Posted in Portuguese

O Preço da Tolice

Já me queixei muitas vezes da nossa decisão de sairmos da UE. Ganhei mais um motivo de raiva, porque comprei um pacote de aulas. Vendem-se em dólares, mas a taxa de câmbio em vigor está tão ridícula que me custou mais do que anteriormente. Muito obrigado apoiantes do Brexit.

Posted in English

Applying for Dual Portuguese Citizenship

Updated 12/3/19 in light of what I learned in Porto

Well, it looks like some people voted for a national act of self-harm and those of us whose families straddle more than one country need to think about planning for the future. In our case, we’re doing that by applying for dual citizenship (me, daughter, both currently british) and leave to remain (Mrs L, Portuguese) to ensure we’re all in the same boat and can act together in future if some future government decides to make life properly difficult for EU citizens or punish them financially or it becomes difficult to live and work in the countries we used to be able to move around in freely, all thanks to the actions of a bunch of divs who didn’t do the homework before getting into the voting booth.

I thought I’d write down the steps here in case it’s helpful. I’m going to focus on UK citizens living in the UK. If you’re an expat, you’re pretty well covered by other sites like this and of course if you’re Portuguese in the UK there’s a lot of info here.

The obvious point first of all is that it’s almost certainly going to be easier while we’re still in the EU than it would be after we leave and britain is towed across the ocean to be moored off Mar-a-Lago or whatever these idiots have in store for us. In other words, if you’re reading this, you’d better get your skates on.

Basic Approaches

Have a think about how you are going to submit your applications because that will determine some of the later choices you make. Options are:

  1. Go to the consulate in London. If at all possible, avoid this option.
  2. By mail. This is obviously a bit slower and you’ll have to figure out the logistics of how to get your documents validated unless you are mad enough to post the originals, which I don’t recommend, but if you can suss that out, this might be the least hassle option.
  3. Visit Portugal itself. Obviously this is the most fun option because you’ll be in Portugal, and the offices shut 3 hours before the bookshops and about 7 hours before the restaurants so you’ll have plenty of time to unwind.
    Several towns have offices where you can register. I think the smaller the town, the less time it takes because Lisbon and Porto are already swamped with Brazilians, Venezuelans and Brits. Presumably Faro has a massive backlog of “expats” too. Book a few days away. Maybe one for any preliminaries (say, get a NIF, meet with a Translator if you have any documents being translated) and leave two days for the process itself in case you have any problems with that and need to follow up.

Length of marriage

You need to have been married for 3 years to use the marriage route so if you’re not already hitched, tough (but there are other routes you can use – see below). If you got married in the UK, make sure the marriage is registered at the Portuguese consulate too. You will probably have done this if your other half updated their citizen card with a new surname. It’s slow and awful because it involves the consulate. They require all the same documents as described in this blog post, plus you’ll have to use their bloody awful online appointment booking, both turn up in person, and deal with various indignities.


The cost for an adult is €250. When you go to download the forms (“modelos”), there’s a big warning up front. Translation:


Applications that are not accompanied by the required payment will be rejected outright with all the documents. If payment is made by cheque, it must be a certified cheque or bank cheque issued in Euros from a company with representation in Portugal to the order of “IRN, IP” [this just means the Institute itself] issued on portuguese banks.

This seems a bit repetitive but basically, get thee to a bank that has branches in Portugal (Santander for example), open a bank account if you haven’t already got one, and ask for a banker’s cheque/banker’s draft.

There are two other alternatives. One is to get a “Vale Postal” (postal order) which you can buy at a post office (CTT) in Portugal. Again, make sure it’s made out to IRN, IP and has the correct address. The Vale Postal route is relatively straightforward if you have all the bits you need – the details of the payee (on the form itself) and the recipient, but on the downside, you have to do it in Portugal 3 working days before you submit to give it time to reach them. This is because a Vale Postal doesn’t work in quite the same way as a UK postal order. They mail the slip to the recipient and you need to note the reference number (and keep the receipt) as proof, and then wait for the order to show up at their office.

You’ll also need a “contribuente” (also known as Número de Identificação Fiscal – Or NIF) if you have one. If you don’t have one, you can pop down to the Serviço de Finanças and get one. It takes 20 minutes and costs €10. And if all else fails, just use your UK Unique Taxpayer Reference instead which seems to work.

The final option, if neither of the above is suitable, is the simplest of all, but you can only do it if you go to the office in person: bring cash.

