Portuguese Nationality

In the historical context of the relations between Portugal and India


Many Goans have been asking details about the Portuguese Nationality Law and how to apply for Portuguese nationality. They often refer to it as "Portuguese Passport". The term "Portuguese Passport" is not correct. One should not address it as merely a passport. Passport is a travelling document. You only get it if you are a national of that country. Portuguese nationality is much more complex because it involves the concept of allegiance to Portugal. It is important that people realise this before applying. If you decide to apply for it, you will be applying for Portuguese nationality and not merely a Portuguese passport. If you are an Indian citizen, under Indian law, you will also be automatically renouncing your Indian citizenship the moment you acquire or recoup Portuguese nationality.

Why can Goans apply for Portuguese Nationality ?

I remember Mr. Alfredo de Mello posted long time ago a very good historic introduction to this in GoaNet mailing list:

"Under the government of the Prime Minister, Marquês de Pombal, around 1757, by a Royal Decree signed by King D. José I, all Portuguese Indians (Goa, Damão and Diu) were granted full Portuguese Citizenship, and equal status under the law, with the Metropolitan Portuguese.

This was unique. No other colonial power ever granted such a status to the inhabitants of their colonies. Not in the 18th, 19th or 20th century! In that respect, Portugal was unique. Neither the British, nor French, nor Dutch, ever granted such a status as far as their Asian possessions were concerned. When Portugal became a Republic in 1910, the new Constitution granted the Portuguese Indians (not so to the African colonies) exactly the same prerogatives and status, as Portuguese Citizens. (During the monarchy, they were subjects, just as any Portuguese from Lisbon was a subject).", said Mr. Alfredo de Mello.

Perhaps this is the reason why so many Goans feel they are different from the rest of the Indians. Maybe that is why Goans can integrate so well in the western societies. I feel there is in many cases a strong inherited sentiment of distinction and most Goans are proud to be Goans not only because of their own achievements but also because this feeling has been transmitted from generation to generation. In the British and Portuguese African colonies, the distinction was quite visible. The reality today is different and majority of Goans born in Goa after 1961 naturally identify themselves with the Republic of India.

In Portugal, Goans are fully integrated in all fields of the Portuguese Society and refuse to identify themselves as a minority group and indeed they are not officially recognised as such. The total number of people of Indian origin living in Portugal today exceeds 100,000 (Catholics, Hindus and Muslims) and they are the second largest Indian Community in Europe (after the UK). Majority of these 100,000 people is of Goan origin and it is believed to be the largest Goan community in the world living outside Goa. For some strange reason, one hardly hears about the Goans living in Portugal and it almost looks like they hardly exist but the figures prove exactly the opposite.

In 1926, Portugal ended more than a century of liberalism and 48 years of authoritarianism began with a military dictatorship under President General Oscar Carmona. Prof. Dr. Oliveira Salazar became a dictator in 1930 and his first highly racist Colonial Act of 1930 discriminated Portuguese Indians, differentiating them from the Metropolitan Portuguese. With the 1930 Colonial Act, Portuguese Indians became a sort of second-class citizens, losing a great deal of perks, such as free trips to Portugal for furloughs, emoluments became lower than those of the white officials, and other facilities that the white Portuguese had overseas were not available to Portuguese Indians.

This discriminatory Portuguese Colonial Act of 1930 was repealed only in 1950, in part thanks to the contribution of Prof. Dr. Froilano de Mello (Mr. Alfredo de Mello's father) who was a brilliant Goan doctor and independent MP in Lisbon, representing Goa in the Portuguese Parliament. He openly and bravely fought for the rights of Portuguese Indians. From 1950, Goans recouped their status and were treated again in equal terms just like any other white Portuguese citizens from the metropolis.

The Estado da India Portuguesa (EIP) (Portuguese State of India) was composed by three districts: Goa, Daman and Diu. The distric of Daman had two separate enclaves called Dadra and Nagar-Aveli. In 1947 India gained independence from the British and the Republic of India was founded. The Republic of India maintained diplomatic representation with Estado da India Portuguesa with representations in Goa and in Lisbon from 1947 until 1955. The problems started in early 1950s. In 1954, an Indian insurrection overthrew Portuguese authority in Dadra which was completely surrounded by Indian territory and the Indian government suspended all passage over its territory to prevent Portugal from restoring its authority over the Dadra enclave.

