Portuguese Citizenship: An Overview For Citizens Of Turkey
Portuguese citizenship grants the permanent right to settle, work, and study in Portugal, a country which has a rich history, a thriving culture, and a globalised workforce. Becoming a citizen of Portugal also grants you the right to live, work, and study in all of the other EU countries, making it a popular choice amongst non-EU citizens.
In total, the Portuguese passport allows for visa-free travel to 188 countries, including the EU and the UK. As Portugal allows Dual Citizenship, it is a good choice for those seeking to become citizens of Europe whilst still retaining their Turkish citizenship.
There are a number of routes you can take to obtain Portuguese citizenship and the eligibility requirements are different for each. This article breaks down the basic requirements for each of these routes.
- Portuguese Citizenship: An Overview For Citizens Of Turkey
- Portuguese Citizenship Eligibility Requirements
- How to Apply For Portuguese citizenship
- How long will the application take?
- The Costs Associated With Obtaining Portuguese Citizenship
- How to get a Portuguese passport
- Citizenship Application Was Rejected: Your Options
- How Can Total Law Help?
- Frequently Asked Questions
When applying for Portuguese citizenship, you can make your application online, in-person, or by mail. Note that, if you choose the online option, your application must be completed through either a lawyer or a solicitor.
If you choose to apply in-person, there are a number of possible location options, including:
- the Institute of Registration and Notary Affairs at the National Support Centre for the Integration of Migrants (CNAIM) (there is one in Lisbon and Porto)
- the Central Registry Office in Lisbon
- the Central Registry Office (in Lisbon)
- The Portuguese Consulate in the country where you live. In Turkey specifically, there is an Embassy and Consular Section in Ankara. There are also Honorary Consulates in Istanbul, Antalya, and Izmir. Additionally, there are also Honorary Consulates in both Georgia and Azerbaijan.
If you choose to apply by mail, the form you use will vary depending on your particular circumstances.
The documents you need to have when applying for Portuguese citizenship vary based on the nature of your application. Generally speaking, you will require a birth certificate, a letter to the Portuguese Ministry of Justice in which you request Portuguese citizenship, and proof of your language ability.
But the specifics vary according to the type of application. For example, if you are pursuing one of the routes for applicants who were born in Portugal, you will need to provide proof that you were born in Portugal and that you have sufficient connections with the Portuguese community.
If you are applying for an investment-based residence permit, you will need to provide proof of your investments.
How to apply for Citizenship by Naturalisation for Turkish Citizens
If you are a Turkish citizen who has 5 years of residence in Portugal, you need to provide the following documents when applying for citizenship by naturalisation.
- Proof that you reside in Portugal
- Birth certificate (and marriage certificate, if applicable)
- Criminal record
- Proof that you speak Portuguese. Note that, in order to satisfy this condition, your Portuguese language ability will need to be to the A2 standard.
For more information on the documents needed for your specific application type, contact Total Law today either online or on +44 (0)333 305 9375.
Being of Portuguese Descent
For the purposes of citizenship, you are considered of Portuguese descent if either of the following two circumstances apply:
- You have at least one Portuguese parent. Note that this parent must have been a Portuguese national at the time of your birth, regardless of the country in which you were born.
- You have a Portuguese grandparent who still has their Portuguese nationality. Note that, to be eligible for this route to citizenship, you must have been living in Portugal for at least three years at the time of your application and must also have connections with the Portuguese community, including sufficient knowledge of Portuguese.
Born in Portugal
If you were born in Portugal but are not of Portuguese descent, there are a number of routes to citizenship which you can take. These are:
- You were born in Portugal whilst your parents lived in there, and you have been habitually living in Portugal over the last ten years
- You were born in Portugal either in or after 1981, to foreign parents, and one of them has resided in Portugal for at least 10 years
- You are either under 18 years of age or have a serious disability, with at least one of your parents having become a Portuguese citizen after you were born. Note that this only applies if you have been living in Portugal for at least 5 years
Born in a Portuguese overseas territory which was previously a colony of Portugal
If you were born in any of the following Portuguese overseas territories, you may be eligible for Portuguese citizenship. These overseas territories are:
- Cabo Verde
- East Timor
- Portuguese India
- São Tomé and Príncipe
Note that you will need to be a resident of a Portuguese community within that territory.
In a relationship with a Portuguese Citizen
If you have been married to or in a non-marital partnership with a Portuguese citizen for 3 or more years, you may also be eligible to apply for Portuguese citizenship.
Note that you will be asked to provide either a copy of your marriage certification or non-marital relationship registration when applying for Portuguese citizenship on this basis. Your marriage or non-marital relationship must have been registered in Portugal.
