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How to Become a Citizen in Portugal

How to Obtain Citizenship in Portugal: A Detailed Guide

Portugal, with its enchanting landscapes, vibrant culture, and welcoming communities, has become a top destination for expatriates and investors alike. Obtaining Portuguese citizenship offers numerous benefits, including access to a high standard of living, a robust healthcare system, and the ability to work and travel freely within the European Union. This comprehensive guide will explore the various pathways to acquiring Portuguese citizenship, highlighting key requirements and procedures, and how services like Citizen Remote can assist in simplifying the immigration process.

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Understanding Portuguese Citizenship

Portuguese citizenship can be acquired through several methods, including descent, marriage, naturalization, and investment. Each pathway has distinct requirements and processes, tailored to different individual circumstances.

Citizenship by Descent

Citizenship through descent is one of the most straightforward methods for those with Portuguese heritage. If either of your parents or, in some cases, grandparents were Portuguese citizens at the time of your birth, you might be eligible for citizenship by descent.

Steps to Apply:

  • Document Collection: Gather essential documents, such as birth certificates of your parents and grandparents, their marriage certificates, and proof of their citizenship at the time of your birth.

  • Consular Registration: Register yourself in the Portuguese civil registry through the nearest consulate or embassy.

  • Application Submission: Submit your citizenship application along with all required documents and the registration confirmation.

Citizenship by Marriage

If you are married to a Portuguese citizen, you can apply for citizenship after three years of marriage or three years of legally recognized partnership. This pathway requires demonstrating ties to the Portuguese community and proof of the marriage.

Key Requirements:

  • Duration of Marriage: At least three years of marriage or partnership.

  • Connection to Portugal: Participation in Portuguese cultural or community activities.

  • Language Proficiency: Basic communication skills in Portuguese are necessary.

Citizenship by Naturalization

Naturalization is the most common route for expatriates without Portuguese familial ties. Applicants must have lived in Portugal for at least five years under a legal residency status.

Necessary Steps:

  1. Residency: Maintain legal residency in Portugal for at least five years, which can be proven with a valid residence card.

  2. Language Proficiency: Pass a basic Portuguese language test, demonstrating A2 level proficiency.

  3. Clean Criminal Record: Provide a criminal record from Portugal and any other countries where you've lived in the past five years.

  4. Evidence of Connections: Show active involvement in the local community, such as through local clubs or volunteer organizations.

  5. Submit Application: Apply through the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF) with all necessary documents.

Citizenship by Investment (Golden Visa)

The Golden Visa program offers a fast track to residency and citizenship by making significant investments in Portugal’s economy. This route is especially popular among non-EU nationals.

Investment Options:

  • Real Estate: Purchase property worth at least €500,000, or €350,000 if the property is older than 30 years and located in an area of urban regeneration.

  • Capital Transfer: Make a capital transfer of at least €1.5 million into Portugal.

  • Job Creation: Create at least 10 job positions in Portugal.

After five years of maintaining the investment and adhering to minimal stay requirements, investors can apply for permanent residency and citizenship.

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Visa Options Leading to Residency

Before pursuing citizenship, one must secure residency in Portugal through various visas, each tailored to different needs.

D Category Visa's (D7 - Passive Income Visa, D8 - Digital Nomad Visa)

Ideal for retirees or those living on a stable income, this visa requires proving sufficient regular income to support living expenses in Portugal.

Tech Visa

This program targets skilled professionals in the tech industry, offering a streamlined process to work and reside in Portugal.

Startup Visa

Entrepreneurs willing to launch or relocate innovative startups in Portugal can apply for this visa, which provides residency and access to a network of incubators and investors.

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How Citizen Remote Can Help

Navigating the complexities of immigration and citizenship processes can be challenging. Citizen Remote offers specialized visa services that can assist with the application process, ensuring that all legal requirements are met and that paperwork is filed correctly. Their expertise can be particularly valuable in managing applications and providing guidance tailored to your specific circumstances.


Acquiring Portuguese citizenship can open up numerous opportunities for work, travel, and a higher quality of life. Whether through descent, marriage, naturalization, or investment, the pathways to becoming a Portuguese citizen are diverse, each with its own set of requirements and benefits. By thoroughly understanding these processes and seeking the right assistance, you can greatly enhance your chances of success. For more detailed support and personalized assistance, consider visiting Citizen Remote to explore how their services can facilitate your journey to Portuguese citizenship.



Tim Marting is an entrepreneur and co-founder of Citizen Remote a site for remote workers and digital nomads. Although from the US, Tim currently lives in Spain, and has been a world citizen for the last 5 years, living in 3 different countries. He had other long-term stops in Australia, Italy, Indonesia, Thailand and the UK. His life goal is “to enable border-less travel and border-less relations for the rest of this beautiful world.