Click for reading article published in "Publico" newspaper,
27/2/2016, by Esther Mucznik
Granting Portuguese Nationality for Sephardic
Decree Law nº 30-A/2015
of February 27th
The Jewish Community of Lisbon is pleased to announce that,
following the approval of the Decree Law No. 30-A / 2015 - Award of
Portuguese nationality through naturalization to the descendants of
Sephardic Jews by the Council of Ministers on 29.01.15, the Law has
been enacted by His Excellency the President of the Republic of
Portugal - Mr. Aníbal Cavaco Silva and published in the Diário da
República (The Official Gazette of Portugal) on February 27th, 2015.
Further we inform, that the
Jewish Community of Lisbon started receiving the official
required documents for approval procedure for the granting of the
Portuguese nationality, by Naturalisation to descendants of
the present law as its publication and a guide procedure in
support of the applicants
More information can be obtained via email
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Decree Law nº 30-A/2015 -
Granting of the Portuguese nationality,
by Naturalisation to descendants of
February 27th 2015 was
published in the Diário da República (The Official Gazette of
law allowing the right of return for the descendants of Portuguese
Sephardic Jews who so whish, by acquiring Portuguese Nationality by
means of naturalisation and integration in the community with full
correspondent rights and obligations.
The government can award the Portuguese nationality by means of
naturalisation to Sephardic Jews descendants, the latter proving
their tradition of belonging to a Sephardic community of Portuguese
origin, based on objective and proven requirements of connection to
Portugal, namely family names, family language, direct or collateral
I – HISTORY
designation "Sephardic Jews" is applied to Jews descending
from the old traditional Jewish communities if the Iberian
Peninsula. Following the expulsion decrees of 1492 in Spain,
many Jews took refuge in Portugal. But, four years later, in
1496, the king Manuel I edited the same decree of expulsion
from Portugal, and in 1497, the ruling of forced
With what came to be known as the “baptismo em pé”,
("standing baptism"), the conversion by force of Jews to the
Catholic religion, Portugal officially no longer had Jews,
but only, "Cristãos-velhos" ("old Christians") and "Cristãos-novos"
("new Christians"), this new designation of "Cristãos-novos"
("new Christians") hiding their Jewish origin. Thirty nine
years later, and aiming to fight the heresy to Christian
faith, king João III allowed the setting of the Inquisition
Court, which will be officially extinct in 1821.
Persecutions against Jews and "New Christians" led to their
fleeing the country and to their establishment in some
Mediterranean regions, north of Europe, Brazil, Antilles and
the United States among others, founders in those regions of
well renowned communities and remarkable synagogues.
In many Sephardic Jewish family names the Portuguese root is
still present even though in some cases already entangled
with the Spanish. Besides family names and the use of the
Portuguese language namely in prayer, there are Portuguese
Sephardic Jews descendents who still speak "Ladino", the
language used by the expelled Jews from Spain and Portugal
in the XVth century, a language deriving from the "Castellano"
(Spanish) and Portuguese, and spoken today by around 150.000
people in communities in Israel, Turkey, ex-Yugoslavia,
Greece, Morocco, Americas, among many other places.
In the beginning of the 19th century, with the weakening of
the Inquisition, Jews started to come again to Portugal
coming mainly from Morocco and Gibraltar, some of them some
of them descending from the old Sephardic Jews. These men
and women were the founders of the present Lisbon Jewish
Community – "Comunidade Israelita de Lisboa – officially
recognized in 1912, with its synagogue Shaaré Tikvá built
and inaugurated in 1904.
II – GRANTING OF THE
PORTUGUESE NATIONALITY BY YTHE PORTUGUESE GOVERNEMENT
1 – The
Portuguese nationality may be granted by means of naturalisation to
the descendants of Sephardic Jews, provided they meet the
requirements stated hereinafter:
To be of age by one's
own right or by release from parental, custody or tutor control as
such considered by Portuguese law.
To have no definitive
sentence passed by a court of law and not pending appeal concerning
all crimes punished by sentence of imprisonment of a maximum of
three or more years according to Portuguese law.
2 – In the request to
be submitted by the applicant, the circumstances determining the
belonging tradition to a Portuguese origin Jewish Sephardic
community such as family name, family language, direct descent or
family collateral relation of common ancestry coming from the
Portuguese origin Sephardic community shall have to be presented.
– To be complete, the application must contain the following
Certificate of a
clean criminal record issued by the competent Portuguese
authorities, country of birth and country of nationality, as well as
the same certificate from the authorities where the applicant will
have had past or actual residence, the latter having to be
authenticated when issued by foreign authorities.
Certificate from a
Jewish community registered as religious legal entity established in
Portugal as determined by law on the date de entry into force of
this legal text certifying the belonging tradition to a Portuguese
origin Jewish community.
– GRANTING OF CERTIFICATE ISSUED BY A PORTUGUESE JEWISH COMMUNITY
1 – The applicant to
the granting of the Portuguese Nationality to Sephardic Jews
descendents by means of naturalisation must, according to indent c
of nº3 in II, obtain a certificate issued by a Jewish
Portuguese community certifying his /her belonging tradition to a
Portuguese origin Sephardic Jewish community.
Such certificate is
issued by a Jewish community established in Portugal as a religious
The Lisbon Jewish
Community – "Comunidade Israelita de Lisboa – CIL" can officially
issue the said certificate.
3 – The
aforementioned certificate will certify the belonging tradition to a
Portuguese origin Sephardic Jewish community, expressed namely
through the applicant's family name, the family language,
genealogy and family memory.
The connection to
Portugal proof is of an objective nature. The applicant will have
the right to obtain the certificate provided he/she can prove
his/her direct or collateral descent and an emotional connection.