Following this blockade from India, on 22 December 1955 Portugal filed an application in the International Court of Justice instituting proceedings against the Republic of India regarding communication and a right of passage between Daman and its enclaved parcels Dadra and Nagar-Aveli together with the other two districts of Goa and Diu, which were an integral part of Portugal recognised by the United Nations and also by the Republic of India who maintained until 1955 diplomatic representation with the Portuguese State of India and with Portugal itself. Both Republic of India and Portugal had accepted the compulsory jurisdiction of the Permanent Court.

Judgement of this case was delivered on 12 April 1960 (YES! 1960!!!) where Portugal was given right of passage limited to civilian persons and of course Portugal also got its de facto administration of the Estado da India Portuguesa (Goa, Daman, Dadra, Nagal-Aveli and Diu) officially recognized by the International Court of Justice.

But this determination only lasted for one year as on 18 December 1961 the Republic of India Army shamelessly invaded and forcibly annexed the Portuguese State of India violating all past UN resolutions and the previous International Court of Justice determination. The Portuguese forces in the territories commanded by Governor General Vassalo e Silva surrendered, violating strict orders from Portuguese dictator Salazar to resist until the last man.

Salazar wanted Portuguese Indians to feel that Portugal did not abandon them and provided laws to keep them as Portuguese Citizens. Many Goans left Goa at that time and were welcomed in Portugal. This helped Portugal to take the case to the United Nations requesting a military operation from the UN to restore Portuguese sovereignty over its territory invaded by the Republic of India. Portugal's recourse to the Security Council led to no result due to a veto by the USSR (permanent member to the Security Council of the UN) who stated they were opposed to colonialism but they (the USSR) themselves became one of the worst colonial powers in Eastern Europe spreading a reign of terror and horrible military occupation under the banner of communism (over Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, etc).

Even thought a UN resolution for military action against India was not approved, Portugal kept fighting diplomatically in the United Nations for Portuguese India until 1974 and was indeed recognised by the UN as the de facto Administrative Power in the territory. The Supreme Court of India was forced to label the events of 1961 as an act of conquest in order to legalise it from the Indian point of view. So, from the Indian point of view and according to a determination from the Supreme Court of India, the Portuguese State of India was conquered on the 19th December 1961. But the dispute remained unresolved in the UN. The EIP continued to have an administration in exile and Goan MPs continued to represent EIP in the Portuguese parliament until 1975. It was only in 1975, after the Portuguese democratic revolution of 25 April 1974, that Dr. Mario Soares representing a new Democratic Portugal, recognised the annexation of Goa, Damão and Diu and removed the dispute from the UN and re-opened diplomatic relations with the Republic of India.

Many Goans were against this 1975 action from Mario Soares because it put a final dot in their fight for a free and independent Goa. The Portuguese government represented by Dr. Mario Soares (as Foreign Affairs Minister) in 1975 (known as the first Portuguese "democratic" government) was a provisional temporary interim government not elected by public vote but created by the results of the democratic revolution of 25 April 1974. Therefore, the actions from Dr. Mario Soares in recognising the Indian sovereignty over Goa lacked a true democratic mandate from the Portuguese people and are arguably invalid from a legal standpoint. Several critics and experts in International Law (including many Portuguese experts) have claimed that the territorial dispute over the ex-Portuguese State of India did not have a legal and acceptable outcome in accordance with International Law, for which Portugal itself is to be blamed with the actions of Dr. Mario Soares. The reality was that Goa was conquered yet again in 1961 and the dream of an independent Goa was put to rest forever. The real freedom fighters who were campaigning for a free independent Goa were betrayed by both Portugal (because it handed over the EIP to India on a plate in 1975) and by India because it refused to execute a plebiscite to decide on the future of Goa according to the democratic will of Goans immediately after the invasion of 1961. How could this then be a liberation? The answer is: It was not a liberation. It was a conquest and Goa and Goans were indeed conquered yet again in 1961 according to a determination from the Supreme Court of India itself. In the end, who really lost out were Goans. The sons of the Goan soil remained conquered. Yes, in 1961 they got their freedom from the Portuguese but not their independence because their "liberators" (The Republic of India) became their conquerers, just like Portugal had done 451 years ago when Goa was liberated from muslim rule at the request of the Goan Hindus but became conquered by the Portuguese. So, the reality is that history repeats itself. The difference is that 1961 is in a completely different era from 1510. Conquests do not make sense and are not part of an United Nations or International Law approved framework for territorial dispute resolutions.

After the Portuguese Democratic Revolution of 1974, independence was officially given to all overseas territories (except Macau, because China declined the offer, and East Timor because it had also suffered an invasion from Indonesia and the East Timoreses were actively resisting the Indonesian occupation with great loss of lives) and the Portuguese Nationality Law became very important in order to determine who retained Portuguese Nationality.

