Israeli citizens are now in second place in the list of those who in 2018 submitted applications to obtain Portuguese nationality, reveals a report by the Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras – SEF (Foreigners and Borders Service), released on Friday. This position was previously occupied by Cape Verde.

In 2018 the number of applications submitted to the SEF increased by 11%, from 37,262 in 2017 to 41,324 last year. Brazil remains in the first place (11,586). In the top 5 it is followed by Israel (4289), Cape Verde (4259), Angola (1953) and Ukraine (1849). Turkey also appears on this list, although in seventh place, with a record of 1141 requests.

The presence of Israeli and Turkish citizens among the new candidates to the Portuguese nationality will be due mainly to the possibility of this being granted to descendants of Sephardic Jews who, for religious reasons, were expelled from Portugal from the end of the fifteenth century. This door was opened in 2015 and since then, according to Government data, 33 thousand requests have already been presented, of which about 10 thousand had a favourable order.

SEF points out that, as a whole, the “pronounced growth in applications for nationality is intrinsically associated” with the legislative changes approved in recent years, which have broadened the universe of potential new Portuguese citizens.

Among these novelties, particular importance is attached to the grandchildren of Portuguese born abroad who, because they have this status, can apply for nationality and obtain it if, at the same time, they demonstrate that they have “an effective connection with the national community” and that they have not committed crimes that are punishable by sentences of three or more years in prison. 

The SEF is responsible for issuing an opinion on the procedures for granting Portuguese nationality. In 2018 it issued 32,414 favourable and 1425 unfavourable opinions. The unfavourable opinions are generally due to reasons of internal security or to the fact that the candidates do not have a residence permit.

Following the applications to obtain nationality by naturalisation, which are the majority (70%), there are those motivated by marriage or de facto union with a Portuguese national (16%) and those based on the so-called original allocation (9%), which includes, for example, the children of Portuguese born abroad.

Regarding applications for nationality “by the effect of will”, which are those motivated by marriage or partnership, Brazilians come first (3418). Next, but with much lower numbers, are Angolans (524) and Cape Verdeans (432).

The SEF is one of several services where applications for obtaining Portuguese nationality can be submitted, which in total rose 176,285 in 2018, about 38,000 more than those registered in the previous year.

Translated from the original in portuguese found here.

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