Is GV for children necessary?

If the parents apply for GV and eventually obtain citizenship, children are automatically allowed to live in any EU country with them. So what is the benefit of going through the GV process for children? Cost is not the issue, my concern would be passing the language test.


@kag that would be if you want your child to live with you NOW. Some people will want to obtain citizenship on their own without bringing their children to live with them. As you said, after the main application receive citizenship, they can apply for the child’s citizenship as well.

Everyone’s situation is different.

Also, language test is easy.

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Thank you! I’m still not clear on this though, if you want to live in Portugal now with your children, wouldn’t the D7 route make more sense?

@kag depends on your finances on goal.

As you said, cost is not an issue and your concern is at the language test, which wouldn’t happen until the end of year 5, hopefully your children would have picked up some Portugese by then!

These tests are not designed to prevent people from obtaining citizenship, but rather, they want to make sure people have an idea of the language. It is nothing difficult.

As for if you want to go for d7 now over the gv, it really depends if you want to stay there long term. If you will be renting then go for the d7, but if you really plan on settling down in Portugal and will eventually buy a house, well, go for the GV now.

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I’ve wondered this myself. In fact, I sort of assumed that when the parents apply for citizenship via naturalization, that dependent children under 18 can also receive citizenship at the same time. This wikipedia article appears to confirm that:

Children aged under 18 may acquire Portuguese citizenship by declaration when a parent is naturalised, and future children of such Portuguese nationals will be considered Portuguese citizens by birth.

I think then the benefit of the GV for children is that it allows them to live in Portugal prior to you acquiring citizenship. So if you have no plans to live in Portugal before acquiring citizenship, it doesn’t seem necessary and would save you significant amount of GV application/renewal fees.


I have more information now after speaking with my attorney. I chose her specifically because she specializes in citizenships. PM if you’d like her contact information.

What I previously said about children being able to be included with a parents citizenship application was incorrect.

With that said, once one parent has citizenship, you can apply for citizenship for your children and spouse. For children, assuming they’re under 18, there is no language or education requirement. For your spouse, as of October 2020, if you’ve been married for 6 or more years, there is no required connection to Portugal or language requirement.

The only real advantage of the child/spouse getting the golden visa is that they can get their citizenship sooner. It’s up to you to determine what the real benefit of that is. Before they are citizens, if you are a citizen, they have the right to live in the country with you though you will have to get an appropriate visa (D6 I believe) and residence permit (which is much lower cost than the GV family reunification). Before you are a citizen, if you want to all live in country, they’d have to apply for another type of visa, such as a D7 or do the GV family reunification.

Personally, after consideration, I’ve decided to only do the GV for me and NOT include my child or spouse. If we decide to live there before I receive my citizenship, they will get a D7. Once I receive my citizenship, we will immediately apply for their citizenship. This will save us approximately 20K EUR in government fees and also means that only I will have to travel to Portugal for fingerprints (as well as subsequent minimum stay requirements).


Very much This makes sense. Good post.

What happens if the children are under 18 now, but will be over 18 when the parent becomes eligible for Portuguese citizenship? If they’re not included in the GV application, won’t it make them ineligible for citizenship? For those 18 years or over by the time main applicant is eligible, if they’re included in the GV application, do they have to take the language test by themselves to get citizenship? Aside from young children who won’t turn 18 years old even after 5 or 6 years after, do they have to fulfill “residency” requirements too to qualify for naturalization?

Rules are clear. See attached doc for further clarification (slightly dated but the crux has not changed).

Gist is below:

  1. Your citizenship: When you receive your citizenship through GV, this would fall under Citizenship Acquisition By Naturalisation (see pdf). I.e., the 35 days you spend in 5 years would qualify as minimum stay required for residency requirements, which would qualify you for your citizenship.

  2. Your minor child’s citizenship: Once you have received your citizenship, if your child is a minor (under 18), they can apply for citizenship through Citizenship Acquisition By An Act Of Will (see pdf). There is no residency requirements and would automatically qualify through a declaration.

  3. Your adult child’s citizenship: If you have naturalised after your child turns 18, then unfortunately, they will have to go through the residency requirements. However, there is a narrow path for the child to gain citizenship provided the parents have lived in Portugal for 5 years (or leverage time spent through GV - TBD) and that the child can demonstrate ties to Portugal. Ties to Portugal can be established in multiple ways including -

  • Have a NIN and NHS numbers,
  • Study and live in Portugal,
  • Donate a yearly sum to Portuguese missions (could be a charity of EUR200-300 each year to WWF foundation in Portugal for example)
  • Pass the A2 Portuguese test

I dont have visibility on if its just one factor or multiple factors from the list above that need to be satisfied, but you get the point.

My view is if money is not an issue, then would recommend getting a GV for your child who would turn 18 before you naturalise. Rest of the family, including spouse, has a path to citizenship after you have received yours without stringent residency requirements.

Hopefully that answers your questions.

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This is interesting discussion.

Based on your analysis, it is total waste of money to include children that are older than 13 as GV applicants because they will be over 18 at the time the parents’ obtain citizenship.