It is important to say that after 1975, the "Antigo Estado da India" (Goa, Damão, Diu e Dadrá e Nagar Avelí) was given somehow a special status under the Portuguese Nationality Law. Decreto-Lei n. 308-A/1975, 24th June - "Lei da Nacionalidade Portuguesa" – Article 1º. Clause (e), clearly says that all those born in the "Antigo Estado da India" (Goa, Damão, Diu e Dadrá e Nagar Avelí) who declare their intention to retain their Portuguese Nationality are entitled to do so. Other ex-Portuguese provinces’ citizens were given a period of time to decide if they wanted to remain as Portuguese citizens or if they wanted to adopt the nationality of the new independent countries (examples: Angola, Mozambique, etc). The citizens from Antigo Estado da India, on the other hand, were not given a period of time to decide if they wanted to continue being Portuguese citizens, which means that they are still entitled to declare they want to continue being Portuguese Citizens today.

Officially, Portugal only abdicated sovereignty over the EIP when the current Portuguese consitution was founded, on the 25 April 1976. Up to the 24 April 1976, the Portuguese constitution in place still claimed full sovereignty over the Estado Portugues da India (EIP). It is, therefore, legal to interpret that those citizens born in the EIP up to April 1976 are Portuguese Citizens by birth right and can apply directly for registration of their birth in the Portuguese civil registration offices.

After 1961, many Goans burnt their Portuguese passports in public freedom fighter demonstrations. Others mastered the art of writing against the Portuguese rule like there was nothing else more useful to do in Goa. It was very much in fashion to be a freedom fighter and it paid quite well as well in all sort of benefits, privileges and public recognition. They seemed to be quite happy with their new Indian citizenship. The government started paying pensions to those claiming to be Freedom Fighters. Especial seats in Goan universities were also reserved for descendents of Freedom Fighters. It was excellent to be a Freedom Fighter and the benefits were just too good (still are today!). But Portugal suddenly changed after joining the European Community in 1986. The old and “poor” country suddenly transformed itself from night to day and became modernised, advanced and much more European. So, many of the individuals who wrote and demonstrated against Portugal actually turned their coats and shamelessly claimed back their Portuguese Citizenship in a savage call for opportunism. Suddenly, a door to Europe was opened and the opportunity was too good to be wasted.

The number of applications increased exponentially after 1986 and Portugal started receiving pressures from Europe to change Portuguese Nationality Law but everything remains unchanged so far.

The Portuguese Nationality Law also grants citizenship to descendants of Portuguese citizens. Therefore, even if one was only born yesterday, but had a grandfather or grandmother who was born in Portuguese India before 1976, this person can apply for Portuguese nationality.

Unfortunately, a large number of false applications was detected. People from outside ex-Portuguese India were impersonating Portuguese Indians (through false birth certificates) and claiming Portuguese citizenship as well. The whole process became with each passing day, more and more complex and today, there is a very strict and lengthy process to check the veracity of all submitted documents.

It is not so rare anymore for Indian origin people to have a Portuguese passport.
In fact, many people of Indian Origin (other than Goans) have one because they were living and working in the ex-Portuguese African Provinces. The Hindu community in Lisbon is large and most of them came from Mozambique and Angola.
Taking advantage of that fact, lately, many other Indians have succeeded in obtaining false Portuguese passports. There are people ready to pay lakhs of rupees to have a false one. I have personally met in Paris some Indians from Gujarat who managed to buy these false Portuguese documents for lakhs of Rupees. They were happily selling French souvenirs on the roads of Paris and apparently doing very good business. You might be surprised how I got this information from them. Well, my wife Bernadette started talking to them in Hindi and they felt so much at home that they have told us their most important secret. They had entered Europe through Poland and Germany with a false Portuguese passport and are aware of the big risk they are taking but they did not seem to be worried at all.

It was made public in the Portuguese press that Masood Azhar, the famous Islamic Kashmir leader demanded to be released by the December 1999 Indian Airlines hijackers, was in possession of a false Portuguese Passport when he was arrested in 1994 in India.

FAQ - Frequent Asked Questions:

Note: “Antigo Estado da India” is the legal term for the following territories: Goa, Damão, Diu e Dadrá e Nagar Avelí before 19 December 1961. A new legal interpretation has found out that Portugal only officially abdicated to the right of sovereignty over Antigo Estado da India in April 1976, when the new current Portuguese consitution was put in practice. Therefore, citizens born in what was known as Estado Portugues da India from 19 Dec 1961 up to April 1976 are equally Portuguese citizens by birth right and can register their births into the Portuguese Civil Registry directly.

