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How can I apply for Portuguese citizenship if my mother was born in Macao?

My mother is a Chinese citizen born in Macau. I was born in the U.S. and is a U.S. citizen. Recently I read that Portugal has made significant changes to its naturalization law, and people with family ties to a former Portuguese colony might be able to apply for Portuguese citizenship. I am wondering if I am eligible to apply for naturalization. What requirements do I have to meet?

  • Caiado Guerreiro
    May 28, 2019

    Macau was considered a Portuguese territory until the entry into force of the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic of 1976, on the 25th of April. As of that date, Macau became qualified as a "territory under Portuguese administration which is governed by a statute appropriate to its special situation" until the joint Portuguese-Chinese declaration of Dec. 19, 1999, in which it officially became Chinese territory. Portugal and China agreed that no one will be able to acquire Portuguese citizenship because of their territorial link to Macau from that date, being nevertheless secured the citizenship acquisition due to a family bond with a Portuguese citizen. In this sense, and with the entry into force of the new Portuguese nationality law, only Macanese born from a Portuguese father or mother can be considered as a Portuguese citizen. Notwithstanding, in addition to this situation, Macanese are entitled to Portuguese nationality if: born in Macao territory until November 21st of 1981, unless they are the children of foreigners who were in that territory in the service of their own state; born in Macao territory between November 21st of 1981 and December 20th of 1999, provided they are the children of a Portuguese father or mother; foreign women married to Portuguese nationals until November 21st of 1981; they are direct descendants, born after December 20th of 1999 of Portuguese nationals. For the purpose of acquiring Portuguese nationality, Macanese who meet these requirements must register their birth in the Portuguese civil registry. The required documentation varies from case to case, but a power of attorney, a copy of personal identification documents/passport and birth/marriage records will always be required. All documents that are issued to entities outside Portugal will only be accepted by Portuguese entities if they are duly apostiled (under the Hague Convention) and translated into Portuguese.

  • March 20, 2019

    According to Portuguese law, you are eligible to apply as long as you are citizen from a non-European Union country. It does not matter about your ancestors' nationality.

  • NEXT/Gali Macedo & Associados
    April 03, 2019

    The acquisition of Portuguese nationality by citizens born in Macau can only be requested by citizens born there during the Portuguese administration (until 1981). Therefore, if your mother fulfils this requirement and would wish to obtain Portuguese nationality, her process would have to be taken care of first, and only after her granting of Portuguese nationality could you start your own nationality process. Also, please note that Portugal allows for its citizens to have two nationalities. However, other countries such as China do not allow this. Finally, in order for Portuguese nationality to be granted, the applicants must prove that they have links and connections to Portugal and its culture as well as having some knowledge of the Portuguese language.