As a first step you should visit the embassy website and then those of your local Consulate. However if you still have questions or need help, there are private agencies that help with filling out paperwork, power of attorneys, translations, etc.
POSSO in San Jose, CA
VALER in Turlock, CA
Marie B. Kelly and Associates in Turlock, CA
Did you know that there a website to provide feedback on your experience with the Consular Network? Submit your comments here:
For help obtaining copies of birth and marriage certificates in Portugal
Cell phone: + 351 966754567
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
These questions are added as we continue to get questions from the community
Q: If a minor is applying for citizenship through a grandparent (someone who is young enough that they can't read or write), how do they fulfill the language requirement for that path?
A: They can’t. Citizenship through a grandparent requires proof of language skills. If he can’t write or read, he can’t fulfill the requirement.
Q: If there is a minor whose parent is a Portuguese citizen, and the parent has passed away, what documentation is needed for the minor to get their citizenship? Does their guardian need any specific paperwork?
A: Yes. A certificate of death and a document showing who has legal custody of the child. If it's the mother, then you just need proof of the death of the father. The guardian will sign the request on behalf of the minor, but all the documentation belongs to the child
Q: How long between someone getting their citizenship and them applying for their children? Is there a length of time they have to wait?
A: No. But they do need to have the “cartão do cidadão” done before, as all portuguese citizens are required to keep their information up to date. And if there is a marriage, they need to register the marriage in Portugal before passing nationality to their children.
Q: If someone can't get an appointment at their local consulate, how can they get access to the Livro de Reclamações to file a complaint?
A: Email the consulate, or go to liveroreclamacoes.pt/inicio
Q: Good afternoon, My mom who has a green card, left for Portugal last July 2020. She is 81 and because of her age and the pandemic she is afraid to return before the year is up. We know that with a green card you can stay out of the USA for a year. Is there a form we can fill out to extend her stay in Portugal?
A: If the mom is an American in Portugal, she can request an extension with Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras.
If your mom is a Portuguese that lives in the US, we recommend checking with the American Embassy in Lisbon, to see what can be done.
Q: Both sides of my family are originally from Sao Miguel and Madeira. How far back (generations) will I still be eligible to get my Portuguese citizenship?
A: You can get citizenship through your grandparents as long as your grandparents are citizens. You can't go further back than that.
Q: I lived and worked in Portugal from 1992 to 1994 and was a local employee with Nestle Portugal.
I am trying to find my old “número de contribuinte” so that I can show proof of my contributions to combine them with my contributions to Canada under the social security agreement. Do you know how I can find this information? Not sure if there is a central place I can write to or where I can access the info. My wife and daughters are all Portuguese citizens.
A: You are going to have to check with Social Security in Portugal, or with Autoridade Tributaria - https://www.portaldasfinancas.gov.pt/at/html/index.html
Q: What do I need to get my Portuguese citizenship?
A: Here are the links for the information on the Embassy's website:
We did a webinar on citizenship, but please keep in mind that the webinar is old and some of the information may have changed. https://youtu.be/da2B6sk63TI
After reviewing all the information, if you still have questions, we encourage you to watch the next Q&A series.
Q: My mother was born in Portugal but she’s an American citizen now and I want to request citizenship through her.
A. If your parents didn’t get married in Portugal their marriage needs to be registered in Portugal. That is the crucial first step. If you don’t know you can check at Conservatória dos Registos Centrais (cidadaniaportuguesa.com). If one of the parents is deceased you will need to provide the death certificate.
Then you would need to follow the steps in this link: Nationality: Acquisition by Children of Portuguese Citizens - Consular services - Consular Section - Embassy of Portugal to the United States of America (mne.gov.pt)
Q: How do I get citizenship through grandparents?
A: The Portuguese Government grants naturalization to those persons born abroad with, at least, an ancestor on the 2nd degree of the succession line of the Portuguese citizenship who has not lost such citizenship. You will need a document proving that the applicant has plenty knowledge of the Portuguese idiom when applying through grandparents.
All the steps can be found in this link:
Q: Will my children under 14 years have Portuguese citizenship if I gain it? They are 1/2 Portuguese.
