Amend to the Portuguese Citizenship Law

6 January, 2024

IAS would like to inform last Friday, the 05th of January, 2024, the Parliament approved some changes to the Citizenship law. The main point of the discussion was the changes to be implemented to Portuguese citizenship by Sephardic Jews, in which it was decided that a connection to the Portuguese community would be requested as part of the process.

However, some other topics were discussed, like the exclusion of the limitation on the establish of filiation during the childhood period, and another point, and an important one in our perspective, was the approval of an addendum to the clause that regulates the acquisition of the Portuguese Citizenship through holding a legal residency for 5 years.  Regarding this topic it was introduced the following change to article 15th: 4 - For the purposes of counting legal residence periods provided for in present law, the time elapsed since the moment in which the temporary residence permit was requested, provided that the same will be granted.” (bold is ours). Despite the clear intentions of the legislator's power to compensate for any backlogs that are currently in place by the immigration services, it is unclear what moment will be considered a key moment, and any guess that we would make would be only speculation since there are several points of the current process that can be selected as the “the request”, for example, i) the online submission date ii) the date of payment of the online application iii) the date of biometrics iv) the date of biometrics with no notice of further documents missing, v) other moment. In any case, we believe that the proposed changes are in line with the government's decision to improve its immigration policy and social affairs related to it.

The next step will be to send to the President of the Republic the now-approved changes. After the reception of the petition one of three realities can happen:

i) Direct ratification and in this case, the proposal will come into force on the first day, of the next month after the publication;

ii) The President of the Republic does not accept the proposal as it is, and returns it to the Parliament for alteration (note that the Portuguese parliament will be dissolved on January 15th, and new elections will be held by March 10th, 2024) or

iii) The President of the Republic accepts the document but requests the evaluation of the Constitution Court.

Nevertheless, it is important to understand, that the introduction of changes to the regulation that manages the citizenship law will only take place in 90 days after the publication of the changes now approved. It is important to notice, that such regulation will give us the overview and answers to the questions now raised, namely what will be the key point to be considered a submission.

From the IAS side, you can count on our full support in advising you and keeping informed about the current discussion and decisions.


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