Dual citizenship for Brazilians

Dual citizenship can open up plenty of opportunities, but be prepared to get things ready before leaving Brazil.

For several Brazilians who wish to travel, work or live abroad, having dual citizenship will help make this dream come true. However, great dedication, research and willingness to face bureaucracy are necessary.

If you are interested in obtaining a jus sanguinis document (i.e. right of blood) that confirms the citizenship of parents, grand-parents and great-grand-parents, and gives Brazilians the right to register more than one citizenship, you need to know more about your family origin.

In Brazil, for historical reasons, the most common citizenships include the Portuguese, Italian and Spanish citizenships. In recent years, an increasing number of foreigners have come to live in Brazil and, very soon, a new generation of immigrant descendants, including North Americans, French and Syrians, will increase the demand for dual citizenship applications in those countries.

The documents required in each dual citizenship process change. Most of the cases, the consulates of each country will require at least a birth certificate, a marriage certificate and a death certificate. Additionally, you will have to make a copy of your documents, have them officially translated and provide other receipts to file your application as smooth as possible.

Several companies provide assistance, from finding out where the necessary documents are located in the foreign country to legal services. This is not an affordable service, but it can be the best option if you want to be sure you will get it right the first time or if you don’t have enough time for so many steps. Another possibility is hiring only part of the services, such as those you cannot carry out on your own, like a sworn translation, for example.

In 2016, Brazil became a signatory of the Hague Apostille Convention, which facilitated this complicated process. In the past, to validate a document abroad you had to have it officially translated by a sworn translation, have his/her signature authenticated in a Notary’s Office, have the document authenticated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and by the Embassy or Consulate of the country in question. Now, Notary’s Offices located in state capitals are allowed to authenticate the document with an Apostille, eliminating months of waiting.

Even with these attempts to minimize processing time, remember that things change depending on each case and on the country conferring the citizenship. To learn more about the dual citizenship application process, follow the tips below:

Italian citizenship

Italian descendants by the paternal side or, if by the maternal side, born in Brazil after 1948, can apply for Italian citizenship. Women married to Italians and children born from a non-marital relationship are also entitled.

The documents requested by the Embassy include birth certificate, marriage certificate of the descendants, death certificate and naturalization certificate (for Italians only). However, additional documents can be requested after an initial analysis.

You can file your Italian citizenship application in Brazil and wait for the Consulate to review it, which may take ten years, in average. You can also apply for a resident visa in Italy, but you should have been in the country for over three months. In this process, you can get your dual citizenship in less than a year.

Spanish citizenship

Children of Brazilian parents born in Spain – provided that they have not been registered as Brazilians in the Consulate – and children and grand-children of Spanish people are entitled to request a Spanish citizenship. Also, great-grand-children younger than 18 years old, people married to Spanish citizens who have been living in Spain for one year, and Brazilians (or people from other Ibero-American nationalities) who have been living in Spain for at least 2 years are also entitled to apply. For other nationalities, applicants should be living legally and uninterruptedly in Spain for at least 10 years.

You can file your application with the Spanish diplomatic agency. You must submit your birth certificate, marriage certificate (if you are married) and your parent’s marriage certificate, as well as a declaratory data sheet signed by your father or mother born in Spain, your father’s or mother’s Spanish document, and your father’ or mother’s foreign identity card, if they live in Brazil. These documents do not need translation.

You will be given a receipt with the date your application was initiated and you will have to wait for directions on the next step. It is much quicker and affordable than the Italian citizenship process. It usually lasts one year and it is free of charge.

Portuguese citizenship

If you want a Portuguese citizenship, your father, mother or grand-parents need to have been born in Portugal. If you are married or have a stable relationship with a Portuguese citizen for over three years or if you have been living in Portugal for over six years, you can also apply for the Portuguese citizenship.

You have to submit your original birth certificate authenticated by Itamaraty Consular Division, your father’s or mother’s birth certificate born in Portugal, proof of residence, a copy of your Identity Card authenticated in a Notary’s Office, signature card or official authentication of the Notary’s Office, the form provided by the Consular section duly filled out and negative criminal records.

Your application should be submitted to one of the Portuguese Consulates and you will have to wait for directions on the next steps. If you intend to get a Portuguese citizenship by naturalization, your application should be filed with the Ministry of Internal Administration, specifically, the consular services of your residence area, if you don’t live in Portugal. The process is free of charge and will take only a few months to be completed.

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