January 27, 2024

Portuguese Parliament Enhances Nationality Law for a Faster Road to Citizenship

The Nationality Law has undergone a substantial overhaul with approval from the Portuguese Parliament. If accepted by the president, the revisions will take effect in 2024.

The most important change? If your residency application is eventually approved, the time you waited between submitting it and hearing back will now be applied toward the 5-year residency requirement needed to apply for citizenship. Although this change may come as a surprise, it only seems just to reimburse applicants for the extremely lengthy approval procedure, which is completely beyond their control.

For investors holding Golden Visas, what does this mean?

This may be excellent news for those of you who chose the Golden Visa option. Your citizenship timeline will now account for the administrative waiting period, which has now widened to around two years. This ought to ease some of your anxiety and irritation as you wait for your residency card.

As icing on the cake, it might result in fewer costly renewals of the residency permit required before applying for citizenship.

Even however, if your main objective is to relocate to Portugal while you wait for your permit, it wouldn't be any simpler.

Challenges Ahead

Like any new law, there are still some unknowns, though. For example, it's unclear exactly when the clock starts to run down to citizenship—is it on the day of your first online application, your biometric appointment, or some other event? Though I have a suspicion that it would begin when you pay your initial application cost (DUC), we'll have to wait and see.

Prime Legal's analysis bolsters this as well. According to their interpretation, the date of the online application submission and payment of the analysis cost is probably the key point for the 5-year period to begin for applicants for a Golden Visa. If you want to completely comprehend all the subtleties and hazards, read their study as they also detail the numerous possible legal interpretations.

A few people have also questioned if you would need to fulfill the minimum stay requirement of seven or fourteen days prior to the approval of your residence permit for that period to count toward citizenship. I'm not a lawyer, but my guess is that you probably won't. This is because becoming eligible for citizenship is not the same as meeting the requirements for renewing your residency permit.

Will it be accepted?

Don't break out the champagne just yet, even though Golden Visa investors should view this as a favorable move that could drastically shorten their wait period for citizenship eligibility!

The law still needs to be approved by the president of Portugal. From the moment he receives the final text from parliament, he has twenty days to decide. That is anticipated to occur on January 18, later this week.

There's a danger the law won't be implemented if he decides not to approve it. There is no assurance that the future government would wish to pursue the same measures because the current cabinet resigned on January 15 in order to prepare for the approaching parliamentary elections.

However, the most likely scenario is that the modification will be approved in full and, barring any delays in the legal process, go into effect on March 1, 2024.


As uncertainties persist, navigating the immigration landscape becomes crucial. Our blog has shed light on the evolving Portuguese Nationality Law, offering a glimpse into a potentially smoother citizenship journey. Embrace the changes and embark on this transformative path to a new chapter in Portugal.

How Pelican Migration Consultants Can Assist:

  1. Expert Guidance: With Pelican Migration Consultants, you gain access to expert guidance, ensuring clarity through the intricate details of the Portuguese immigration process.
  2. Tailored Solutions: Our consultants tailor solutions to your specific needs, streamlining the journey and addressing individual concerns.
  3. Legal Expertise: Benefit from our legal expertise as we navigate the complexities of the updated Nationality Law, providing a secure and knowledgeable approach to your migration.
  4. Comprehensive Support: From document preparation to submission, Pelican Migration Consultants offers comprehensive support at every stage, ensuring a seamless and stress-free migration experience to Portugal.