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Modification to the Portuguese Citizenship Law

We wish to notify you that, on January 26th, after the parliamentary approval of the decree amending the citizenship law, the President of the Republic requested a precautionary review of the constitutionality of said decree.

The President’s request specifically pertains to Article 6 of the decree, which is associated with pending cases related to the acquisition of nationality by descendants of Portuguese Sephardic Jews. In light of this, it has been decided that a connection to the Portuguese community must be established in the application process for pending cases. Applicants are required to demonstrate proof of real estate in Portugal, frequent travels to Portugal, or possession of residence permits valid for at least one year.

Considering the current situation involving Israel and Palestine, the President believes that introducing additional obstacles to the granting of Portuguese citizenship may be viewed as an infringement upon the principle of human dignity, as articulated in Article 1 of the Portuguese Constitution, and potentially as a violation of the right to life, safeguarded by Article 24 of the Portuguese Constitution.

It’s crucial to note that this article is not directly or indirectly linked to the proposed amendments aiming to expedite the counting of the five-year deadline for legal residence periods, especially for Golden Visa holders. Consequently, the Constitutional Court’s analysis is not expected to impact that particular provision.

The Constitutional Court now has a period of 25 days to determine the (un)constitutionality of the mentioned article in the decree. If the Constitutional Court deems the article to be in violation of the Portuguese Constitution, the President is obliged to veto it, and the decree will be returned to Parliament for revisions. Should the article be found to comply with the Constitution, the President can either issue a political veto (which is deemed unlikely) or proceed with the publication of the decree.

We will ensure to keep you updated on any pertinent developments related to this matter.

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