Wait time now counts toward 5 year residency?

Received this via someone else invested in my fund. I typically trust Edge, although they’re not my lawyers.

Has anyone heard anything similar?

TL;DR - Parliament reportedly now counts the time between residency application and approval toward the 5-year requirement.

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wow, this would be great news if true. I am checking with my lawyer too.

Got this from our immi advisors about an hour ago…

The Portuguese Parliament has just approved several changes to the Nationality Law in Portugal, and one of them refers to obtaining the Portuguese nationality by naturalization.

Before the changes now approved, it was established that the 5-year period required for Portuguese citizenship would only start from the moment the residency was granted. More specifically since the issue of the first residency permit. Considering the increasing delays and backlog of the entities processing residency applications in Portugal, the authorities considered the fact that this application period was not considered for the residency period required for nationality was, in reality, creating an unfair situation for many thousands of residents.

The changes passed today in Parliament have addressed this unfair situation and established clearly that the waiting time for the residency application is also to be considered in the 5 year-period required to apply for Portuguese nationality.

Changes to article 15 (adding now paragraph 4) of the Nationality Law establish that “for the purposes of the counting of the time of legal residency foreseen in this law, the time between the moment when the temporary residency permit was requested will also be considered, provided that it comes to be approved”.

This now means that the time that you have been waiting for the residency to be approved will not be completely “wasted” in terms of citizenship, as the date when the residency application was submitted is the one that now counts…

The new law will come into effect one month after being published in the Official Gazette, which will occur after the Presidential ratification.

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Would be interesting to see the source text once published, particularly to understand if there is any chance for the count to start from the time of the original online GV submission vs. the biometrics date. The issue I see is that the online submission did not trigger any confirmation receipt from SEF (at least I did not get any), so would be hard to prove the exact submission date.

I got this email confirmation from SEF when my application went in last February (2023)… below is Google’s translation…

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If this does turn out to be true, and applicable to GV applications, it would be mean though that in principle, GV applicants should plan to spend their 7 days a year in each calendar year in the 5 years, even whilst waiting for their first residency cards to arrive.

A lot to digest as this one unfolds over the next few weeks and the law is properly interpreted.

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I just spoke with my lawyer (reputable lawyer from large firm). He said that in the lawyer groups they were still discussing the fact that the interpretation is still a little bit of an unknown (i.e., when does the period start) but that in any case it will be earlier. So that is a big win.

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This one can be generated by anyone by just doing a simple online registration. What might be possible are the following two options:

  1. The DUC payment made for the pre-approval analysis, this stage concludes the initial application with all the documents and the appropriate fees payment.

or

  1. Pre-approval email acknowledgement from SEF or Assunto: ARI - Notificação de Aceitação

Let’s wait for the lawyers to interpret and irrespective of which option it might be, still a positive news for all of us.

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I wonder if this counts time from pre-approval or only from biometrics. Note that other residence types like D7 don’t have pre-approval in Portugal at all, rather their biometrics are scheduled when their D7 visa is approved by the Portuguese consulate outside Portugal.

I wonder if this also applies to minor children. The law specifies that minor children need a “connection to the Portuguese community” to get citizenship but this is automatically recognized if they have held a residence permit 5 years. Hopefully this now counts the wait time for children’s GV towards the 5 years “residence permit” too?

This is an excellent point, thank you!
I have just checked and indeed found the same email from SEF.
But that was received upon my initial registration on the ARI portal, not when I actually submitted the application a few weeks later.
However, I would not mind if that very first email is going to be accepted as the start of my application!

That’s another excellent point!
I never received the “notification of acceptance” email but I certainly have my DUC receipt, which was issued at an earlier date.

Received this from Prime Legal. Their interpretation is that the five year clock now starts from when the analysis fee is paid in respect of the initial online submission.

Amendments to Citizenship Law 2024 (1).pdf (590.3 KB)

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Tommy,
What do you mean DUC receipt, the DUC (Análise) itself or payment proof to the DUC which is normally via online banking.
Perhaps below screenshot from SEF portal helps?

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This is fantastic news and cause for celebration. We all just un-wasted the years waiting around for SEF to issue biometrics appointments, print the damn cards, etc etc. It’s champagne all around tonight boys and girls!!!

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I’ll believe it when I hear from lawyers how it is working in practice…

Maybe the rush of people applying for citizenship earlier will just make the naturalization process several years longer.

Like a physical law of “conservation of bureacracy” :joy:

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At least this development will stop quite a lot negativities for quite some years, in NG forum.

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Thanks for sharing @cj807 … that’s quite a lot of pages deliberating on which date might be the start date, and that it’s perhaps different for ‘D’ visas vs. GVs, etc. In the end they can only form an ‘opinion.’

Wondering if it will take a court case to clarify, or just some agency policy decision. Otherwise we’ll see inconsistent ‘opinions’ being applied, as was the case for us importing personal goods into PT (we paid zero duty and taxes, whereas other people had to pay muitas). Or how foreign pensions are treated (depends on the mood/global tax savvy of the Finanças person dealing with your case).

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The DUC receipt is a PDF that appeared on the SEF portal after SEF had processed the DUC payment.
It is actually one of the required documents to be supplied during the biometric appointment.
So it is not your online banking “comprovativo”.

When you see ‘Pago’ against your DUC line, you can click that line and find that ‘DUC receipt’ from there to download.

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This is a terrific development - providing the optimistic interpretation applies - but I suppose the waiting time will count only if the required 7 or 14 days every year or two years have been spent in the country and can be documented.

I did spend 15 days in the country since my application about two years ago but I didn’t include my NIF in the hotel invoices. Any ideas if those can still count given the hotels scan / copy passports?

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While I think this is generally good news, I’m not sure this helps as much as everyone seems to think it does. In my situation, we applied for GV in Sept 2021 and were preapproved in Jan 2022 with Lisbon biometrics in Sept 2022. We have since been waiting for final approval.

Even assuming the lawyers all agree that the date to count is the Sept 2021 application date, we have not spent any of the required 7 days the first year or 14 days for years 2-3 or 4-5 in the country yet. So at the most, I would think you could backdate the 5 years citizenship date to 1 year before you first spent 7 days in the country.

For the people who have been living in Portugal this whole time, this definitely helps them, but for those trying to take advantage of the 7 days a year average time in country, it does not appear to be so great, particularly those of us waiting also 2.5 years since applying.

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