Citizenship through Naturalisation
If you have lived legally in Portugal for at least 5 years, you may be eligible to apply for Portuguese citizenship through naturalisation. In order to be eligible, the following conditions must be met:
- You must be at least 18 years old
- You must have sufficient knowledge of the Portuguese language, specifically an A2 level of language proficiency
- You must not have been convicted of a crime which carries a penalty of 3 or more laws, as stated in Portuguese law
Note that you will be asked to provide evidence that you have been legally living in Portugal for at least 5 years.
Previously had Portuguese Citizenship
If you have previously had Portuguese citizenship, you may be eligible to regain it if any of the following circumstances apply:
- After losing your Portuguese citizenship, you never obtained citizenship of a new country
- Your Portuguese citizenship was lost due to obtaining citizenship of a new country (e.g. if the new country does not allow dual citizenship)
- Your Portuguese citizenship was lost when you were either a minor or deemed legally incapable, and the decision was made by your legal representative
- Your Portuguese citizenship was lost due to marrying a man who was not a citizen of Portugal, prior to 1981
Citizenship by Investment
Portugal’s Golden Residence Permit Program is increasingly popular with Turkish citizens. The Golden Visa program provides a 5-year residence permit, after which point you may be eligible to naturalise and apply for full citizenship.
In the meantime, the residence permit itself will provide you with visa-free travel in the Schengen Zone, which includes 26 European countries in total, and you will only be required to spend a minimum of 7 days a year residing in Portugal.
This is therefore an especially good option for applicants who wish to remain primarily based in Turkey.
With sufficient investment in Portugal, you may still be eligible to apply for this residence permit, though it is worth noting that this program is likely to be discontinued sometime during 2023.
In the meantime, there are a number of potential investment options from which you can choose:
- Acquiring real estate which is worth at least €280,000 (note that this figure includes renovation work). The real estate must be in a low-density urban rehabilitation area and be at least 30 years old
- Acquiring real estate which is worth at least €350,000 (note that this figure includes renovation work). The real estate must be in an urban rehabilitation area and be over 30 years old
- Acquiring residential property which is worth at least €500,000. The real estate must be in either the Algarve coastal region or in a rural or inland part of the country.
- Acquiring commercial or time-share property which is worth at least €500,000. The property must be in an area of high-density tourism
- Transferring to Portugal an amount of at least €500,000. This amount must be invested in one of the following ways: units in an investment, scientific research, or the creation of 5 jobs.
- Transferring capital to Portugal which is worth at least €1.5 million fund
- Creating at least 10 new jobs. Note that these jobs need to be registered with the social security department.
Once you have held this residence permit for 5 or more years, you can then apply for Portuguese citizenship.
Other Routes to Citizenship
There are also some special circumstances in which you may be eligible for Portuguese citizenship. These are:
- You have provided relevant services to either the Portuguese State or the Portuguese community
- You are descended from Portuguese Sephardic Jews
If either of the above circumstances apply to you, you may also be eligible for Portuguese citizenship.
If you would like further information on any of the above routes, or specialist advice on which route is best suited to your particular circumstances, Total Law’s immigration advisors are able to help.
Contact Total Law today either online or at +44 (0)333 305 9375.
How long will the application take?
For citizens of non-EU countries, such as Turkey, the application time can range from a few months to 2 years. If more information is requested during the application process, for example, the application is likely to take longer to be processed.
Processing time will also depend on how many other applications the government is currently processing at the point at which you apply.
You can minimise the processing time of your application by making sure the documents you submit are correct and that you have no documents missing.
The Costs Associated With Obtaining Portuguese Citizenship
The application costs for applying for Portuguese citizenship are normally €250. One notable exception is the investment route, for which a minimum investment of €280,000 is required. Another exception is citizenship by birth, for which the fee is $225.00.
In most casts, the application fee can be paid by card, bank cheque, or postal order.
Note that checking on the status of your application is free, however. You can check your application status online while you wait for a decision on your application to be made.
How to get a Portuguese passport
If you have successfully obtained Portuguese citizenship, getting a passport is your next step. This will allow you to access the full range of benefits of your new citizenship.
Once you have been granted Portuguese citizenship, you will be eligible to obtain a Portuguese passport.
Note that a passport is not given automatically once citizenship has been granted; you will still need to apply for one. It is possible to have Portuguese citizenship without having a Portuguese passport. However, once you have successfully been granted Portuguese citizenship, you will be automatically granted a citizen’s card. This will be the primary document which you will need when applying for your Portuguese passport.
The passport application process takes from 1 to 5 business days, depending on the level of urgency which you request. This ranges from normal, express, and urgent.
