About 400 Sephardic Jews are requesting Portuguese nationality. Almost all requests arrived after the Brexit results. Most want to keep a European passport and the freedom of movement.
The Brexit referendum planted the seeds of uncertainty among the British Sephardi Jews. “Up until the Brexit referendum we had only 5 requests, which is understandable because at that time the British had European Union passports, and didn’t need the Portuguese passport, except for emotional reasons”.
There is an emotional motivation, but in most cases, the Sephardi Jews that want the Portuguese passport only want to make sure that they will be able to move freely in the European Union after the Brexit. The Jewish community in Porto have about 400 requests for the certification needed to ask for Portuguese nationality.
“Nowadays, people in the United Kingdom, and in other countries of the European Union,
they see themselves as European first and don’t want to lose that part of their identity”.
The Sephardi Jews have to prove first that they are really Sephardi, and then that they have a connection to Portugal. “
Usually through their Rabi, through their communities, they can prove that they are Sephardi.
Then, the connection to Portugal is many times established through their family tree, their parents and grandparents, etc. Sometimes because they speak Ladino, which is a Spanish-Portuguese medieval Jewish language that is still spoken in some places in the world”.
The British Sephardi community is trying to take advantage of the 2015 law that allows. the descendants of the Jews that were thrown out of the country over 500 years ago to ask for Portuguese citizenship.