Q1. Under what law can the descendants of former Portuguese Citizens claim Portuguese citizenship? The 1975 legislation refers to a person born in the Antigo Estado da India. Does it cover the children or grandchildren who may have been born elsewhere?
A1: If you were born after April 1976 (anywhere in the world) or born before April 1976 but outside the Antigo Estado da India, it is necessary for you to prove that your parents/grandparents were born in the Antigo Estado da India. Once you have proved that, you need to register your parents/grandparents as Portuguese Citizens in Lisbon (even if they are already dead) and only then you can apply for Portuguese citizenship based on the fact that you are the descendent of a Portuguese citizen fully registered in Lisbon, Portugal.

Q2: Did the parents/grandparents (born in Antigo Estado da India) have to hold a Portuguese passport at all? What evidence is required to be submitted by the child or grandchild?
A2: No. Portuguese passport was never a requirement for citizenship. A birth certificate of your parent/grandparent is necessary along with a detailed list of other requirements that can be found further on in this text.

Q3: What if the person switched passport to Indian or British, Canadian, American, etc. Does this prejudice or nullify the applicant’s case?
A3: Not at all. Portugal allows dual Nationality and according to the Portuguese law, you can keep your second and other nationalities. The only restriction is that you will not be able to claim Portuguese consular protection if you require help in the country of your other nationality.
Some countries do not allow dual nationality (example: India). According to the Indian Law, it is a serious offence to keep your Indian Nationality/passport if you acquire another nationality.

Q4: Do I have to travel to Lisbon to apply?
A4: No. You should contact your nearest Portuguese Consulate and refer to the Portuguese Nationality Law. If they fail to give you information or if they do not know enough about it (which is the sad reality sometimes), then you should contact a Portuguese lawyer (there are several experts in Portuguese Nationality Law) and request help.

Q5: What is the background of this special case?

1. It is important to note that between 1961 and 1975, according to the Portuguese Constitution of that time, the United Nations and International Law, the state comprising of the Portuguese territories of Goa, Damão, Diu, Dadrá and Nagar Avelí was still under Portuguese Administration and Portugal was the de facto administrative power of the said territories according to the United Nations. In fact, the government of Portuguese India and the Portuguese Indian Members of Parliament were still in existence, working in exile from Lisbon. The Portuguese State of India was, therefore, a state in international dispute, with Portugal officially recognised by the UN as the de facto administrative power and the Indian Union seen as an illegal occupier of the territories.

2. Following the democratic revolution of 1974 in Portugal, the Indian occupation of the Portuguese territories was finally acknowledged and recognised by Portugal. In 1975, the Portuguese minister of Foreign Affairs, Mario Soares, personally visited New Delhi and re-established diplomatic relations with the Republic of India. Mario Soares, representing a new and democratic Portuguese Republic, withdrew any claims the Portuguese Government still had over the said territories in the United Nations and officially recognised the occupation and annexation.

3. The new 1975 Portuguese Nationality Law took into consideration that people born in those territories before the Indian occupation and annexation were forced to take Indian Citizenship, i.e., people did not take Indian citizenship voluntarily. Instead, Indian citizenship was imposed on them. A famous case of Monsenhor Fr. Xico Monteiro (Candolim) is well known. Fr. Xico Monteiro refused to take Indian Citizenship and was arrested. The Portuguese government sponsored legal representation to Fr. Xico Monteiro and the case was taken to the Supreme Court of India. The Supreme Court of India determined that Goa had been conquered by India on the 19th December 1961 and therefore India was the legal administrative power in Goa by an act of conquest and Fr. Xico Monteiro would have to abide by the laws of India. Fr. Xico Monteiro was given a prison sentence and lived under house arrest till he died for resisting to renounce his Portuguese citizenship.

4. Goans were given the option to retain their Portuguese Citizenship provided they officially declare their intention to retain it by registering their births and marriages in Lisbon. In other words, when India annexed the Portuguese territories, the Portuguese citizens from those territories did not lose their Portuguese Citizenship even though India imposed Indian citizenship on them. No timeframe was given in the law, which means that those citizens can declare even today, 46 years after, their personal decision to retain Portuguese Citizenship.

5. The only real problems at the moment are based on the fact that many non-eligible Indians are managing to get false birth certificates and through impersonation and fraud are transforming themselves into Portuguese citizens with a free licence to live and work in all countries of the European Union. Also, a large number of agents are making a fortune out of it. While some are doing it legitimately, others are involved in networks of corruption and serious organised fraud with personal follow-up contacts in Lisbon.

