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Get Portuguese Citizenship as a Sephardic Jew

Become a Portuguese national as a descendent of the Sephardic Jewish community

If you are part of the Sephardic Jewish community, you can apply got Portuguese Citizenship. Our English-Speaking Immigration lawyers in Portugal will guide you through the process to change your citizenship and relocate.

How can a lawyer help with your Portuguese Citizenship?

We can speak with immigration officials directly, if necessary, to ask questions that may occur during the process.

We will analyze the situation and explore all the options to understand which route suits you best.

Each case requires specific documents and some need to be verified and translated. We will explain to you know which ones are needed and review them all before submitting your process.

Also, we are able to communicate with Portuguese public services directly, whenever it is necessary. Thus, we may respond to any additional piece of information or documents requested at any time.

We can file the application on your behalf and contact the officials to follow up to track your application.

Our lawyers have excellent knowledge when working with the demands of the Portuguese Administration.

It’s vital to work with a law firm on this citizenship. We can help with unforeseen hurdles for Jewish people like which countries allow dual citizenship.

We provide full assistance in English, Spanish, French, Italian, Greek and Portuguese.

¨We will be with you each step of the journey.¨

What is Portuguese citizenship as a Sephardic Jew?

Sephardic Jews are part of the Jewish diaspora and lived in communities across Spain and Portugal. They were expelled from the Iberian Peninsula in huge numbers during the 15th century as the region become increasingly Catholic. Around 100,000 Sephardic Jews were expelled and many moved to North Africa and the Middle East under the Ottoman Empire.

In 2015, the Portuguese government changed Immigration law to grant descendants of Portuguese Sephardic Jews the right to be Portuguese citizens. There are estimated to be 3.5 million Sephardic Jews with the majority residing in Israel, France and the U.S.

Citizenship is a legal status that ties a person to a country. Citizens get certain rights from the state. However, they must meet specific demands of the state, like paying taxes and following the rule of law.

Sephardic Jews can get citizenship in Portugal without giving up their existing citizenship. This is called dual citizenship.

However, other countries’ laws may demand that the person give up their original passport when obtaining Portuguese citizenship.

How to Get Portuguese citizenship as a Sephardic Jew?

The first step is to get all the correct paperwork. This includes birth certificates and criminal record checks. However, unlike other citizenship applications, you will need paperwork that certifies your Jewish religion status in Portugal.

You will also need to show proof of ancestry within the Sephardic community in Portugal. The immigration officials will need a description of the direct descendent or family relationship that ties you to the Sephardic community.

Most official records are hard to find. So immigration officials accept documents from the Jewish community, like synagogues and cemeteries.

You will also need to have proof of strong ties to the Portuguese community. This can include having a Portuguese family name, knowledge of the language or being a descendent of a Portuguese citizen.

From September 1st, 2022, it is mandatory to show regular travel or ownership proof to strengthen your application. Some people show proof that they attend events in Portugal. Others present real estate records to show their genuine bond to Portugal.

You can apply once you have obtained all the necessary documentation. Most people apply by mail or in person with a lawyer.

Your application may take between one and two years. After receiving approval, the Portuguese civil registry will proceed with the registration as a Portuguese citizen. The registration as a Portuguese citizen might take about four months.

What are the requirements?

To move to Portugal and obtain Portuguese citizenship, the applicant must meet some of the following conditions:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Belong to a Sephardic Community of Portuguese origin
  • Have a clean criminal record. If you have a criminal conviction, the penalty cannot exceed three years of prison time
  • Have a Portuguese family name, knowledge of the Portuguese language or is a descendent of Portuguese citizen
  • Real estate rights via transfer of ownership through death
  • Regular travel to Portugal

The applicant doesn’t have to be born in Portugal or have resided in the country for a long term. This makes it simpler than other citizenship or residency programs in Portugal.

There’s also no need to make an investment in the country, as required by the Golden Visa program.

Citizenship allows residence in Portugal and visa-free travel throughout the European Union’s Schengen area.

The Process to get Portuguese Citizenship

1. Get the documentation

It takes between one to four months to get the necessary paperwork, depending on the Country of issuance. The main requirement under Portuguese Nationality Laws is proof of your ties to the Sephardic community.

2. Submission of the application

It takes just a day to send the process by mail. For in-person appointments, they must be scheduled.

3. Resolution of the application for citizenship

It can take around one or two years for your citizenship to be approved. Portugal allows citizenship for two countries at the same time and allows you to be a dual citizen.

4. Your Registration as a Portuguese Citizen

It takes around four months for the Civil Registry to issue your Portuguese citizenship.

What Documents Do I Need to Have?

To become a Portuguese citizen as a Sephardic Jew, you must provide the following documentation:

  • A birth certificate
  • A clean police record. This should be from Portugal and your country of residence
  • A Jewish community certificate that confirms your religious status. This should show your Sephardic Jewish lineage via your surname, language, ancestry and family history
  • Have a Portuguese family name, knowledge of the Portuguese language or is a descendent of Portuguese citizen
  • Real estate rights via transfer of ownership through death
  • Regular travel to Portugal

The hardest part is getting the Jewish community certificate. This needs evidence or an explanation of the direct linkage to the Portuguese Sephardic Community. However, these records can be tricky to produce, so the immigration officials allow the following as evidence:

  • Documents from the Jewish community showing that the applicant meets the criteria
  • Records that prove a family relationship. This includes paperwork from synagogues, Jewish cemeteries, property deeds and wills


We are a department formed by qualified legal experts who have been trained in the field of immigration law. We work on these requests every day and it’s our passion. For us, Lexidy is a way of life and what excites us the most is to be able to deliver the happiness and satisfaction of a successful immigration process. We want to help you achieve your goals and dreams.

Vasco Dias

Vasco Dias

Thabata Mota

Thabata Mota

Legal Trainee
Diana Andrade

Diana Andrade

Lawyer, Head of Immigration Portugal
Marina Tomini

Marina Tormin

Bruna Duarte

Bruna Duarte

Trainee Lawyer
Ricardo Lopes

Ricardo Lopes

Pedro Silva

Pedro Silva

Immigration Administrative

Pedro Silva



Trainee Lawyer


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