Legal Assistance for Portuguese Citizenship by Sephardic Ancestry

Navigating the New Portuguese Citizenship Laws with Expertise

Welcome to Defesa Legal Portugal Law Office, your trusted legal partner for navigating the complexities of Portuguese citizenship laws. With recent amendments and media attention around high-profile cases, understanding your eligibility and the process for Portuguese Citizenship by Sephardic ancestry is crucial. Our experienced team is here to guide you through every step

NEW EXTRA REQUIREMENTS FOR NEW SEPHARDIC APPLICANTS

 

NEW CASES OPENED UNTIL THE 31ST. OF MARCH 2024:


HOLDING A RESIDENCE PERMIT FOR MORE THAN ONE YEAR

(1 day of physical presence in Portugal - We can assist you filling this extra requirement).

 

VS.

 

NEW CASES OPENED AFTER THE 31ST OF MARCH 2024:

 

HAVE LEGALLY RESIDED IN PORTUGUESE TERRITORY FOR A PERIOD OF AT LEAST THREE YEARS, CONSECUTIVE OR INTERPOLATED

(3 years of physical presence in Portugal becomes mandatory)

 


HOW DEFESA LEGAL PORTUGAL LAW OFFICE CAN ASSIST YOU

 

Proven Expertise in Sephardic Ancestry Applications

 

Our firm has a rich history of collaborating with both the Porto (CIP) and Lisboa (CIL) Jewish Communities. We ensure that your application is meticulously documented, aligning with the latest interpretations and requirements of Sephardic Heritage as understood by these communities.

 

Expedited Citizenship Application Process

 

We understand the value of time in legal proceedings. Our approach involves submitting applications to the most efficient Civil Registry Offices, enhancing the speed of decision-making in your case. The importance relies on the following difference: some Civil Registry Offices are so delayed that the application can take up to three years to be decided. However, with the right assistance, presenting the application in the right Civil Registry Office, the application can be decided in one year and a half...

 

Comprehensive Legal Support

 

Beyond application submission, we offer extensive monitoring and legal advisory services. This includes assistance with applications for spouses and minor children, ensuring that your family’s needs are also catered for.

 


Why Choose Defesa Legal Portugal Law Office?

Guarantees

We can guarantee that your case will be submitted, in both entities, in the next few days after you hire our Firm, guaranteeing that your case will not be subject to the “at least 3 years of legal residency in Portugal” of the last amendment to the law, and that is pending approval from the President and publishin in the official gazette.

 

Client-Centric Approach

Our commitment is first and foremost to our clients. We provide personalized legal advice, tailored to your unique situation, to ensure the most favorable outcomes.

 

Extensive Experience and Success

Our track record speaks for itself. Handling thousands of citizenship cases, we possess specialized knowledge and a deep understanding of Sephardic ancestry and its legal implications in the context of Portuguese citizenship.

Contact us to check if you qualify

Want us to make a preliminary review of your case?

FAQ

  1. You will not need to travel to Portugal, saving in travel expenses, as we will represent you before all Portuguese and Jewish authorities.
  2. We work with fixed/flat fees so you will not face any unexpected costs
  3. We can also cover every other legal needs:
    • Real Estate Investments due diligence/conveyance;
    • Non habitual resident status (special tax regime);
    • Assistance in TIN/NIF assignments, Social Security and National Health Care enrollment, beside everything else to make your relocation smoother, if required.
    • Arbitration and Litigation.

For applicants not living in Portugal: deadline is on the 31st of March 2024 - In this case, we will assist you with the legal procedure to cover the new requirement "holding a Residence Permit for more than one year";

If you have resided in Portugal for a minimum of three years, either consecutively or intermittently, we can guide you on leveraging this for your citizenship application, especially in light of the new amendment.

You can handle the process directly. However, this is a legally complex process and should be accompanied by a lawyer. Even the Jewish Communities recommend to have legal assistance, in order to prevent bureaucratic and legal issues.

The whole procedure will take place in Portugal. All administrative and judicial authorities use the Portuguese language. With the exception of lawyers established in other Member States of the European Union, lawyers not registered with the Portuguese Law Bar Association cannot practice law in Portugal. Surely a lawyer from your country of residence will act in partnership with a Portuguese lawyer. Therefore, you should ask yourself this question: why not hire a Portuguese lawyer and deal with everything directly with who will handle the process, suppressing middle men?

