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Second Passport

How to Get Portuguese Citizenship by Descent in 2024: The Ultimate Guide

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This article discusses Portuguese citizenship by descent (CBD), its eligibility requirements, benefits, and how you can acquire it in 2024.

Portugal’s passport is the fourth-best in the world, and the country also offers an excellent tax program offering ten-year tax cuts on many sources of income. Moreover, Portugal is one of the most beautiful European countries with diverse terrain and climate, and its capital is a renowned digital nomad hub thanks to the abundance of coworking spaces and a sizable expat community.

If a beautiful, tax-friendly EU country with a high standard of living is where you see your best future – Portugal is the place for you.

If you have European roots, acquiring citizenship by descent can open the door to personal, financial, and travel opportunities for you. We have helped many clients acquire citizenship in countries across Europe and elsewhere. Get in touch with us today so that we can help you do the same.

What Is Citizenship by Descent (CBD)?

Citizenship by descent allows you to claim citizenship of a country based on your ancestry.

Most CBD countries offer citizenship if you have parents from that country. However, some countries can accept familial ties that go back two or even three generations.

Because citizenship by descent is the cheapest option to acquire a second citizenship, it’s therefore well worth checking out your family tree – you might be eligible for a second citizenship and not even know it!

Of course, tracking all that information down and securing the necessary documents can be tricky, as can making your citizenship application. That’s why we launched our citizenship by descent service, to make the whole process easier and more efficient.

Portuguese CBD – Ancestral Ties

With Portuguese CBD, foreigners with a Portuguese parent or grandparent can acquire Portuguese citizenship by descent.

Of course, the burden of proof is on you. You will need to demonstrate birth certificates, marriage certificates, and any other document the authorities may deem necessary in the citizenship process. The further up you go in your family tree, the harder it is to retrieve information or documents regarding your ancestors.

But it doesn’t have to be this way, our experienced team can help.

Right Of Return For Sephardic Jews

Sephardic Jewish ancestry is another route to acquiring citizenship in Portugal.

In April 2013, Portugal amended its Law on Nationality to permit descendants of Sephardic Jews expelled to claim Portuguese citizenship on the proviso that they “belong to a Sephardic community of Portuguese origin with ties to Portugal.” This came into effect in March 2015.

If you believe you are eligible to apply for this get in touch with us and we can help you through each step of your application process.

How to Apply for Portuguese Citizenship by Descent

If you are born in Portugal, that makes you a Portuguese citizen by default. Even if you have foreign parents.

Is dual citizenship possible in Portugal? Yes, it is.

If you are born abroad into a family with Portuguese parents or to a couple with at least one Portuguese parent and registered in the Portuguese civil registry, you are eligible for Portuguese citizenship by descent.

You also qualify to become a Portuguese citizen if you have a Portuguese ancestor as a second-degree relative (grandparents), provided they didn’t lose their citizenship.

Portuguese Citizenship by Descent Application Process

Apply for Portuguese Citizenship Through Portuguese Parents or Grandparents

If you want to apply for Portuguese nationality through a first-degree relative, as in a Portuguese parent, you can do so at the Portuguese Consulate of your current residency.

If you want to obtain Portuguese citizenship via a Portuguese ascendant in the second degree as in a grandparent, you need to demonstrate knowledge of the Portuguese language, apply for a tax ID, and open a Portuguese bank account.

The documents required to apply for Portuguese citizenship through parents or grandparents are the following:

  • Application form signed in the presence of Portuguese consulate official
  • Certified copy of your birth certificate
  • Copy of Passport or other valid picture ID
  • Any relevant marriage certificate
  • Copy of birth certificate of both parents
  • Birth certificate of the Portuguese grandparent – if applicable
  • Birth certificate of the parent who is the child of the Portuguese grandparents, if applicable
  • Document proving that you speak Portuguese – if applicable
  • Criminal record certificate.
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Become a Portuguese Citizen Through the Portuguese Jewish Community

Once you gather a certificate from a Sephardic community recognized under Portuguese law (confirming that you are a descendant of Portuguese Sephardic jews) and a certified document from your Jewish community, you can begin your application.

An amendment to the requirements was made in March 2022. You need to prove a deep and lasting connection with Portugal. This can be done in one of two ways:

  • Proof of personal (home) or professional base (company) in Portugal
  • You have traveled regularly to Portugal throughout your life.

Benefits of Becoming a Portuguese Citizen

Portuguese Passport

A Portuguese passport gives you visa-free to 173 countries, including the US, the UK and free movement throughout the EU,.

EU Member State

Portugal is an EU member state, so acquiring Portuguese citizenship will give you all the benefits enjoyed by EU citizens.

As a Portuguese citizen, you can take advantage of free tuition and quality universal healthcare in the EU. You will also be able to travel to most of the world and take advantage of excellent Portuguese tax schemes.

Tax Benefits

Portuguese citizenship guarantees tax benefits. If you don’t move to Portugal, and you don’t own any assets there, you won’t have to pay any tax in Portugal. If you later choose to relocate, Portugal has double taxation treaties with over 70 countries to prevent you from being taxed twice on your income.

Moreover, the country has a non-habitual tax residency program granting ten-year tax exemptions on most sources of income. So if you’re worried about the high-tax liability that comes along with being a Portuguese citizen, you can check out the non-habitual tax route. Moreover, a minimal residency requirement ensures you hold on to your Portuguese passport.

Should You Get Portugal Citizenship by Descent?

In addition to boasting one of the strongest passports in the world, Portugal allows dual citizenship meaning you won’t have to lose your existing citizenship to gain the Portuguese one.

For those who don’t plan to spend much time in Portugal or are wary of its high-tax status, proper tax planning and Portugal’s non-habitual tax residency can do wonders in reducing or even eliminating your Portuguese tax bill.

Also, after the discontinuation of the world-renowned Portuguese Golden Visa, Portuguese CBD is the next best option to make Portugal your home country.

Eager to start your Portuguese CBD journey? We have helped many clients receive second citizenship through ancestral ties, and we would love to do it for you too. All you have to do is contact us, and we will make sure that you reap all the benefits of a second citizenship process and none of the woes.

How to Get Portuguese Citizenship by Descent in 2024: The Ultimate Guide FAQ

Does Portugal allow dual citizenship?

Portugal allows dual citizenship meaning you won’t have to lose your existing citizenship to gain the Portuguese one.

Does Portugal have a Golden Visa program?

On 30 March 2023, The Portuguese government announced that they’re ending the Golden Visa program and may reframe the requirements in another traditional visa.

Is Portugal a high-tax country?

The headline tax rate in Portugal can go up to 48%, which is one of the highest tax rates in the world. However, the country has an excellent non-habitual tax residency program offering a ten-year tax exemption on most sources of income, especially foreign-sourced income.

Is it easy to get Portuguese citizenship by descent?

Most CBD programs are pretty straightforward – prove ancestral ties and get the passport. The hardest bit is gathering all the documents and confirming your ties to the country in case. That’s where we come in. At Nomad Capitalist, we’ve helped many clients get citizenship by descent in countries like Ireland, Poland, Armenia, etc., and we would love to do the same for you. Get in touch with us today and start your journey toward second citizenship.


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