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Under amendment, whole families now eligible for Portuguese citizenship
Portugal amends 2015 citizenship law for descendants of Jewish deportees, allowing for entire families, including minors, to receive Portuguese citizenship—provided they meet requirements.
Israeli minors are now eligible for Portuguese citizenship after the Portugal's government made an amendment to a 2015 law making descendents of 16th century Jewish deportees eligible for citizenship.

 

 

Following the passing of the law in 2015, thousands of Jews in Israel, Turkey and other countries began to apply for Portuguese citizenship, with hundreds already being approved.

 

However, until now, the law only applied to applicants seeking citizenship themselves, requiring family members to all apply separately. Now with the amendment, families can apply for citizenship together.

 

Lisbon (Photo: Ziv Reinstein) (Photo: Ziv Reinstein)
Lisbon (Photo: Ziv Reinstein)
 

  

"The Portuguese law allows Jews with a historical connection to the country to receive citizenship and enjoy the possibilities afforded by a European passport. Business people who are active in Europe or people who are interested in sending their children to academic institutions can now go through the process faster and easier," said Adam Yadid, an attorney who specializes in obtaining citizenship in Spain and Portugal.

 

Thousands of Israelis are currently in the process of obtaining a Portuguese passport and it is estimated that there are about three million Jews in the world who are potential beneficiaries eligible to receive Portuguese citizenship.

 

The main condition for proving a connection to Portuguese deportees is proof that the geographical origin of the family is in Portugal, as well as proof of historical-cultural connections. In this framework, the applicant is required to present the "path of immigration" of his family members since the expulsion from Portugal.

 

Photo: Visit Portugal (Photo: Visit Portugal)
Photo: Visit Portugal

 

The examination and approval of the connection is carried out by the Portuguese Population Authority or by one of the Jewish communities in Portugal who have been authorized to do so.

 

The process of obtaining Portuguese citizenship is much friendlier than the rigid Spanish procedure, which requires passing a Spanish language exam, a history and culture examination, and an inquiry before a notary public in Spain.

 

The Portuguese procedure is also significantly cheaper than the Spanish, with the cost of issuing Portuguese citizenship estimated at NIS 11-16,000 per person, while the cost in Spain is estimated to be NIS 22-32,000 per person.

 

According to data released by the Spanish Ministry of Justice, after the approval of the new law, only about 400 Jews from the descendants of deportees have received Spanish citizenship.

 

According to a document from the Spanish Ministry of Justice, only 312 Israelis of Sephardi origin submitted a request for Spanish citizenship and passed the culture test through the Cervantes Institute for the Distribution of Spanish Culture.

 

Spanish Ambassador to Israel, Fernando Carderera Soler, estimated there are thousands more in the process of obtaining citizenship.

 

(Translated and edited by Fred Goldberg)

 

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