Portuguese Citizenship Rules Reformed: A New Dawn for Golden Visa Applicants

Portuguese Citizenship Rules Reformed: A New Dawn for Golden Visa Applicants

Updated: 7 January 2024
Charles Taylor Harris Executive Director

The Portuguese Parliament recently approved some significant changes to the Citizenship Law in Portugal.

The changes directly address the prolonged waiting periods and inefficiencies in the residency application process that Portugal Golden Visa investors have historically faced. Golden Visa applicants will be able to count the ‘application waiting period’ towards their five-year period to citizenship.

Understanding the Key Amendments

  • Previously: The five-year residency requirement for nationality applications started from the date of issuing the first residency permit.
  • Proposed Change: The counting of the five-year period will begin from the date of submitting the residency application, provided it is approved.
  • Impact: This effectively includes the waiting time (in some cases up to two years, these days) for residency processing in the five-year period, correcting a longstanding imbalance in the system.

Examples of the Change

  • An applicant from December 2021, still awaiting a biometrics appointment or for a Golden Visa card to arrive, can look forward to applying for nationality in December 2026.
  • A June 2019 applicant, who received their first residency card in November 2021 after an 18-month wait, becomes eligible for nationality application in June 2024.

What’s the Significance?

The growing delays and backlog of the entities processing all types of residency applications in Portugal (formerly SEF, and now AIMA) have caused a lot of injustice for many Golden Visa investors. These waits, in some cases, exceeded two years.

The Portuguese Parliament addressed this matter on January 5th, 2024, and clearly established that the waiting time, which is caused by a government entity itself, should be considered within the five-year-period required to apply for Portuguese citizenship.

This legislative adjustment represents more than just a procedural change. It’s a recognition and rectification of an unfair situation, offering a more equitable and efficient path to citizenship for international investors.


Portugal’s decision to amend its Nationality Law to include the ‘waiting period’ is an applaudable move that aligns the country’s legal framework with the realities of its residency application process. It’s a change that brings hope, fairness, and renewed enthusiasm for investors eyeing Portugal as their destination for investment migration.

How Get Golden Visa Can Help

Get Golden Visa is a world-class investment immigration agency, devoted to assisting individuals seeking extraordinary residency and citizenship opportunities.

Our team of seasoned professionals is readily available to provide expert guidance and support for all inquiries related to the esteemed Portugal Golden Visa investments. Don’t hesitate to reach out and embark on your journey toward a prosperous future.

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