Portugal Citizenship By Marriage

Canadian nationals who are married or in a stable non-marital relationship with a Portuguese citizen may be eligible to apply for their own citizenship. Becoming a Portuguese citizen affords the individual all the rights of those who were born in and reside in the country, and unlike many other citizenship by marriage routes, does not automatically revoke such rights if the relationship ends in separation or divorce – making it an attractive prospect for starting married life off on the right foot in Europe.

Portugal currently offers no appeal process where applications for citizenship by marriage are declined, which can make applying for it a daunting experience. Total Law’s team of expert immigration lawyers are there every step of the way to help applicants stand the best possible chance of success and to ease the stress throughout. Contact the Total Law office today to talk through your circumstances on +1 844 290 6312 and learn more about how we can help you!

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    Portuguese Citizenship By Marriage: Joining Your Spouse In Portugal

    Over 10% of applications to obtain Portuguese citizenship are made by those who are married to an individual who is already a citizen.

    While some routes to citizenship are fairly simple, unfortunately the citizenship by marriage process isn’t. Given that the consequences of a declined application can be dire for the relationship concerned, it is always recommended that legal advice is sought before anyone embarks on the application journey.

    With the correct guidance and support, the stress can be lessened throughout the application process and the chances of success maximised.

    Portugal is a popular place for Canadian nationals and overseas citizens to live and work in, and the scope of relationships covered by the citizenship by marriage is broad; making it a great prospect for couples who don’t necessarily adhere to conventional relationship boundaries.

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      Eligibility For Citizenship By Marriage

      The eligibility criteria for gaining Portuguese citizenship by marriage differs somewhat from standard routes to obtaining nationality.

      Firstly, the applicant must be able to demonstrate that they maintain “an effective connection with the Portuguese community”. This exists where the applicant:

      • Is a native and national of any Portuguese-speaking state and is married to or has lived in a non-marital partnership with a Portuguese citizen for a period of at least five years
      • Is a native and national of any Portuguese-speaking state and has a child or children of Portuguese origin with their partner
      • Is proficient in the Portuguese language and is married to or has lived in a non-marital partnership with a Portuguese citizen for a period of at least five years
      • Has legally resided within Portuguese territory for at least six years immediately before the application and is registered with the Portuguese Tax Administration and National Health Service
      • Has legally resided within Portuguese territory for at least three years immediately before the application and attends an educational institution in the territory, is able to demonstrate proficient knowledge of the Portuguese language and is registered with the Portuguese Tax Administration and National Health Service.

      The first three are clearly demonstrable through a relationship with a Portuguese national.

      Providing the applicant’s relationship meets the criteria above, further eligibility criteria must be met. These include that the applicant:

      • Is aged over 18
      • Is able to prove that the marriage or union is existent and valid at the time of application
      • Has their marriage or union registered in the Portuguese registry system
      • Has not been convicted of anything pertaining to be a crime under Portuguese law
      • Has not carried out non-mandatory military service in any country other than Portugal
      • Has not entered into the marriage or union purely to become a Portuguese citizen.

      Providing the above criteria are all reached, Canadian nationals are free to apply for nationality through the Portuguese citizenship by marriage route.

      If the marriage or union was celebrated anywhere other than Portugal, it must be legally transcribed there.

      For couples in a non-marital partnership, judicial recognition of the union must be obtained. Where a deed recognising the union has been issued in another country, this may be approved by a Portuguese court of competent jurisdiction.

      Grounds Of Opposition

      Portuguese law stipulates several grounds of opposition, which are circumstances relating to an applicant under which a nationality application is likely to be rejected. These include:

      • Carrying a conviction of a crime punishable by law in Portugal
      • Posting a threat to public health, public order or national security
      • Providing falsified documents to support the application
      • Performing non-mandatory military service in any country other than Portugal
      • Entering into a marriage or union with a Portuguese citizen purely to gain nationality
      • Applying for Portuguese citizenship by marriage after the marriage or relationship has ended.

      Many of these ‘grounds of opposition’ are covered by the eligibility criteria but it should be noted that they will be thoroughly investigated into and so should never be misrepresented on an application.

      All The Documentation Requirements For Portuguese Citizenship By Marriage

      Several supporting documents must be sent along with the application in order to demonstrate eligibility. This includes documentation from the applicant and from their partner.

      The applicant is required to provide:

      • A copy of their birth certificate, legalized by an Apostille or (where applicable) a Portuguese Consulate
      • A copy of their valid, in-date passport
      • FBI Nationwide Criminal Record authenticated by Apostille
      • A receipt of the payment of application fees
      • A criminal record check from their home country as well as any other country resided in for more than six months
      • Proof that they have never served in foreign armed forces
      • (If not married for more than five years) A handwritten letter in Portuguese detailing the reason for the citizenship request.