The Modelos

The main hub for the different “modelos” (forms) is on the site of the Instituto dos Registos e Notariado.

Choose the one that best fits your situation. In my case, they were these:

Templates and forms regarding nationality

Model 1C
For children of a portuguese mother or father born abroad that registers their birth in the portuguese civil register or declares that they want to be portuguese.

Model 3
For a foreigner married for more than 3 years with a portuguese national or who lives in a de facto union for more than 3 years.

You need to print the first two pages double-sided and the third and fourth pages are just guidance. Fill it in in black, in Portuguese (Duh!) and using crosses, not ticks in the boxes. I’m not going to translate the whole thing I’m afraid. You can use GTranslate can’t you? Most of it is pretty straightforward, but there are a few weird ones:

  • Quadro 1, Questão 6 includes “Naturalidade”, “País” and “Nationalidade”, which seem to be asking the same thing, but I chose to interpret them as Place of birth (Scotland, in my case), Country (Stretching a point: the UK), Nationality (British)
  • Quadro 1, Questao 8 asks for countries you have lived in previously. You will need to provide criminal records checks from all these countries, so don’t even mention any you lived in as a child or if you weren’t there long enough to be registered and leave a paper trail.
  • Quadro 2, Questão 3 is a bit enigmatic “Do you have an effective link to the portuguese community”. This is exceptionally sketchily described in the form guidance as it stands and I have heard various theories, “new rules” and suggestions but what it seems to boil down to is this: for expats, resident in Portugal, married for 5+ years, there’s no language requirement if you can show something like a deed to a house, a contract with an employer or some other evidence of being a fully fledged citizen, to show you are integrated into society. If you’re non-resident, about the only proof of integration you can produce is a certificate of proficiency in the language, so effectively for us there is a language requirement. I quite like this: you can demonstrate you are integrated into the language and cultural life of the nation rather than the legal and economic life.
  • Quadro 2, Questão 3 again. A bit further down it asks if you’ve performed functions for the state that were not predominantly technical in character. I had to ask my wife about this one as I couldn’t see what it was driving at. I think we decided it meant performing the offices of an MP, say, or a civil servant. The suite of questions seems to be trying to establish if you have any competing duties that might mean you retain an allegiance to the former state, I guess, hence the questions about being in the armed forces, being a terrorist and so on.
  • Quadro 4 needs to have the answers copied from your other half’s birth certificate, and even then, if it’s anything like my wife’s it’ll still be baffling. I just handed it to her and asked her to do the necessary.
  • Quadro 6 needs to be signed and witnessed by someone. Since I was planning to visit, I left this blank to sign in front of the person I handed it to, but you can also do it in front of a consulate employee or a Portuguese solicitor if you are mailing it in.


Some of this isn’t really spelled out because portuguese bureaucracy can be a bit hatstand sometimes, so it’s best to go the extra mile and do more than it requests rather than less

  • As I said above, a certificate of proficiency in Portuguese shouldn’t be needed if you have been married 5 or more years but if you are non-resident it’s likely to be your only proof of an effective link to Portuguese community.
  • You need a recent police check certificate in the UK and any other country you have lived in as an adult. The UK police certificate costs, and requires quite a bit of paperwork in its own right.
  • All the other documents it asks for – birth certificates, passports and so on – need to be translated, and officially, not just by you. As it turns out, it wasn’t necessary for my process because the chap said if it was written in English it didn’t need a translation. TBH, I’d suggest you’d better do it anyway since that’s what it says in the instructions and it seems to vary from one person to the next, how rigorously the rules are followed, but it’s up to you. You could save a couple of hundred quid if you skip this step and get away with it, but you might prefer to play it safe. I know of at least one other person who couldn’t get through the process because they didn’t have certified translations of all their papers. They’re also sometimes a bit funny about the certificates being recently issued (especially at the Consulate), so even if you have your original certificate, you should write to your registry office and get a reissued copy too and bring it along. If you’re not sure how to get a new certificate, Google the name of the local authority you were born/married/whatever in and “replacement certificate”.
  • If you do decide to get then translated, it’s quite a complicated process (but don’t worry, with the right help you can get through it)
    • Firstly, the translator can do the translation based on a photocopy, and that’s probably the first place to start since you can do it by email.
    • However, to get it certified, you need to give them either your original documents or a copy that has been authenticated by a solicitor or notary.
    • When they have that, they can attach the translation to the original or verified copy and take them all to a solicitor at their end who can certify the translation as well
  • Now, I didn’t trust the mail with my documents but also feared that if I got them certified in the UK the portuguese authorities might not recognise their authoritah, so what to do? Well, I sent my documents to a couple of translators in Portugal and got the quote I was happiest with (CS Traduções) and sent the documents by email attachment. She then took care of everything basically, and I arranged to pick them up the day before I had planned to submit the application. It was all completely hassle free and she was very patient with all my questions.
  • I already mentioned that if you were married in the UK you need to get your marriage registered in Portugal, so the proof of that is probably enough on its own but I took a translation of my UK marriage cert too, just to be on the safe side.
  • For children, both parents need to sign and both signatures witnessed.
  • For children, birth certificates should be recognised in all EU countries but since the UK might have left before the form gets processed it might be a precaution to get it stamped by the Portuguese consulate in the country of birth. This isn’t written down, just the opinion of one official I spoke to, so take that as you will.
  • As stated above, you’ll need your cheque, Vale Postal receipt, or cash if you’re an adult, but it is free for minors.

