on March 17, 2021

Portuguese citizenship for grandson of Portuguese

on March 17, 2021

A cidadania portuguesa para neto de português

Are you interested in starting the process to obtain Portuguese citizenship for a grandson of Portuguese? In this text we explain everything you need to know if you are entitled to nationality and what requirements are necessary to guarantee this right. 

A census of the Luso-Brazilian community estimates that there are currently around 5 million Portuguese grandchildren in Brazil. However, it is believed that the number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren is much greater.

Portuguese citizenship for grandson of Portuguese: change and simplification

The first thing to know is that, in November 2020, the Portuguese Nationality Law (Law No. 37/81) went through changes. the final text simplified the process of nationality for grandchildren of Portuguese

Now the criterion that prove the existence of effective link with the Portuguese national community it is clear: mastery of the Portuguese language. For grandchildren born in countries where Portuguese is the official language, this requirement is considered automatically met.

“Many people ended up giving up their nationality due to the difficulty created by the lack of objective criteria in identifying links with Portugal. The updating of the Nationality Law makes these criteria more clear.”, explains the lawyer for Martins Castro, Thiago Huver.


Citizenship Portuguese for grandchildren: requirements

In addition to proof of link with the Portuguese national community, the law requires that in the application for nationality the grandfather/grandmother's Portuguese nationality is proven.

The regulation of the Portuguese Nationality Law establishes that this proof must be done through the seat of birth or baptistery of the Portuguese grandfather/grandmother.

What to do if you don't have a birth or baptistery record?

Lawyer Thiago Huver emphasizes that “for the nationality process for grandchildren of Portuguese, it is essential to prove the origin of the Portuguese grandfather or grandmother. This proof can be done through the birth certificate, which for Brazilians is the equivalent of a birth certificate, or through the baptistery of the Portuguese grandfather or grandmother.”

If you do not have these documents in hand, it is possible to try to get a copy in Portugal. For this it is important to know the full name, date of birth, parentage (parents' names), the Municipality and Parish in which your grandfather/grandmother was born.

I don't have all the information about where my grandfather/grandmother was born. Is it still possible to apply for nationality?

Yes how available technology assistance, we are able to identify and trace a Portuguese ancestry. Even when the family has little information, such as only the name and affiliation of Portuguese, it is possible to find information that will allow us to obtain the necessary documentation for the nationality process.

Historian and genealogist at Martins Castro, Gabriel Dias, explains that after transforming information from records (of various natures, in various locations, in Brazil and Portugal) into data, it is possible to aggregate them in a way that to be able to know, for example, where the family came from, what year it came from, where they were baptized or where birth was declared.

 “With these data in hand, it is possible for us to constitute the genealogical proof of a Brazilian with Portuguese grandparents. With that, this descendant can claim all the rights inherent to this genealogical proof, such as Portuguese nationality for grandchildren”, explains Dias.


Does the grandson need to be alive to apply?

With proof of nationality in hand, it is necessary to remember that the grandson of Portuguese must be alive to apply for nationality. That is, a third party cannot apply for nationality on behalf of the grandchild. 

Besides my grandfather's/grandmother's birth certificate or baptistery. What other documents will I need?

The other documents are of a personal nature, such as identification and criminal record.

Other requirements of Portuguese citizenship for grandchildren of Portuguese

In addition to proof of Portuguese nationality and mastery of the Portuguese language, it is important to remember that a grandson who requires Portuguese nationality cannot have been sentenced to a crime with a sentence of three years or more in prison, in accordance with the provisions of Portuguese law. 

What is the total cost of applying for Portuguese citizenship for a Portuguese grandson?

Each case is different. Values may vary., for example, depending on the necessary documentation and the State of origin of the grandson requesting the nationality, since the notary offices do not have equal fees throughout Brazil.

In addition, there are the costs of registry fees and fees if you choose to hire a lawyer.

My grandfather and my grandmother are Portuguese. Do I need to present their birth certificate or baptistery?

No. Proof of bond with one of them for the process to be forwarded.

I'm a great-grandson/great-grandson of Portuguese. Can I also apply for nationality?

The Portuguese Nationality Law determines that “individuals with at least one ascendant of Portuguese nationality originating from the 2nd degree in the straight line who has not lost that nationality” have the right to be granted Portuguese nationality. This means that for a great-grandson to have the right, the grandson must first apply for and have Portuguese nationality attributed to him.

The logic is simple. The moment the grandson has nationality, he becomes Portuguese from birth, and a Portuguese birth certificate is even issued with his data. As a result, you, who were a Portuguese great-grandson, are now considered a Portuguese son. 

The same goes for the great-great-grandson. He is now entitled to the extent that his grandfather (grandson of Portuguese) is now also Portuguese. In other words, the former three-year-old becomes a grandson and already meets the requirements of the law to apply for nationality. 

I am a great-grandson/great-grandson of Portuguese, but my father/grandfather is already deceased and never applied for Portuguese nationality. Is it possible to place the order on his behalf so that I can file my case later?

No. As we said above it is I need the nationality applicant to be alive at the time the application for granting nationality is made.

So far, we have provided you with all the relevant information so that you can know if you are entitled to Portuguese nationality as a grandchild. We also score the requirements that must be met to start the nationality process.

Before finishing this text, however, we leave two tips that can help those who are looking for the birth certificate or baptistery of their Portuguese grandfather/grandmother.

1. Family stories and memories can help

The historian and genealogist at Martins Castro, Gabriel Dias, explains that the memories can be of great help when searching for information. that lead to documentary proof of Portuguese citizenship. 

To illustrate his explanation, Gabriel tells the story of his own family. “In my family, there was a family report that one of the great-grandmothers came from a region that had snow and a wolf. We immediately suspect that she was originally from the Serra da Estrela area, which is a very snowy region in Portugal. In the research I carried out, this was confirmed”, he reports.

Conclusion: sometimes, any information about the origin, about the place, the decade in which the family migrated, can be an indicator that, combined with other data and records, allows for greater precision in the search process.  

2. Old documents can help a lot

The truth is, sometimes people have more information than they realize. Gabriel Dias explains that it is not uncommon for certificates that they have at home, especially handwritten ones, contain information that, combined with technological resources, assist in the constitution of genealogical evidence

We recommend, then, go through the paperwork at home. Ask older relatives, uncles, great-uncles if they have old documents kept. Anyway, gather everything you can. 

It is possible that some of these documents need to be read by an expert in paleographic reading. But the most important thing is that they may contain information indicating the origin of your Portuguese ancestor. 


Have you read this article and been confused by some of the terms used? Do not worry. We have prepared another text with a brief dictionary to help you understand unfamiliar terms. 

Also, if you are interested in knowing the viability of your process and how we can help you search for your Portuguese grandfather's/grandmother's documentation, click on here and fill out our form. The analysis is free. 

In case you need any more clarification about the process nationality assignment for a Portuguese grandson or about our services, please contact us through our communication channels.