Portuguese Legislators Step Back from Attempt to Severely Limit Applications for Citizenship From Sephardic Jews Descendants #sephardic

Jan Meisels Allen





The Socialist Party, the ruling party in Portugal has stepped back from its attempt to severely limit applications for citizenship from descendants of Sephardic Jews of Portuguese origin. In May, the Socialists submitted a draft amendment to the 2015 law that grants citizenship to people who can prove they are descended from Jews whose families fled the Iberian Peninsula following the Inquisition. That amendment would have permitted eligibility for citizenship only for  people who lived in Portugal for two years.  Currently, there are no requirements for applicants to live in Portugal or learn the language.


The concern was that Portugal would have been overwhelmed with people and Portugal could have lost its identity and that people were just looking for a European passport.


Rather than enact major changes to the existing law, they decided to adopt new regulations that would specify an “objective connection” with Portugal.


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Jan Meisels Allen

Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee


Mark Strauss

I'm very interested in exploring the opportunity to gain Portuguese Citizenship, especially since the new law does not require residency or the ability to speak the language. . My wife and I honeymooned in Portugal 30 years ago, and last year we celebrated our 30th anniversary, there
I have a family tree that shows that my 19th Great-Grandfather was Don Abraham of Toledo (Abraham el Alfaquin = al-Ḥakīm), who was physician to King Alfonso X (el Sabio - the Learned) of Castile, and to his son Sancho IV. He was active between 1260 and 1277 and translated books from Arabic into Castilian under the patronage of the king in Toledo and Burgos.
Since the law only requires proof of ancestry on the Iberian Peninsula, I would think that I would be eligible. Has anyone had experience gaining Portuguese Citizenship; and/or can recommend someone in Portugal who could help facilitate the paper work? If so, please email me, personally.

Schelly Talalay Dardashti

Sephardiccertificate.org is the Iberian citizenship program of the Jewish Federation of New Mexico. After a very successful program of thousands upon thousands of applications for Spain (now closed), the program is now working on Portugal.

Schelly Talalay Dardashti

The Portuguese process requires an excellent generation by generation genealogical report (with images of birth, death, marriage documents). Just having such a family tree (like that described above) won't be considered proof.



I am also interested in obtaining Portuguese citizenship.  I would appreciate any advice and contact information.  Thanks so much!

Sarina Roffe

My genealogical research company handles Portuguese applications for citizenship for Sephardic Jews. I do not handle non-Jewish applicants as the process is more detailed than I can manage.
The Portuguese process for Jews needs to go back to a jewish surname. BUT THE MOST important document is a letter from an Orthodox rabbi certifying you are a descendant of a Sephardic Jew.

Without such a letter, on letterhead, with the rabbis credentials, it is almost impossible.

Sarina Roffe