According to a report by DN, civil registry offices and registries have been clogged with requests for Portuguese nationality, especially in August, on the eve of the amendment to the nationality law relating to stricter rules for Sephardic Jews.

Between 2010 and 2016, the services of the Instituto dos Registos e do Notariado (IRN) received an average of 100,000 requests for nationality per year, which has increased substantially in the last five years (between 2017 and 2021), according to the Ministry of Justice (MJ). "This annual average has exceeded 160,000 requests. In 2021 alone, more than 195,000 requests for nationality have been submitted."

A bad August

"August was the worst month, with more than 3,000 requests a day. In addition to the lack of employees, there was a lack of means, namely for the digitalisation of processes", José Abraão, secretary general of the Union of Public Administration Workers told DN.

Lawyer Fabiana Azevedo has many processes in her hands regarding the acquisition of Portuguese nationality and says that they have never taken so long to be completed: "They take between 24 and 29 months to be completed."

Data for 2022 is yet to be complied, but last year the IRN granted Portuguese nationality to 133,874 foreigners, mainly Brazilians and Sephardic Jews, the latter with more than 50,407 applications. Completing the top 5 are those from Cape Verde, Angola and Guinea-Bissau.

Reinforcement of services

Alongside the Central Registry Office, in Lisbon, the services of the Central Archive of Porto are now able to receive and process these requests. "17 nationality counters were opened at the Civil Registry Offices of Amadora, Aveiro, Braga, Coimbra, Évora, Faro, Guarda, Guimarães, Lisbon, Oliveira de Azeméis, Ovar, Pombal, Santarém, Torres Vedras, Vila do Conde, Vila Nova de Gaia and Viseu", the MJ told DN, at the same time that 24 centres were created to analyse the processes of descendants of Portuguese Sephardic Jews.