Gaining Portuguese Citizenship

I was born in Canada to a Portuguese father who has since moved back to Portugal. I'm in my 30s now and have been considering moving back but I'd like to be able to gain citizenship to do so.

My father never registered my birth at the Portuguese civil registry since we were living in Canada. Also, my parents marriage was never registered in Portugal and they are now divorced.

Is it still possible for him to register a marriage in Portugal that has already ended and can he still register my birth?

I'd just like to know if this route is even possible. Thanks for any help!

If you were born abroad and you have a Portuguese mother or a Portuguese father, you can apply for Portuguese nationality if you declare that you want to acquire Portuguese nationality, using the declaration for acquisition of Portuguese nationality.

Please see website (portuguese governmental agency for justice affairs)

Here you can find out all you need (please need translation):

1. What are the required documents:

    a. your identification card, in your case, from Canada

    b. your legalised birth certificate in full copy, certified through an apostille or visa of the Portuguese consulate in Canada. If the certificate is not in Portuguese, you must also bring the certificate translated into Portuguese and also certified

    c. the birth certificate of your Portuguese father

    d. a declaration for acquisition of Portuguese nationality, which must be signed under the rules detailed on the website, that is:

        d1. in the presence of one of the Portuguese Registrar's officers, when you submit the request

        d2. or in front of someone with the power to recognize the signature, if you prefer to send the request by email to one of the Nationality Branches or to the Central Registry Office in Lisbon

2.  Where to order
3. How much does it cost

Thanks so much for your reply!

In terms of the declaration for acquisition of Portuguese nationality, is there anything else involved in that declaration such as intent to live in Portugal? Or any rules against holding other citizenships?

A declaration for acquisition of Portuguese nationality refers to rights and duties but does not mention anything about intent to live in Portugal.

With Portuguese citizenship it is possible not only to live in Portugal and enjoy all the rights of a citizen, but it also allows people to work and study in Portugal and other European Union countries. Besides giving freedom to travel around Europe without the need of a visa.

Portuguese law admits double nationality and plurality nationality, but you will need to check with the Canadian authorities that they will not cause any difficulties in Canada as soon as you will have more than one nationality.

If my parents were married abroad (and subsequently divorced abroad) and the marriage (or divorce) were never registered in Portugal, is it possible to get citizenship without having them registered?

I'm still waiting to get clarity on this, but one of the Consulates in my country seems to have stated that it is possible by applying directly to the Lisbon Central Registries.

However, another one stated that the marriage and divorce would both need to be registered.

I seem to be getting conflicting information. If anyone has been through this process please let me know, thanks!

Whether your portuguese father is married or divorced has nothing to do with this subject, as far as it can be read in the website.  Does your father remain a Portuguese citizen? Were you born abroad?
If yes, you can apply for nationality, but you must satisfy all the conditions I have mentioned above.

But if you have any doubts, please contact:

Conservatória dos Registos Centrais
Address: Rua Rodrigo da Fonseca, nº 202, 1099-033 Lisboa
Phone number: 213817600 / Fax: 2138176 98
Email: registos.centrais[at] … -centrais/

Thanks again for replying.

I took your information, researched it all myself and then contacted one of the Consulates that was still open in Canada. They confirmed the information you gave me. However, when I contacted the Consulate closest to me (that is still closed) they said I couldn't do it without the marriage registered in Portugal.

So I felt like I was getting conflicting information and circled back here to confirm things. I dont speak Portuguese so I just assumed the Central Registry in Lisbon wouldn't be able to help so I'm relying on the Consulate.

I'll contact them both again to clear things up. I really appreciate your help once again!

In addition to checking this with the 2 consulates, I also suggest to contact Central Registry in Lisbon directly.

If you write an email in english with your questions to Central Registry in Lisbon, they should answer in english as well, since they deal with these kind of issues daily.

Other tip: The nationality request can be consulted online at … ionalidade

An update:

The Consulate in Toronto has said that without the marriage being registered in Portugal there is no way to establish paternity as my birth certificate is not signed by my father - only my mother.

I'm waiting to hear back directly from the Central Registry about this issue.

My main question there not some other way to establish paternity? What would happen to children born abroad to a Portuguese national who was not married? Surely there must be other ways to establish paternity.

Edit - They said I would have to have my father declare my birth “Termo de Perfilhação”. Are you familiar with that process?

I find this site but it doesnt seem to work - [link under review]

The information on what documents are needed are blank.

I think you forgot to mention until now this small (but big) detail to ask for nationality.  :unsure

The issue here is not whether your father is married or divorced, the issue is that he did not take you as his son until now. Your father could be single and take you as his son when you were born or after that.

The Toronto consulate is right, you first need to be "perfilhado" by your father, and only after that, you can require the Portuguese nationality. That problem would not exist if your mother were Portuguese instead of your father.

Please see this website: … erfilhacao

You will find this sections:
A. Where you can ask for "Perfilhação"?
At the Civil Registry Offices/ "Conservatórias do Registo Civil"

(If you click at  "Conservatórias do Registo Civil" you will have to choose your's father Place of  Birth.
Important: I don't know if you have to choose the Office of your's father Place of Birth, or any Office can do this.

