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Shorter Path to Portuguese Citizenship

Shorter Path to Portuguese Citizenship

On January 5th, 2024, the Portuguese Parliament approved changes to the country’s Citizenship Law, bringing about a pivotal shift in the timeline to Portuguese citizenship.

Formerly, the countdown to Portuguese citizenship for Golden Visa investors started from the date their residency permit was approved. However, bureaucratic delays within the immigration system often meant a considerable gap between the application and the permit’s approval, elongating the path to citizenship and leading to an unintended extension of the citizenship attainment process.

To streamline the journey towards Portuguese citizenship, Article 15 of the revised law introduces a crucial provision – it will allow investors to count their time of legal residence from the moment the residence title is requested, provided the application is eventually approved.

“This change marks a significant departure from the prior system, acknowledging the setbacks caused by administrative delays and aiming to mitigate their impact on applicants,” shared Carolina Figueiredo, Program Manager at Arton Capital.

While the changes reflect a positive development, there is a degree of ambiguity surrounding what exactly would constitute the beginning of the countdown – at present, there are various steps within the existing process that could qualify. Nevertheless, updated regulation shall come into force 90 days after the law is published, which is anticipated to clarify this aspect.

This legislative shift signifies a proactive step towards aligning administrative procedures with the intended legal framework, offering hope for smoother and more expedited naturalization processes. By incorporating the time elapsed since the residency request into the citizenship eligibility calculation, the amendment will bridge the gap between legal provisions and practical realities faced by those seeking Portuguese citizenship.