Overview of Portugal Citizenship by Marriage
Foreign national spouses and civil partners of Portuguese citizens are eligible to apply for citizenship in Portugal, as stipulated in the Portuguese constitution and statutory provisions.
A Turkish national who has acquired Portuguese citizenship by marriage will enjoy all rights and benefits that come along with citizenship in Portugal, including the right to enter and exit the country freely, the right to live, work and study, the right to vote, social security benefits, and access to Portugal’s high-quality healthcare and education facilities.
Moreover, they will be granted freedom of movement across the European Union along with the right to live, work and study in any of the EU countries.
After becoming a Portuguese citizen, you can apply for a Portuguese passport, which ranks 14th in terms of global mobility as per the 2022 Passport Index. With your Portuguese passport, you will be able to travel either visa-free or on a visa-on-arrival basis to 188 countries.
To be eligible to apply for Portuguese citizenship by marriage, foreign national spouses and civil partners of Portuguese citizens will have to fulfil certain eligibility criteria.
Moreover, while processing your citizenship application, the Institute of Registries and Notaries (IRN) will thoroughly check if there are any circumstances that can prove to be a valid ground for opposing your application to acquire Portuguese nationality by marriage.
- Overview of Portugal Citizenship by Marriage
- Am I Eligible to Apply for Portugal Citizenship by Marriage?
- Grounds for Opposition to Portuguese Citizenship by Marriage
- What Supporting Documents Do I Need?
- How Do I Apply for Portuguese Citizenship by Marriage?
- Processing Time
- What If My Application Has Been Approved?
- What If My Application Has Been Rejected?
- Alternatives Ways to Obtain Portuguese Citizenship
- How Can Total Law Help?
- Frequently Asked Questions
Am I Eligible to Apply for Portugal Citizenship by Marriage?
A Turkish national can be eligible to apply for Portuguese citizenship through marriage if:
- They have been married to, or in a civil union recognised by court with, a Portuguese citizen for at least three years prior to the date of their application
- They have their marriage or civil partnership registered in the Portuguese registry system
- Their marriage/partnership stays valid during the application process
- They have a proven connection with the Portuguese community
The spouses/civil partners of Portuguese citizens are not required to fulfil the five-year residency requirement in Portugal before applying for citizenship.
Once you have obtained citizenship in Portugal, it will remain valid even if your marriage or civil partnership is dissolved in future. However, if you are already divorced or separated at the time of your application, you will not be eligible to apply for Portuguese citizenship based on your previous marriage to, or civil partnership with, a Portuguese citizen.
Grounds for Opposition to Portuguese Citizenship by Marriage
There are some common grounds for opposition that can hinder your application to obtain Portugal citizenship by marriage. These include:
- If you have held, or are currently holding, public positions in another country, other than technical functions
- If you have performed non-compulsory military service in another country
- If you have been convicted of a crime punishable under Portuguese law with a prison sentence of three years or more
- If you have been involved in activities related to terrorism
If IRN has reasons to believe that any of the above circumstances apply to your case, they will report the same to the Public Prosecutor. The Public Prosecutor, in turn, can initiate legal action against you before the Portuguese Administrative Court. You will, however, be given a chance to provide supporting information in your defence.
What Supporting Documents Do I Need?
To apply for citizenship in Portugal through marriage, you will have to submit relevant supporting documents along with your application.
In this article, we have provided a general list of such documents. However, please note that this list is not exhaustive by any means. IRN may ask you for additional documents based on your personal circumstances.
Required documents include:
- Completed and signed application form
- Your birth certificate, legalised either through an apostille (as applicable in case of Turkish nationals) or by the Portuguese embassy/consulate where you made your application
- Your Portuguese spouse’s/civil partner’s birth certificate (can be waived if you provide the registry office’s name, year and registration number of their birth certificate in Portugal)
- Your marriage certificate to a Portuguese national (can be waived if you provide the registry office’s name, year and registration number of the certificate in Portugal)
- In case of a civil partnership, please submit:
- The certificate of the court sentence recognising that you and your Portuguese citizen civil partner have lived in conditions similar to married couples for more than three years
- A declaration made by your Portuguese citizen civil partner, confirming that you continue to live in a civil partnership, made within three months prior to the date of your citizenship application
- Proof of your current nationality
- Your criminal record, if any, issued by your country of residence and/or any other foreign countries where you have lived from the age of 16
- Documents proving the type of non-technical public functions you perform in another country (if applicable)
- Documents proving the non-compulsory military service you have performed in another country (if applicable)
- Proofs of your connection with the Portuguese community, such as
- A declaration from your employers
- Your salary receipts
- Your IRS declaration
- Details of your children born or registered in Portugal
- Your utility bills in Portugal
- Your house rent agreements or receipts in Portugal
- A declaration for the acquisition of Portuguese nationality, signed either in the presence of one of the Registry employees at the time of submitting the application, or before someone with powers to recognise the signature if you are sending your application by post
- A request addressed to the Minister of Justice, written in Portuguese, stating:
- Why do you ask for Portuguese nationality (and any other circumstances that you consider will support your case)
- Your full name, date of birth, marital status, nationality, profession, address, parents’ names, country(ies) where you lived before Portugal, full name and address of your legal representatives (if applicable), and the number, date and entity that issued your title or residence permit, passport or equivalent identification document(s)
- This application must be signed either in the presence of one of the Registry employees at the time of submitting the application, or before someone with powers to recognise the signature if you are sending your application by post
Your connection with the Portuguese community will be automatically recognised if, on the date of your application for acquiring Portugal citizenship by marriage, you:
- Have been married or in a civil partnership for at least six years, or
- Are married/in a civil partnership for at least five years AND can prove knowledge of the Portuguese language at the A2 level or higher, or
- Are married/in a civil partnership for at least five years AND were born in and is a citizen of a Portuguese-speaking country, or
- Have children with your Portuguese citizen/civil partner, who are Portuguese nationals, or
- Have resided in Portugal lawfully for at least five years, or
- Have resided in Portugal lawfully for at least three years AND are studying in Portugal or have knowledge of the Portuguese language at A2 level or higher
Registering Your Marriage/Civil Partnership in Portugal
To register your marriage with the Central Registry Office in Portugal, you may apply at a Portuguese embassy or consulate nearest to the place of your wedding.