Example: Let's assume that your father was born in the district of Aveiro, municipality of Agueda.
At the combo box, choose Distrito (Aveiro), and then the Concelho/Council (Águeda), then select Registo Civil de Agueda. You will find here the address/phone/email. Its better to send them a email, and explain what you will need and what is the easiest way to have it done.

I don't know if you will need to give rights/"Procuração" to someone to treat this issue on behalf of you or if you have to come to Portugal.

B. What are the documents required to apply for "Perfilhação"
Identification of your father
Your Identification.

C. How does it cost
It's free.

Yes, sorry I thought I had mentioned this fact in my first post:

"My father never registered my birth at the Portuguese civil registry since we were living in Canada. Also, my parents marriage was never registered in Portugal and they are now divorced."

Because he never registered the marriage or my birth in Portugal I was hoping it would still be possible to acquire citizenship but I see that is not possible now.

We'll have to take this route. Thank you for the link.

My father lives in a fairly small place in the south, do you think it's worth the time to email in English or should I find someone that speaks Portuguese to help me? I'm not sure how ridiculous it might be to assume someone in a small town registry office would be able to answer questions in English haha.

Edit - For some reason when I click on your link it sends me to a page called "Request for Acknowledgment of Parentage" but then the options are all blank and there's no other information.

Can you tell me if you can find this office under your link?
[link under review]

District is under Faro. If I can request it there I will contact them.

Thank you!

When I read this at the beginning of this conversation, I thought that you had been registered at the Canadian Civil Registry with your father's identification, even though, at that time, I pressume he was a portuguese citizen and not canadian. But as I have understood now, in your Canadian birth certificate there isn't any reference to your father, it only refers to your canadian mother, is that so?

About the website, this is not a online form, you will only find there contacts for all the Conservatorias do Registo Civil (which are splitted by Distrito/Concelho). District is Faro, but you will also need the Concelho/Council to obtain contacts.

Anyway, you can try to write in english. Why do you assume they won't be able to answer in english? I don't know, maybe yes, maybe not... Remember a small detail, it is Portugal, not Spain (!). The portuguese are affordable, and try to help and understand others.

You can also write in portuguese. Something like that:

Bom dia,
Sou um cidadão canadiano, tenho pai português e mãe canadiana.

Como o meu pai é português, gostaria de adquirir a nacionalidade portuguesa.

Acontece que o meu registo de nascimento no Canadá está apenas assinado pela minha mãe. Os meus pais estão divorciados e não há qualquer registo do casamento deles em Portugal.

Informei-me sobre a minha situação junto do Consulado de Portugal em Toronto, e indicaram que primeiro teria de efectuar um Pedido de Registo de Perfilhação junto de uma Conservatória do Registo Civil em Portugal.

Relativamente a este meu pedido, agradeço que me esclareçam o seguinte:

1. O Pedido de Registo de Perfilhação pode ser feito em qualquer Conservatória do Registo Civil, ou deve ser feita em alguma específica, como seja, por exemplo, a Conservatória do Concelho de nascimento do meu pai?

2. Posso fazer esse pedido Online? Se sim, por favor pode indicar-me qual o formulário. Se não, posso delegar a alguém esse pedido já que vivo no Canadá? É necessário alguma Procuração? O meu pai pode tratar pessoalmente desse assunto, uma vez que vive actualmente em Portugal ?

3. Qual a documentação necessária, além da minha identificação e a do meu pai?

Junto a minha identificação e a do meu pai.

(Your identification, name, id citizen card, place/date of birth ...)
(Your father's identification, name, id citizen card, place/date of birth ...)

Desde já, agradeço a Vossa atenção, e fico a aguardar uma resposta da Vossa parte.

Muito obrigado

"When I read this at the beginning of this conversation, I thought that you had been registered at the Canadian Civil Registry with your father's identification, even though, at that time, I pressume he was a portuguese citizen and not canadian. But as I have understood now, in your Canadian birth certificate there isn't any reference to your father, it only refers to your canadian mother, is that so?"

No, my father's information is listed there. His full name, date of birth, country and city he was born in etc. But there is only one spot to sign for the parents and normally the mother signs it which mine did.

However the Toronto Consulate is saying that despite his information being there, there's no establishment of paternity without either his signature on the birth certificate,  the marriage being registered in Portugal (which it is not) or my birth being reported and registered in Portugal (which my father never did).

I was hoping that I could still apply for citizenship without those things, but apparently that is not the case and now I am left with the option of doing this “Termo de Perfilhação”.

By the way, the link I sent is "under review" so it's not showing the Council that I linked to in his city within the Faro District. I'll contact them though to confirm this can be done at their office.

I wasn't sure about emailing them in English - just thought it was presumptuous! But I'll try. Thanks again, I hope my situation is more clear now!

PS - I really appreciate you taking the time to write out the request in Portuguese. Thank you!

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