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Access to Portuguese Citizenship


Portuguese nationality law is the legal set of rules that regulate access to Portuguese citizenship, which is acquired mainly through descent from a Portuguese parent (mother, father, grandfather), naturalisation in Portugal or marriage to a Portuguese citizen.

Overall the present Portuguese nationality law, dated from 1981, privileges Jus sanguinis, while the precedent law, of 1959, was based on the principle of Jus soli. This shift occurred in 1975 and 1981, thus basically making it difficult to access naturalisation not only to first generation migrants, but also to their children and grandchildren. Only very recently, in 2006, was this situation slightly changed, but still stressing Jus sanguinis.

It is important to note that after 1975, the Antigo Estado da India (the legal term for Goa, Damão, Diu , Dadrá and Nagar Avelí before 19 December 1961) were assigned a special status under the Portuguese Nationality Law.


Law decree n. 308-A/1975, 24th June - "Lei da Nacionalidade Portuguesa" - Article 1º. clause (e), clearly says that all those born in the Antigo Estado da India who declare their intention to retain their Portuguese Nationality are entitled to do so. Other ex-Portuguese colonial citizens were given a period of time to decide if they wanted to remain as Portuguese citizens or to adopt the nationality of the (at the time) new independent countries like Angola or Mozambique.


Only the citizens from Antigo Estado da India were not given a time limit to decide if they wanted to continue being Portuguese citizens. They are still entitled to declare today their wish to continue as Portuguese citizens.

So, if you were born in the Former Portuguese State of India (Goa and Damão, prior to 20-12-1961,  Diu, Dadra and Nager Aveli prior to 11-08-1961), or are one of their descendants (children, grandchildren, etc.) and wish to acquire Portuguese citizenship, our office can help you to apply directly to the Central Registry in Lisbon Conservatória dos Registos Centrais, the only competent department in matters concerning assessment and granting of Portuguese nationality.


Portuguese citizens are also citizens of the European Union and thus enjoy rights of free movement and have the right to vote in elections for the European Parliament.

LBR Advogados and our affiliated in Goa can provide legal assistance and guidance to those citizens and descendants, aiming to regularise their records in the Portuguese Civil Register Office.

To contact our affiliate office in Goa, please check the contacts section for details.


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