– The issued certificate shall mention the applicant's full name,
date and place of birth, parent's name, nationality, place of
residence, and direct descent as well as indication of collateral
common ancestry relation to the Portuguese origin Sephardic Jewish
community, duly presented with all evidence and proof elements.
IV – PROCEDURE TO
APPLY FOR A CERTIFICATE ISSUED BY A PORTUGUESE JEWISH COMMUNITY
Jewish Community has been consulted and heard
by the Ministry of Justice on the project amending the Law of
Nationality, presented and approved by unanimity by the Portuguese
Parliament on April 12th 2013, and was also consulted and
heard on the text of amendment to the Regulation on the Portuguese
Nationality, approved by the Council of Ministers on January 29th
2015, enacted by the President of the Republic on February 24, 2015
and published in the Official Gazette on 27 February 2015.
The Lisbon Jewish
will endeavour in
the frame and according to the new legislation to promote the
knowledge and the return of the potential candidates, descendents of
Portuguese Jews. To this effect, a special Committee was
established, to deal with the reception and analysis of all files
and requests aiming to grant the certificate stating the belonging
tradition to a Portuguese origin Sephardic Community, with an
adequate method to respond to the aim of the law.
1 – General
Lisbon Jewish Community certificate request must be
sent by the applicant or his/her legal
representative with power of attorney to such an
action, to the contacts below:
+ 351 21 3931139 (DIRECT ASSISTANCE) / + 351 21 3931130 (OFFICE)
Opening hours –Monday to Thursday from 10 AM to 13PM
/ 14 to 17 PM .
Fridays from 10AM to 13PM
request addressed to the Lisbon Jewish Community
will be answered within a delay that
cannot be previously established, be it by the
certificate issuance or by a negative opinion.
negative opinion will be the result of the lack of
positive unanimity as to the validity of the
applicant's request as being descendent of a
Portuguese origin Jewish community. Notwithstanding
the direct or indirect nature of the existence of
the elements of proof presented, the Committee's
conviction will always be formed based on evidence
presented by the applicant, which will be submitted
to a critical judgement with all the relevant facts
found during the file evaluation period.
The applicant will have to provide:
Copy of passport.
Birth certificate or similar equivalent document
with date and place of birth, and applicant's
Certificate of residence, or similar equivalent
document valid as proof of residence.
Payment of service fee for file opening and
All supporting necessary and sufficient evidence to
adequately evaluate the file and allow decision
will be accepted
in Portuguese, English, French and Spanish for
A one-time non-refundable €500 (five hundred Euros)
fee per application will be charged in advance, for
administrative services and file consideration and
Starting on October 3rd, 2016 (1st
of Tishrei 5777): the above mentioned fee, dully
charged under the same terms, shall be reduced to
€250 (two hundred and fifty Euros) for relatives of
the applicant, ascendants or descendants in direct
line (grandfather/grandmother, father/mother, and
son/daughter) or collateral (uncle/aunt, and
However, individuals linked to this group of kinship
through marriage are bound to provide proof of their
own lineage of Sephardic origin – if it is not the
same – and the €500 (five hundred Euros) service
charge shall also apply to them.
All payments must be for the full amount.
Cash delivered at our premises.
A local Portuguese Bank check payable to
“Comunidade Israelita de Lisboa”.
Bank transfer as indicated bellow
/Name of account:
COMUNIDADE ISRAELITA DE LISBOA (CIL)
Bank: NOVO BANCO
Agency: PRAÇA DO BRASIL (LISBON - PORTUGAL)
0062 5693 0006
0007 0006 00256930006 48
50 0007 0006 0025 6930 0064 8
2 – Means of Proof
The evidence of Jewish
Portuguese descent through family name, language, direct or collateral
descent and other elements can be of direct or circumstantial nature.
The means of proof can be:
circumstantial evidence, evidence by documents, testimonial proof or proof
by expertise in the sense of "expertise evidence".
presented by any means, provided that when considered isolated or in
combination with direct evidence, they are considered convincing as to the
validity of the claim of ties of the applicant to a Portuguese origin
Sephardic Jewish community.
Documental evidence (direct
can be presented by means of: family records, genealogical tree, community
archives concerning births, marriages, deaths, cemeteries and graves lists,
Brit Mila or Bar Mitzvah registers ( rituals of circumcision
and religious majority respectively), governmental archives showing arrivals
from Portugal, ships passenger's lists and passengers arriving from
Testimonial evidence, that is to say, depositions of
witnesses who may attest a family's oral tradition. Testimonial evidence
must be presented in writing as written affidavit, signed by the witnesses
and certified/authenticated by a solicitor. The written depositions or
affidavit have to be sent and addressed to the Lisbon Jewish Community,
together with the witnesses' authenticated copies of passports or
authenticated copies of identification documents. The witnesses themselves
have to be credible and their affidavits or depositions convincing.
The expertise evidence,
that is to
say, the opinion of a specialist / expert in Portuguese Jewish Diaspora. The
expertise evidence must be presented in writing. The Portuguese Diaspora
specialist's reports or opinions must be presented in writing and signed by
the expert / specialist in question, with his / her biographic resume and
the authenticated signature by a solicitor.
According to Portuguese Law, forged or falsified documents,
forgery and use of forgery constitute crimes punished by law.
Notwithstanding the fact that the Certification Committee
of the Lisbon Jewish Community may inquire on the truthfulness of the
documents presented which will be evaluated with the other evidence gathered
during the course of the file investigation, we call all applicant's
attention to the fact that they may be criminally responsible in case of
presenting false witnesses, false depositions and or false /forged
NOTA BENE. Reading this information does not by any means excludes the
consultation of applicable law.
ITHANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION AND