Portuguese 5 year residence requirement for citizenship can be taken across a 15-year period?

I read on https://www.portugalist.com/get-portuguese-nationality/ that the Portuguese 5 year residence requirement for qualifying for permanent residence or citizenship “doesn’t have to be five years in a row… Those five years can be taken across a 15-year period.”

Does anyone know if this is true, and if so, how it works? Would we go to PT, get a D7, then get temporary residence, then…?

I am early retired, along with my wife and 2 toddlers. We want to emigrate to Portugal with citizenship as the goal, but do not want to live there full time as our parents are aging and we want to be able to come back to the US to care for them if/when needed, possibly for significant amounts of time. 5 years over 15 years seems very doable, but I have not been able to find corroborating information from other sources online. Does anyone know more specific info regarding what the above article is referencing?


I don’t have an answer to your question. But its very nice that you are making plans to take care of your aging parents as well.

It references the nationality regulations. (not the law, the regs.) It’s stated in there in that way. I don’t have chapter and verse any more. The regs are like DL 236-A/2007 or something. I could probably find it but I’m not that motivated.

Or any number of other alternatives. You just have to have a valid residence permit in your hot little hands for 5 years and hold onto it legally, whatever the terms of it happen to be.

That said, you might have issues with getting a D7, then leaving, then coming back and re-applying - e.g. “so why are you doing this”. It might be fine but remember there’s a subjective element to all these things.

The D7 also has forgiveness for extended time out of country for certain reasons and extended care of family can be one of them. However, for that to work, you’re no doubt going to need to act like you live there full time in the first place - get a house, settle down, live there. Otherwise, there’s no reason to believe you’re coming back, so why renew your D7? Because the requirements for being excused from the boots-on-grounds requirements are subjective. To go this path would be at odds with your stated “do not want to live there full time”, so may not work for you. Maybe that’s not what you mean though, because you do say emigrate.

You probably need to discuss this with an immigration attorney.