Portugal Citizenship by Marriage: An Overview
The application process for obtaining citizenship by marriage in Portugal as a citizen of the UAE can be challenging. However, the benefits of Portuguese citizenship for UAE citizens include the right to live and work in Portugal without restrictions, the right to travel freely within the European Union, the right to vote and run for office, the right to obtain a Portuguese passport, and access to social security benefits.
To obtain citizenship, you must have a basic knowledge of the Portuguese language and culture, and have a valid residency permit in Portugal. In addition, UAE citizens have to be married to a Portuguese citizen for a minimum of three years and possess a recently issued marriage license.
UAE citizens who plan to marry a Portuguese citizen must also register their marriage in Portugal.
If you are in a non-marital partnership with a Portuguese citizen, you can register your partnership with the Portuguese authorities. This process is similar to registering a marriage, but you will need to provide additional documentation, such as proof of your common-law relationship.
- Portugal Citizenship by Marriage: An Overview
- Portugal Citizenship by Marriage Eligibility
- Requirements and Documents for Portuguese Citizenship By Marriage Applications
- How to Apply for Portuguese Citizenship by Marriage
- Portuguese Citizenship By Marriage Fees
- Passing the Cultural and Language Test
- How to Prepare for a Portuguese Citizenship Interview
- What Happens if Your Portuguese Citizenship by Marriage Application is Denied?
- Processing Time for Citizenship by Marriage Application
- Advantages and Disadvantages of Having Dual Citizenship in Portugal
- How Can Total Law Help?
Portugal Citizenship by Marriage Eligibility
To be eligible for Portuguese citizenship by marriage, you must:
- Be married to a Portuguese citizen for at least three years.
- Have a valid residency permit in Portugal.
- Have a basic knowledge of Portuguese language and culture.
- Demonstrate good moral character.
As a UAE citizen, you can obtain a residency permit if you are married to a Portuguese citizen, or if you are in a non-marital partnership with a Portuguese citizen and have been living together for at least two years.
In addition to the residency requirement, you must also have basic Portuguese language and culture knowledge. This means that you should be able to communicate in Portuguese and understand Portuguese customs and traditions. You must also demonstrate good moral character, meaning you have not committed any serious crimes.
There are a few exceptions and special circumstances that may apply to the eligibility requirements for Portuguese citizenship by marriage. For example, if you have a child with a Portuguese citizen, you may be eligible to apply for citizenship after two years of marriage instead of three. You do not need to prove your knowledge of the Portuguese language if you have been married to your spouse for longer than five years.
Requirements and Documents for Portuguese Citizenship By Marriage Applications
Once you have confirmed that you meet the eligibility requirements for Portuguese citizenship by marriage, you can begin the application process.
The first step before applying is to gather all the necessary documents. UAE citizens must submit the following documents with their Portuguese citizenship by marriage application:
- Valid passport
- Birth certificate
- Marriage certificate issued within the last six months
- Photocopy of your spouse’s Portuguese passport and Identification card
- Residency permit in Portugal
- Proof of your knowledge of the Portuguese language and culture
- Proof of effective connection to the Portuguese community.
- A criminal record check from your home country
- A criminal record check from Portugal
In addition to the mandatory documents, you may also be asked to provide additional information, such as:
- Proof of your income
- Evidence of your accommodation in Portugal
- A cover letter explaining why you are applying for citizenship
How to Apply for Portuguese Citizenship by Marriage
To start the application process, you will need to submit all of the required documents to the Conservatória dos Registros Centrais in Portugal. You’ll also need to provide proof of payment of the application fee.
Once you have submitted your application, it will be reviewed by the relevant authorities. If approved, the next step is to pass a Portuguese language and culture test, followed by an interview.
Proof of your knowledge of the Portuguese language can be:
- Diploma issued by a Portuguese public or private school, in accordance with Portuguese law
- Certificate of approval in a test that was given by the institution
- Certificate of approval in an exam issued by the Portuguese Consulate when you were still living abroad
- Certificate of proficiency in Portuguese as a foreign language issued by an accredited Portuguese evaluation center
If you are planning to marry a Portuguese citizen or enter into a non-marital partnership with a Portuguese citizen, you must register your marriage or partnership in Portugal. This process is relatively straightforward and can be completed at any Portuguese civil registry office.
