on April 12, 2021

eBook: Portuguese citizenship through the Sephardim

on April 12, 2021

eBook: Cidadania portuguesa por meio dos sefarditas

Sephardic Jews are the descendants of the ancient and traditional Jewish communities of the Iberian Peninsula (Portugal and Spain), also known as the Land of Sefarad. From the end of the 15th century, the Sephardim began to be persecuted by the State and by the Portuguese and Spanish Inquisition, being forced to convert to Catholicism, under penalty of being expelled from their territory, a fact that
caused the flight of thousands of Jews to various countries, such as Brazil.

Portuguese nationality for Jewish descendants

As a form of historical reparation, Portugal, through Decree-Law 30-A/2015, started to grant Portuguese nationality, by naturalization, to the descendants of Sephardic Jews, hypothesis in art.6, no. 7 of the Portuguese Nationality Law, Law No. 37/81

LAW NUMBER 37/81 OF OCTOBER 3 / Section III Acquisition of nationality by naturalization

Article 6: Requirements

7 – The Government may grant nationality by naturalization, with exemption from the requirements set out in subparagraphs b) and c) of paragraph 1, to descendants of Portuguese Sephardic Jews through the demonstration of the tradition of belonging to the Sephardic community of Portuguese origin, based on objective requirements proof of connection to Portugal, namely surnames, familiar language, direct or collateral descent.

How to find out if you have Sephardic ancestry

To find out if you have Sephardic ancestry, a genealogical study that confirms your link with a Sephardic ancestor is essential. It is important to highlight, however, that this Jew has suffered some of the processes of expulsion, forced conversion or persecution that took place in the Iberian Peninsula around the 1490s.

The study begins with the full names of ancestors (father, mother, grandparents and great-grandparents), as well as the cities of birth and/or marriage. From this, it is possible to identify whether or not there is a Sephardic lineage.

Martins Castro has a team of genealogists who have already identified and researched several Jewish lineages in Brazil with notoriety among the Israeli communities in Lisbon and Porto, in Portugal.

IMPORTANT: DNA testing has no value for Portuguese citizenship via the Sephardic route.

The process steps

1. Genealogical study

The genealogical study is the basis of everything to apply for Portuguese nationality through the Sephardic Jews. This step consists of a detailed and elaborated research of your family tree from documents and notarial books. If the possibility of the bond is proven, it is possible to proceed with the process.

2. Israeli certificate

Once completed, the genealogical study must be sent to the Israeli Community of Lisbon (CIL) or to the Israeli Community of Porto (CIP), together with personal documents and application. After analysis and proof of the link, the entity issues a certificate
which attests to the Sephardic descent. This step takes up to six months.

So that there are no delays at this stage, it is important to send all the required documents and meet the deadlines set by the Israeli communities.

3. Portuguese citizenship

In possession of the certificate issued by the Israeli Community, other documents are requested to enter the
process of Portuguese nationality through naturalization.

About Martins Castro

Martins Castro is a firm of lawyers and consultants that works in the area of international mobility and provides advice to people and companies that want to settle in Europe.

The office provides services especially related to Portuguese and Spanish nationality processes, visas and residence permits, business opening and business consultancy, in addition to the revalidation of higher education diplomas.

Consolidated from the professional and personal experience of its team, the office offers comprehensive, reliable and personalized support. We are guided by the purpose of uniting families, unraveling stories and making the world a greater place for our customers.

Find out if you are a Sephardic Jew descent

You can find out if you have Sephardic ancestry. To do this, you just have to correctly answer all the fields on our pre-analysis form. There are no costs associated with completing the form.