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article imageGoans explore Europe through Portuguese citizenship

By Armstrong Vaz     Dec 15, 2008 in World
Thousands of Indians from the Portuguese colonies have gone to Europe and settled there after acquiring Portuguese citizenship. A Portuguese citizenship, gives them passage to work and settle anywhere in Europe as European citizens.
Remdious Rodrigues, a former Goa Shipyard employee - a government undertaking is on his way to UK with a stopover in Portugal to collect his Portuguese passport and become a Portuguese citizen after surrendering his Indian passport. He is a step away from giving up his Indian citizenship in search of his European dreams.
The 50-year-old Indian from the holiday resort state of Goa who has his family of wife and children still based in Goa did not have to make rounds at the immigrations offices of the UK embassy in India, but pursued his English dreams through the Portuguese connections. Goa was a former Portuguese colony till 1961, until the Indian army liberated it, on December 19 that year.
An Indian born in that country and who has spent his entire life in India can he become a European Union citizen, is the immediate question, which comes to mind. For some with no connection to history Indians opting for Portuguese citizenship may seem strange. But this is the route, which Indians from the western state of Goa and union territories of Daman and Diu have been exploring to further their European dreams.
Yes, people from the former Portuguese colonies in India, which includes Goa, Daman, Diu, Nagar and Haveli can exercise the option to become citizens of Portugal subject to certain conditions.
Rodrigues is not the lone Indian who has opted for Portuguese citizenship. There have been hundreds and thousands of Indians from the Portuguese colonies that have gone to Europe and settled there after acquiring Portuguese citizenship. A Portuguese citizenship, which gives them passage to work and settle any where in Europe as European citizens.
For most Goans the most favoured destination is UK. Rough estimates indicate that there are more than 50,000 Portuguese Goans in England. The reason for favouring England over other countries is the language, which the Goans find ease to adjust, while the residents from Daman and Diu have settled in different countries.
But in recent times with Bulgaria and Romania joining the European Union, the migrant workers from India are facing competition in the cheap unskilled labour market, informs recently migrated England based Goan Anthony Baretto saying, “Early days in England are certainly a struggle.”
What are the benefits one gets of being part of the European Union by joining the club - citizens gain the right to move in the world’s largest cross-border job market.
Even as UK deliberates to keep a check on illegal migration to the country more and more people are registering online to get an appointment to submit their documents to the Portuguese Consul-General in Goa.
The process of securing appointment itself takes close to one to two years, informs Wilson Coutinho, a resident of Goa who tried last week to log in on the site to get an online appointment to submit his documents for Portuguese residency. With every day the backlog of cases is piling up at the Consul-General’s office in Goa.
Elaborate procedure put in place by the embassy before clearing applications take another one-three years informs Remedious Rodrigues. The process involved a lot of paper work and making rounds to different government in the last three years.
The tightening of procedures was necessitated after alleged gangster Abu Salem got a Portuguese passport through fraudulent means.
Interestingly Portugal has the largest numbers of people of Indian origin - some 70,000 people of Indian origin and Non-resident Indians.
“Indian immigration to Portugal has happened in different waves from the 16th Century onwards. The first wave was the Portuguese ships, which carried craftsmen, tailors and others with specialised skills from India to Portugal. They have had a distinct influence on the architecture and culture of our country. The second wave was of Goan intellectuals who went to Portugal to study and then settled down and the third and most significant wave was in 1961, when the people of Goa were given the choice of opting for Portuguese citizenship,” says Constantino Hermanns Xavier, a researcher.
That was when a large number of Goans in administrative services and military officers immigrated. The people of Goa, up to the third generation, can exercise the option to become citizens of Portugal even now. The application process in such cases, however, is long and a large number of documents need to be verified. Sometimes applications remain pending for many months,” he adds.
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Requirements by Indians to apply for a Portuguese Passport
Requirements To Apply:
All applications for Portuguese Nationality should be submitted to the nearest Portuguese Consulate of your area.
The following documents will be necessary for the Application:
1. For those born in the Antigo Estado da India before 18th December 1961:
Birth certificate and Marriage certificate (if applicable) issued by the Conservatória do Registo Civil de Goa, Damão, Diu e Dadrá e Nagar Avelí.
Same documents for the spouse (if applicable).
Legal Identification Documents (current passport). If submitted in Goa: valid Indian Passport or identity certificate with attached photograph issued by Mamlatdar/Sarpanch. Other identity cards can include a ration card or a voter identity card or a driving licence.
Certificate of Residency with full address and photograph.
Certificate of Residency indicating residency between January 1974 and December 1975. If you were residing in the ex-Portuguese territories in Africa you do not qualify to apply.
2. For those born after 18th December 1961:
It will be necessary to prove that their parents were born in the Antigo Estado da India (Goa, Damão, Diu e Dadrá e Nagar Aveli) and got married there before 18th of December 1961.
Birth certificate of the parents, marriage certificate of the parents, death certificate if any of the parents is deceased, all issued by the Conservatória do Registo Civil de Goa, Damão, Diu e Dadrá e Nagar Aveli.
Birth certificate and marriage certificate (if applicable) of the individual applying.
Legal Identification Documents (current passport). If submitted in Goa: valid Indian Passport or identity certificate with attached photograph issued by Mamlatdar/Sarpanch. Other identity cards can include a ration card or a voter identity card or a driving licence.
Certificate of Residency with full address and photograph.
Certificate of Residency indicating residency between January 1974 and December 1975. If you were residing in the ex-Portuguese territories in Africa you do not qualify to apply.
3. For those born after 18th December 1961 whose parents were born in the Antigo Estado da India before that date and got married after that date or got married outside the Antigo Estado da India:
It will be necessary to register their parents first or at least one of the parents according to number 1.
The Nationality Application of the individual can only be submitted after the full registration (birth and marriage certificate) of the individual's parents (or at least one of the parents) as Portuguese in the Registo Civil Português.
If the birth and the marriage certificates of the parents (or of at least one of the parents) of the individual are already registered in the Registo Civil Português, the individual just has to submit the respective references (numbers and year of the birth and marriage certificate).
Attention:
All documents written in English or any other language must be translated to Portuguese.
All documents issued in Goa must be certified by a) Public Notary, b) Collector, c) Under Secretary (Home)
All documents issued in Damão and Diu must be certified by a) Public Notary, b) Mamlatdar and Joint Secretary (Home).
All documents issued in Bombay must be certified by a) Public Notary, b) Mantralaya.
Incomplete documents or documents not following these instructions will not be accepted.
NB: These are not legal/professional translations.
This part applies to all applicants:
The reader must consult and refer to the nearest Portuguese Consulate and ask for detailed and up to date information before proceeding.
It would be advised to search for professional help as well (lawyer or solicitor).
Please note that Portugal allows dual nationality but not all countries allow and you should be aware of this before applying.
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