The Portuguese Parliament has approved important amendments to the Portuguese Nationality Law which facilitate access to the Portuguese citizenship, either by clarifying or making simpler and fairer some of its legal norms. Our legal Partners Pinto Ribeiro Advogados team has prepared an analysis over the most important changes covered by the new legislation.
Presently, Portuguese nationality, through naturalization, can be granted to foreign citizens who satisfy different requirements, notably to have legally resided in the Portuguese territoryfor at least five (5) years, holding a valid residence permit under Law No. 23/2007, of July 4.
Considering the significant backlog due to the excess demand and lack of resources in theImmigration Authorities, a problem which has plagued applicants for many years, andfollowing insistent demands and claims from migrants, NGO’s and industry stakeholders, Article 15 (4) of the Nationality Law will provide that “for the purposes of counting legal residence periods provided for in present law, it shall also be considered the time elapsed since the moment in which the temporary residence permit was requested, provided that the same will be approved”.
This means that the five (5) years of legal residence in Portugal required to submit the Portuguese citizenship application shall be considered from the date the temporary residence permit was requested and not from the date the residence card has been issued.
Like in many questions, the devil is in the details. The letter of the law mentions "since the moment in which the temporary residence permit was requested", which can lead to different interpretations since each type of residence permit has different application procedures.
For example, for Golden Visa applicants (residence permit for investors), who must submit twice their application (initially online, then at the date of the biometrics appointment), there could be two different interpretations:
(i) Is it the moment the applicant submitted initially the Golden Visa application (online stage)?
(ii) Or is it the moment the applicant submitted the Golden Visa application, at the time of the biometrics appointment?
The clarification will only ultimately be possible with the application of this new regime, or incase the Immigration Authorities issues an interpretative note since the law is not clear on that.
In any case, this amendment brings fairness to all of those affected by the severe delays in the processing of their residence permit applications. They will know that the time waiting for the approval of their residence permit application will not be lost.
How to get a Portuguese Passport in 2024?
The Portugal Golden Visa program, also known as the residence permit for investment activity, is a residency by investment scheme designed for non-EU citizens. It is the fastest program to obtain an EU residence permit through investment activity in Europe and the only path to citizenship with no residency. The Golden Visa was introduced in Portugal in 2012 and has become very popular with applicants from all over the world. In the past eleven years, the Golden Visa in Portugal has been granted to more than 10,000 applicants and more than 20,000 family members, while the total value of investments exceeds EUR 6 billion.