A non-marital partnership is a legally recognized relationship between two individuals who are not married but live together in a committed and intimate manner. Non-marital partnerships are recognized by Portuguese law and offer many of the same rights as marriage. These include the right to:
- File joint taxes
- Share health insurance benefits
- Inherit property from each other
This is a commonly made choice by couples who prefer not to marry but still wish to formalize their relationship and gain legal protection.
For a UAE citizen to be eligible for Portuguese citizenship by marriage, you must be in a non-marital partnership with a Portuguese citizen for at least three years. You must also prove that your non-marital partnership is genuine and stable. This could include providing evidence such as:
- Joint bank accounts
- Shared property
- Letters or emails from friends and family that attest to the relationship.
The following documents are required to register a marriage or non-marital partnership in Portugal:
- Valid passport for each partner
- Birth certificate for each partner
- Certificate of no impediment to marriage (if applicable)
- Marriage license (if applicable)
You will need to provide the required documents and pay a registration fee. The registration fee for a marriage is €160. The registration fee for a non-marital partnership is €130.
Once your application is processed, you will be issued a marriage or partnership certificate. This certificate is proof of your legal union in Portugal.
Portuguese Citizenship By Marriage Fees
The following costs are associated with Portuguese citizenship by marriage applications:
- Application fee: €250
- Registration fee: €160 (for marriage) or €130 (for non-marital partnership)
- Apostille or legalization fees (vary depending on the country where the documents were issued)
- Cultural and language test cost of approximately €70
In addition to the application and registration fees, you may also need to pay apostille or legalization fees for your documents. The apostille or legalization process is a way of authenticating your documents so that they are recognized by the Portuguese government.
You should also be aware that the Portuguese government may request additional documents throughout the application process.
An immigration lawyer will also help you ensure that your application is complete and accurate, which can reduce the risk of delays and additional fees.
Passing the Cultural and Language Test
To obtain Portuguese citizenship by marriage, you must pass a cultural and language test called the Certificado Inicial de Português Língua Estrangeira (CIPLE). The CIPLE is a two-hour exam made up of three sections:
- Reading and writing (45%)
- Oral comprehension (30%)
- Oral expression (25%)
The CIPLE is designed to assess your basic proficiency in Portuguese, including your ability to understand and respond to everyday Portuguese in both written and spoken form.
To prepare for the CIPLE, you can:
- Take a Portuguese language course
- Use Portuguese language learning resources, such as books, apps, and websites
- Practice speaking and writing Portuguese with a native speaker
As a UAE citizen, it is important to consider your current connection to the Portuguese community and knowledge of the language. Learning a language and culture could take months or even years. Keep this in mind when you’re preparing to submit your application for citizenship.
You can find more information about the CIPLE exam, including sample questions and practice tests through an experienced immigration lawyer at Total Law on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or online today.
How to Prepare for a Portuguese Citizenship Interview
If you are applying for Portuguese citizenship by marriage, you may be required to attend an interview with the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF). The purpose of the interview is to assess your eligibility for citizenship and to determine whether you have a genuine connection to Portuguese society.
When preparing for your citizenship by marriage interview, learn as much as you can about the interview process, including the types of questions that are typically asked. You can find information on the SEF website and in online forums, or with the help of an immigration lawyer.
Be prepared to talk about your relationship with your spouse and your plans for the future. The interviewer will likely ask you questions about your marriage, such as how you met, when you got married, and where you plan to live. Be sure to answer all questions truthfully and to the best of your ability. False documents and statements will lead to a denial of citizenship.
For those who are not eligible to apply for Portuguese citizenship by marriage, there are a few other ways to obtain Portuguese citizenship.
UAE citizens with a Portuguese parent or grandparent could be eligible for Portuguese citizenship by descent. To apply for citizenship by descent, you will need to provide proof of your relationship to your Portuguese parent or grandparent.
Portugal also offers a citizenship-by-investment program. To qualify for citizenship through investment, you must make a significant investment in Portugal. This investment can be in the form of real estate, capital, or job creation.
You may also be eligible for Portuguese citizenship through naturalization if you have lived in Portugal for an extended number of years.
What Happens if Your Portuguese Citizenship by Marriage Application is Denied?
When you apply for Portuguese citizenship by marriage, your application may be opposed by the Portuguese authorities. This is known as opposition.
There are a few grounds on which the Portuguese authorities may oppose a citizenship application. These include:
- If you have been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment of three years or more.
- If you pose a threat to public health, public order, or national security.
- If you have falsified documents to support your application.
- If you have married a Portuguese citizen for the sole purpose of obtaining Portuguese citizenship.
