Citizenship for kids and the spouse

Ilya, in all fairness, you were the one asking WBishop about ‘other countries’, so don’t be upset if your questions are answered.
I feel you were given plenty of information on this thread, including official PT government sources.
My recommendation would be to follow up offline with your lawyer or your personal advisors to decide what’s best for yourself.
Good luck.

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@tommigun I already talked to lawyers. There’s a variety of opinions.

Thank you for your links, they’re really helpful, but also made the issue more confusing.

It’s unclear, why the law explicitly mentions that a spouse doesn’t need ties to Portugal after 6 years, and the document from justiça ignores it.

There must be a secondary legislation about why the ties are required, otherwise there’s a conflict between the law and the website. Information on websites may be incomplete compared to laws, that’d be normal.

I believe, someone with a practical experience may have the answer.

For details about “no more ties required” for 6 years marriage, see The 2020 Amendments to the Portuguese Nationality Act: a big step further towards pure ius soli… and some more inclusive measures - Globalcit

As mentioned in the GLOBALCIT report on citizenship law in Portugal, Portuguese nationality acquisition by marriage, de facto union or other family link, can be opposed through a specific procedure enacted by the Public Prosecutor, on the grounds of lack to an effective link of the interested foreigner to the Portuguese society (Article 9).

In 2020, a new prohibition of opposition was introduced: it also cannot be used towards situations of acquisition of nationality when the marriage or de facto union has lasted for at least six years. The stability of the relationship thus justifies the presumption that the interested foreigner has sufficient and effective ties to the Portuguese community.

Since you have multiple lawyers having multiple opinions, and the law itself is fuzzy, the issue I think would be that “one person’s experience” may not actually be all that telling. You can get one person’s experience, and find out that the official that processes your documentation says “errr that other person was silly, no”.

Um, no, there doesn’t have to be. You might wish there to be, but the world often isn’t listening. Especially if, as in this case, the goal is to simply make life easier and less costly for you. Indeed, this kind of thing often falls on deaf ears. :slight_smile:

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@iliakan You are also betting on the law not changing in the future. The law as it is written now may be amended. A lot of GV investors are already speculating that we would get the citizenship 8-10 years with all the hold up with biometrics appointments and processing time.

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All that said, I’m really wondering about this.

It’s been pointed out that none of this is helpful if your kids are going to be too old by the time you naturalize. However since I only care about my wife, if this applies, then I sort of can stop caring about time clocks for my wife - I will want to maintain her GV status for the 5-7 years of my time clock, but when I naturalize, she can naturalize with me or right after me irrespective of her clock, and her clock becomes irrelevant. I’m considering this in light of the current situation, e.g. what if it takes her a year or more to get an appointment. Until then, she has a pre-approval to get in with if it were to come to that, she’ll get an appointment and visa eventually, and if we were to move sooner then, well, we’ll figure it out. The only PITA of it would be that our renewal clocks would be significantly different, requiring multiple trips for the renewals.

I have a meeting with my lawyer tomorrow, and I’m going to ask about it.

For what it’s worth, there have been a multitude of opinions on the validity of splitting investments too. The law itself is unclear. Some lawyers are willing to be aggressive, some aren’t, and the lawyers who do 5-10 visa/year probably never hear about anyone else’s success and never learn and so offer outdated advice, so you get a whole splay of opinions. *shrug*

To begin with; does anybody know anyone who actually became a citizen of Portugal via Golden Visa scheme? First permits were issued in 2013 (even a few in 2012) so some people must have obtained citizenship by now but I neither know of nor read any testimonial from anyone so far.

I have elsewhere.

What do you mean by ‘splitting investments’ in this context?

buying into two investment funds for a total of 350k instead of buying one fund for total 350k.

@jb4422 the big thing about wife is that she doesn’t have to pass Portuguese exams, if she naturalises after you by marriage, and the “no requirements after 6 years” rule applies.

Not sure how it’s for you, in our family I’m the one who drives the thing forward, just not sure I’ll motivate her enough =)

Ah ok. I am not doing the funds option, but for the properties I know that one can buy as many as they want to achieve the required threshold.

In my case, it would be way better if we were dependent on her language skills, not mine. :slight_smile:

I had the exact same question as you, Ilya, and here is what I got from a Portuguese lawyer. Obviously, please do your own due diligence and don’t treat this as a legal advice (let me know if you need a recommendation):

  • Your children under 18 can become Portuguese citizens once you become a citizen and have been a resident of Portugal for 1 year. Your time as GV counts, so your kids can become citizens almost immediately once you get your citizenship. However, you need to make sure your kids will still be under 18 when they get their citizenship. So if your kids are young, this is not a problem. If they are already teenagers, they won’t get a citizenship because they will be over 18 when you are done. There are some exceptions for dependent children that you should check with a lawyer. Also, please keep in mind that citizenship laws may change in 5-6 years, so it’s unlikely that they will for minors.

