PORTUGUESE NATIONALITY FOR DESCENDANTS OF SEPHARDIC JEWS
Portugal has started granting citizenship rights descendants of Portuguese Sephardic Jews, including the descendants of Spanish Jews who lived in Portugal before or after 1492, who demonstrate a traditional connection to a Sephardic Community of Portuguese origin.
The designation of Sephardic Jews refers to the descendants of the ancient Jews and traditional Jewish communities of the Iberian Peninsula.
The presence of these communities in the Iberian Peninsula is very old, and even before the formation of the Iberian Christian kingdoms, as was the case with Portugal.
Having these Jewish communities, from the late fifteenth century and after the Alhambra Edict of 1492, been the object of persecution by the Spanish Inquisition, many of its members took refuge then in Portugal.
However, King Manuel, who had initially issued a law that guaranteed their protection, he ordered the expulsion of all Sephardic Jews who that did not apply to the Catholic baptism. Thus, many Sephardic Jews were expelled from Portugal in the late fifteenth century and early sixteenth century.
Despite the persecution and expulsion of their ancestral territory, many Sephardic Jews of portuguese origin and their descendants kept not only the Portuguese language, but also the traditional rituals of the ancient Jewish worship in Portugal, saving over generations their surnames, objects and documents proving their Portuguese origin, along with a strong memorial relationship that leads them to qualify themselves to themselves as “Portuguese Jews ‘or’ Jews of the Portuguese Nation”.
The applicable Portuguese Law states the following: "The Portuguese Government may grant nationality to descendants of Portuguese Sephardic Jews who demonstrate a traditional connection to a Community with Portuguese Sephardic origins, based on proven objective requirements of a connection with Portugal, such as family names, family language, direct or collateral ancestry."
WHO IS ELIGIBLE
1 – Portuguese nationality may be granted to descendants of Portuguese Sephardic Jews, who after leaving Portugal, due to religious persecution (1496-1821), maintained ties with “organized communities” that were typically Portuguese, such as those that existed in Salonika and Smyrna before being decimated by the Shoah (KK Portugal, KK Portugal Velho, KK Lisbon, KK Évora, etc.); or had ties with the Spanish & Portuguese Synagogues in London, Amsterdam, Curaçau, Suriname, etc..
2 – Portuguese nationality may be granted to applicants whose families once abandoned the Iberian Peninsula (Portugal and Spain) and for centuries have been integrated into Portuguese and Spanish communities, commonly known as "Sephardim" (Turkey, Greece, former Yugoslavia, Morocco, etc.), rife with marriages between Jews of Portuguese origin and Jews of Spanish origin and who used the language known as Ladino (a mixture of Portuguese and Spanish languages with local languages). Those applicants may obtain the certificate, even if they can not find "Portuguese” surnames in their known genealogy.
3 – Portuguese nationality may be granted to all those descendants of Portuguese Sephardic Jews who after leaving Portugal, due to religious persecution, travelled far and wide, whether in an organized manner or not, as part of a Community or not and whether belonging to a Synagogue or not, and who maintain an emotional connection to Portugal, even if they have since, by virtue of circumstances, become part or not of other Jewish Communities, whether Sephardic or Ashkenazi.
4 – Sephardic Jews of Morocco may obtain the certificate of the Jewish Community of Oporto, even if they can not find "Portuguese” surnames in their known genealogy, if they are descendants of megurachim (and not only descendants of tochavim, which have names with Berber prefixes: O'hayon, WaHanun, etc.) and for centuries have been integrated into communities with an abundance of marriages between Portuguese and Spanish Jews. The modern Jewish communities of Lisbon, Faro and Azores were formed by descendants of megurachim.
The requirements of the Citizenship Act. determines that the applicant must:
a) Be of age or emancipated under Portuguese law;
b) Not have been convicted of a crime punishable under Portuguese law with imprisonment of three years or more;
c) State and demonstrate in the application the circumstances that establish the tradition of belonging to a Sephardic community of Portuguese origin.
The application for citizenship must be filed with the following documents:
Birth certificate issued within the previous six months;
Authenticated criminal record certificate issued by the Authorities of the state of birth, nationality and past and present residency he has resided more than 1 year, issued within the precious 90 days;
Proof of circumstances related to a tradition of belonging to a Sephardic community of Portuguese origin;
Full iD copy
Certificate from Jewsish Community in Portugal.