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Applications For Portuguese Citizenship Through Jewish Heritage Can Still Be Made Before The Changes To The Rules – But Only Just – General Immigration



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The Portuguese government’s proposed changes to the law with
regard to the right to Portuguese citizenship for the descendants
of Sephardic Jews expelled in 1492, arose following the Sephardic Genealogical Society concerns that
there was considerable abuse of the laws relating to the Sephardic
rights to citizenship in Portugal in relation to a prominent
Russian oligarch that the Sephardic Genealogical Society was
skeptical as to whether there was a genuine link to the Sephardic
Jewish community in Portugal. This cynicism was supported by the
fact that the person in question showed a marked reluctance to make
public the documentary evidence.

The Sephardic Genealogical Society believed that the laxity
surrounding the criteria required for such an application demeaned
and reflected unfavourably on the Jewish community in general and
particularly those with Sephardic ancestry.

The Portuguese government reacted promptly to strengthen and
reinforce the robustness required in connection with the evidence
of a Sephardic heritage required to obtain Portuguese citizenship
through Sephardic route.

Rute Lourenço an associate in the Porto
office commented “the new laws have added new criteria in an
attempt to prove a lasting connection to Portugal, such as
requirement of a certificate or other probative document relating
to the ownership, transmitted mortis causa, of real rights over
real estate in Portugal, as well as evidence of shareholdings in
commercial or cooperative companies based in Portugal. Also the
applicant could demonstrate that they have undertaken regular trips
to Portugal throughout their life attesting to a strong connection
with Portugal.” Rute further mentioned “the original
criteria still remain
,
applicants will still be required to demonstrate
evidence of the family heritage deriving from the Portuguese
Sephardic community, such as family names, family language and
genealogical evidence including
a family
name that recalled Sephardic ancestry as well as a range of
documentation both drawn from official records such as cemetery
records, Brit Milah records, birth, death and marriage
certificates.”

The new laws will come into effect in September 2022. However,
there is still the opportunity to instigate an application for
Portuguese citizenship under the previous law which offers the
opportunity of providing less challenging evidence.

There is a small window of opportunity to make an application
before the new more stringent laws are enacted. Giambrone & Partners’ highly experienced
immigration lawyers
can fast-track assistance for applicants
from across the globe with their submission for Portuguese
citizenship under the existing laws, whilst they still prevail. As
it is possible that there will be volume of applications by
individuals attempting to beat the new laws, our lawyers strongly
suggest that a family considering this path should make an
application as soon as possible as to avoid being timed out before
the application can be made as the Authorities may not be able to
process all submissions before the new laws are applicable.

Our immigration lawyers will review your application and ensure
that your documentation is acceptable and has no errors or
omissions that may cause your application to fail.

Rute Lourenço is an associate based in the Porto
office.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

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