Things to keep in mind while applying for residence after dual citizenship marriage with a Portuguese

With international travel made easier, it has become now easier for the global citizens to meet and mingle together. With that said, marriages between people of different nationalities has also increased. However, marriages that result in dual citizenship is not all fireworks and no work. Applying for residence in a foreign country after marriage could be a tiresome task.

With increasing ease of communications through internet and networking through global platforms inter country marriages are also seen on the rise as more youngsters are travelling abroad for employment and study purposes. Many of these youngsters fall in love and seek to settle in with their spouses. But, as you might suspect, dual citizenship marriages aren't immune to complex legal challenges regarding dual nationalities and difficulty in finding residence abroad. The complications increase when the laws of different countries coming into play for instance laws concerning the joint and seprate right to power of attorney of your real estate properties, child custody etc. Throw different countries into the mix, for instance, Portugal and Brazil and the matter become more complex and emotionally hard. 

If you are a woman into a dual citizenship marriage or thinking to get into one, or maybe you are a man facing similar situations planning to move in with your husband or fiancé or vice versa, or maybe just wanting to 'try out what works' you need to proceed with caution. As one wrong legal move could land you in enormous legal trouble and emotional turmoil. Before you leave, please read on to find out what the general laws are involving applying for a residence in case of a dual citizenship through marriage or rules of Bulgaria involving the issue. 

What exactly means by dual citizenship and why is it important in applying for residence?

Dual citizenship means you swore allegiance to both Brazil and Portugal and you have to abide by the laws of both the countries, you can apply to work, study, get social security, apply to residence and avail many other government benefits. 

Settling in Portugal

An individual looking to settle permanently in a Portual with his spouse for nationality or permanent residence or just to 'try it out' should consider all the options on his/her plate first. There could be easy ways too if you don't want to stress yourself with immigration attorneys while starting the new journey of your life with your spouse. You can for instance apply for immigration and employment and if you get lucky enough to qualify, boom, problem solved! However, if you don't qualify or don't want to use that option for whatever reasons, read on.

Keep in mind that marriage solely for the sake of permanent  citizenship or other nationalities is particularly not encouraged by most country's laws. If you want to live in Portugal after marrying a Portugese citizen here's what Portugese law states:

"After marrying a Portuguese citizen, if you intend to live with him in Portugal, you should go to the Consulate nearest to your residence in Brazil. Apply then for a residence permit due to the marriage with a national citizen (citizen's family residence card of the EU). You should deliver documents required by "Law 37/2006". A marriage made in Brazil to be valid in Portugal requires the application for homologation of foreign affairs (this can be done at the Consulate in Brazil). Which they send in Brazil, or in Portugal, is admitted to the Civil Registry Office). Without this, you are considered married in Portugal. But there is no validity under Portuguese law, only in Brazil"

Your partner could be your sponsor, in that case making it a spousal sponsorships. But, as you guessed right, the marriage doesn't have to be solely for residence or immigration purposes in order to avoid getting into legal trouble later. Many countries in US and Europe have laws that provide you a conditional offer of spousal sponsors. For instance, if a person from South Korea married a citizen of Europe he/she will have to wait 5 years to get full citizenship.

There are actually three basic laws in most countries through which people may apply for residence abroad after dual citizenship through marriage. Each takes different amount of time to change your citizenship status to dual citizenship. 

  • Consular method:  Applying to join your spouse in the country of his/her citizenship 
  • Alteration of status while you're in the same country: Applying to stay or remain with your spouse in the country of his/her residence or citizenship where you may already be working or studying on a visa
  • Fiancée visa: Applying to enter the country for the purpose of getting married to your duo partner. 

Consular method

You can apply to join your spouse in Portugal after you may already have married outside or inside that country at some time. The process can take from 8 to 12 months depending on the country. The immigration department may then send you an invitation.

  • The invitation

Is just one of the requirements to enter Portugal as a tourist. Which allows the person to stay for only 90 days. When it becomes renewable and that person will be staying in a nation's house, not in a hotel, the credit card is only for proving at the border that it has a means of keeping up, while you are making the visit. This has nothing to do with the residence permit.

US takes almost 12 months, European countries taking more or less the same including Portugal. You can contact our Miss legals for more legal assistance regarding your application. While you wait for the consular process to complete, you can apply for a visiting, non-immigrant visa and choose to live with your partner and children. However, we suggest you wait for the consular process before moving in as some countries legal processes and benefits could greatly be needed in your favour as accepted citizens in some cases if something goes bad. For instance, in case of an accident or injury you won't be given citizen benefits by the government. 