The Portuguese embassy/consulate will send you a certification of registration within two to three months of your registration. At least one of the spouses must be in Portugal for this process.
If you are in a civil partnership with a Portuguese citizen, you must have juridical recognition of your de facto union in Portugal. If your relationship was initiated aboard, a Portuguese court of competent jurisdiction will have to investigate, and based on the findings of their investigation, approve the deed or sentence recognising your de facto union.
Step-by-Step Portuguese Citizenship Application Process
You are eligible to apply online for Portuguese citizenship if you have a legal representative. Your lawyer or solicitor must authenticate themselves on the IRN website with their digital certificate and have an active digital signature.
Otherwise, you may send your citizenship application by post. You will first have to download the relevant form from the IRN website, and fill up the same according to the instructions provided thereof.
After completing the application form, please sign the same and send it along with all supporting documents and the fee payment receipt/bank cheque to the Central Registry Office in Portugal, located at the following address:
Conservatória dos Registos Centrais
Rua Rodrigo da Fonseca, 202
You can also submit your completed application form, fee receipt and supporting documents in person at any of the offices mentioned below:
- Institute of Registration and Notary Affairs at the National Support Centre for the Integration of Migrants (CNAIM) in Lisbon or Porto
- Registry Spaces in Lisbon, on Avenida Fontes Pereira de Melo, on the Campus da Justiça and in Benfica
- Central Registry Office in Lisbon
- A Nationality Desk
- Odivelas Citizens’ Shop
- Any Civil Registry offices
- Portuguese Consulate in your home country
Registering your marriage or de facto union in Portugal with the Central Registry Office takes around three months. Once your marriage/civil partnership registration is complete, you can start the application process for acquiring Portuguese citizenship by marriage.
For non-EU nationals, this process can take up to 12 months or more. If you are already a EU citizen, the processing time comes down to a few months.
Moreover, if there are any issues with your application, or IRN asks you to submit more supporting documents, the processing time will increase.
You can check the status of your application on the IRN website using your access password, which can be requested from the Central Registry Office at the time of submitting your application.
To acquire Portuguese citizenship through marriage, you will have to pay an application fee of €250. You can make the payment using a bank card if you are applying online or submitting your application in person, or by cheque if you are sending your application by post.
If your supporting documents are not in Portuguese, you will have to arrange for their certified translated copies, which will come at an additional cost. This cost may significantly vary depending on your country of residence.
What If My Application Has Been Approved?
If your application is successful, you will be eligible to apply for a Portuguese passport, although it is not mandatory. You can apply for your Portuguese passport at any of the following places:
- IRN offices
- Autonomous regional governments of Madeira and Azores
- Passport shops at Lisbon and Porto airports
- A Portuguese embassy or consulate in your home country
You will have to pay €65 for a passport application in Portugal. The cost may increase if you are applying from your country of residence or using a fast-track service to get your passport.
What If My Application Has Been Rejected?
No appeal is possible if IRN rejects your application for Portuguese citizenship through marriage. However, you may contact IRN or the Portuguese embassy/consulate in your country of residence, requesting them to reconsider their decision.
You will also have the option to go through the Portuguese courts. However, please note that it can be an extremely costly and lengthy process, and you will need to have expert legal representation in Portugal.
Alternatives Ways to Obtain Portuguese Citizenship
If your application to acquire Portuguese citizenship by marriage has been rejected, you may explore obtaining Portuguese citizenship through the residency route.
So, if you are a Turkish national holding a temporary residence permit in Portugal for five years or more through working, family reunification, retirement or investment in the country, you are eligible to apply for a Portuguese citizenship irrespective of your marital circumstances.
How Can Total Law Help?
Obtaining Portuguese citizenship by marriage is a complex and fairly time-consuming process. Even if you have met the eligibility criteria and duly submitted your application form along with all necessary supporting documents, IRN may reject your application if not satisfied with your reasons to apply for Portuguese citizenship.
For example, if IRN believes that you do not have an effective connection with the Portuguese community or you have entered into a marriage/civil union with a Portuguese citizen solely for obtaining citizenship in Portugal, they will reject your citizenship application.
Moreover, you cannot appeal if your citizenship application is rejected. So, it is crucial that you get the application process and documentation right at the first time.
Speak to Total Law.
We have a team of sympathetic immigration lawyers with the required expertise to assist you, regardless of the complexity of your circumstances.
Whether you need overall advice regarding the acquisition of Portuguese citizenship by marriage, or want an immigration expert to complete your citizenship application on your behalf, Total Law can help.
We offer a document and application checking service as well if you just need a final check to confirm that your documents and application adhere to IRN regulations.
To know more about how we can help you, call us on +44 (0)333 305 9375 today.
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Yes. Both Portugal and Turkey allow dual citizenship. So, Turkish nationals applying for Portuguese citizenship can also keep their Turkish citizenship.
Yes. Portugal acknowledges same-sex marriages, and homosexual couples in the country enjoy the same rights as their heterosexual counterparts. You can apply for Portuguese citizenship on the basis of your marriage or civil partnership with a Portuguese citizen in either cases., provided you meet the other eligibility criteria as discussed in this article.