Naturalization for Sepharic Jews


What is it?

Sepharic Jews are the descendants of ancient Jewish communities who lived in the Iberian peninsula before 1492.

Following the Alhambra edict of 1492, the Sepharic communities became the target of the Inquisition and were persecuted by the Spanish government. Many of them initially took refuge in Portugal but were later expelled by King Manuel if they did not submit to the Roman Catholic Church.

Under the Law of Jewish Return, descendants of Sepharic Jews can reclaim their Portuguese nationality if they can prove their Sepharic origins.

It is open to Jewish and non-Jewish individuals. 

To obtain the Portuguese nationality, the first step is to apply for a certificate of origin at a Sepharic Jews Community. The document should then be sent to the Jewish community in Lisbon or Porto.


Decree Law 30A / 2015, called "Law of Return", offers Portuguese nationality to Jews and descendants of Jews who fled Portugal at the time of the Inquisition as a form of "reparation of damage". It is not possible, for the most part, to identify that the ancestors fled from Portugal, since many generations have passed since the Inquisition without the proofs of the Jewish identity.


Therefore, through Decree Law 30A / 2015, Portugal considers Sephardic Jews all those Jews who have lived or passed through countries that make up the so-called "escape route". As a result of this understanding, Portugal will consider them Portuguese Jews.

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