Acquisition of Portuguese nationality through civil partnership

Acquiring Portuguese nationality through a civil partnership has been a frequent option among couples who do not wish to marry, but have been together for more than 3 years, and one of them is a Portuguese citizen.

The Nationality Law stipulates that a foreigner who lives in a civil partnership with a Portuguese national for more than three years can acquire Portuguese nationality, as long as this civil partnership is recognized by a Portuguese Court.

As this is a case that takes place in Court, the interested party must be represented by a lawyer registered in Portugal. In the legal action, it is necessary to prove this civil partnership for more than 3 years, through documentation (birth certificate of children in common, lease contracts, joint accounts, IRS declarations, among others) and witnesses (family members or friends).

  • The applicant has a relationship with a Portuguese national similar to marriage for more than 3 years;
  • The applicant has an effective connection to Portugal (except if the relationship lasts for more than 6 years, or regardless of the length of the relationship, if they have children in common with Portuguese nationality).

  • Perform public functions in their country (that are not just technical) or have performed non-compulsory military service;
  • Have a conviction with a prison sentence equal to more than 3 years;

If the applicant does not have an effective connection to Portugal, the public prosecutor may reject granting nationality. For this reason, it is very important to demonstrate identification with Portuguese customs, and it can be assumed that there is an effective connection to Portugal when the applicant:

  • Is a native and national of a Portuguese-speaking country, who has lived in a civil partnership for at least five years, with a native Portuguese person;
  • Knows the Portuguese language sufficiently, as long as you have lived in a common-law relationship with your native Portuguese for at least five years;
  • Legally resides in Portuguese territory for the three years immediately preceding the request and prove school attendance at an educational establishment in Portuguese territory or demonstrate knowledge of the Portuguese language;
  • Legally resides in Portuguese territory for the five years immediately preceding the request.

It is essential to understand that the nationality process through civil partnership involves two distinct phases: the previous judicial phase (in Court) and the subsequent administrative phase (in the Registry Office).

This process is applicable to same-sex couples, as same-sex marriage has been permitted in Portugal since 2010.