The classification of “Sephardi Jews”, also known as “Sephardic Jews, refers to the descendants of the traditional community of Jews originally from the Iberian Peninsula (Sepharad, meaning Spain and Portugal).
It is estimated that there are 15 million Jews spread throughout the world with 20% of these Jews tracing their roots to the Iberian Peninsula.
Portugal passed law 30-A/2015, dated February 2015, allowing the descendants of Sephardi Jews who were expelled from Portugal after the XV century to acquire Portuguese Nationality by naturalisation. There is no time limit for the submission of applications.
Descendants of Sephardi Jews who wish to apply for Portuguese Nationality need to provide evidence beyond reasonable doubt that they belong to a traditional community of Portuguese Sephardi Jews, based on pre-requisites that prove connection to Portugal, such as surnames, language spoken at home, direct or collateral ancestry, provided that they are adults as per Portuguese law and do not hold any maximum potentially prison sentences for criminal offences of periods of 3 years or more, as per equivalent Portuguese law.
In order to prove Portuguese ancestry, it is necessary to obtain the Certificate of the Portuguese Jewish Community Association which attests the effective connection of the applicant to the Sephardi Jewish community of Portuguese origin, as per law 30-A/2015.
Since March 2015, hundreds of descendants of Sephardi Jews from Portugal have been granted Portuguese Nationality by naturalisation. Only a small number of applicants have had their application rejected on the basis of lack of reasonable documentation.
Although it is not compulsory to use the services of a Portuguese Nationality Lawer, our experienced law firm can assist in the application process, to gather the required documentation, as well as with the preparation, analysis and submission of the entire process to the Portuguese authorities, including required follow-ups.
In this way, applicants legally represented by a law firm do not require to travel to Portugal for the submission of the request and are kept up-to-date with the progress of the same.