Sephardic descendants account for three-quarters of those applying for Portuguese nationality

More than 50,000 people who identify themselves as descendants of Sephardic Jews applied in 2021 for Portuguese nationality, representing 72 percent of the total number of requests, pending to see how the tightening of requirements applied this year affects them.

As of September 1, 2022, Portugal requires descendants of Sephardim expelled in the 16th century to have some kind of effective link, such that they are able to prove that they make regular visits or have patrimony in Portuguese territory, for example.

The Ministry of Justice has confirmed that 70,087 applications were submitted in 2021, of which 50,407 corresponded to Sephardim, according to the Lusa news agency. The authorities have acknowledged that at the end of August they reinforced the staff in anticipation that the requests would skyrocket before the entry into force of the new rules.

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This path to citizenship generated particular controversy after the oligarch Roman Abramovich was able to benefit from it. The police even arrested the rabbi who had certified the Jewish ancestry of this ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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