The Parliament is considering a change in the current legislation, which would enable foreigners who already live in the country to obtain Portuguese citizenship more easily.
According to Journal Jurid, all foreigners who have spent a certain time necessary to achieve naturalisation can be subject to this potential change. The Parliament is expected soon to analyse the current legislation and propose changes to the time required for a foreigner to stay in the country to acquire naturalisation, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
“Currently, a foreigner residing in the country has his time count reset when receiving formal authorisation to stay in Portugal,” the Journal Jurid points out.
The interest in Portuguese nationality has risen in the past few years, as the local media report that in 2022, around 37 per cent more people have filed their applications. According to the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF), the total number of applications during this time reached 74,506.
Out of this total, the respective authorities issued 64,040 opinions, with only 911 of those being negative, while the majority received a positive answer. As per the origin countries, the majority of those who obtained Portuguese citizenship in 2022 came from Israel (20,975), followed by Brazil (18,591) and Cape Verde (3662).
However, for the acquisition of nationality in terms of marriage or de facto union, the majority of applications were filed by Brazilian nationals (9,435), followed by Venezuelans (1,536) and Cape Verdeans (900).
Israeli nationals, who are the main nationality group that applied for Portuguese citizenship in recent years, have overtaken Brazil as the largest nationality group that wants to acquire Portuguese nationality, despite the fact that the European country and the South American country have longstanding ties in culture, linguistics as well as history.
What is really interesting about Israelis in Portugal is that, more than often, they don’t reside in the country after obtaining their citizenship. Only 569 Israeli citizens are Portuguese residents despite 60,000 Israelis having Portuguese nationality as of 2022. As per Brazilians, 239,744 of them continue residing in Portugal after obtaining citizenship.
Some of the benefits that Israelis can enjoy after obtaining Portuguese citizenship include paying less taxes, having better living costs and, in general, spending a less stressful life compared to other countries. However, as pointed out, some disadvantages are the language barrier and lower income.
But one of the greatest benefits of Portuguese citizenship is travelling in the Schengen borderless zone, which Israeli passport holders are still subject to talks for the EU and US visa waiver programmes.