Portuguese Citizenship for Sephardic Jews


Thousands of Sephardic Jews around the world are dreaming about returning to the homeland that once expelled their ancestors and is now welcoming them with open arms. The applicable Portuguese Law states the following: “The Portuguese Government may grant nationality to descendants of Portuguese Sephardic Jews [over 18 years old] who demonstrate a traditional connection to a Community with Portuguese Sephardic origins, based on proven objective requirements of a connection with Portugal, such as family names, family language, direct or collateral ancestry.” In reality, Portugal is approving any applicant with ties to the Iberian peninsula through language, history, cultural and religious ties to the Sephardic Jews who, after leaving Portugal, due to religious persecution (1496-1821), maintained ties with “organized communities” that were typically Judeo-Spanish in their traditions, such as those that existed in Salonika and Turkey, North Africa and parts of the Middle East before being decimated by the Holocaust or migrating to other countries in the past centuries.

How to Become a Portuguese Citizen

The application process is relatively easy and doesn’t require knowledge of the Portuguese language, travel to Portugal for any ceremonies, or passing any tests. What is required is documentary history of the family and its traditional ties to Judaism and Sephardic traditions, especially the Judeo-Spanish language and culture.
There are two steps to the application process of getting Portuguese Citizenship. First, we present the family history and connections to Sephardic life to the Jewish Community in Portugal for certification. Once certified, we provide the necessary legal documents to our legal team in Portugal to present the application for approval by the government. Once approved, a Portuguese birth certificate is issued, and the applicant can apply for a passport at a Portuguese consulate abroad or in Portugal.
Our team is made up of professionals in Israel, Spain, Portugal and here in the U.S. who are experienced in how to get Portuguese citizenship. As a Sephardic leader and speaker of Ladino himself, attorney Neil Sheff is well versed in identifying documents, books, and religious articles that can help prove a Sephardic link to the past. In addition, through the Sephardic Educational Center, and organization that Neil currently leads as president, we can obtain certification from our Rabbis to authenticate the applicant’s Sephardic background.
Contact us today for more information and start your path toward obtaining a European Passport!

Under an exciting new program, the Portuguese government has passed a law allowing the granting of Portuguese citizenship to the descendants of Sephardic Jews who trace their ancestors to the Iberian Peninsula who were expelled from Portugal and Spain in the fifteenth century.

The law has the following requirements:

  1. a) Applicants must prove they are descendants of Sephardic Jews; and
  2. b) Have not have been convicted, pursuant final judgment of sentence, of any crime punishable with a maximum prison sentence equal to or exceeding three years under Portuguese law.

The application must first meet the requirements of the Jewish communities of Portugal in Porto or Lisbon to prove Sephardic ancestry. Then the documentation required by the Portuguese government which are typical for anyone applying for citizenship must be met.

Our team in the U.S., Portugal and Israel are ready to handle your application and help you obtain your Portuguese citizenship and, with it, your EU Passport.

In order to show Sephardic ancestry, the applicant must show a connection via Sephardic Family Surnames, Judeo-Spanish language, or direct llineage to the Portuguese Sephardic community.

The following checklist was prepared to help our clients fulfill the application requirements:

שלב א- איסוף מסמכים לאישור הקהילההתקבלcheckPhase 1 – Data collection for the Jewish Community
צילום פספורט (רק שני עמודים ראשונים)Passport copy (Only first 2 pages)
Please check the Expiry date
צילום ת׳׳ז וספח או חשבון ארנונה להוכחת כתובת מגורים קבועהID copy or utility bill to show permanent residence
מכתב מבית כנסת מקומי או רב מוסמך (אופציונלי) או מכתב מנילRabbi/synagogue certificate (Optional) – OR: certificate from Neil/SEC
כתובה רשומה בנוסח ספרדי של דורות קודמיםKetuba (marriage contract) written in Sephardic form
תעודות לידה באנגליתBirth certificate in English
אם נשוי/אה: תעודת נישואים

תעודות נישואים, תעודות לידה וכל מסמך המעיד על יהדות של המשפחה או דורות קודמים

If married: Marriage certificate, plus previous marriage certificates (only to show name changes), and any Jewish document of family history
תיעוד של מסמכים, רישומים או סיפורים (לדינו), קבצי וידאו או אודיוDocumentation of stories (in Ladino/Spanish) and certificates. (can be Audio or video)
תרשים של אילן יוחסין (בפורמט של עץ או טבלה) מציין מקום לידה, תאריך נישואין,פטירה ולידה לפחות 4 דורות אחורהGenealogical tree (format of tree or table), with places of birth, dates of birth, marriage, death for 4 generations
האם היה  שינוי שם ? להביא תיעוד לשינויIf there was any Change of Family name, show proof of change
טופס בקשה מלא של הקהילה היהודית  Completed application for Jewish Community in Portugal
מכתב מוטיבציה להגשת הבקשה  Personal Statement on why you desire Portuguese Citizenship (connection to Sephardi past)
תיעוד של מסמכים המצהירים על מקום מגורים במדינות קודמות (נישואין,עלייה,ת׳׳ז)  Documents proving residence in prior countries before moving to the west or Israel, etc. (include marriage, aliyah, ID, etc.)
500 יורו להעברה בנקאית לקהילה היהודית  500 Euro: Jewish Community/Port.
שלב ב׳ – הוצאת תעודת לידה ואזרחות פורטוגזיתהתקבלcheckPhase 2- Approval of Portuguese Citizenship
צילום כל דפי הדרכון מאושר ע׳׳י השגרירות בישראל או נוטריון עם אישור בפורטוגזיתPassport copy (all pages), approved by the consulate in USA and notary translation to Portuguese
תעודת לידה באנגלית – חתומה עם אפוסטיל  שהונפקה בחצי שנה האחרונה או בעברית מתורגמת לפורטוגזיתBirth Certificate in English- with Apostille- and printed within the last 6 months or translated to Portuguese.
תעודת יושר לפורטוגזית- חתומה ומאושרת ע׳׳י השגרירות הפורטוגזית בישראל ומכל מדינה בה התגורר הלקוח (שהונפקה ב3 חודשים האחרונים)Criminal record certificate- signed and approved by the Portuguese consulate for every country you lived in for more than 90 days
אישור הקהילה היהודיתCertificate of the Portuguese Jewish community
ייפוי כוח למשרד המטפל חתום ע׳׳י נוטריוןPower of Attorney to your agency signed by a notary
רישום פלילי בפורטוגל (לבקש מעו׳׳ד מליסבון)Criminal record in Portugal (obtained by the Portuguese counsel)
תעודת נישואים מתורגמת לפורטוגזית עם חתימת אפוסטיל ונוטריוןMarriage certificate translated to Portuguese with Apostille and notary
250 יורו לתשלום בהעברה בנקאית250 Euro payment to the Portuguese government


Contact us today to learn more about obtaining your Portuguese Citizenship and all the benefits for you and your family.

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Portuguese Citizenship for Sephardic Jews

Portuguese Citizenship for Sephardic Jews

Portuguese Citizenship for Sephardic Jews

See : Portuguese Citizenship

Neil J. Sheff Visas, Green Cards, Citizenship. Immigration Attorney
+310 446 3844 OR +310 496 1644