  • Sending of our documents check list and our procedures;
  • Drafting and sending the Power of Attorney so that you don’t have to travel to Portugal for such purpose;
  • Support in the obtention of documentation from you birth country (we partner with law firms in Israel and in several other Latin American countries);
  • Translation of official documents issued by the authorities of foreign countries to Portuguese;
  • Obtaining the official recognition of documents issued by foreign authorities by the Portuguese ones;
  • Requesting and accompanying the procedure for the obtention of the certificate issued by the Portuguese Jewish Community (Lisbon or Porto) OR drafting and accompanying the procedure for the obtention of documents that are able to replace the Certificate of the Portuguese Jewish Community;
  • Preparation and monitoring of the application for the Portuguese Jewish Community Certificate (Lisbon or Porto) OR the preparation and monitoring of applications for the issuance of documents that replace – in the application for Portuguese Citizenship – the Certificate issued by the Portuguese Jewish Community;
  • Certification of all the necessary documents (including translations and notarizations) to submit the application for Portuguese Citizenship;
  • Drafting, submitting and follow up of the procedure for the concession of Citizenship;
  • Supplying the code for consulting the application online, 24/7/365.
  • In case of prompt refusal (by insufficiency of documents or other reason):
    • Analysis of the notification of refusal;
    • Support correcting the deficiencies highlighted and/or obtaining additional documents
  • In case of a final decision of no concession of the Portuguese Citizenship;
    • Analysis of the final notification of refusal
    • Submitting and following up the administrative or judicial appeal for the granting of the Portuguese Citizenship in the Administrative Court of Law

Yes, you can. The Law of Return is open to Jewish and non-Jewish people who can prove their Sephardic ancestry. The religion of the applicants does not matter; what matters is their Sephardic ancestry.

An applicant’s first step towards Portuguese citizenship will be the acquisition from a Sephardic Jewish community, of a certificate of origin. This certificate attests to ties with a Sephardic community of Portuguese origin. Once obtained, the applicant should send the document to the Jewish community in either Porto or Lisbon.

The guarantee is given by the Portuguese laws that regulate the activity of lawyers and that regulate the judicial proceedings. Thus, the Lawyers have a duty of professional secrecy provided for in art. 92 of Law number 145/2015, of the 09th of September (Statute of the Law Bar Association), and the violation of this professional secrecy constitutes a crime punishable by imprisonment. The facts revealed by the Lawyer, in violation of professional secrecy, also constitute forbidden evidence in court, so the law prevents them from being used in court.

The costs to have a Portuguese Passport through Sephardic Ancestry start as low as EUR 1.200€ (citizenship application stage only - Sephardic Certification not included).

We offer competitive prices. Ask us for a quotation.

THE LAW OF RETURN

During the 15th and 16th centuries, a large number of Sephardic Jews were expelled from Portugal. However, many of the Sephardi Jews of Portuguese origin kept their language (Ladino), the rites of the Portuguese old Jewish cult, their family names, many objects and documents that can be used to demonstrate both their Portuguese origin and their solid historical relationship with the Portuguese people. The Sephardi Jews that were forced to abandon Portugal settled in many regions of the world, especially in Europe (Germany, Belgium, Croatia, France, Greece, the Netherlands, Italy, England), in the Mediterranean countries (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, and Turkey) and the American continent (United States of America, Colombia, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Curaçau, Suriname).

Against this historical background, on the 3rd of July 2013, the Portuguese Citizenship Act (Lei da Nacionalidade) was amended to allow the acquisition of Portuguese citizenship by the descendants of Portugal’s Sephardic Jews, the so-called Law of Return.

WHO CAN APPLY?
  • Those who are 18+ years old (or emancipated according to the Portuguese Law)
  • Being a descendant of a Sephardic Jew
  • Belonging to a Sephardic community of Portuguese origin
ADVANTAGES OF THE PORTUGUESE CITIZENSHIP
WHY PORTUGAL?
  • Pursuing your roots and embracing your family ancient traditions;
  • One of the strongest passports in the “Passport Index 2021” ranking – the Portuguese passport – which, in addition to free movement in the Schengen Area, allows entering in 159 countries without needing a visa
    • Countries to which you can travel without needing a visa: Albania, South Africa, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Byelorussia, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Chile, Cyprus, Colombia, South Korea, Costa Rica, Croatia, Dominica, El Salvador, United Arab Emirates, Equator, Fiji, Philippines, Georgia, Grenada, Guatemala, Guiana, Haiti, Honduras, Hong Kong, Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Kiribati, Kosovo, Lesotho, Macao, Macedonia, Malaysia, Morocco, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldavia, Monaco, Montenegro, Namibia, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Palau, Palestine, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Qatar, Kyrgyzstan, United Kingdom, Dominican Republic, Romania, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Thomas and Prince, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Saint Lucia, Senegal, Serbia, Swaziland, Togo, Taiwan, East Timor, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Tuvalu, Ukraine, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Vatican e Venezuela. Countries to which you can travel and obtain a visa on arrival: Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cambodia, Camarones, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gambia, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Iran, Jordan, Djibouti, Kuwait, Laos, Lebanon, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mauritania, Mozambique, Papua New Guinea, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Suriname, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Togo, Turkey, Uganda, and Zambia.

