Citizenship for kids and the spouse

Let’s say I apply for portuguese golden visa alone (simpler and cheaper than with the family), then become a citizen.

I meet a lot of opinions about how kids and spouse may follow.

Is this correct?

  1. The spouse may aplly immediately (been married more than 6 years). No exams, no requirements (Nationality Act, 3.1)
  2. Minor kids may become citizens immediately. No exams, no any requirements (Nationality Act, 2.1? Not sure)

If it’s not so, please tell me, why? Are there any documents involved, besides ?

I cannot comment on the validity of the path to citizenship you suggest, but assuming it is correct, you need to consider that during the 5 to 8 years your kids and spouse respectively will have no permission to reside in Portugal. It may not bother you or them today, but things change very quickly these days.
As for the ‘cheaper’ - I’d rather pay a few hundred EUR extra to be sure my family has the same residence rights as myself all along.
Regarding the ‘simpler’ part - there are very few documents required for Family Reunification and they are pretty straightforward: passports, birth/marriage certificates, police certificates (unless you have some complicated family situation).

Adding a spouse and kids costs more than a few hundred EUR. The first adult card alone costs 5k EUR.

To bring the family to SEF on short notice (as you know, we can’t choose dates, SEF will tell us) also may be difficult. But if I go alone, that’s easy.

Also, I’d like not to force my wife and kids into passing exams. Less obligations feels good, in any case.

The whole citizenship project has a long timeframe. We may want to retire in Portugal (or elsewhere in EU), but not yet. We just plan ahead, few extra years don’t matter for us.

The question is: will it work?

It looks like there may be obstacles, but what does the law say? Did I miss something from the Nationality Act or other acts?

When I get citizenship, what are the conditions for my spouse/kids to get it too?

I suggest you check this thread:

Dear Tommy,

I’ve read the thread very thoroughly.
There are two different opinions about kids there.

After reading the nationality act, I don’t understand why pre-born minors don’t get citizenship without GV.

There is totally no legal base for such opinion in the thread.

So the question remains open.

There must be a solid law-based response. :slight_smile:

I found a couple of other useful threads.

It seems that minors have no problems at all.

For the spouse, I wonder about the interpretation of the law: does she have to remain married for 3 years more AFTER I get citizenship, or the time prior to acquiring citizenship also counts?

It is not “after” your naturalization, you just prove that you have been married more than 3 years “before” your citizenship.

So, after I get my passport, the next day my family applies (married for 9 years already), without requirements to know Portuguese, without residing, no proof of ties to the country.

Is that what you’re saying?

Obviously it can not be the next day, they can not even register your naturalization on every goverment agency in same day, but yes, they can apply for it very soon after yournaturalization, but i don’t know how long does the process takes to get citizenship for them. But, yes, as much as i understand no need to know portuguese, no need to reside, no need to proof of ties of the country (you are their ties) if they will apply over you. But if you will plan a future, please ask this question to the lawyers.

I suspect that the process in practice would not be as easy as the one paragraph in the law may look like.
As with any implementation of the law, you may find tons of procedures underneath with some hidden rocks…
I know some countries who declare total freedom of assembly in their constitution, but then totally prohibit any assembly by some further lower level acts and decrees…

Anyway, from my cursory research on the PT citizenship situation, I believe you may struggle to comply with this part of the procedure for your spouse:
documentos que comprovem a sua ligação à comunidade portuguesa * como uma declaração dos seus patrões ou da Segurança Social, os boletins dos seus filhos nascidos ou registados em Portugal, a sua declaração de IRS, recibos de vencimento, contas da água, da luz ou da renda de casa.

This is taken from here:

As for the underage kids, the procedure for acquiring citizenship, in the specific case where they were born before their parent acquired PT citizenship, is described here:

Again, I imagine your kids would struggle to submit any of the following evidence in the absence of GV:

ligação efetiva à comunidade portuguesa é automaticamente reconhecida se, quando fizer o pedido, o menor ou incapaz:
tiver residência legal em Portugal há 5 anos
estiver inscrito nas Finanças e no Sistema Nacional de Saúde (ou nos serviços regionais de saúde)
provar que está a estudar em Portugal (se tiver menos de 18 anos).


documentos que comprovem a ligação efetiva do menor ou incapaz à comunidade portuguesa: * como uma declaração da escola que frequenta em Portugal ou o boletim de vacinas.

Just a quick point, when you need to refer to a law, be careful to ensure you are looking at the latest version, and preferably the original non-translated one.
The first link you provided above in English seems outdated as it states 6 years of residence for naturalization. It has since been reduced to 5 years as per the current legislation here:

That’s very interesting! So there are laws that require effective ties to Portuguese community for minors and wife?

Any information about them?

In most countries minors have totally no problem getting the citizenship.

Well, I think I have already provided the information on the official procedures above from
I do not know if there are additional laws per se beyond the Lei da Nacionalidade, but the official procedures seem to require some specific documents including the proof of ties to the country.

To be honest, I am not aware of countries that would allow a spouse to just acquire citizenship ‘next day’ without any qualifying residence. Certainly not the case in the country where I live.

Funny, but it looks like kids/spouse don’t need to pass exams for Portuguese. At least your links don’t mention that.

So the GV route is easier for spouse/kids when they apply after the father. :thinking:

I’m not sure if your point about minors is true. The principle of jus sanguinis usually applies at the time of birth, which means that if the parent becomes a national of a country after the birth of the child, the child does not automatically gets the right to become citizen of that country. It will of course be possible to get a residence permit for the child if the parent lives in that country and subsequently the child will have the right to apply for citizenship after fulfilling the minimum residence requirement.

@WBishop Which countries don’t allow that? I just checked USA, Spain, some other countries. There are no requirements for minors, even if the parent is a naturalised citizen.

Additional paperwork (e.g. getting PR status first in USA) may exist, but that’s all.

Perhaps, you mean some non-democratic countries, like Saudi Arabia?

According to national act, indeed so, @8ae0eaff8a201aaa9254.

But nothing about it here: Como obter a nacionalidade portuguesa | justiç

Personally, I’ve been told by a lawyer that minors don’t need GV/residence, and ties to Portugal are simple to show for them, but we didn’t go into details.

I am referring to most EU countries. In the US it is possible (in general obtaining US citizenship is easier anyway). For Spain (and I would even go to the length to say for any EU country) I am pretty sure that is not the case unless I am misreading your query. You are talking about children easily becoming citizens, following the parent acquiring the new citizenship, right? If that’s the case then they are subject to fulfilling residency requirements in most EU countries (in some countries this will be a shortened period as a result of parent being the citizen). In Portugal proving an effective connection to the Portuguese community is a must. Which pretty much means that you and the kids must be living there.

By the way, talking about Saudi, you can forget about becoming a citizen of gulf countries. most of them do not offer citizenship except very exceptional circumstances.

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@WBishop please let’s not continue the “other countries” discussion any further, it’s only important to know about Portugal for me and probably most other readers.

I wonder, how deep in practice the connection should be? What’s the legal basis for the requirement?

An acquaintance of mine (naturalised Portuguese citizen) said that he was able to create the ties and give Portugal citizenship to minors very easily, without making them study in Portugal and learn Portuguese, it was 5 years ago.