis that has long been foreseen by Portuguese nationality law. However, its demand has increased as legal changes have made this way of acquiring nationality easier and simpler.

In 2021 , around 16% of Portuguese nationality applications were from spouses and partners of Portuguese nationals, according to a SEF report. This is the second largest group of applicants, behind only those applying for naturalization (61%).

Despite this popularization, the subject still raises many doubts. In this article we will explain the general requirements of these two hypotheses for acquiring Portuguese citizenship in all its details, updated according to the laws in force in 2024.

Portuguese Nationality Through Marriage or Stable Union

Who has the right to Portuguese Nationality through Marriage or Stable Union?

Foreigners who marry Portuguese citizens or who have a stable union (“de facto union”) will be entitled to Portuguese citizenship by marriage. The minimum time of union required is:

  • 3 years of union, if the applicant has ties with Portugal;
  • 6 years of union, for those who do not have an effective connection to the Portuguese national community.

Is it possible to apply for Portuguese citizenship after divorce?

No. The application for nationality and the respective declaration of will must always be made during marriage or stable union! If you are divorced, for example, you have unfortunately lost the opportunity to become a Portuguese citizen by this means.

Is it possible to apply for Portuguese citizenship as a widower?

No. The application for nationality must always be made during the marriage.

Do you want to live in Europe?

Realizing your goal of living in Europe or obtaining European citizenship can be simpler than you think. We offer personalized support to make the immigration process more accessible and uncomplicated.

Complementary Requirement: Recognition of Relationship in Portugal

Once the time requirements have been met, it is necessary to register the union in Portugal beforehand, if it took place abroad. Only then is it possible to apply for citizenship.

Portuguese Citizenship for Spouse (by Marriage)

The application for nationality by the spouse can only occur through prior recognition of the marriage in Portugal. Thus, if the marriage took place outside Portugal, this recognition must be done through a specific administrative procedure, called “transcription of marriage celebrated abroad”.

The marriage transcription procedure costs 120€ .

Portuguese Citizenship for Companion (by Stable Union)

In turn, the application for nationality by the partner can only occur through prior recognition of the stable union by the Portuguese Court. That is, if they maintain a stable union abroad, it will be necessary to file a lawsuit in Portugal to apply for nationality.

The Stable Union recognition procedure has a cost of 306€ .

Opposition to Portuguese Nationality for Spouses or Partners

For applications for acquisition of nationality by a spouse or partner, the Nationality Law also provides that Portuguese citizenship shall NOT be granted in the following cases:

  • When the applicant has been convicted of a crime punishable by a maximum imprisonment of three years or more, in accordance with Portuguese law;
  • When the applicant has performed public functions without a predominantly technical character or has performed non-mandatory military service to a foreign state;
  • where the applicant presents a danger or threat to national security or defence by his or her involvement in terrorism-related activities.

The applicant must declare and/or prove that he/she is not covered by any of the situations above. Otherwise, the application may not even be filed at the Consulate or the Portuguese Public Ministry may file a lawsuit against the applicant, the so called “Ação de Oposição à Nacionalidade Portuguesa”, in order to have the application rejected.

What documents are required for Portuguese Citizenship by Marriage?

To apply for Portuguese citizenship by marriage you must have the following documents:

  • Completed citizenship application form (only sign in front of the relevant officials at the time of application)
  • Legalized (apostilled) birth certificate of the applicant in full copy;
  • Birth certificate of the marriage or civil partnership partner
  • Proof of nationality of the applicant
  • Criminal record of the applicant
  • Documents proving links with Portugal

Documents that are not in Portuguese must be translated!

For unions of less than 6 years duration, the applicant must prove that he/she has an effective link with Portugal in order to make his/her application. In this case, the more links with the country you can prove, the more likely your application will be successful.

Relevant proof of links with Portugal are considered, with a high chance of approval of the application:

  • Documents of your children born or registered in Portugal,
  • Proof of employment in Portugal, such as payslips and social security contributions,
  • Water bills, electricity bills or rent contracts in Portugal;
  • Property documents in Portugal (car, house, land);

Other proof of ties that can be presented, but which alone may not be sufficient for the application for Portuguese citizenship.

  • IRS declaration – Income tax in Portugal
  • Tax Identification Number (TIN)
  • Have a bank account in Portugal
  • Registration in the Portuguese National Health System.
  • Regular participation over the last five years in the cultural life of the Portuguese community in the country where you live, i.e. activities of Portuguese cultural and recreational associations.

Does a Spouse Have to Speak Portuguese to Apply for Portuguese Citizenship?

Those who have already been married to a Portuguese citizen for at least 6 years are exempt from taking the Portuguese language test to apply for Portuguese citizenship.

The same is true for nationals of CPLP countries.

For those who are foreigners, living in Portugal, married to a Portuguese for more than 3 years and less than 6, and wish to apply for citizenship, they will have to undergo local language proficiency tests.

How long does nationality by marriage take?

It is not possible to say exactly how long it will take for your citizenship by marriage to be ready. It will depend on a series of factors, such as the volume of requests at the registry office, for example. Currently, the timeframe is around 36 months.

How much does nationality cost for marriage?

The process of obtaining Portuguese citizenship by marriage involves costs with documents, translations, apostille, in addition to administrative fees and, if you choose this route, the amounts charged by the advisory company. Thus, the cost may vary depending on the specific situation of the applicant. Will your documentation have to be translated? Will you have to undergo language tests? Each case is different. You need to take into account some values:

  • Transcription of Marriage (120€) or Recognition of Stable Union (306€)
  • Application for Portuguese citizenship by marriage: 250€.

Attention: These values are subject to constant updates, so be sure to check the current rate.

Is it worth hiring a consultancy to apply for Portuguese citizenship by marriage?

It is very worthwhile to have the help of a specialized advisory service. The process of obtaining Portuguese citizenship through marriage itself is not complicated. However, having the help of a qualified and experienced professional can make all the difference in your application. Not only by offering greater chances of success, but also by providing greater peace of mind and comfort. If you wish to apply for your Portuguese citizenship, talk to an Atlantic Bridge consultant!

Are You Married With a Portuguese? Get Started With Your Citizenship >

Silvia Resende


Silvia Resende

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