6. The cases of fraud are increasing with each passing day and will ultimately lead to the irreversible change in the Portuguese Nationality Law. So, sooner or later, it will all be over…



Response to several inaccurate articles published in the Goan Press -  January and February 2004:


Portuguese Citizenship from a historical perspective.

By Paulo Colaço Dias.

03 March 2004

I have recently come across several inaccurate articles in the Goan press relating to Portuguese citizenship and the process to acquire Portuguese citizenship.

It is clear that there is a lot of confusion and many of these articles are based on misconceptions and wrong interpretations. Some ask how can Goans who do not know a word of Portuguese become Portuguese citizens. Others ask how did Abu Salem acquire Portuguese citizenship.

This article is an attempt to explain the process from an historic and facts based perspective.

There are three clear ways to acquire Portuguese citizenship.

1. The easiest to understand is the acquisition of Portuguese citizenship by virtue of blood relation - Jus Sanguinis - (through one’s mother or father who must be registered Portuguese citizens):

This is how Goans born after 1976 are eligible - by Jus Sanguinis. As the reader must know, full Portuguese citizenship rights have been granted to the people from Portuguese India since around 1757, by a Royal Decree signed by King José I and his Prime Minister, the Marquês de Pombal. All people from Estado da India Portuguesa (EIP) comprising Goa, Damão, Diu, Dadra and Nagar Aveli, were granted Portuguese Citizenship, and equal status under the law, with the Metropolitan Portuguese. This was then commonly known as Jus Solis - citizenship by right of birthplace. Portugal is known to be unique in this decision. Neither the French, nor the British, nor the Dutch did the same to their colonies in the east.

In 1952, in response to UN resolutions for the self-independence of the still existing colonies of the world, Portugal decided to rename all Portuguese colonies to overseas provinces and made them all integrant part of territorial Portugal. During those years, (after 1952 and until 1975) the internationally recognised map of territorial Portugal was 20 times larger in size than the size of Continental Portugal, comprising of the 5 African overseas provinces (Angola, Mozambique, Cabo Verde, São Tomé e Príncipe, Guiné Bissau), Timor Leste, Macau and Estado da Índia Portuguesa (EIP).

The EIP was, therefore, not a colony in 1961 but a Portuguese province and an integrant part of territorial Portugal and recognized as such officially and internationally (by UN treaties which even the Indian Union had officially signed and acknowledged). The people from EIP obviously enjoyed full Portuguese citizenship rights by Jus Solis (right of birthplace). In the same way Portuguese birth records were recorded in birth registry offices in Lisbon, Porto, Coimbra, Faro, etc., births were also recorded in Panjim, Margao, Mapuca, etc. The EIP was indeed internationally recognized as an integrant part of territorial Portugal so, records were kept there and there was no reason to send them to Lisbon.

In 1975, a new democratic Portugal re-established diplomatic relations with the Indian Union, withdrew all international disputes with India in the UN and acknowledged and recognized the annexation of the EIP by India. It was then necessary to legislate what would be the future of those who were born Portuguese citizens in the EIP. As you must know, even though the Indian invasion of EIP was not officially recognized by international law up until 1975, immediately after 1961, India forced everyone to take Indian Citizenship if they wanted to remain living and working in the EIP or register as foreigners and apply for periodical visas, residence permits, police reports and clearance, etc. in their own home land. Some challenged the legitimacy of that law. The reader will probably be aware of the famous case of Fr. Mons. Francisco Monteiro, a man of principles, from Candolim, who was arrested and suffered torture because he refused to take Indian citizenship. A considerable amount of our Goans left and they were welcomed in Portugal but those who remained in the EIP were typically forced to acquire Indian Citizenship. Portugal was aware that this was happening. The Portuguese government even paid for defense lawyers to protect the interests of some of these Portuguese citizens. Some cases were even addressed by the Geneva Convention and international courts of law, but India decided to have the last say in the matter and gradually the issue faded away.

So, this is to say that in 1975, when Portugal issued an alteration in the Portuguese Nationality Law, the people from EIP were assumed by Portugal to have acquired Indian citizenship on a non-voluntary basis, i.e., it was assumed they were forced by the Indian Union to acquire Indian citizenship in order to remain free of problems in their own homeland.

In a genuine attempt to protect the interests of people from the EIP who might wish to remain Portuguese by their Jus Solis status (right of birthplace), the Portuguese law allowed them to retain their full citizenship rights ad eternum (indefinitely). What this means is that the people from EIP who were born Portuguese citizens never lost their Portuguese citizenship rights. The Portuguese nationality law granted them full citizenship rights indefinitely according to their Jus Solis status. Because they were born in what was considered by Portugal to be an integrant part of territorial Portugal.

