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Citizenship application – birth certificate and criminal record

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Hello,

 

I am in the process of arranging my son’s citizenship application.  He turns 18 this month and has resided here in Portugal for 15 years.  I’ve been investigating what is required for his application and there are two points I keep being given different information on, even from lawyers.  I wonder if anyone has any clarity on these?

1. Criminal record.  He was born in Japan and lived there until 3 years old.  He holds a British birth certificate but has never resided there.  I’ve received mixed guidance, from being told he will need to produce a criminal record from both Japan and the UK, to him not needing to produce a criminal record from either country as it was a certain number of years in the past and that a child of 3 years does not need to produce this evidence.

2. Birth certificate.  I know we need to send this to the Legalization Office in the UK to be legalized.  Also, we will need a translation of the birth certificate to be translated and this to be notarized here in Portugal.  The conflicting information I have received is that, on one hand, the legalized birth certificate from the UK is enough for the application process, but on the other hand, he will need a new birth certificate to be issued as only birth certificates that are less than 6 months are accepted, as well as having this birth certificate legalized and notarized in the UK.

I’m very confused about the whole process.  The Portuguese website is somewhat vague and it is difficult to get concrete information.  Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you!

Jeremy

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On 1, I fear some of this will depend on the case officer handling the application, as the situation is not quite the norm; so be prepared for no answer being definitive until the application is handed in or being processed.  It would be rational for them to consider asking for police checks from Japan and the UK – if there’s an opportunity to make clear what you outline above, then it may be that neither is insisted upon.

On 2, UK birth certificates don’t expire (whereas some Portuguese and other documents have validity dates).  In my own application, my certificate was a reissue dated some time in the 1990s.  However, it would be sensible to have the apostille carried out as soon prior to the submission as possible; and it’s both the certificate and the apostille that are translated and notarised (together).

The process has been in some flux due to the increasing push towards it being done online.  I had provided a thread on my own experiences in early 2023, with details – but I cannot now find it here, perhaps a casualty of the forum migration.  I’ll try to message you with my crib sheet – I think I can message you, but you may not be able to reply.

Bear in mind timescales – whilst I was lucky, and it was done in a few months, the current advised times are 2-2.5 years from application to outcome.  Good luck with it all!

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@thomasribatejo Thank you Thomas, this is extremely useful information!  Yes, I’ve been told 1 to 2 years – each time I hear a timeframe it gets extended by 6 months, and you have continued that tradition 😀 

Do they check for all the documentation at the time of application, or may they contact us at some point after we have submitted all the documents?  Perhaps I can get the “basics” in now (legalized birth certificate = notarized translation, proof of language ability, Portuguese criminal record, letter to Ministry of Justice) and if they require more, such as Japan and UK criminal records, to cross that bridge at that time?

Thank you,

Jeremy

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@jezza

This forum doesn’t easily allow images, but see below.  If delivering in person, they’re likely to do a completeness check at that stage; but the formal stages are several, and they reserve the right to refer back for more information.  This process chart is my partner’s, at month 7 following submission.  The documentation check is step 4, not yet reached…

If the application itself is clear that your son has lived in Portugal since age 3, and prior to that only lived in Japan (and never the UK) then I suspect your strategy may make sense – they may reasonably decide there’s no purpose in requiring foreign police checks.

Progresso
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@thomasribatejo Just received your crib sheet – excellent thank you so much!  For some reason, I’m not allowed to reply 😓

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(@moa)
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@thomasribatejo Did you have to attach your income tax return copies to your application? I know you received your citizenship quickly if memory serves me well.

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@moa no, that’s not a requirement of naturalisation based on 5+ year residency.

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(@moa)
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@thomasribatejo Did you do all on your own?

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@moa yes, I did the in-person submission, for which no professional support was required.

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@thomasribatejo How long did you wait to get the citizenship? Also, did they change your place of birth to Portugal? I’ve heard that from Daniel dos Reís but people don’t believe it.

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@moa I seemed to be fortunate with my timing – I submitted in mid/late January 2023, and it was all done, including getting the CC and Passport (which one applies for sequentially afterwards) by mid June.  It is now taking MUCH longer, sadly.

My place of birth was not changed – it only appears on the passport (and not the CC), but remains correct.  I cannot imagine why it would be changed, and have never heard of that previously.

