A Portuguese colony for over 450 years, the coastal state of Goa gained independence from foreign rule in 1961. The departing Portuguese, however, offered Goan natives the choice of Portuguese citizenship. The privilege of availing of Portuguese citizenship was later granted to Goans who had lived in Portuguese-ruled Goa, as well as their off-springs up to three generations down the line.
Thousands of Goans have used the opportunity to migrate to Portugal and subsequently to the UK, thanks to the easy access across countries in the European Union. A significant number of expat Goans have also availed of the ‘Bilhete de Identidade’, the Portuguese national identity card, which takes the applicant a step closer towards obtaining the Portuguese passport. Rough estimates suggest that up to 30,000 Goans are living in the UK, using the Portuguese citizenship route.
Portugal Citizenship can be given to those who were born before 1961 in the ancient Portuguese State of India, in accordance with Portuguese Nationality Law 37/81 and the relevant revisions of that law and all additional legislation on the subject.
Goans whose parents or grandparents were born in Goa before the Liberation of Goa on December 19, 1961, are eligible to register their births in the Central Registry in Lisbon, Portugal. Once this is done they can apply for an Identity Card and eventually for a Portuguese Passport.
Once the Identity Card or Passport is obtained these people can go to Portugal and many other European countries including England without any visa and also reside legally there and obtain employment.
What Are The Requirements To Obtain The Citizenship?
- To have born in the former Portuguese territories of Goa, Daman, Diu, Dadra, and Nagar Haveli during the Portuguese sovereignty, i.e., until 19 December 1961;
- To be descendant to parents or grandfathers that were born in the territories listed above during the period of Portuguese
- Must prove their residence in the period 1974 / 1975.
- The rights of all who are born in the former Portuguese territories during the period of Portuguese sovereignty are guaranteed by the records of his birth in Portugal.
- The record of these registries and other relevant facts are essential to accompany the application for Portuguese citizenship – the old documents.
- The record of this and other relevant facts are essential to accompany the application for Portuguese citizenship.
Why do people from Goa apply for a Portuguese passport?
- Goans can go to Portugal and many other European countries including England without any visa and also reside legally there and obtain employment if they possess a Portuguese passport.
- Lack of employment in Goa for the locals that suits their educational qualifications.
Goans on account of improvement in academic qualifications are not willing to take up jobs like electricians, plumbers, welders, carpenters, waiters, and many other similar jobs, though they are willing to work in similar occupations in foreign countries.
Also, those who qualified as technicians, graduates, and postgraduates, engineers, etc. are not finding well-paid jobs easily as they have to compete with candidates from other states often with better qualifications, more work experience, and willing to work for lower salaries and longer hours.
People applying for the Portuguese passport come from different parts of Goa, right from Mapusa to Canacona, Vasco and Sanguem. People are being optimistic and are applying for a passport because if they don’t get to work and live in the UK, they always have 27 other countries in the European Union.
The new wave of passport holders comprises the children of those born before 1961. The younger generation prefers to hold a Portuguese passport as it has more opportunities. When Brexit happens, they can still opt for places like Canada and the USA.
The verification of documents is now done online. All the documents have to be proper and in order. The verification is done online and there is no delay in the processing. For those who were born before 1961, and starting their registration from scratch, it may take upto three years to get a Portuguese passport and another 12 months for their children to get a passport. Once in the UK, they can opt for a pre-settled status or a settled status. Both the statuses will receive the same benefits including government jobs. They can also apply for British citizenship if they have lived for five years in the country.
Holding Portuguese passports provide Goans the advantage of speaking in English to live and work in the United Kingdom, in a culture that is closer to home.