On November 10, 2020, Organic Law No. 2/2020 was published, which introduces important changes to the Nationality Law (Law No. 37/81, of October 3).

The changes introduced recently allows for children of foreigners born in Portugal, in which at least one of the parents legally resides here for at least one year, to become Portuguese nationals (unless they declare that they do not want to); even if the residence of the parent in Portugal is not legal, but if it has in fact existed for at least one year, then the child will be Portuguese.

Another important change brought about by this Law is the implementation of the expression “effective ties with the national community” as a condition for obtaining Portuguese nationality by individuals with a second level Portuguese ancestor in the straight line (i.e. grandmother or grandfather), which has often been a reason for refusing applications for nationality. The new regime implements this requirement in a much more objective and simplistic way, requiring only that the Applicant show evidence of: (i) sufficient knowledge of the Portuguese language, (ii) not to have been sentenced to 3 years in prison for a crime punishable under Portuguese law; and (iii) there is no danger or threat to national security or defence, for involvement in activities related to the practice of terrorism of the Applicant. As such, this requirement depends exclusively on objective factors.

Also regarding nationality by naturalisation, this Law brings changes, covering a wider range of people as possible beneficiaries – in fact, it allows the Government to grant it to minors (and not only to new-borns, who were referred to in the original nationality rules) born in Portuguese territory, children of foreigners, if one of the parents has legal residence in Portugal or the minor here has attended at least one year of pre-school education or basic, secondary or professional education.

Given the above it is now easier and faster to become a Portuguese citizen!

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