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What is the general law provision for naturalisation?

Key Area:
Political & Civic Participation
17/02/2012 - 16:16
Short Answer

Law 2/2006 of 17 April 2006 on nationality entered into force on 15 December 2006, together with Decree-law 237/A/2006 of 14 December 2006, and constitutes an amendment to Nationality Law no. 37/81. This new legislation on nationality facilitates the integration of immigrants living in Portugal through naturalisation.

Qualitative Info

According to the Government the law constitutes "an important step against exclusion." It will ease the integration of second and third generation foreign citizens born in Portugal and reduce cases of lack of equal treatment on the grounds of nationality which in many cases coincide with discrimination against ethnic minorities.

Portuguese nationality can be acquired notably, by third generation immigrants, if they have a parent born in Portugal and by second generation immigrants if the parent has his or her legal residence in and has been settled in Portugal for at least five years. Immigrants' associations consider that this law will simply benefit the third generation by leaving out most of the immigrants born in Portugal. Some NGO’s have criticised this law as the acquisition of Portuguese nationality still depends on the progenitor’s legal residence in the country. This new nationality law is considered as a step to reducing discrimination based on nationality. This law is applicable to all pending cases before administrative authorities and courts, except those where sanctions for discrimination can be imposed. As foreseen in law, these sanctions cannot be retroactive.


Malheiros, M. and Rosado, A. (2006), "European Anti-discrimination Law Review", N. 4 - 2006 European Network of Legal Experts in the Non-discrimination Field,, Date of access: 17.02.2012.

Malheiros, M. and Rosado, A. (2010), Report on Measures to Combat Discrimination: Directives 2000/43/EC and 2000/78/EC - Country Report 2009 - Portugal, European Network of Legal Experts in the Non-discrimination Field,, Date of access: 17.02.2012.

Groups affected/interested Migrants
Type (R/D) Anti-migrant/xenophobia
Key socio-economic / Institutional Areas Policing - law enforcement, Political participation, Integration - social cohesion
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