October 2, 2022

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Applications for Portuguese citizenship can be made online

Vicente Nunes – Correspondent in Portugal

Published on 09/15/2022 18:34

Belem Tower in Lisbon, Portugal. – (Credit: Vwalakte/Freepik)

Lisbon – you Brazilians who dream of Portuguese citizenship Can be prepared. The Portuguese government is taking another step to make access to free transport desirable to live and work in the country. By the end of this year, it will allow the initial claim for the benefit to be made online. The goal is to speed up the processes and, above all, to empty the Portuguese registry offices, which have registered huge queues and huge delays in responding to the public – it takes 30 months to make a final decision, but there are also people waiting. , at least, twice that time by closing procedures.

But let’s be clear: some bureaucracy will remain and requirements will remain as strict as they are now. There will be different treatment between those who decide to apply for citizenship on their own and those who seek special lawyers. As indicated by the Portuguese Ministry of Justice, anyone wishing to undertake this process alone must apply for citizenship online, sending all the necessary documents in digital format. Then, you should send the same printed documents by post to the indicated notary in Portugal so that everything can be verified. The advantage there is that the analysis time is already running. Today, the deadline is calculated only from the receipt of the documents by the notary.

A good portion of cases prosecuted by lawyers are done electronically. Since these professionals can give public trust to the documents, many processes do not require documents to be notarized. However, legal entities must keep everything on file for at least 10 years and, when necessary, provide it to the authorities.

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As is characteristic of all bureaucracy, in the original citizenship applications, the lawyers are obliged to present the documents to the notaries in the second stage, even if the applicant is the son or grandson of Portuguese citizens or was born abroad. This is a way to avoid fraud in processes, which is very common today. Lawyers are not required to submit printed documents in naturalization applications, which can be made by, for example, residents of Portugal for more than five years, parents of children born in Portugal, and Sephardic Jews.


  • The castle in Sintra Cascais is surrounded by green under the sun and blue skies in Portugal.

    Wirestock/Freepik


  • A view of the Porto Bridge in Portugal.
    Vwalakte/Freepik


  • Belem Tower in Lisbon, Portugal.
    Vwalakte/Freepik

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According to Isabel Comte, lawyer for Martins Castro, the digitization of part of the Portuguese citizenship application processes is welcome, but its effects will only be felt in the medium term. Having worked for 16 years at the Instituto dos Registros e Notariado (IRN), which unites all notaries in Portugal, he clearly defines the rules for the benefit that must happen in the coming months, and the government must prepare a system in which Portugal can comply with the current demands, which will not be easy. You must provide training to all staff working at notaries so that you have the necessary safety and knowledge to do the job.

“I was at IRN in 2009 and when there was a process of digitizing some services, initially, instead of streamlining the processes, there were delays because a learning period was necessary. It will not be different now,” he says. It is even possible for all notaries to be interconnected so that employees of one agency can assist others. “All this will take time. So we will not see quick results once the online citizenship applications are released,” he added.

In Isabelle’s calculations, even without digitization, Portugal citizenship grants set to hit record high this year, exceeded 150 thousand. It stems from a combination of citizens, particularly Brazilians, and Portugal’s growing interest in attracting immigrants to strengthen the labor market and boost the country’s birth rate, one of the lowest in Europe. “There are many Portuguese couples who don’t want to have children, in order to live better”, he explains.

Last year alone, the Portuguese government collected 800 million euros (R$ 4.4 billion) in donations from foreign workers for the European country’s social security, INSS. This money is crucial to fund the pensions of the aging Portuguese population. “That is, the more the government facilitates the acquisition of citizenship, the more workers and young people will support social programs and collect taxes to increase the birth rate”, the legal expert highlights.