On the day of your appointment, you will be asked by the passport-granting authority for your citizen’s card and to provide both your fingerprints and a digital signature. Note that if you are under 18, you will need to be accompanied to your appointment by a legal guardian who will also need to bring their ID.
Once the passport is ready, you will be able to either pick it up from the location where you applied for the passport or have it sent to your home address. This passport will allow you to travel visa-free to the whole of the EU, without the need to relinquish your Turkish passport.
The cost of applying for a Portuguese passport ranges from $64 to $120, depending on the delivery method which you choose and your area of residence. If you choose an urgent application speed, the cost of your application will be higher.
Citizenship Application Was Rejected: Your Options
If your application was rejected, there are a number of factors which may have led to this outcome. These include submitting an incomplete application, failing to provide sufficient evidence to satisfy the conditions of your application, or if there is an issue with the documents which you did submit. It may also be that there is another route to citizenship which is better-suited to your circumstances.
If your application for Portuguese citizenship has been rejected, get in touch with us today at +44 (0)333 305 9375 for information on how we can help.
How Can Total Law Help?
Portugal is a vibrant, popular European destination which is a common favourite of non-EU citizens who are looking to obtain European citizenship. Becoming a citizen of Portugal grants you residential and professional access to the rest of the EU. As a result, Portuguese citizenship is proving increasingly popular with Turkish citizens.
Getting citizenship in Portugal will allow you to also access these opportunities and benefits. What is more, Portugal offers dual citizenship, so you can obtain these benefits whilst still retaining your Turkish passport.
Total Law can help you work out the route to Portuguese citizenship which is best for you. In addition, we can help you to navigate each step of the application process. We have many years of experience in offering bespoke immigration assistance for cases just like this. Our services include assisting you with the application itself and providing guidance and support at every stage.
Reach out to a member of our team today either by using our online application form or calling us on +44 (0)333 305 9375 and get started on your application.
Comprehensive immigration advice tailored to your circumstances and goals.
Designed to make your visa application as smooth and stress-free as possible.
Fast Track Package
Premium application service that ensures your visa application is submitted to meet your deadline.
Ensure you have the greatest chance of a successful appeal. We will represent you in any case.
The Advice Package
During this untimed Advice Session with our professional immigration lawyers in London, you will receive our comprehensive advice, completely tailored to your needs and your situation.
The Application Package
With our Application Package, your dedicated immigration lawyer will advise you on your application process and eligibility. Your caseworker will then complete and submit your forms to the Home Office on your behalf.
The Fast Track Package
Our Fast-Track Application Package is a premium service for those who need to submit their application in time with their deadlines. Your case will become a top priority for our lawyers and you will benefit from our highest-quality services.
The Appeal Package
By choosing our Appeal Package, you can rely on our lawyers’ legal knowledge and experience to ensure you have the highest chance of a successful appeal. We will also fully represent you in any hearings/tribunals.
Getting Portuguese citizenship is a multi-step process which varies depending on your particular route. Without the right support, it can be a complicated process. However, with the right guidance, the process can be made far simpler, and could be completed in as little as a few months.
When ensuring that your application process is as easy as possible, it is important to identify the route to Portuguese citizenship which is best for you.
Yes, citizenship of Portugal will allow you to live and work in the other member states of the EU. Portuguese citizens are eligible to live, work, and study in all European countries. Note that, as Portugal allows duel citizenship, you will also be able to retain the benefits of your Turkish passport, making Portugal a great choice for Turkish citizens.
Investment in Portuguese property is one route to Portuguese citizenship. In particular, you may be eligible for Portugal’s Golden Visa, which is an investment-based residence permit. However, note that property ownership in Portugal is not immediately sufficient for Portuguese citizenship. There are certain investment amounts and conditions which must be met, as set out in this article.
The minimum amount which you can invest in Portuguese real estate in order to be eligible to apply for Portuguese citizenship is €280,000. However, the other conditions outlined in this article must also be met.
If you are seeking Portuguese citizenship through naturalisation, you need to have at least 5 years of residence in Portugal. However, as discussed in the article, not all routes to citizenship require you to have first resided in Portugal. It is not always necessary to have lived in Portugal prior to your application. If you are seeking citizenship via being of Portuguese descent, for instance, you may not need to reside in Portugal in order to gain Portuguese citizenship. See the article for more details.
Each European country has its own unique process for granting citizenship to non-citizens, some of which will be better suited to each applicant than others. As such, there is no straightforward answer to the question of which European country provides the easiest path to citizenship. However, Portugal is often described as being an easier option than many other European countries. This is largely due to its extensive citizenship by investment program, which many Turkish citizens choose to pursue. See the article for more information on the different routes to Portuguese citizenship by investment.