11th January 2024
Portugal’s government clarifies the Nationality law

In a significant move towards streamlining the immigration process, the Portuguese Parliament has recently (January 2024) approved crucial changes to the nationality law.  This is a positive result for thousands of residents and applicants currently enduring delays in the processing of their residency applications via the country´s immigration department SEF, now known as AIMA.


The revised legislation should alleviate the concerns of individuals seeking citizenship through naturalization. Under the previous framework, applicants were required to hold residency in Portugal for a minimum of five years before seeking citizenship, in addition to fulfilling other prerequisites of the nationality law.


Under the newly amended Article 15 of the nationality law, a groundbreaking change has been introduced. This revision explicitly states that the time between the submission of the initial residency permit application and its final approval will now count towards the five year legal residency period for nationality, provided that the residency permit is granted.


“Portugal has just given an extraordinary, relevant and much desired sign of lucidity. After a period in which the country became progressively less appealing and less reliable for residency and citizenship planning, Portugal finally takes a measure with real impact.” reflects Patricia Casaburi, CEO at Chamber members Global Citizen Solutions, an investment migration and relocation company headquartered in Portugal.


The changes are due to come into effect soon, following their publication in the Official Gazette and subsequent presidential ratification.


“This transformative development offers a lifeline to individuals who have faced delays in residency approvals, some dating from 2021, as their waiting period will now be considered, enabling them to apply for Portuguese nationality sooner,” explains Casaburi, whilst also highlighting the importance of this measure for those who applied for a few different visa instruments:


“This breakthrough is particularly welcomed by those who have applied for or obtained residency in Portugal through various channels, including traditional D-visas like the D7, or the Portugal Golden Visa Program.” concludes Casaburi.


Looking ahead, individuals planning to apply for Portuguese residency in 2024 can now anticipate with confidence fulfilling the five-year residency requirement for citizenship by 2029, irrespective of potential delays in the processing of their residency applications. This change marks a significant step towards improving the overall experience for those seeking to call Portugal their home.