      The Portuguese spouse is required to provide:

      • A copy of their valid, in-date Portuguese passport and ID
      • The Complete Narrative Birth Certificate, including due integration of the marriage or union
      • (Where engaged) A statement from the bride or partner/s about the name they intend to use after marriage
      • (Where married) The long-form Marriage certificate that corresponds to the ceremony type (religious or civil) legalized by the Apostille by the Government of the country where the marriage took place.

      A failure to include appropriate documentation may delay the citizenship application or result in its failure.

      Fees Associated With The Application

      The fees payable with applying for Portuguese nationality depends on the individual circumstances of the application. However, in most cases for citizenship by marriage applications, the application processing cost is €250.

      This fee is required for the application to be processed, and it will not be progressed without it. The amount is non-refundable, even in the event of the application being denied.

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        Step By Step How To Apply For Portugal Citizenship By Marriage

        Applying for Portuguese naturalisation through the marriage route is a fairly short process but includes a lot of variables and criteria that must be adhered to. This is why it’s always recommended applicants seek legal advice while undergoing the process – as there is no recourse should an application fail. Total Law can be contacted for guidance on +1 844 290 6312 with a team of expert immigration lawyers on-hand to offer specialist advice.

        Step One: Register the marriage or union

        If the marriage or union to a Portuguese citizen took place anywhere other than Portugal, it needs to be registered in the country.

        This can be done at the Portuguese Consulate local to the area where the wedding took place or will take place. This process is known as the ‘transcription of the marriage’. Between two to three months later, the Portugal Consulate will supply a certificate confirming the union’s recognition.

        Step Two: Complete the application

        Once all the relevant supporting documents have been compiled, the application form can be completed.

        All documents must be sent to the relevant Civil Registry Office and the processing fee paid. While being processed, the Portuguese immigration authorities may request further information or documentation and the processing of the application will be paused until this is supplied.

        Step Three: Maintain ‘effective connection to the Portuguese community’

        Although an ‘effective connection to the Portuguese community’ is demonstrated through the maintenance of a relationship with a Portuguese national, those who don’t have children with their partner or have been married for over six years will find continuing such service beneficial to their application. This includes the ‘performance of useful activities that benefit the community or culture of Portugal’ or moves to own property in the country. Evidence should be kept where such activities do happen in case of later information requests.

        Step Four: Pass the Portuguese culture and language test

        The Certificado Inicial de Portugues Lingua Estrangeira is a two-hour exam comprised of 45% reading and writing, 30% oral understanding and 25% oral expression. This test should be taken and passed at any approved examination centre.

        Step Five: Receive citizenship confirmation!

        While it is a fairly lengthy process, should all of the prior steps be completed thoroughly, the citizenship should be granted and confirmed.

        The Application Processing Time

        Every Portuguese citizenship application is processed on a bespoke basis and so with a back-and-forth dialogue often happening for further information and documentation requests, this can be a lengthy route to nationality. However, on average, most of those who obtain Portuguese citizenship by marriage find the process takes between one and two years from start to finish.

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          How Can Total Law Help

          Total Law’s team of lawyers are immigration specialists and have helped numerous Canadian and Portuguese spouses start their new lives in Portugal. Guiding you every step of the way through the relationship recognition and the application process, our team will support you throughout.

          With no appeal procedure in place for failed applications and important personal relationships at stake, it’s no surprise that most applicants choose to seek help before embarking on their application. Total Law’s services include the audit of all supporting documentation, assistance in the completion of the application form and specialist professional legal advice. A fast-track package is also offered to speed up the process for you should time be a consideration in your application. No matter how complex the situation or relationship, the Total Law team can help! We know that no two relationships are the same, and so we work on every application on a bespoke basis suited exactly to you.

          Call us now on +1 844 290 6312 to discuss your circumstances.

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                    Frequently Asked Questions

                    A citizenship by marriage route is available for Portugal, and caters for both married couples and those in non-marital long-term relationships.

                    A two-hour exam of Portuguese language known as The Certificado Inicial de Portugues Lingua Estrangeira must be passed in order to be granted citizenship. This test can be taken at any designated exam centre, details of which can be obtained from any Portugal Consulate or Embassy.

                    Providing the marriage was valid at the time of application for citizenship, the naturalised person’s Portuguese citizenship will remain in the event of divorce or separation.

                    Portugal does not allow for appeals in the event of a declined citizenship application. As a result, it is always recommended that applicants seek legal advice in order to stand the best possible chance of being successful.