Who do we call Sephardic Jews, it is a Jews descended from the ancient and traditional Jewish communities of the Iberian Peninsula (Portugal & Spain).

The presence of these communities in the Iberian Peninsula is very old, even before the formation of the Christian Iberian kingdoms, as happened with Portugal from the twelfth century.

And probably by now, you have heard that the Sephardic Jews have the legal right to request the Portuguese Nationality, this measure was approved by the Organic Law No. 1/2013 of 29 July. The Regulation, approved by DL n. 30-A/2015, 27 February, has the following general requirements:

  1. applicants are Sephardic Jews of Portuguese descent and are adult or emancipated under the Portuguese law;
  2. not have been convicted, pursuant final judgment of sentence, for committing a crime punishable with a maximum prison sentence equal to or exceeding three years, under Portuguese law.

It is important to clarify that what the Law imposes is that the applicant is descent from a Portuguese Sephardic Jewish community, this requirement can be demonstrated, namely:

  • Family Surnames,
  • Family Language,
  • Direct offspring or family relations in the genealogical lines of the Portuguese Sephardic community.

This is a “recent” possibility; however it has been widely used and it´s a great legacy to leave to your family, having the possibility of acquiring a European Passport gives you access to a world of new possibilities, particularly form a country like Portugal where the power of its passport is #3 can be check at https://www.passportindex.org/byRank.php . Portugal is also an economically stable country and growing in the past recent years.

This opportunity has been seized by thousands of individuals worldwide. By 2017, “Nearly 1,800 descendants of Sephardic Jews acquired the Portuguese nationality in 2017 under a law enacted two years earlier, with another 12,000 still in the application process, officials in Lisbon said.”please check: https://www.jta.org/2018/02/23/news-opinion/world/a-soaring-number-of-sephardic-jews-acquired-portuguese-citizenship-in-2017

So if I am a descendant of a Sephardic Jews, how do I do it?

The process consists in taking 2 (two) steps:

1st we go to the Jewish community to issue a certificate in which states our Sephardic Jewish lineage of Portuguese origin, through surname, family language, genealogy, and family memory.

2nd We go the Portuguese Official entities and we request the nationality, providing all the necessary documentation, for example, criminal record(s), birth certificate; others.

Important to know about this possibility is that this is granted with a discretionary power by the Minister of Justice, ultimatelly the Ministry can choose to grant or not to grant the Portuguese nationality.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be exhaustive in relation to the matters covered here. However, if you are still not completely clear and continue with doubts or if you want our help, do not hesitate to contact us through the e-mail: geral@fslegal.pt.