  • Right to live in any EU country: benefiting from the freedom of movement of persons and goods within the European Union, allowing to establish their residence in any of those countries;
  • Benefiting from the excellent relationship that Portugal has with all Official Portuguese-speaking countries;
  • Portugal allows dual citizenship;
  • Family reunification in the EU: Family members have the right to reside with the Portuguese wherever they live, either in Portugal or another country of the European Union.
  • And, have in mind, that if you opt for living in Portugal, we are:
    • Most welcoming country for expanding the world (InterNations™ Global Guide)
    • Best place in the world for remote working (Momondo™ Travel and Work index 2022)
    • 7th. safest country in the world (Global Peace Index™ 2023)
    • 4th strongest passport in the world (Global Passport Index™ 2024)
    • 8th on the 2023 EF™ English Proficiency Index;
    • 8th country with the best food in the world (USNEWS™ ranking)
    • 7th best football national squad in the world (FIFA™ ranking)
REQUIREMENTS:
AND, REMEMBER:
  • No Portuguese Language knowledge needed;
  • Not mandatory to live in Portugal;
  • Your presence in Portugal is not mandatory for us to handle all your case. You just have to tell us where you will want to receive the legal document that recognizes your Portuguese Citizenship.
  • Be of age - or emancipated - under the Portuguese law;
  • Not have been convicted of a crime punishable under Portuguese law with imprisonment of three years or more;
  • Obtain a Certificate of the Jewish Community of Portugal (CIL or CIP) attesting the tradition of belonging, materialized specifically in the applicant’s surname, family language, genealogy and family memory
  • State and demonstrate in the application the circumstances that establish the tradition of belonging to a Sephardic community of Portuguese origin.

THE PROCEDURE FOR OBTAINING PORTUGUESE NATIONALITY FOR THE DESCENDANTS OF SEPHARDIC JEWS

Our Law firm provides a full study of each case and legal assistance during the procedure until you get Portuguese Citizenship.

THE PROCEDURE IS DIVIDED INTO TWO STAGES:
STAGE 1 – THE SEPHARDI ANCESTRY CERTIFICATE

After reviewing your case, we will perform an internal pre-analysis and see if you have enough evidence to support success. If so, we will submit your application before the Lisboa Jewish Community  to obtain a Sephardi Ancestry Certificate, attesting to the tradition of belonging, materialized specifically in the applicant’s surname, family language, genealogy, and family memory.

You will be asked to donate 500€ to the Jewish Community that will issue the Sephardi Ancestry Certificate. However, such donation will only be made after the Jewish Community certifies that your case is in the condition of being analyzed.

You can expect the Sephardi Ancestry Certificate to be issued within 15-60 days (Porto) and 180-360 days (Lisbon) – These time windows are not binding.

STAGE 2 – APPLICATION FOR THE PORTUGUESE NATIONALITY BEFORE THE PORTUGUESE MINISTRY OF JUSTICE

We will assist you with all the documents that will be required, beside handling all the translations and notarization of documents issued by foreign Authorities.

We will also draft and submit your application, ensuring that there are no missing elements to your application (if an application is submitted with elements missing, a delay of, at least, 3 month, is expected). The application will be submitted in the Registry Office that is handling the procedures with more readiness.

We will collect your case number and access code, allowing you to track your application in real time, gaining instant updates on your citizenship application.

Once the Portuguese nationality is granted, we will collect and send you your Portuguese birth certificate, that is the legal document that ensures you are a full right Portuguese Citizen. With this document, you will be able to request, at the closest Consulate/Embassy, both you Portuguese Citizen Card and Passport.

ALSO, HAVE IN MIND:

Your spouse and children (under 18) may also become Portuguese Citizens.

Contact us for more information.