Sephardic Jews


The Government may grant nationality by naturalization, with exemption from the requirements regarding residence of 5 years and knowledge of Portuguese, to the descendants of Portuguese Sephardic Jews, by demonstrating the tradition of belonging to a Sephardic community of Portuguese origin, based on requirements proven links to Portugal, namely surnames, family language, direct or collateral descent.

The Jews are descendants of the traditional Jewish communities of the Iberian Peninsula, who were expelled from the territory around the end of the 15th century and beginning of the 16th century. Despite the persecution that led them to settle in some regions of the Mediterranean, North and East Europe and South America, among others, many Sephardic Jews of Portuguese origin maintained their traditions, including the traditional rites of the old Portuguese Jewish cult , as well as in some cases the language itself, its family surnames and numerous objects and documents proving its Portuguese origin. With the approval of Decree-Law no. 30-A, of 27 February, it became possible to acquire Portuguese nationality by foreign citizens descended from Sephardic Jews of Portuguese origin. In addition to the recovery of old cultural roots, the acquisition of Portuguese nationality entails extremely important benefits, since it allows beneficiaries the right to free movement throughout the Schengen area and opportunities for life and work within the member countries of the European Union.

As general requirements for the acquisition of nationality, a descendant applicant of a Sephardic Jew of Portuguese origin must be greater or emancipated under Portuguese law and must not have been convicted, with a final sentence of res judicata, for the practice of a crime punishable by imprisonment of a maximum of 3 years or more, according to Portuguese law.  The proof itself is made through the presentation of documentary records proving direct descent or in the family relationship in the collateral line of a common parent belonging to the Sephardic community of Portuguese origin, as well as demonstration of circumstances belonging to family memory that illustrate the tradition of belonging to the citizen to a Sephardic community of Portuguese origin, namely the use of family names of Portuguese origin, Portuguese or Ladino family language, religious rites, etc.  However, there are no equal cases and it is necessary to look carefully at each specific situation.


  • Certificate of the Portuguese Jewish Community (or equivalent document);
  • Certificate of birth of the applicant, in full content and issued less than one year and properly apostilled;
  • Criminal Records
  • Identification document (passaporte copy).

Rights and Obligations

  • Portuguese citizens who meet the above criteria are also citizens of the European Union and thus enjoy rights of free movement all over the continent and also have rights to vote in elections for the European Parliament.
  • Able to vote in political elections upon reaching the age of 18.
  • Prevented from getting deported from Portugal or any country in Europe.
  • The right to live, work and retire in any member state of the European Union, for unlimited period.
  • Make family reunion.

Other Requirements

All documents issued in Israel need to be apostile or Portuguese consulate in the country issued the document.