The only problem was that the birth records were left in the EIP. In the events that followed the 18th December 1961, all civil registry records remained in Goa. This is why our Goans need to register in Portugal today if they want to be recognised as Portuguese citizens. Therefore, it is wrong to say those born before 1976 are acquiring Portuguese citizenship. In effect, they are not. Those born before 1976 in the EIP are simply registering in Portugal their official declaration that they wish to remain Portuguese citizens after the events of 1961. The Portuguese law still recognizes them the right to full citizenship by Jus Solis (birthplace in EIP) but there are no records of their existence in Portugal (the records were left in the EIP).

The children of these can apply for Portuguese citizenship and, if granted, they will have acquired Portuguese citizenship by virtue of blood relation (Jus Sanguinis). As far as I know, no country in the world is known to impose language restrictions on citizenship granted through Jus Sanguinis criteria. Citizenship by virtue of blood relation is known to be a human right. Most civilized (if not all) countries will grant citizenship to their citizen's children without any conditions whatsoever. It would be impossible for Portugal to impose that Goans need to know Portuguese in order to acquire Portuguese citizenship by virtue of blood relation.

2. Acquisition of Portuguese citizenship by virtue of marriage to a Portuguese citizen: Here there is a requirement that the interested spouse *has* to be fluent in Portuguese language and possess knowledge of Portuguese culture. Also, it is a requirement that the spouse needs to prove connection to the Portuguese community. If the couple does not live in Portugal, it is almost impossible to acquire Portuguese citizenship through marriage.

3. Acquisition of Portuguese citizenship by virtue of residency in Portugal - Naturalisation. There is a requirement that you need to be fluent in Portuguese language and have lived and worked in Portugal for 6 consecutive years (if your country of origin is a PALOP - Official commonwealth group of Portuguese language speaking countries) or 10 years (if your country of origin is not a PALOP country).

Portuguese language requirements do exist for those applying for Portuguese citizenship and are strictly enforced, except for the case of blood relations, because it could probably be seen by a violation of human rights.

You will probably find interesting to know that 140,000 people from Macau and Hong Kong are registered Portuguese citizens (by virtue of having been born in Macau before 1987 - the year of the Sino-Portuguese joint declaration on the future of Macau) and do not talk a word of Portuguese.

Because Portugal allows dual nationality, these people were allowed to remain Portuguese citizens. China does not allow dual nationality, but Macau is an exception and China basically said they are free to use their Portuguese citizenship outside China, which is, according to me, fair enough.

Portuguese language is not shrinking. As you must know, independent East Timor has adopted Portuguese as official language of the new country (much to the opposition from Australia and US who have strong interests there). Portuguese is still the 3rd European language most spoken in the world, after English and Spanish, and the 6th or 7th world language most spoken in the world in pair with Russian.

Abu Salem and Masood Azhar were found in possession of false Portuguese passports. So, they have not actually acquired Portuguese citizenship. Instead, they purchased a false (forged) Portuguese passport. Forged European passports are known to be on sale for huge amounts of money. Some British and French tourists have been killed abroad for their passports.

Paulo Colaco Dias.

London, UK






Portuguese Nationality Law

Decreto-Lei n. 308-A/1975, 24th June - "Lei da Nacionalidade Portuguesa"

Diário do Governo I Série - Número 143 – Terça Feira 24 de Junho de 1975

Please read translations to English in blue italic font.

Artigo 1º.

1. Conservam a Nacionalidade os seguintes portugueses domiciliados em território ultramarino tornado independente:
The following citizens residing in overseas Portuguese territories now independent, will retain their Portuguese Nationality:

  1. Os nascidos em Portugal continental e nas ilhas adjacentes.
    All those born in Continental Portugal and adjacent islands (Madeira and Azores).
  2. Até à independencia do respectivo território, os nascidos em território ultramarino ainda sob administração portuguesa.
    All those born in overseas Portuguese territories before the date of the independence of those territories.
  3. Os nacionalizados.
    All those who acquired the Portuguese Nationality.
  4. Os nascidos no estrangeiro de pai ou mãe nascidos em Portugal ou nas ilhas adjacentes ou de naturalizados, assim como, até à independência do respectivo território, aqueles cujo pai ou mãe tenham nascido em território ultramarino ainda sob administração portuguesa.
    All those who were born in a foreign country but whose father or mother can be considered Portuguese by either a), b) or c).
  5. Os nascidos no Antigo Estado da India que declarem querer conservar a Nacionalidade Portuguesa.
    All those born in the "Antigo Estado da India"(Goa, Damão, Diu e Dadrá e Nagar Avelí) who declare their intention to retain their Portuguese Nationality.
  6. A mulher casada com, ou viúva ou divorciada de, português dos referidos nas alíneas anteriores e os filhos menores deste.
    The wife married to, or the widow of , or the divorced wife of, a Portuguese citizen refered to in either a), b), c), d) or e), and all of their children under the age of 18 years.