Staying with your partner in the country - Adjustment of status 

With the process listed later on in the article, there are many cons to applying for immigration and then residence in the country while you stay within the country. In case the process goes long or anything else goes wrong you are staying with your spouse for that peace of mind. However, that is only if you are already on a work or study visa in the country. If otherwise, you enter the country on visit visa and then file an immigration process to be able to apply for permanent residence, you risk many consular consequences. You may be brought under the radar with the consular office for fraud. That is because at the customs you told the custom officer through official papers that you were just on visit, and then you applied to a permanent visa and married. That may as well show off as intent of lying and misinformation to the customs. It may get your immigration visa process permanently banned. If not canceled, the irregular cirsumstances could make the process painstakingly difficult for you and your spouse. 

There is however some pros if you apply for immigration from within the country. The biggest advantage being, while the process takes from 8 to 12 months you could already be living with your spouse. If anything goes wrong you two could tackle this together. And while you are at it, you could also apply for a work visa, employement permissions or spousal sponsorship to make life easier. Unfortunately, in most country's case, you would then not be allowed to leave the country except in an emergency. Also, you would only be allowed to leave to travel if you file papers for that in advance. With all the pros and cons, you would then only be required to wait for a 12 month processing and screening period to get permanent visa and apply for residence. 

If you are already living in Portugal and you had entered as a tourist, you should go to SEF (Foreigners and Borders Services). There you should apply for a residence permit. As described above. Otherwise after 90 days, you're only allowed as a tourist. If you do not renew this entry (which is also made in the SEF) this will be in an irregular situation for you that might get you in trouble.

Entering the country to marry your fiancée

You can enter and marry in the country after you get the fiancée visa. You would however, be required to be married within the 90 days of entry in most cases. You could then, also apply for work visa/permission and stay with your spouse while waiting from 8 to 12 months processing period of your immigration. Once given immigration visa you could then file for permanent residence as dual citizen.

Depending on the basis of your situation in all of the above cases you may be required to produce the legal proof of your marriage as documents in front of the customs or immigation. Depending on the basis of the request for nationality, it will also be necessary to transcribe the marriage of the parents or grandparents in Portugal. As a necessary condition for the approval of the citizenship application, the transcription of the marriage is an administrative procedure independent of the process of citizenship. It is also processed at the Conservatories or Consulates.  Every marriage between a national and a foreign citizen is subject to investigation by the SEF. Does the marriage actually exist or is it false. Only with a view to obtaining a residence permit. If the marriage is proven to be false, this is a marriage crime. It is established for convenience and is punishable by a term of imprisonment, from 1 to 4 years (according to article 186 of Law 23/2007). This investigation procedure is initiated by the SEF. It may begin one day after the application for the residence card, or a month or even a year later. There is no fixed day and no time. Therefore, you can see that through marriage the process is a little longer. Is more possible, and obtaining the residence card is not immediate. Since this period of 3 months in practice takes a little longer. Usually only after the end of the investigation authorization is finally given. And the inspection will be more intensive if you are in an irregular situation.

You would also be required to produce all of the documents for the application process:

  • Own, completed and signed, provided by the Conservatories or Consulates;
  • The identification document of the applicant - passport or GR;
  • Applicant birth certificate;
  • Portuguese ascendant birth certificate (depending on the basis of the application for citizenship);
  • Birth certificate of the progenitor, son of the Portuguese (depending on the basis of the application for citizenship);
  • The criminal history of countries of naturalness, nationality, and residence (depending on the basis of the application for citizenship);
  • Portuguese criminal background (depending on the basis of the application for citizenship);
  • Proof of knowledge of the Portuguese language (depending on the basis of the request for citizenship);
  • Proof of links with Portugal (depending on the basis of the request for citizenship);
  • Birth certificate of the Portuguese spouse or partner (depending on the basis of the request for citizenship);
  • Marriage certificate transcribed in Portugal (depending on the basis of the application for citizenship);
  • The Certificate of the Portuguese judicial sentence that recognizes the stable union (depending on the grounds of the citizenship request).


I have child(ren) do they qualify?

The child(ren) will qualify within the application if the parents married before the child turned into an adult. For Portugal, the child must not be more than 18 years of age at the time of applying the petition. 

In general, couples spend lots of time preparing and planning each sweet moment of their marriage. Visa and immigrations is also such process that cross country couples should be keeping an eye on as their to do list item. Marriages itself is a complex process if it involves more than one nationality. It gets more hard, if it involves a spouse or children with different nationalities who want to apply for permanent residency. It would be wise to plan everything before a marriage between citizens of two countries to avoid complications and unpleasant circumstances. This is not what should be on your last to-do item. Please contact our Boss Girls on personalized assistance on the matter. 

Share this page

Advies nodig over dit onderwerp?

Boek een sessie met Miss Legal

Ask Miss Legal a private question

Comment on this article

You need to be registered or logged in