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Portugal citizenship offices see record high numbers of applications, as EU passport demand increases

57passport riseLast year, a new record for the amount of individuals granted Portuguese nationality was broken, with the number of applications granted (180 thousand) more than doubling the number of births in Portugal (81 thousand) that same year.

The figures are from the Ministry of Justice, and were presented this week in the Jornal de Notícias newspaper. They showed that there was a very significant increase in this figure immediately after being approved in Parliament, by the left-leaning parties, a new nationality law. In April 2018, the Assembly of the Republic approved amendments to this law that extended access to original nationality and naturalization to people born in the national territory, if one of the parents had resided in the country for two years.

Thus, compared to 2017, when 50 thousand foreigners obtained Portuguese nationality, in 2018, this number had already reached more than 174 thousand. The largest number of nationalizations granted was to Brazilian citizens.

Cape Verdeans and Ukrainians are the two nationalities that follow in this ranking released by the newspaper. Israel appears for the first time among the five countries with more citizens to have Portuguese nationality granted, a fact that the newspaper justifies this with the legislative change of 2013 that allowed Sephardic Jews, expelled from Portugal in the 15th and 16th centuries, to apply for Portuguese nationality. This change has seen a setback recently, with the ruling PS party considering a change so that the descendants of Sephardic Jews had to reside two years in Portugal to obtain Portuguese nationality. The idea was criticized by socialist historians and ended up not coming to fruition.