A: Once you have become a citizen you can then pass it on to your children but a new application will be needed. Children born abroad to Portuguese parents (one or both) are entitled to Portuguese nationality. Applications for nationality must be submitted to the nearest Portuguese Consulate, to be processed and forwarded to the Conservatória dos Registos Centrais in Lisbon, for registration. Portuguese documents cannot be issued until registration is completed by the Conservatória, a process which may take up to six months to be confirmed by the Registrar in Lisbon. All the steps are listed here: Nationality: Acquisition by Children of Portuguese Citizens - Consular services - Consular Section - Embassy of Portugal to the United States of America (mne.gov.pt)
Q: Do you recommend using an outside service that charges to secure citizenship?
A: Either way you will need perseverance and patience. It doesn’t make it go any faster but can facilitate the process to gather all the correct documents.
Q: Once you obtain citizenship, do you need to update it annually or is it forever?
A: Your citizenship is forever but you do need to renew your passport and “cartao do cidadao”.
Q: For someone born in Portugal, can the birth certificate be obtained through the consulate?
A: Yes. You just have to ask for a birth certificate. If the national is of an advanced age, it is possible that the certificate has not been digitized and placed in the system, in which case he will have to apply at the responsible registry office in Portugal.
Q: Can you speak about the process of name changes in Portugal so it reflects my married name in the US. I’m a dual citizen (born in Portugal), but married an American.
A: It is necessary to request a wedding transcript at the consulate or directly in Portugal https://portaldascomunidades.mne.gov.pt/pt/atendimento/no-estrangeiro/registo-civil/casamento Only after this process will you be married under Portuguese law and the name will be changed in the identification documents.
Q: I married in the state of New Jersey, I now live in California, I have my marriage certificate with the apostille, can I go to the Consulate of California if I need to register my marriage in Portugal?
A: Yes, you should go to the consulate in your current jurisdiction.
Q: If one of our parents has a Portuguese passport dated in the 30s or 40s, and have Portuguese consular inscriptions from consulates abroad but for some reason are not in the civil registry. Original inscriptions are contained in the MNE diplomatic historic archives only, how would we go about obtaining the nationality?
A: This is something that would have to be done through the Embassy or directly in Lisbon to try to locate the paperwork.
Q: Both me and my husband are Portuguese and both have cartão do cidadão, how do we apply for my kids Portuguese citizenship? Do we need an appointment or is this something we can do online?
A: First your marriage has to be registered in Portugal. https://portaldascomunidades.mne.gov.pt/pt/atendimento/no-estrangeiro/registo-civil/casamento Once your marriage is registered you can apply through your local consulate. Both parents need to be present. Send your consulate the application and attach the documents and ask if it can be mailed or if you have to come in personally.
Q: Do I need to bring my children in to get them Portuguese citizenship? They are both adults and one lives in California the other in Texas.
A: You don’t have to be present but each applicant must appear in person at the nearest Portuguese Consulate with all the documentation. Nationality: Acquisition by Children of Portuguese Citizens - Consular services - Consular Section - Embassy of Portugal to the United States of America (mne.gov.pt)
Q: Is Lisbon taking even longer than the 24-29 months to process a citizenship? It seems as though the process has stopped.
A: It’s impossible to predict.. The Conservatório in Lisbon deals with processes from all over the world, and processes that cannot be dealt with at consulates, so the workload is high.
Q: How to get your married name on your passport?
A: You need to come into the consulate to do a name change on your passport. You have to have the marriage documents proving why the name was changed.
Q: If my parent has had a Portuguese passport then do they need to renew their passport for me to apply for mine?
A: No. But they need to have updated identification documents (valid CC or BI for life). And the marriage has to be transcribed in Portugal for children to obtain nationality.
Q: Can a grandma apply for citizenships for minor grandchildren?
A: If she is the legal guardian of the children, yes.
Q: Can we do the citizenship for my kids in Portugal and do we have to go to the Lisbon embassy?
A: Yes, you can do it through your local consulate or directly in Portugal. https://www.cidadaniaportuguesa.com/conservatoria_dos_registos_centrais/
Q: I’m Portuguese born and I’m single. I don’t have a marriage certificate. Do I just use my birth certificate so I can apply for my adult children’s citizenship?
