Portugal second in EU for foreigner naturalisation

Sweden, at top, says it is only ahead due to “capacity of response of administrative systems”

Portugal is the second country in the European Union with the highest rates of ‘naturalising foreigners’ (ceding them Portuguese nationality).

In 2020, Portugal accepted 32,147 requests for nationality from foreign residents, corresponding to a 5.5% rate of naturalisation (which is more than double the EU average), says Expresso.

Put another way it means that in every 100 resident foreigners, “more than five” go on to become Portuguese citizens.

Sweden, which leads the table, only believes it is at the top “because of the capacity of response of (its) administrative services”, adds the paper.

Lawyer João Gaspar Simões, who specialises in administrative law, explains that Portugal’s legislation in this regard has simply copied “the most integrationist models that exist”.

Reading between the lines, if Portugal’s administrative services were on a par with Sweden’s, Portugal would be in the top slot.

“Administrative practices in Portugal are very often a disgrace”, says Simões. “It is very rare for any problems (in naturalisation) being to do with the law, they are almost always in processing and administrative practice”.

Brazilians lead the list of naturalised foreigners: 2020 saw 10,109 get their papers. This nationality is followed by Cape Verdians (4,701) and Guineans (2,257).

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