Portugal releases citizenship guide


The Portuguese government has announced that descendants of Jews who managed to escape from the country following their forced conversion to Christianity in 1497 may now apply for citizenship.

Candidates must demonstrate either a link to an organised Sephardic Portuguese community or an emotional connection to Portugal through family history or language.

This programme is the result of a law that was approved by the Portuguese parliament on April 12, 2013.

Anyone wishing to obtain Portuguese nationality must first obtain a certificate from the Jewish Community of Oporto or Lisbon that attests to their family ties to Portugal or to a Portuguese-Jewish community in another country.

To begin the process, applicants should write to the Oporto Community at or to the Lisbon Community at

Applicants should be prepared to send passport and birth information, proof of current residence, a one-time payment of 150 euros and supporting evidence of their connection to Portugal or to a Portuguese-Jewish community.

Historians believe that Jews first came to Portugal with the Roman conquest of the Iberian Peninsula. By the end of the 15th century, at the time of the forced conversion ordered by King Manuel, they represented up to ten percent of the population, with flourishing communities in Lisbon, Oporto, Évora and dozens of other smaller cities.

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