Time required to get Portuguese citizenship reduced by 12-18 months

Written By Becky Gillespie

Portuguese residents waiting to apply for citizenship can now breathe a huge sigh of relief! The Portuguese Parliament passed significant amendments on March 5th to the Portuguese Nationality Law, Organic Law 1/2024, which will usher in transformative changes and effectively streamline the process of acquiring Portuguese citizenship. This amendment is set to reduce waiting times for citizenship by as much as 12-18 months.  

Before the updates passed in March to the Portuguese Nationality Law, the clock for the mandatory five-year residency requirement only began ticking upon the issuance of the first resident card, after having the appointment with a representative from immigration.

This would extend the waiting period to apply for residency to up to seven years for some unlucky applicants. Under the new law, Portugal residents, including D1, D3, D7, D8, and Golden Visa holders, basically anyone living in Portugal with a resident card, can now start their residency clock from the time when the request for temporary residency authorization is considered (provided the application is ultimately approved).

The Steps to Obtaining Portuguese Citizenship

Some Examples

Note: Based on the new amendments, it is still unclear if the 5-year clock starts on the day that approval for the visa is received via email or the date that the temporary visa begins.

Either way, the new amendments greatly reduce the time required to apply for citizenship, a boon for anyone currently waiting to apply for citizenship or considering beginning the Portuguese residency process.

These changes essentially mean that any delays from the Portuguese government after an applicant first receives approval will not count against the applicant. The 5-year clock immediately starts ticking.

It is important to note that previous requirements for citizenship remain the same, including the passing of a Portuguese language test to at least A2 on the CEFR scale, proof of residence in Portugal for the required time, a birth certificate, and a criminal record certificate.

Considering Portugal’s Golden Visa Program?

If you’re interested in finding out the latest details about the Golden Visa program and want to take advantage of the new opportunities. Signup for a live Q&A webinar with an expert from Holborn Assets that will answer all your questions. The event is scheduled for April 11 at 6 PM Lisbon Time (2 PM EST). The live webinar will cover the following:

  • The latest news of the Golden Visa program with an overview on the new rules
  • New Investment Criteria for 2024
  • The end of NHR – what next for taxes?
  • Citizenship/Passports now issued 1-2 years faster
  • Live Q&A for all questions

Register for FREE

*If you cannot attend the seminar or would prefer one-on-one, book a call here.

Final Thoughts

Although getting documents together and making the move to a new country can be challenging, knowing that the Portuguese government recognizes the delays and has taken legal action to support residents who are applying for citizenship makes it much easier to consider starting the residency process in Portugal.

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