An individual who has lived in Portugal as a legal resident for a minimum of five years can apply for citizenship, provided that this individual demonstrates sufficient knowledge of the Portuguese language and active ties to the national community. Moreover, the individual can have no convictions for a crime requiring a jail sentence of three or more years. An individual married to a Portuguese citizen can apply after only three years of residence, but must likewise demonstrate language proficiency, social connections, and no substantial criminal background.
To become a legal Portuguese resident, the applicant must first have obtained a long-term residence visa, which will allow up to a four-month stay. The applicant can then later apply for a Portuguese residence permit, which can be renewed every two years, for up to five years. At this point, the individual can apply for either permanent Portuguese residence or naturalization as a Portuguese citizen. There are many similarities. Both permanent residents and citizens have the right to traveland work in the EU. However, there are notable differences too.
Both may: engage in full orself-employment (without a work permit); participate in academic study; access retirement benefits and pensions; purchase real estate. Only Portuguese citizens, however, have the following rights: to vote in national elections and referendums; hold a Portuguese passport; secure EU citizenship; live, work, or retire in any other EU member state.
Applicants for citizenship must submitthe following documents: a birth certificate (if possible); proof of proficiency in the Portuguese language; a current passport or travel identification; circumstances regarding the current residence permit; details concerning the date and place of birth, profession,current place of habitation, and a list of nations of previous residency; a record of criminal history; and a legal document proving legal residence in Portugal for the requisite time.
The Golden Visa is a unique Portuguese program devised to interest foreign investment. The program expedites the visa process for international investors from non-EU countries if they purchase Portuguese real estate or invest an established minimum value. Provided applicants for this program meet all the specified conditions, non-EU national scan receive Portuguese residence permits and later apply for full citizenship.