Therefore the children will not be eligible to claim GV status as a matter of law. The children would need to go through process which they could do anyway. The only defect in this logic is that the 19 year old child must establish their own 5 years of residency to apply for citizenship. If they don’t have their own GV application, then they cannot prove this other than claiming by right of the parents. In this case they would claim to be entitled to citizenship only because their parents’ were residents for 5 years. Is that enough? If so, then it seems a waste of money to get GV for minor childen unless they are under age 13.

How does this work in case of applicant’s parents who are elderly. It seems that their situation would be the same as the adult children at the time of the applicant getting citizenship, how do the applicant’s parent apply for citizenship and why can’t the children of applicant use the same process?

I think one needs to differentiate between GV and naturalisation.

If you want to live in Portugal for the duration of GV period (i.e., 5 years currently), then your full family needs to get a GV (or atleast a D7/D6 visa), which will count towards the time. And GV gives you one path to naturalisation.

Where you mention whether Parents having spent 5 years in Portugal is sufficient for an adult child to qualify, the answer is yes as per current laws, but that the child must show connection to Portugal as per the 4 criteria I mentioned above in my earlier post, which should be able to carve a path to citizenship outside of GV.

For the rest of the scenarios where the child does not turn 18 by the time of your naturalisation and you dont want to reside in Portugal, there is no need to get a GV for your child.

Parents above 65 (like with minor children) are considered dependents, and hence qualify to be tagged into the GV application. Again you need to differentiate between GV eligibility and naturalisation, as elderly will need to spend the necessary 35 days in Portugal to qualify for citizenship.

I suppose what you are saying is summarized as follows:

A. if child is less than 13 yo at time of application, then it is a waste of money to pay for GV for child because as minors they would automatically be entitled to citizenship if parents become citizens.

B. if child is more than 13 yo at time of application and will be over 18 at time parents obtain citizenship, then the child can benefit from being included in GV application because child will then have 5 years residence on their own and thus can apply on their own for citizenship by naturalization.

As I recall, a child can only be included in GV of parents if the child is under 18 at time GV app is started and further the child must meet dependency requirements all the way through 5 years of GV. I guess this is to prevent parent from attaching adult child to their application.

Is it really true that children under the age of 18 are not required to take any language tests in Portugal for naturalization? Does anyone know of any reference from a government site?

I posed the question of the right of citizenship acquisition “By An Act of Will” for my wife and minor son (who will still be under 18 by the time of his application for naturalization) to one of the lawyers that I am considering for the GV process and she stated that this right only applies to those that descend “from a Portugese background/ lineage” and not those who are naturalized via residency (GV) and so neither of them would qualify. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find any information online (besides the attached doc) that supports this.

This also has implications for descendants down the line who would not then have the right to become naturalized via declaration.

@adityadesaraju have you been able to confirm this interpretation with an immigration lawyer?

I am waiting to hear back from a couple of other laywers I am speaking with and will share the results here.

Yes. I confirmed it with 2 lawyers, one of who is an immigration specialist. Portuguese laws have been complex for citizenship and naturalisation.

Do not waste your bucks in expenses but rather invest :slight_smile:

Portuguese nationality law does not make any distinction regarding how the Portuguese national acquired their citizenship when it comes to their spouses and minor children acquiring it through them. Have you reviewed the Portuguese Nationality Law? Article 2 and 3 are the relevant sections:

I suggest you consult an attorney that specializes in immigration because they will 1) Have better expertise in this area and 2) If they dont do golden visa applications, they are not incentivized to provide you advice that would lead you to including your spouse and children on the golden visa application resulting in more attorney fees for them.

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Our lawyer told us “ the minors have to prove the effective connection to the Portuguese community.
The inexistence of an effective connection to the Portuguese community constitutes a ground foropposition to the acquisition of Portuguese nationality by effect of will, which means that it is valid for the situation of acquisition by minor children (article 9 of Law nr. 37/81, of October 3rd - Nationality Law)” :

So not sure what to do now!

The need for a connection to Portuguese community for spouse and (minor) child, they were removed in the latest change to the nationality law.

To be safe, please ensure you do the following to establish ties to Portugal for your dependents:

  1. Get a NIF for your children and spouse (first step to establish link to the country) and file taxes each year - even if nothing to file for
  2. When you make your visits to Portugual (7 days in a year), ensure the whole family makes the trips
  3. If possible, spouse should clear the Portuguese language test (which you take as well)
  4. Ensure your spouse and children makes a donation to a Portuguese charity to a cause of his/her liking (e.g., WWF in Portugal)
  5. If you own a property in Portugal, and if possible, own under joint ownership with spouse.

When you have your citizenship, ensure your family (who qualify) applies for their citizenship, based on article 2 and 3. Family applications have a strong case generally and if your spouse qualifies, then the case is stronger for the child.

This is just my interpretation, but please get proper guidance from a citizenship/immigration lawyer.

Thank you for the information. Both, my husband and I are applying for GV, it’s just our kids that we are wondering if there’s any advantage in doing it now or not. From my research, the new law is about the kids born in Portugal to a parent with GV residency. I have messaged some lawyers to see what they say.

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Hi @nedakh . We’re in a similar situation and wondering if you have any insights to share after talking with some lawyers. We don’t have kids yet but expect to have at least one during the next 5 years. So the children would be born before we are naturalized as Portuguese.