From 1505 until 1961, Portugal ruled a series of colonial outposts known collectively as the Portuguese State of India. The Republic of India eventually reabsorbed all Portuguese India's numerous disparate colonies. The last three territories under Portuguese rule were Goa, Damão, and Diu. The Goa territory, which also contained two of three of the former state's capital cities (Old Goa 1510-1843 and Nova Goa 1843-1961), covered a considerable area along the western coast of India.
Further north, the Damão territory (present-day Daman) included the isolated enclaves of Dadrá and Nagar Haveli. The Diu territory, which included Pani Kota Island, was situated on the southern coast of the Kathiawar Peninsula. The Republic of India claimed these territories, incorporating both the people and lands into their republic. However, Portugal also recognizes the natural right to Portuguese citizenship for people born before the annexation of the colonial territories. Should they wish, their descendants can apply for citizenship.
Portugal ensured citizenship for all individuals born before 1961 in the old Portuguese State of India, per the Portuguese Nationality Law 37/81 and additional legislation. The information presented here is a summary of the basic rules determining who is entitled to citizenship by the Portuguese Nationality Law 37/81.
As mentioned above, individuals born in the former Portuguese territories of Goa, Daman, Diu, Dadra, and Nagar Haveli are de facto Portuguese citizens. These individuals can reclaim their citizenship even after death if a living descendant applies. This ensures that up to the third generation of descendants of Portuguese colonialists can apply for Portuguese citizenship.
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