  • Your spouse is a different story. She will have to be a resident of Portugal for 5 years before applying for her own citizenship. Obviously, she can come and live with you in Portugal once you move there, and get her citizenship after 5 years, but she won’t automatically become a citizen without first being a resident for 5 years. If you’re planning to get a Portuguese citizenship but live in a different country, this plan is not going to work.

For this reason, the recommendation from this lawyer was to apply with your spouse, but get your kids to become citizens once you are a citizen, as long as they are still under 18 by that time.

Hope this helps! Once again, for full disclosure, please verify this information with a lawyer. If you hear anything else, I’d love to get additional insights, but for now we’re proceeding based on the recommendation above.

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Thank you, @tordude.

All communication on this forum isn’t a legal advice, no warranties etc, of course.

Here’s the update from where I stand.

Laws: The requirement of ties to Portugal comes from Article 9 of the Nationality Act (acquisition by act of will can be opposed if no ties). That’s the answer to my initial question.

Although, the amendment of 2020 relaxes it for spouses/de facto unions. Now 6 years of marriage is enough, no ties needed.

Practice: I consulted a paralegal who said he helped to acquire citizenship for minors many times. He said, the requirement for minors isn’t harsh. I’ll need to visit Portugal with kids (will do it multiple times anyway), sign them into some study groups at the local Portuguese community in my country. No strict need to reside in Portugal or speak Portuguese.

Trend: The law about citizenship is being relaxed gradually. It becomes easier to obtain citizenship with recent amendments. So probably in 5-6 years it’ll be the same or even easier.

So, some additional color on the spouse thing and naturalizing him/her at the same time as you. My lawyer said it’s all shades of grey, whatever the law says. It’s not just about her ties to you, it’s your ties to Portugal. If you are living here and integrated and all that, they’re potentially likely to blink a bit at the requirements and naturalize her at the same time as they naturalize you. If you haven’t been here but for the minimums, they’ll make her wait out her 5 year ARI clock, or do the 3 year minimum residency or whatever.

But of course the 2020 amendment is new, and you know these things take time to trickle through the system.

My observation is that we keep wanting the system to be regular and rules-based, but end-of-day there’s still this muddy grey discretion factor hovering around the edges of everything, just like how all the D7 applicants on the FB groups have to get their passive-income statements worded just-so but even then there isn’t some specific rules-based standard however much they all want there to be.

Hi @iliakan yes this is what I hear for minors as well - but for the wife, they are saying this. Even if you were a Portuguese citizen from birth but live in the US, for example, and then you get married, your wife doesn’t automatically become a Portuguese citizen. She will need to come to Portugal, live there with you, and then can apply for the Portuguese citizenship. So again without being a lawyer, it seems based on all of the information that I got that it will be highly unlikely that they will hand a citizenship to your wife just because you became a Portuguese citizen, regardless of how long you were married.

Now, if you get a firm advice otherwise, I would greatly appreciate sharing this! We’re now in the process of preparing applications for GV and obviously saving EUR1,000’s by not including wife in the GV application would be preferable, but it seems like the citizenship for a spouse is dependent on her own residency and than can be achieved either by including her in GV, or by her physically living in Portugal.

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@tordude glad to hear that we agree on minors.

About the wife - it’s all about the change introduced in 2020, really. Now it literally says “we will hand the citizenship”.

One thing that could help here is a request to a goverment official. I heard it’s possible to do such thing in Portugal =)

This is interesting, @iliakan - not what I heard from a lawyer but then again maybe this person was not up to date. I guess an advice from a good lawyer might help - and ultimately this may come down to accepting a risk that something might change in 5-6 years. I will speak with our legal representative in Portugal and will share what I learn - if you hear anything else, please share as well! Looks like we’re going through the same decision making process at this time :slight_smile:

Another view:

“1 – A foreigner married to a Portuguese national for more than three years may acquire
Portuguese nationality by means of a declaration made during the duration of the
marriage.”

At the time of your naturalization, you have not been a Portuguese national for three years. You have been a Portuguese national for a couple seconds.

So sure the prohibition of opposition doesn’t apply if you have been married for six years, sure. But you have to be eligible to become a citizen first. Read that rule the right way, and the prohibition of opposition doesn’t matter yet because the spouse can’t even apply to naturalize until you’ve been a citizen for three years. Now sure they can reside with you through family reunification visa but that’s not the same thing.

Admittedly, I’ve kinda felt like the whole “don’t apply for GV for spouse, just wait it out and get citizenship in 6 years” thing being actually workable just seems too good to really be true so I am looking for a hole in the argument.