Permanent Residency & Citizenship

Holders of Portugal Golden Residence Permit & their family members can apply for a Portugal Permanent Residence after 5 years and Portugal Citizenship after 6 years, provided certain conditions are met.

Portugal Permanent Residence may be granted to someone who –

  • Has held a Portugal Residence Permit for at least 5 years
  • Has not been convicted of a crime during this period
  • Has sufficient means to sustain himself & his/her family
  • Has a residential address in Portugal
  • Has knowledge of “basic Portuguese”

Portugal Permanent Residence is granted for life & is not subject to any residency requirement. However, the Residence Permit Card must be renewed every 5 years or whenever there is a change of particulars of applicant(s), such as change of address or marital status. Renewal of the Card must be applied for before its expiry. An investor may dispose of his original investment after acquiring a Portugal Permanent Residence.

Portugal Citizenship can be acquired by –

  • The underage or incapacitated child of someone who acquired Portugal Citizenship
  • The spouse or life partner of a Portugal Citizen after 3 years

Portugal Citizenship by Naturalisation may be applied for by someone who –

  • Has been a legal resident of Portugal for at least 6 years, or
  • Is under-aged, was born in Portugal & either concluded at least 1 cycle of schooling in Portugal, or has one parent who has legally resided in Portugal for at least 6 years, or
  • Was born in Portugal to foreign parents & has habitually lived in Portugal during the 6 years prior to the citizenship application, or
  • Is a Sephardic Jew that descends from the Portuguese Sephardic Jews

In addition to the above, an applicant must pass a basic language test of Portuguese & must prove the existence of having some ties to Portugal.

Ties to Portugal

Some of the ways in which an applicant for citizenship may prove the existence of having some “Ties to Portugal” are as follows :

  • Registration with Portugal’s tax authority & National Health Service (NHS)
  • Regular trips to Portugal in case the applicant does not live in Portugal
  • Having owned or rented property in Portugal for at least 3 years
  • Living in a historic Portuguese community abroad or having ties thereto
  • Having participated in the cultural life of a Portuguese community during the previous 5 years

Portuguese Language Test

A basic knowledge of the Portuguese language is a pre-requisite to applying for both Portugal Permanent Residence & Citizenship. The language knowledge requirements for obtaining citizenship are exactly the same as those for obtaining permanent residency. If one has taken the language test at the time of applying for Portugal Permanent Residence Scheme, they need not take the language test again at the time of applying for citizenship.

Fortunately, the level required to be taken is the CEFR A2 level, which is essentially a beginner’s level of Portuguese. In any case, applicants have a full 6 years to pick up the language & prepare for the exam.