2. Os restantes descendentes até ao terceiro grau dos portugueses referidos nas alineas a), c), d), primeira parte, e e) do número anterior conservam também a nacionalidade portuguesa, salvo se, no prazo de dois anos, a contar da data de independência, declararem por si, sendo maiores ou emanecipados, ou pelos seus legais representantes, sendo incapazes, que não querem ser portugueses.
All descendents until the 3rd generation of any descendents of Portuguese citizens refered in number 1 in either a), c), d) or e), will also retain their Portuguese Nationality except if they declare within the period of two years following the independence of the territory that they do not wish to continue being Portuguese Citizens.

Artigo 2º.

1. Conservam igualmente a nacionalidade portuguesa os seguintes individuos:
The following citizens will also retain their Portuguese Nationality:

  1. Os nascidos em território ultramarino tornado independente que estivessem domiciliados em Portugal continental ou nas ilhas adjacentes há mais de cinco anos em 25 de Abril de 1974.
    All those born in overseas Portuguese territories now independent who can prove they have been residing in Continental Portugal or in the adjacent islands (Madeira and Azores) for more than five years prior to 25th April 1974.
  2. A mulher e os filhos menores dos individuos referidos na alínea anterior.
    The wife and children under the age of 18 years of a Portuguese citizen refered to in section 1.a) .

2. Os individuos referidos no número anterior poderão optar, no prazo de dois anos a contar da data de independência, pela nova nacionalidade que lhes venha a ser atribuida.
All individuals refered in section 1 a) or 1 b) of Artigo 2º can choose, in the period of 2 years after the independence of the territory, if they wish to retain their Portuguese Nationality.

Artigo 3º.

Para os fins do presente diploma, e salvo prova em contrário, presumem-se nascidos em Portugal continental, nas ilhas adjacentes e nos territórios ultramarinos os individuos ali expostos.
All individuals living in Continental Portugal or in the adjacent islands of Madeira and Açores or in the overseas Portuguese territories are presumed to be born there, until proven otherwise.

Artigo 4º.

Perdem a nacionalidade portuguesa os individuos nascidos ou domiciliados em território ultramarino tornado independente que não sejam abrangidos pelas disposições anteriores.
Any individuals not included under Artigo 1º and Artigo 2º are not entitled to retain their Portuguese Nationality.

Artigo 5º.

Em casos especiais, devidamente justificados, não abranjidos por este diploma, o Conselho de Ministros, directamente ou por delegação sua, poderá determinar a conservação da nacionalidade portuguesa, ou conceder esta, com dispensa, neste caso, de todos ou alguns dos requisitos exigidos pela base XII da lei nº. 2098, de 29 de Julho de 1959, a individuo ou individuos nascidos em território ultramarino que tenha estado sob administração portuguesa e respectivos cônjuges e descendentes.
In special and justified cases, the Board of Ministers can decide directly or by delegation whether an individual born in Portuguese overseas territories can or cannot retain or be granted his/hers Portuguese Nationality. The same applies for the spouse of this individual and/or his/hers descendents.

Artigo 6º.

1. É obrigatório o registo, na Conservatória dos Registos Centrais de Lisboa, das declarações previstas nos artigos 1º., numero 2, e 2º. Numero 2.
It is absolutely necessary to register in the Conservatória dos Registos Centrais de Lisboa the declarations refered in Artigo 1º - number 2, and Artigo 2º - number 2.

2. A declaração de opção prevista no artigo 2º., numero 2, será instruida com documento que prove ser o declarante nacional do novo Estado Independente.
The declaration refered in Artigo 2º, number 2 must be submitted with a proof that the individual declaring is a citizen of the new independent state.

Artigo 7º.

O pedido de registo de nascimentos dos individuos que conservam a nacionalidade, nos termos deste diploma, quando necessário, será instruido com prova dos factos de que depende a conservação da nacionalidade.
The application to register the birth certificates of the individuals who retain the Portuguese Nationality according to this law, is to be submitted, when necessary, with the documents that prove all the requirements for the success of the application.

Artigo 8º.

