Yoram Zara is an attorney with offices in Israel and Portugal. Yoram has an LLM in International law and specializes in Portugal Sephardi Citizenship. His family immigrated to Israel from Turkey. He is decedent to the Baruch, Sasson and Habib families. Yoram has extensive knowledge of Sephardi history and culture. Yoram is well acquainted with the procedure and people of the Jewish communities in Portugal.
An amendment to the law in Portugal, which entered into force July 2018, makes it easier for the spouse to obtain Portuguese citizenship.
According to this, In cases where a Portuguese citizen has a Portuguese child, the other parent can obtain Portuguese citizenship without proving an additional special connection to Portugal. The existence of a Portuguese child and spouse are sufficient. It is not obligatory that the common child is a minor. From our acquaintance with the families that apply for and obtain Portuguese citizenship, this amendment is quite meaningful. Now, the spouse can obtain Portuguese citizenship quite easily, once the spouse and child are Portuguese.
Here is an English translation of the relevant law. The amended article is in bold. At the bottom there is a link to the original in Portuguese.
Opposition to the acquisition of nationality by will effect
1 – They constitute grounds of opposition to the acquisition of Portuguese nationality by the effect of will:
a) The lack of effective linkage to the national community;
b) Conviction, with finality of the sentence, with a prison sentence of 3 years or more;
c) The exercise of public functions without a predominantly technical character or the provision of non-compulsory military service to a foreign State;
d) The existence of a danger or threat to national security or defense, for their involvement in activities related to the practice of terrorism, in accordance with the respective law.
2 – Opposition to the acquisition of nationality based on paragraph a) of the previous paragraph does not apply to situations of acquisition of nationality in case of marriage or de facto union when there are common children of the couple with Portuguese nationality.
3. Proof of the non-existence of a conviction referred to in paragraph 1 (b), the provisions of Article 6 (10) shall apply.
In two years, the SEF (Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras – Borders and Foreigners Organization) evaluated 6463 requests from Israeli and Turkish citizens. 2436 have already benefited from the law that awards Portuguese citizenship to Sephardic Jews.
SEF received 3430 requests from Israelis citizens and 3033 from Turkish citizens to get the Portuguese citizenship in 2016 and 2017. They are benefiting from the law which grants citizenship to Sephardic Jews descendants. The number of requests is continuously rising.
The SEF data is presented in its Report latest for 2017. 28,673 forigners requestes Portuguese citizenship in 2017. 2539 came from Israel (891 in 2016) and 1329 from Turkey (1704 in 2016). Till January 31st of 2018, 2436 Sephardic Jews received their Portuguese ID.
The Portuguese Embassy in Tel Aviv has been receiving many citizens requesting the certification of the necessary documents to file for the citizenship, and this number is increasing, according to Matilde Barreto, one of the main Portuguese diplomatic representatives in Israel. “There is a significative raise in the number of people that come to the Embassy to file for the citizenship, whether personally or through lawyers. There was a point where we thought it would decrease, something that did not happen, it is still increasing”, stresses the diplomat. The great majority is under 50 years old, and most of them are Israeli and Turkish, but there are also people with other nationalities. “They want to have an european passport and the Portuguese nationality gives them the possibility to move around the Shengen area; others want to live and make investments in Portugal and there’s a part that does it for sentimental reasons, because they visited the country or because their families want to preserve the traditions”, explains Matilde Barreto.
Translated from the original in Portuguese found here