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Portuguese Citizenship: why so many expats are applying

Portuguese Citizenship: why so many expats are applying

 Living in Portugal 

You don't need to be a Portuguese-citizen to benefit from the many perks of living in Portugal but, in some cases, it may be very useful...

Recently, one of the world's largest surveys about living and working abroad highlighted Portugal as "the ideal destination for settling down quickly and feeling at home abroad". The Expat Insider 2019 considered Portugal to be: 

  • the best country in Europe to live in (for the second year in a row);
  • and the country with the best quality of life worldwide.

According to this survey "expats (in Portugal) are more than merely content with their new life: one in three thinks moving abroad has even made them a lot happier". 

Why life is happier in Portugal

The number of expats in Portugal continues to grow steadily — and Portugal is more than happy to welcome them with open arms. Year after year, foreigners from all over the world have chosen Portugal as a home for reasons such as: 

  • Lower cost of living in general, as well as more affordable property prices; 
  • Delicious food and wine;
  • Wonderful climate and preservation of natural treasures;
  • An overall sense of tolerance, acceptance and safety;
  • Access to the national public healthcare system;
  • Tax incentives for expats, such as the NHR (Non-Habitual Tax Resident regime);
  • As well as a joyful lifestyle where things such as a simple "bom dia" (good morning) are refreshingly welcoming.


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The Portuguese Government has repeatedly created programmes to attract more foreign residents. However, while both Portuguese citizenship and Portuguese permanent residence allow you to remain in Portugal full-time, there are some differences between the two. The choice of which option is best for you depends on your lifestyle.

The advantages of Portuguese citizenship

More than 41,000 foreign nationals residing in Portugal applied for Portuguese citizenship in 2018, the highest figure in the last five years. Among these are third-country nationals (non-EU citizens) as well as British nationals who are looking to secure their rights after Brexit. 

Portuguese citizenship grants the right to: 

  • Come and go freely from any of the 28 countries that are currently members of the EU;
  • Live, work or retire in any other EU member state; 
  • Vote in national and European elections and referendums;
  • Obtain a Portuguese passport which allows visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel to 172 countries.

How to obtain Portuguese citizenship?

The rules for acquiring Portuguese citizenship depend on different factors, such as your place of birth, duration of residence in Portugal, the nationality of family members, criminal record, among others.

The most common situations in which you may request Portuguese citizenship include: 

  • Marriage:
    • If you are married or live in a consensual union, recognised by a court, with a Portuguese citizen for more than 3 years;_

  • Birth in Portugal: 
    • If you were born in Portugal in 1981 or later, your parents are foreigners and were a legal resident in Portugal for at least 5 years when you were born;
    • If you are a child of foreigners and have lived in Portugal for the last 10 years;

  • Portuguese parent:
    • If you were born abroad and are the son of a Portuguese citizen;

  • Residency in Portugal:
    • If you are over 18 years of age, have been legally resident in Portugal for at least 6 years and know Portuguese sufficiently.

To be or not to be... Portuguese

Contrary to other EU countries such as Spain, Portuguese law allows citizens to have more than one nationality. For example, should the UK leave the EU on October 31, 2019, as is expected, it will be possible for British nationals to be Portuguese citizens and still keep their British passport. However, because each country has its laws, you'll have to check beforehand if the same applies to your home country.

 

If you'd like to buy a Portuguese property or find out more about living in Portugal, don't hesitate to contact us

Our team of property specialists in the Silver Coast and Algarve Portugal have vast experience with international clients and their needs. We work closely with our partner company Portugal Accounting to aid each client in obtaining professional services tailored to their needs. From accounting to residence and citizenship consultancy, we aim to make buying property in Portugal and life in Portugal a simple and hassle-free experience. After all, life is happier in Portugal... but don't take our word for it!


Portugal Realty™ - Property for sale in Portugal

Silver Coast +351 262 980 576

Algarve +351 915 150 617

Antwerp +32 3 283 70 70

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