PORTUGAL – Descendants of Sephardic Jews Granted Citizenship

The Portuguese government has approved changes to its Nationality Law, granting citizenship rights to the descendants of Jews it persecuted five centuries ago.

The rights will apply to those who can demonstrate “a traditional connection” to Portuguese Sephardic Jews (the term used for those who once lived in the Iberian peninsula). That can be through family names, family language, and direct or collateral ancestry.  Applicants will be vetted by government agencies and Portuguese Jewish community organisations.

After being rubber-stamped by Portugal’s president, the new rules are expected to come into force early next month. Spain adopted a similar law last year, though it has not yet come into force.

This news alert was prepared using information provided by ERES Relocation Services.