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(@moa)
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@thomasribatejo You mean just a few months??? Awesome. I don’t know why Daniel said that, really. Is CC “certidão de cidadão”? No birth place there, interesting. Thanks for the info. Come my turn hopefully I’ll still be an option given how fast things can change.  

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@moa CC = cartão de cidadão (citizen’s card – the ID card)  

I was lucky, the majority of the work happened across a 3 month period.  Now, it seems 1-2 years is easily possible, sadly.

It may be possible there’s a confusion somewhere between nationality (which = Portuguese, once successful in the citizenship) and naturalidade which relates to origin… but I am not sure what was being referred to.

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@moa The place of birth is never changed, only the nationality. As @thomasribatejo said, it’s probably a confusion between “naturalidade” (place of birth) and “nacionalidade” (nationality).

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@thomasribatejo Hi Thomas, quick question.  I know I have to get the birth certificate translated, but do I need to get the Apostilled certificate translated as well?

 

Thanks,

Jeremy

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@jezza  in a word, yes! Broadly speaking, things not in Portuguese need certified translations except where they’re international formats (like the passport).

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@ThomasRibatejo Hello again!  Finally received my son’s legalized birth certificate back from the UK.  Now it’s all go!  I’m filling in the form to be signed at the place of application.  For payment it only seems to give the option of a cheque.  Did you have to pay with way or were other options available?

Thanks!

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@jezza I have never had cheques here in Portugal, so I know I didn’t pay with one of those.  I believe I paid with my Multibanco card in the Registos, as I wouldn’t normally have that level of cash either.

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@thomasribatejo yeah me neither!  Great thanks.

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Well, we went to the registration office and got kicked back without criminal records from place of nationality (UK) and place of birth (Japan) even though he’s never lived in the UK and left Japan when he was 3.  Common sense dictates that it is impossible to have a criminal record in both cases, but that areguemnt just didn’t wash with the authorities.  I was expecting this result.  As least they verified that everything else we tried to submit is fine.

 

Getting the UK criminal record looks easy enough (online?) but for the Japanese one, he has no choice but to travel to Japan and get it.  Unfortunately, he won’t be able to do that until December, returning to Portugal early January.  I’m wondering if all the documents we have now (especially notarized ones) will still be accepted as valid even though they will be around 6 months older by then?  Perhaps you have an idea @thomasribatejo ?

 

Thanks!

 

 

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@jezza I wouldn’t like to swear to anything, honestly.  It sounds as if it’s being done completely by the book at this office, so I’d check for the correct, up to date, information on accepted validity periods, and assume they’ll stick rigidly to it.  If they have not taken documents in, it would be logical that they’d need to be “in date” at the time they do take them in…

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@thomasribatejo Yes, totally agree, thanks for your thoughts.  I just can’t seem to find what the validity dates are.

It seems the only actual notarized document we need that we have now is the birth certificate (apostilled) and its translation.  As UK birth certificates don’t have any expiry date, then perhaps this remains valid forever, including its notarization and certificated translation?  Doesn’t sound plausible. 

We also took in notarized copies of his passport and residency card but the officer said are not required.  She also said the criminal records do not need to be apostilled but they do need to be translated and the translation needs to be notarized.

Things just seem to keep getting more and more complicated 😩

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@jezza UK birth certificates (unlike many other countries’) don’t have an expiry date, you’re right – and one logic would suggest that, as the document doesn’t change, the apostilling date is moot.  But only the person/office handling it will really be the arbiters.  

This is similar to the issue with the criminal records and apostilling.  Over the last 12-18 months, apostilling before notarising seems to have become standard, whilst before that (and in my case), it wasn’t needed.  Inconsistency is the only constant, it seems!

 

 

 

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@thomasribatejo May I ask how you got your UK criminal record apostilled?  Did you use an online agency or something?

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@jezza Through the official channel, here.  I can’t see any of the others would improve on this, and might cost more.

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@thomasribatejo Ah ok, the same process as the birth certificate.  Ahhhh not again! 😭

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@jezza well, at least that process does work… even though it’s not lovely to have to do it!

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@thomasribatejo If you are ever in or near Ericeira, let me know.  I owe you a few canecas!

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@jezza you’re very kind!

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