AMENDMENT TO THE NATIONALITY LAW REGULATION
The Portuguese Government approved this Thursday (April 20, 2017) in the Council of Ministers the Decree-Law that regulates the Nationality Law and introduces improvements on the procedures for awarding the acquisition of nationality, making it more fair and efficient for the applicant by eliminating unnecessary acts.
Main changes introduced with the Regulation of the Nationality Law for the Acquisition of Nationality by Grandchildren of Portuguese born abroad
1. Portuguese nationality (by origin) may be awarded to grandchildren of Portuguese born abroad who, among other requirements, have an "effective connection with the Portuguese community". In the newly approved statute, the Government specifies the terms under which the existence of these ties must be recognized.
2. The grandchildren of Portuguese born abroad must fulfill additional requirements in order to obtain Portuguese nationality, such as:
Declare that they want to be Portuguese;
They have not been convicted, with a final judgment, for any offense punishable by a term of imprisonment not exceeding three years, according to Portuguese law;
Register their birth with the Portuguese Civil Registry.
3. According the Regulation of the Nationality Law, the Central Registry Office (CRC) shall presume there is an effective connection with the Portuguese community, and does not need to refer the case to the member of the Government responsible for the Justice Department, when at the time of the request the applicant:
a) Has been legally residing in Portuguese territory for the three years immediately prior to the request, is enrolled in the tax administration and in the national health service or in the regional health services, and proves attendance at a school in the national territory or demonstrates knowledge of the Portuguese language;
b) Has been legally residing in Portuguese territory for the five years immediately prior to the request, is enrolled in the tax administration and in the national health service or in the regional health services.
Providing for these situations allows for the process for granting citizenship to be faster and more predictable for the applicant by making it possible for the applicant to have knowledge of the requirements beforehand for a speedier recognition of the connection.
Applicants must submit with their request for attribution of nationality documentation that can contribute to proving their effective connection to the national community, such as:
a) Legal residence in national territory;
b) Regular trips to Portugal;
c) Ownership of property for more than 3 years or lease agreements executed more than 3 years ago, related to real estate in Portugal;
d) Residence or connection to a Portuguese historical community abroad;
e) Regular participation over the course of the previous 5 years in the cultural life of the Portuguese community in the applicant’s country of residence, especially in the Portuguese associations’ cultural and recreational activities of these communities.
4. The fact that the interested party produces documents proving one or more of the facts listed, does not, however, determine that there is recognition of the existence of effective connection with the Portuguese community. This is because, according to the newly enacted regulation, after submitting the application to the CRC, it will be necessary for the CRC to review the application which will result in one of two situations:
a) The applicant fulfills the requirements set forth in the Nationality Regulation so that the CRC may, from the outset, conclude that there are ties of effective connection to the national community; or
b) The case is forwarded to the member of the Government responsible for the Justice Department so that, on a case-by-case basis, it assesses whether or not such ties exist.
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