How to get Portuguese nationality through Stable Union

10 de June de 2021

Portuguese law allows, in certain cases, that a foreigner may have the Portuguese nationality without having to abdicate the nationality of their country of origin. In other words, a Brazilian can obtain Portuguese nationality without giving up his own. Anyone who has a Stable Union with a Portuguese national is entitled to claim Portuguese nationality.

But you have to be careful! There are some formalities and legal requirements to be fulfilled. Keep reading below to find out how it works.

How does stable union work

A stable union must also be recognized by the Portuguese Judiciary!
Keep reading…

In Brazil, we have two ways to formalize the Stable Union: One, through an extrajudicial registry, where we have the Public Deed of Stable Union, which, by force of law, has the legal nature of a Judicial Judgment.

Another way is through a Judicial Process, where the respective Stable Union is configured. In both cases, we have the formalization of marital coexistence proven in a document. But, is this document, by itself, valid in Portugal? The answer is no, see below…

The Judicial Judgment or the Public Deed of Stable Union to be valid in Portugal must be ratified by the Portuguese Judiciary.

It is necessary to file a Stable Union Recognition and Confirmation Action. This action will be processed in one of the Portuguese Courts. We usually do it at the Lisbon Court of Appeal.

Once recognized, the judiciary determines to the Central Registry Office to register the respective stable union in the Civil Registry of the national. Note that the Portuguese registration will appear, at its end, the referred registration and, therefore, it will be formally legalized, allowing your partner to apply for Portuguese Nationality based on the Stable Union with a Portuguese.

In the case of a union of more than 3 years, the individual can already apply for citizenship, since the Portuguese Nationality Law allows both married people and those living in a stable union with Portuguese to apply for nationality.

In other words, proving your union for more than three years with the Portuguese citizen, the nationality law confers the right to apply, as long as the effective connection to the Portuguese community is presented.

However, having a stable union period of more than 5 years, the effective connection to the Portuguese community, a requirement of the law, becomes presumed, and this time it is unnecessary for partners with more than 5 years of coexistence.

However, it is noteworthy that, even so, they do not escape the need for recognition by the Portuguese judiciary of the ratification of the Public Deed or Judicial Judgment of Stable Union.

Learn more about the legal process in Lisbon

The common-law marriage can be carried out through the Public Deed in an extrajudicial registry or through a judicial process, the most common being through the deed. Thus, for the deed to be valid in Portugal, it needs to go through Portuguese justice.

So, we at the Europa Online institute carried out the Stable Union Confirmation and Recognition Action. Therefore, the most important document is the Public Deed of the Union, or the Judicial Judgment that declares the Stable Union.

Therefore, we took to the Portuguese Judiciary (Lisbon Court of Relation) the filing of the action with both powers of attorney of the two companions (one of them being obviously Portuguese).

Then, at the end of the action, the Portuguese judge will ratify the common-law marriage so that it is valid in Portugal, determining the Registry to register the respective union in the Portuguese civil registry.

It is important to point out that, after the ratification in the Portuguese justice of the common-law marriage, what counts, in order to claim the citizenship of the Portuguese partner, is the effective time of the union, and not the date of the protocol at the Registry Office Centrals.

Thus, the individual will acquire Portuguese nationality through naturalization.

Receiving your Portuguese Civil Registry number, you can then schedule to receive the Portuguese identity, the citizen card and, later, obtain the Portuguese passport that allows free access to all member countries of the European Union, through the Schengen Treaty (both for work and housing).

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The Stable Union recognized by the Portuguese Judiciary and request for nationality for the partner

The ninth amendment to Nationality Law 37/81, Organic Law No. 2/2020, changed several points of the Law and was no different in the issue concerning the Stable Union, but let's see.

The legislator starts to recognize the stable union, but determines validity requirements. In case of non-compliance with the requirements, the applicant risks having an Opposition to his application for nationality.

Article 3 (Acquisition in case of marriage or de facto union)


Nº 3 – A foreigner who, at the date of declaration, has been living in a de facto union for more than three years with a Portuguese national may acquire Portuguese nationality, after an action for recognition of this situation to be brought before the civil court.

So we clearly see the requirements for claiming Portuguese nationality based on the Union of Fact, namely:

  1. Living in a de facto union for 3 years
  2. Recognize the union in the Portuguese Court
  3. Prove effective connection (art. 9, paragraph 1, subparagraph a)

Therefore, after the recognition of the Stable Union by the Portuguese Court, the judge himself orders it to be registered in the national's Civil Registry, starting to state that he lives in a Stable Union with that person.

After that, comes the issue of effective connection, which is waived in the following cases, when:

  1. There are children of the couple with Portuguese nationality
  2. The couple has been together for at least six years

We at Europa Online can help you in this process!

Thus, our team multidisciplinary has Portuguese, Brazilian, Spanish, Italian lawyers, Brazilian and European genealogists and historians who are able to help you in the long-awaited European Citizenship.

To find out how the nationality process works from the stable union and others, contact us at Whatsapp +351 911 859 195.

We are waiting for you!

By Rodrigo Salgado Martins

CEO Instituto EuropaOnline

OA 62346 L

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