A: Applicants must appear in person at the nearest Portuguese Consulate with all the documentation. Nationality: Acquisition by Children of Portuguese Citizens - Consular services - Consular Section - Embassy of Portugal to the United States of America (mne.gov.pt)
Q: I applied two years ago and have been to the San Francisco consulate 5 times. Once to bring back the Apostille birth certificate and was assured everything was in order and to just wait. Last time I was there was Jan 8th 2021.
A: Email the consulate and attach your process to it and ask for a follow up on where it stands. If the consulate in San Francisco is too backed up you can also try contacting the Embassy.
Q: I'm a first generation American, parents and three older sisters came from Terceira, am I eligible for dual citizenship?
A: Yes, you will apply through parents. Nationality: Acquisition by Children of Portuguese Citizens - Consular services - Consular Section - Embassy of Portugal to the United States of America (mne.gov.pt)
Q: What's a normal wait time for the residency process?
A: It’s impossible to predict. It depends on the process in question and the number of requests that are being processed at a given time.
Q: My maternal grandfather was born in Madeira. I have his original cartao de cidadao but he passed away a couple of years ago. I was having trouble in Boston getting an appointment for a noncitizen applying for citizenship. Am I currently eligible if my parents are not citizens and how could I go about it?
A: The first step would be to register the death certificate in Portugal. Civil Registry: Death - Consular services - Consular Section - Embassy of Portugal to the United States of America (mne.gov.pt) and then you would apply for citizenship through grandparents Nationality: Acquisition through Grandparents - Consular services - Consular Section - Embassy of Portugal to the United States of America (mne.gov.pt). You will have to show language skills since you are applying through your grandparents.
Q: My sister and I have an appointment for citizenship in San Francisco do we need double copies of everything?
A: In principle, yes, because each case is individual. But check with the Consulate General of San Francisco.
Q: I contacted Boston and they indicated since I reside in California I was required to go to San Francisco. Is that correct?
A: Yes, that is correct. Each consulate has their jurisdiction.
Q: My family owns property in Santa Maria Azores and I have a card registered there as such. What is the process to apply for residency?
A: If you are a Portuguese national, you only need to move and then update documents indicating a new residence. If you are a foreign citizen, you will need a visa.
Q: Do we need to speak Portuguese to apply or do we need to bring a translator?
A: No, you do not need to speak Portuguese nor bring a translator for the appointment. The only time you need to prove language skills is if applying for citizenship through grandparents.
Q: Is there a newsletter that we can sign up for to keep up with general news related to portuguese news/stuff we need to be aware of?
A: Here is the link to subscribe to the PALCUS newsletter http://bit.ly/30yBSsD
Q: I am a US citizen, I have gotten my certificate for citizenship but now, I want to get my passport but I live in San Diego. I have been in contact with the consulate here in San Diego but the gentleman is refusing to see me, he only states he has no appointments (this was before covid-19) so do you have any recommendations? I am originally from Rhode island which is how I got the paperwork.
A: San Diego is an honorary consulate and the only time they can schedule appointments is when they have “permanencias consulares”, which is when the staff from the San Francisco consulate goes to San Diego for 2 or 3 days. You can try to go to the San Francisco consulate or another location to try to get an appointment, but if possible you should try to stay in your district. Please keep in mind that all consulates are backed up.
Q: Can you discuss the programs Portugal has in place for Portuguese citizens living abroad who are thinking of moving their families back to Portugal? Sorry if you have discussed this already in other sessions.
Q: Good Morning, I have a question. I have been married for 25 years to my husband who is from Portugal. We are in the process of getting dual citizenship. My children's paperwork seems to be ok. They want letters from people showing my ties to Portugal and Portuguese culture. Do you have any suggestions and what type of letters I should ask for? I belong to different online groups however I can't imagine they would be willing to write a letter. I'm at a loss.
A: Anything that can show a tie to the Portuguese community. If you are a PALCUS member we can provide a letter saying that you are a member. Engaging with the Portuguese clubs in your area would be a good step too.
Q: I have my bilhete de identidade that is expired. With my maiden name on it. I need to apply for a current one but I also want to do it with my married name. What steps do I have to take?
Also, my husband will apply under his parents . What steps does he take. I have an appointment at the SF Consulate in September.