São gratuitos todos os actos, processos e registos resultantes da aplicação deste diploma, bem como os documentos necessários à sua instrução.
The registry of the birth certificates and the process for declarations for Portuguese Nationality is free.

Visto e aprovado em Conselho de Ministros - Vasco dos Santos Gonçalves – Álvaro Cunhal – Francisco José Cruz Pereira de Moura – Joaquim Jorge Magalhães Mota – Mário Alberto Nobre Lopes Soares – António de Almeida Santos – António Carlos Magalhães Arnão Metelo – Francisco Salgado Zenha – Ernesto Augusto de Melo Antunes – Jorge Correia Jesuíno. Promulgado em 21 de Junho de 1975. Publique-se. O Presidente da Républica – FRANCISCO DA COSTA GOMES
Approved and signed by the Board of Ministers - Vasco dos Santos Gonçalves – Álvaro Cunhal – Francisco José Cruz Pereira de Moura – Joaquim Jorge Magalhães Mota – Mário Alberto Nobre Lopes Soares – António de Almeida Santos – António Carlos Magalhães Arnão Metelo – Francisco Salgado Zenha – Ernesto Augusto de Melo Antunes – Jorge Correia Jesuíno, and the President of the Portuguese Republic, FRANCISCO DA COSTA GOMES, 21st June 1975.


All applications for Portuguese Nationality should be submitted to the nearest Portuguese Consulate of your area.

The following documents will be necessary for the Application:

1. For those born in the Antigo Estado da India before April 1976:

  1. Birth certificate and Marriage certificate (if applicable) issued by the Conservatória do Registo Civil de Goa, Damão, Diu e Dadrá e Nagar Avelí.
  2. Same documents for the spouse (if applicable).
  3. Legal Identification Documents (current passport). If submitted in Goa: valid Indian Passport or identity certificate with attached photograph issued by Mamlatdar/Sarpanch. Other identity cards can include a ration card or a voter identity card or a driving licence.
  4. Certificate of Residency with full address and photograph.
  5. Certificate of Residency indicating residency between January 1974 and December 1975. If you were residing in the ex-Portuguese territories in Africa you do not qualify to apply.
  6. Old Portuguese original document. This old Portuguese document must have been issued by the Portuguese civil Registry in Goa or elsewhere (if from Goa, it must be dated before 19 December 1961). The document should contain the complete name of the applicant, date of birth, place of birth and parent's names. If this document is not an old passport or ID card or travelling permit, then it must contain the Portuguese Court of Arms and the white stamp over the signature of the officer who issued it.


2. For those born after April 1976:

It will be necessary to prove that their parents were born in the Antigo Estado da India (Goa, Damão, Diu e Dadrá e Nagar Aveli)

  1. Birth certificate of the parents, marriage certificate of the parents, death certificate if any of the parents is deceased, all issued by the Conservatória do Registo Civil de Goa, Damão, Diu e Dadrá e Nagar Aveli.
  2. Birth certificate and marriage certificate (if applicable) of the individual applying.
  3. Legal Identification Documents (current passport). If submitted in Goa: valid Indian Passport or identity certificate with attached photograph issued by Mamlatdar/Sarpanch. Other identity cards can include a ration card or a voter identity card or a driving licence.
  4. Certificate of Residency with full address and photograph.
  5. Certificate of Residency indicating residency between January 1974 and December 1975. If you were residing in the ex-Portuguese territories in Africa you do not qualify to apply.


  1. All documents written in English or any other language must be translated to Portuguese.
  2. All documents issued in Goa must be certified by a) Public Notary, b) Collector, c) Under Secretary (Home)
  3. All documents issued in Damão and Diu must be certified by a) Public Notary, b) Mamlatdar and Joint Secretary (Home).
  4. All documents issued in Bombay must be certified by a) Public Notary, b) Mantralaya.
  5. Incomplete documents or documents not following these instructions will not be accepted.

NB: These are not legal/professional translations.

The reader must consult and refer to the nearest Portuguese Consulate and ask for detailed and up to date information before proceeding. It would be advised to search for professional help as well (lawyer or solicitor).
Please note that Portugal allows dual nationality but not all countries allow and you should be aware of this before applying.

http://www.secomunidades.pt/apoios/nacional.html for more information about the Portuguese Nationality Law.

© COPYRIGHT 2004 by Paulo Colaço Dias
Permission is granted to view these documents on personal computers for private use. The documents and their associated electronic files cannot be mirrored, redistributed, or sold without specific permission from the author(s) of document content and relationships layers.


Last updated: 03/03/2004

For comments and/or questions please contact : Paulo Colaço Dias

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