In April 2015, the Citizenship Law was updated in Portugal, and now the descendants of those expelled from the country can apply for citizenship from the state. Citizenship allows for a European passport in every respect. The Citizenship Law in Portugal was amended following the change in the Citizenship Law in neighboring Spain, which was intended to correct the injustice caused to the Jews of Spain and Portugal following the mass expulsion from the countries. In 1492 it was decided to expel the Jews of Spain, many of whom moved to neighbor Portugal and were expelled later on.
How do you get Portuguese citizenship?
To obtain Portuguese citizenship, an application must be submitted to the heads of the Jewish community in Portugal. The applicant must prove the connection, and direct contact with Jews expelled from the state in 1496 and can be proven by genealogical research and the translation of relevant documents such as Jewish marriage contract, birth certificates, verdicts, etc. It is also necessary to prove a cultural and historical connection to the tradition of Portuguese Jewry, for example, belonging to a synagogue that adheres to the tradition of Portuguese Jewry.
After approval of the request by the special committee of the Jewish community in Portugal, the file is transferred for processing by the state authorities. It is worth knowing that the Portuguese government authorized the heads of the largest Jewish communities in the country to examine every request and decide whether to approve it or not.
Although the law allows all descendants of deportees from Portugal to apply for citizenship from the state independently and without the need for a lawyer or a companion company. However, to deal with the complex bureaucracy and receive professional advice and necessary assistance in filling out the forms and their translation, it is recommended to contact a leading company specializing in the subject.
Alone or not alone?
Many Israelis want to obtain a Portuguese passport that gives them many significant advantages. Among other things, it is a European passport in every sense, that is, it is possible to move freely between the EU countries, to work without fear from the immigration authorities and to receive full social benefits. You can also study at the best academic institutions in Portugal and other European Union countries. To start a business to hide the Israeli identity, and no need to obtain a US visa.
Now, the question arises whether the issue of a Portuguese passport alone is preferable to the process through a professional and experienced company? Well, anyone interested can try his luck alone, but he has to have a lot of patience and preferably control the local language and culture. After genealogical research and collecting all the relevant documents, they must be translated, signed by a notary, and only then submitted to the committee in the Jewish community.
It is worth knowing that the cost of the fees, translations, flights, accommodation in Portugal and other expenses to get Portuguese citizenship alone amounts to about NIS 8,500 per person, which means that you can save a few thousand shekels if you decide to work alone and not with a lawyer or a professional company.
However, only those who control the language and have the free time and power to deal with bureaucratic entities in a foreign country can consider the possibility of issuing the passport alone, and may also discover that documents are missing and the whole process is delayed and even exceeds the price that a professional company offers.