Edit: The below programme has been discontinued by the Spanish government.
Sephardic Jews are the descendants of the ancient and traditional Jewish communities living in the Iberian Peninsula (Portugal and Spain).
At the end of the 15th century, the Sephardic Jews were widely persecuted by the Portuguese and Spanish States during the Inquisition, while being forced to convert to Catholicism, under the threat of being expelled from their territory if they did not.
This caused the flight of thousands of Jews to several countries: Brazil, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, as well as various parts of the Middle East. This also meant the invaluable loss to the European continent of the expansion and permanence of Sephardic culture in that territory.
Legal Basis & Differences with the Spanish Version
Portuguese citizenship for Sephardic Jews and their children in now at reach. Achieving Portuguese nationality is based on Organic Law No. 1/2013 and Decree Law 30-A / 2015, promulgated by the State of Portugal in 2015.
This law is similar to the one decreed in Spain, but which varies in a number of important respects:
- The Portuguese version does not require demonstrating current connections with Portugal,
- Nor is it necessary to know the Portuguese language.
- It is also not necessary to travel to the European country to complete the procedure.
There are two main steps:
(i) CIL or CIP certification
With the identification of the Sephardic Jewish descendants and the genealogical study carried-out, the process begins with the Israeli Community of Lisbon (CIL) or in the Israeli Community of Porto (CIP), dedicated institutions which analyze and approve the genealogical research for Portuguese citizenship candidates, as designed in art. 24-A, paragraph 3, point c) of the Portuguese Nationality Regulation and issue the certificate of the Sephardic Jewish descendants
(ii) Conservatory Registration and National attribution
With the certification process completed (including demonstration of your Sephardic origin) the nationality process begins. The last step of which is to send the nationality request to the Minister of Justice, who in turn must submit it to one of the conservatories of “Instituto de Registros e Tabeliões – IRN”, whereupon Portuguese citizenship is granted.