Obtaining Citizenship in Portugal

Good day. I learned last week (on the website of the Portuguese Embassy in Washington, DC) that it is not possible to obtain Portuguese citizenship if one a) served (voluntarily) in the armed forces of a different country and b) if one served as a “foreign civil servant” (like me; I retired last year). We were getting ready to invest in a GV fund, but this has really thrown us for a loop, if true. Our Portuguese attorney believes it may indeed be true. Anyone else have experience with a situation such as this?

Interesting, here is the relevant law: Legislação Consolidada - DRE

Artigo 9.º


Constituem fundamento de oposição à aquisição da nacionalidade portuguesa:
a) …
b) …
c) O exercício de funções públicas sem carácter predominantemente técnico ou a prestação de serviço militar não obrigatório a Estado estrangeiro.

Which Google translates to

c) The exercise of public functions without a predominantly technical character or the provision of non-compulsory military service to a foreign State.

Here is an example court case if you are interested: Acordão do Tribunal Central Administrativo

Wow, that’s a bummer. I hope you find a solution!

Okay reading more carefully I think it doesn’t apply to naturalization. The Artigo 9.º I posted above is under the section

Capítulo IV
Oposição à aquisição da nacionalidade por efeito da vontade ou da adopção

Google translate:

Opposition to the acquisition of nationality as a result of will or adoption

Which presumably applies to

Secção I
Aquisição da nacionalidade por efeito da vontade
Secção II
Aquisição da nacionalidade pela adopção

Google translate:

Section I
Acquisition of nationality by the will
Section II
Acquisition of nationality through adoption

Which contains the laws on acquisition for minor children and spouses. But probably doesn’t apply to

Secção III
Aquisição da nacionalidade por naturalização

Google translate:

Section III
Acquisition of nationality through naturalization

Which is how you would gain nationality through the golden visa.

Still worth checking with a lawyer though!


Thanks everyone! It looks like - for the purposes of requesting citizenship through residency (be it D7 or GV), the military and government service clauses don’t apply… Phew! Onward!


Yeap. Really appreciate your efforts in asking this question. Cos I have a similar question to yours. In m y country, I have to serve compulsory military service for some time and I was also afraid that I might not be granted Portuguese citizenship thru naturalization(via D7 or GV).

At least my fears are also alleviated

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It wouldn’t apply to you anyway because the opposition stated “non compulsory military service”.