- If you do not have a genuine connection to Portuguese society.
- If you performed non-compulsory military service in another nation.
If your application is denied, you will receive a written explanation of the reasons for the denial. You will then have the opportunity to respond to the opposition and provide evidence to rebut the grounds for opposition.
There are a few things you can do to avoid your Portuguese citizenship by marriage application being denied. You should:
- Make sure that you meet all of the eligibility requirements for Portuguese citizenship by marriage.
- Be honest and truthful in your application.
- Provide all of the required documents and any additional evidence that may be helpful.
- Have a genuine connection to Portuguese society.
- Be prepared to answer questions about your relationship with your spouse and your plans for the future.
If you are concerned about the possibility of opposition to your application, you should consult with an experienced legal expert at Total law. Contact us at +44 (0)333 305 9375 or online to maximize your chances of success.
Processing Time for Citizenship by Marriage Application
The processing time for Portuguese citizenship by marriage applications varies, but it typically takes around six months for a decision to be made. However, it can take longer in some cases, especially if the authorities need to request additional information or documentation.
Factors that can affect the processing time include:
- Number of applications that are currently being processed
- Complexity of the application
- Need for additional information or documentation
- Availability of staff
Submitting all required documents accurately and completely will help speed up processing time. You should also respond promptly to any requests for additional information from the authorities. Some things will be out of your control, such as the availability of staff and the amount of unprocessed applications.
Here are some of the most common mistakes to avoid:
- Not meeting all of the eligibility requirements. Make sure that you meet all of the eligibility requirements for Portuguese citizenship by marriage before you submit your application.
- Submitting incomplete or inaccurate information. Any missing or inaccurate information can delay or prevent the approval of your application.
- Not responding to requests for additional information. If the Portuguese authorities request additional information, be sure to respond promptly. Failure to do so may result in your application being denied.
- Not disclosing all relevant information. Be honest and truthful in your application. It is important to disclose all relevant information, even if it is negative, to prevent future problems.
You can check the status of your Portuguese citizenship by marriage application online through the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service website. You will need to create an account and provide your application number.
Consider hiring an experienced immigration lawyer at Total Law to assist you with your application. An immigration lawyer can help you avoid mistakes to ensure that your application is complete and accurate.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Having Dual Citizenship in Portugal
Dual citizenship is the legal recognition of a person as a citizen of two countries at the same time. Portugal allows dual citizenship, so UAE citizens who obtain Portuguese citizenship by marriage can keep their citizenship.
There are many advantages to having dual citizenship in Portugal, including:
- Portuguese citizens have the right to live and work in any of the 27 countries in the European Union. Additionally, Portuguese citizens have visa-free travel to more than 180 countries in the world.
- Portuguese citizens have access to all social and educational benefits that are available to Portuguese citizens, including free healthcare and education.
- The right to vote and run for political office
- The right to pass on citizenship to children: Portuguese citizens can pass on their citizenship to their children, even if they are born outside of Portugal.
However, there are also some potential disadvantages to having dual citizenship in Portugal, including:
- Portuguese citizens are subject to Portuguese taxation, even if they live and work outside of Portugal.
- Portuguese citizens may be required to serve in the Portuguese military, even if they live and work outside of Portugal.
- Maintaining dual citizenship can be complex and time-consuming. It is important to be aware of the requirements of both countries and to keep your passport and other documents up to date.
How Can Total Law Help?
If you are considering applying for Portuguese citizenship by marriage, Total Law can help you every step of the way. Our team of experienced immigration lawyers can help you determine your eligibility, gather the required documents, complete and submit your application, prepare for your citizenship interview (if required), and appeal any negative decisions.
We also offer a range of other services related to Portugal visas for UAE citizens, including tourist visas, business visas, residency visas, and work visas.
To begin the path to acquiring Portuguese citizenship by marriage, get in touch with one of the expert immigration lawyers at Total Law. Call us on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or contact us online today.
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In most cases, you are still eligible to keep your Portuguese citizenship if you get divorced from your Portuguese spouse.
Yes, you can bring your children to Portugal with you if you are granted Portuguese citizenship by marriage. Your children will also be eligible to apply for Portuguese citizenship.
No, you do not need to live in Portugal to apply for Portuguese citizenship by marriage. However, you must have a genuine connection to Portugal.
Yes, you can work in Portugal while your citizenship application is being processed. However, you will need to obtain a work visa.