Citizenship in Portugal: A Way to European Citizenship

Portugal’s unique beauty, especially in its capital, Lisbon, the picturesque locations, vast landscapes and happy people attract many people from all all over the world to the country. No matter which part of Portugal you are in, there is a nearby beach. The Portuguese are friendly people, hospitable and always in a celebration mood. In this country you can constantly witness local festivals, including people dancing in the streets.

Besides being a charming European country with beautiful weather, great people, and a delicious cuisine, Portugal is also a path to European citizenship for many.  In this article we will cover the Portuguese citizenship in detail.


People from all around the world are interested in getting their foot into Portugal and becoming a resident or a citizen in the country.  The path to obtaining the resident or citizen status in Portugal may go through various routes: employment, study, investment, marriage, child-birth, among others.  

Citizenship Benefits

Citizenship in Portugal comes with a number of benefits.  

All citizens share the below rights with the Portuguese residents:

  • Have the right to work in Portugal
  • Have the right to the education system in Portugal
  • Access social security benefits and pensions in Portugal
  • Acquire property in Portugal

In addition to these, Portuguese citizens also benefit from:

  • Vote in the Portuguese elections and referendums
  • Obtain a Portuguese passport
  • Acquire European citizenship
  • Live, work, and retire in any of the EU member states

The Portuguese citizenship application is more demanding than that of obtaining a permanent residence in Portugal. The Portuguese passport costs are typically higher as well.

Dual citizenship

Portugal allows dual citizenship. This means that it allows foreigners to obtain Portuguese citizenship without having to give up any other citizenship status you may have. You will need to check with your home country to see if they permit dual citizenship. In some cases, your home country may require you to renounce your citizenship in order to apply for nationality in Portugal.

Portuguese Citizenship by…

Working in Portugal

One of the most popular ways to acquire Portuguese citizenship is through getting a job and working in Portugal.  Portugal allows a number of professions to obtain residency status, followed by citizenship.  These professions include specialists of IT, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, among others.

As of 2021, the unemployment rate in Portugal is 6.8%. It has significantly decreased over the last couple of years. Only a couple of years ago in 2016, it was 11.07%. So, it has almost been cut in half, making Portugal hungry for skilled workers that would come from abroad.

Studying in Portugal

Citizenship in Portugal cannot be obtained by studying there alone. Studying in Portugal is only a gateway to get a visa to live in the country. It is the bridge to enter the country so that you can get a world-class education in the European education system.  You can then get a job in Portugal and enter the labor market.  Once you start working in Portugal, paying taxes, you can get integrated in the culture and obtain residency and citizenship.

Portugal, as the oldest country in Europe, is an ideal place to study abroad, especially for those who want to enjoy the beautiful weather and the joyful culture. Portugal offers bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees in areas such as biotechnology, medicine, social sciences and arts, among many others.

Golden Visa Portugal

Since 2012, Portugal offers residency by investment through a program called the Golden Visa.  It is the most popular investment immigrant program in Europe. The popularity is due to the program’s flexibility and wide range of benefits.

In order to get a Golden Visa, you need to make one of the designated investments in Portugal.  These include the acquisition of real estate, investment in a private equity fund, creation of jobs, and investment in research and development or cultural heritage.

When you get a Golden Visa in Portugal, you can also spread it to the rest of your family. The Golden Visa temporary residence permit allows you to live and work in Portugal, travel without a visa in the Schengen region, among other benefits.  Most importantly, you can apply for Portuguese citizenship at the end of five years. So, although indirectly, citizenship by investment in Portugal is possible.

For more information, read our Guide on Portugal Golden Visa.

Birth in Portugal

Being born in Portugal alone does not lead to citizenship.  However, immigrant children born in Portugal can be granted Portuguese citizenship. The government grants nationality to babies born in Portuguese territory, provided that one of the parents is resident in the country. 

Needless to say, if the parents enter Portugal with a tourist visa, then their Portuguese-born baby will not automatically become a citizen in Portugal.

Marrying a Portuguese Citizen

It is possible to obtain a passport in Portugal through marriage. In order to get citizenship in Portugal this way, you must marry a Portuguese citizen that lives in Portugal. If you reside in Portugal for a minimum of five years after you get married, then you can apply to be naturalized in Portugal.

Seeking Asylum

For some reason, many people think it is a good idea to seek asylum in Portugal in order to obtain residency or citizenship. However, if you were aware of the risks and drawbacks of this method, you would never take this very risky path. Most of those seeking asylum in Portugal are not well informed of the consequences or the other available methods of obtaining citizenship in Portugal.

It is actually possible to immigrate to Portugal through proper and legal means with minimum educational or work background. Nevertheless, asylum in Portugal is organized in three ways: regular, express and borderline.


The Portuguese passport gives you access to a number of benefits in Portugal and the rest of Europe. There are different methods of obtaining citizenship in Portugal, which then leads you to obtain a passport in Portugal. Immigration is a sensitive and sometimes expensive subject for many. Therefore, the question of which migration route to Portugal is most suitable for you is a rather important one. For this purpose, we recommend that you work with a professional immigration advisor and an experienced law firm in order to find the most optimal route.

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