on June 26, 2020

Timeline: proposal to change the “Law of Nationality through Sephardic way”

on June 26, 2020

Linha do tempo: proposta de alteração da “Lei de Nacionalidade pela via Sefardita”

Follow the updates of the proposal that wants to change the Portuguese law that grants citizenship to Sephardic descendants.

May 11, 2020:

The Socialist Party (PS) of Portugal publishes a proposal for change

According to PS proposal, those who fit the Decree-Law no. 30-A-2015, which grants Portuguese nationality by naturalization to the descendants of Sephardic Jews (persecuted by the Inquisition between the 15th and 18th centuries), they would have to live legally in Portugal for at least two years before being entitled to the benefit. According to the authors of the proposal, the change aims to ensure that “Portuguese nationality is not transformed into a tradable asset”, as there would be a real “sale of Portuguese nationality as a way of acquiring advantages inherent to the possession of a European Union passport (exemption visas for most States, in particular the USA, and the right of residence in any EU Member State) ”. To better understand the proposal, click on here.


May 19, 2020:

PS changes the proposal by removing the legal residence requirement for two years for Sephardic descendants

After several criticisms, the PS removed from its proposal to change the naturalization law the controversial requirement that, before having the right to naturalization, descendants of Sephardic Jews would have to live legally in Portugal for two years. However, it follows the discussion about possible changes in the current legislation, among which the exemption from the requirement that the process be conducted by a lawyer. To better understand the proposal, click on here.


June 2, 2020:

Bishop of Porto against changing nationality law for descendants of Sephardic Jews

When asked by the press about the position of the Catholic Church regarding the proposed change in the Naturalization Law, the bishop of the city of Porto, D. Manuel Linda, stated that he was against the measure, because, according to him, one should not “change a law that has given good results so far ”. To learn more, click on here.


June 4, 2020:

Portuguese and Israeli Bar Orders against changing nationality to Sephardic Jews

After a joint meeting, the Bar Association of Portugal and Israel issued a joint note criticizing the attempt to change the legislation on the granting of nationality. According to them, the representatives of the two entities announced that they would intervene with the President of the Assembly of the Republic and parliamentary groups to ensure that the rights of Sephardic descendants are preserved.

In addition, the two Bar Associations defend that “It is essential that a lawyer intervene in any process of granting nationality”, as they consider that “the presence of a lawyer is a guarantee of legality”. To learn more, click on here.


June 17, 2020:

Santos Silva wants to change the law so as not to “commercialize” Portuguese nationality

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Portugal, Augusto Santos Silva, was heard in the Constitutional Affairs committee on the amendments to the Nationality Law proposed by the PS and reported to deputies “worrying” facts that he receives from embassies and consulates, such as advertisements in countries, which did not specify, in which Portuguese nationality is shown in “blackfriday” campaigns. According to the minister, facts like this testify against the country's reputation in the international community, which was criticized by several parliamentarians, who pointed out that such a posture could be seen as an anti-Semitic act by the Portuguese State, as the other naturalization modalities were not passing by a similar process of scrutiny. To learn more, click on here.


June 23, 2020:

Minister of Justice refuses “eternal historical reparation” for Sephardic descendants

The Portuguese Minister of Justice Francisca Van Dunem stated that “An eternal historical repair is not sustainable”, referring to Decree-Law no. 30-A-2015, which allows the granting of Portuguese naturalness to Sephardic descendants.

According to her, the Law's validity period should end in 2025, as it would be enough time for a historical repair, reason for its approval. To learn more, click on here.


June 25, 2020:

Jews received in the AR reject “discrimination” of Sephardic descendants

Representatives of the Portuguese Parliamentary Community of Lisbon - CIL - received by the Constitutional Rights Commission of the Portuguese Parliament reiterated that they will continue to oppose the changes in the legislation that provides for the possibility of naturalization for Sephardic descendants, which they classify as discrimination. On that occasion, they also criticized the position of the Minister of Justice, Francisca Van Dunem, who defended the establishment of a time limit for the Decree-Law no. 30-A-2015 lose its validity. For CIL, what needs to change is not the law, but the procedures adopted for the conception of Portuguese nationality. To learn more, click on here.