A: The wife has to do a marriage transcription process.https://portaldascomunidades.mne.gov.pt/pt/atendimento/no-estrangeiro/registo-civil/casamento Only then will the identification documents show the married name.
The husband can apply for nationality as the son of Portuguese. Once completed, he will also have to do a wedding transcript. Then he will get the documents (CC and PEP).
Q: I have an appointment at the Portuguese consulate in San Francisco in August. I have my application, my father’s birth certificate and my birth certificate. My only issue I believe is that my father being 19 when he arrived in the United States from São Jorge Was the youngest out of the 7 brothers and sisters and the only one unmarried. He married my mother who was American and the marriage is not registered in the Azores. I heard this is going to be a problem for me. Do you have any suggestions?
A: You will first need to transcribe your father's wedding. https://portaldascomunidades.mne.gov.pt/pt/atendimento/no-estrangeiro/registo-civil/casamento Then you can deal with nationality.
Q: Can a Portuguese citizen enter Portugal with an expired passport?
A: If you have another travel document (US passport), yes. Just present an expired Portuguese passport or Portuguese birth certificate. Border authorities have been allowing entry given the constraints imposed by the pandemic. You should renew your passport as soon as possible.
Q: Citizenship question.... Both sides of my family are from the Azores, Madeira and Cabo Verde. How can I gain citizenship? How far back (generations) can I still attempt to gain my Portuguese citizenship?
A: You can get citizenship through a grandparent, but that’s as far back as you can go.
Q: Please clarify what is needed to bring a car to Portugal
A: The information can be found here: Certificate: Import a Car - Consular services - Consular Section - Embassy of Portugal to the United States of America (mne.gov.pt)
Q: Question about traveling to Portugal this summer. We are a family of 6, but only 4 of us have Portuguese citizenship. Will the other 2 (my husband and youngest daughter) need a visa to enter Portugal this summer? We are all American citizens. My daughter's paperwork is in process but my husband hasn't been able to apply yet (I've been told he needs to apply in Lisbon - is that true?) We go to the Palm Coast consulate. I am a citizen, our marriage is registered. My husband will apply for Portuguese citizenship through marriage.
A: Immediate family members should be able to travel (children and spouse). They might be recommending that you send the paperwork directly to the registro instead of going through the consulate https://www.cidadaniaportuguesa.com/conservatoria_dos_registos_centrais/
The steps to apply for citizenship through marriage can be found here : Nationality: Acquisition through Marriage - Consular services - Consular Section - Embassy of Portugal to the United States of America (mne.gov.pt)
Make sure your paperwork is on A4 paper.
Q: I am trying to get citizenship through my mother, but her name on her US passport is different from what is on her birth certificate.
A: It can be done but it will take some time because you will have to deal with the reason the name was changed in the US and then you have to go back to her original documents. It’s a very tedious process.
Q: Both my parents are Portuguese but were married in Venezuela but are now divorced, how do I go about getting Portuguese citizenship.
A: The marriage and the divorce need to be registered in Portugal. Venezuela is a unique situation and there are special rules for that country, at a certain time registration was being done through the consulate in Venezuela but we don’t know if that is still the case.
Q: My husband was born in Sao Miguel, left at age 2 to Bermuda, his birth certificate is registered, he became a British citizen and now he lives in the US. We are told he needs to get his cartao do cidadao, where can we find the forms and what needs to be submitted for that appointment when it becomes available?
A: He’s going to have to request an ID card through this link: https://washingtondc.embaixadaportugal.mne.gov.pt/en/consular-services/consular-services/id-citizen-card
Q: I have been trying to renew my cartao do cidadao that expired but my nearest consulate in San Francisco (I’m from Arizona) and their website offers no appointments for any services. When I emailed them for more information they redirect me to their online appointment calendar but there are no spots at all.
A: the recommendation with the San Francisco consulate is to check every day for openings. It would be advisable to check with them if you have all the paperwork needed before your appointment.
Watch the Consular Q&A Series:
*Entities listed on this page are for informational purposes only and do not constitute an official endorsement by or partnership with PALCUS and as such PALCUS is not liable for any agreements or resulting outcomes of said agreements between individuals and above mentioned entities.