Portuguese Citizenship for the Descendants of Spanish Expellees with roots to Portugal

Portuguese Citizenship for the Descendants of Spanish Expellees with roots to Portugal.
The firm deals with many applications, mainly for Israelis, to be granted Portuguese citizenship and passports.Portugal became a member of the European Union in 1986. A Portuguese passport gives exactly the same rights to EU citizenship as, for example, a British, German or French passport.
The rights by virtue of a Portuguese passport entitle the holder, inter alia, to live, study and work in any of the EU countries and entitle entry into the USA without a visa.
In March 2015, a law was approved by the Portuguese parliament to correct the historic injustice perpetrated against the Jews by the Portuguese expulsion, and arranging for the granting of Portuguese citizenship and passports to descendants of those expelled from Portugal.

It is important to note that about three quarters of Spanish expellees were also expelled from Portugal because the majority of the Jews who were expelled from Spain at the start of 1492, resettled in the neighboring country of Portugal. However, after about 5 years, in 1497, Manuel the First, the Portuguese king, expelled all the Jews from Portugal and they were dispersed throughout the world, including to France, England, North West Germany, Northern Italy, Belgium, Holland, parts of Romania (Transylvania), parts of the Ottoman Empire including Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Jordan, and even Israel. Jews were also dispersed to countries in Central and South America (Brazil, Argentina and Mexico), and to the USA.

This is an unparalleled opportunity for hundreds of thousands of Israeli descendants of the Spanish and Portuguese expulsions, to be entitled to a Portuguese passport.
As against the equivalent law in Spain for obtaining Spanish citizenship which requires a knowledge of Spanish, an examination on the history of Spain in Spanish, going to Spain to take the exams and submit the application, the Portuguese law makes no reference to these requirements – there is no need to be familiar with Portuguese, no need for history tests and no need to go to Portugal.
The prognosis is that sooner or later the conditions for getting Portuguese citizenship will be made more stringent with exams on Portuguese history and a knowledge of the Portuguese language. In other words, Portugal is likely to fall in line with the policy of the Spanish government.

According to Portuguese law which refers only to adults over the age of 18, a relationship must be demonstrated between Portuguese expellees and the person making the application. The relationship can be established by Portuguese family names that have been kept over the generations, detailed family trees, mastery of Ladino, birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates, a Spanish-Portuguese style ketubah, prayer books and Passover hagadot drafted with Portuguese annotations, a check of the Jewish community to which the applicant belonged, a photo of relevant graves, and, mainly, the preparation of a genealogical opinion (involving family research) regarding the family trees and DNA tests. In other words, any evidence that connects the person making the applicant with his progenitors back to the Portuguese expellees, which is likely to assist in tipping the scales in favour of obtaining citizenship.

All of the applicant’s evidence is examined by the Jewish community in Portugal. If a connection with the Portuguese expellees is established, the Jewish community will issue a formal certificate confirming that the examination of the request for citizenship should be proceeded with by the Portuguese Ministry of Interior. Without certification from the Jewish community, the chances of getting Portuguese citizenship are very low.

At the second stage, the applicant must apply to the Portuguese Ministry of justice which will carry out a review and determine whether to approve or reject the citizenship application.
Together with the application itself, the applicant is required to submit the communal confirmation and other documents, such as a birth certificate, a full copy of his passport, a confirmation of not having a criminal record for an offence the punishment for which would not exceed three years, in Portugal, his country of birth or in his country of residence. All documents must be translated into Portuguese by the Portuguese consul and include an Apostille confirmation.

Having the applications dealt with by a law firm which is reliable and proficient in this field, both in Israel and in Portugal, including in the procuring of the Jewish community’s confirmation and in dealing with the Portuguese Ministry of Interior, significantly increases the chances of acquiring the hoped-for Portuguese citizenship and passport

Those who wish to receive further information, please contact our office.

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