The Visit

If you’re visiting the consulate, you’re probably doomed and will have been driven to insanity within a few weeks. I pity you. If you’re visiting Portugal, the addresses of the offices are in the last page of the guidance on the Modelo. Since it says “Balcões da Nacionalidade instalados nas seguintes Conservatórias do Registo Civil” and doesn’t give any addresses for the offices in smaller towns outside Lisbon, I went to the wrong place at first. This seems to be the place in Porto, anyway:

SEF Porto

Av. da França 316, 4050-276 Porto, Portugal
+351 22 207 3810

It’s a kind of one-stop citizen shop and there are several different services in the same office, so ask at the desk if you can’t find the right option on the machine that dispenses tickets (the tickets are known as “senhas” not “bilhetes”) . Ask for Conservatória and you should end up with a senha with a number that starts with a Q.

Make sure you arrive between 8AM and 8.30AM or you’ve no chance.

Obviously don’t be rude or anything, but do be prepared to be assertive. My wife gave me some samples of indignant customer dialogue to use in case of intransigence but I was quite glad I didn’t need to use them. Apparently the tone to go for is polite but with a menacing air of superiority.

Minha senhora /meu senhor. é preciso ser razoável e justo.
Ora eu já cá estive na sexta e nada foi resolvido ou esclarecido. Isto não pode ser.

Veja lá por favor o que pode fazer porque sinceramente eu estou a ficar desorientado e preciso clarificação

The process can’t even be started without payment. If anything else is missing, you’ll get a case number and can submit the missing docs by post, but the one thing you can’t forget is the money. Owing to the large number of applicants expect to hear back after a year – or 18 months for children. We’ll have left by then but hopefully they won’t have started stoning remainers to death in the public square yet, so we should be OK, I think.

Well, that’s the sum of all my knowledge. I hope it’s some help to someone. Good luck.

I’d like to thank my friends Barbie (who gave me a lot of advice on her own family’s involvement in this process) and Marcos (who by amazing luck happened to be very close by the SEF on Friday and actually came to help out with communication, which was incredibly generous of him)

Posted in Portuguese

Explicando o Brexit aos Brasileiros

O meu amigo brasileiro* fez a seguinte pergunta: ‘O que é que se passa aí com o “brexit”‘? e para ser sincero, ando farto de falar nisto. Nós os que votámos contra a proposta do referendo queríamos apenas que as relações entre o nosso país e os nossos vizinhos continentais continuassem sem transtorno, e que continuássemos a ter direitos para viajar, trabalhar e fazer quaisquer coisas nos apetecessem, tal como os outros cidadãos da Europa, mas ao que parece, havia muitas pessoas que tínham uma opinião oposta, quer por motivos de racismo, quer por acreditarem que na união prejudica a democracia, quer por sentirem que o seu modo de vida tinha piorado até um ponto de ser insuportável e que qualquer mudança no sistema iria melhorar as coisas. Mas não é o caso. Comprámos uma mistura de patriotismo, optimismo, mentira e ódio, e agora encontramo-nos ao pé duma catástrofe épica. O único motivo para ser optimista é que finalmente podemos acabar com o nosso hábito de culpar a UE por qualquer problema na nossa vida. Mas cada vez que ligo a televisão, lá está mais um político que fala como se fosse precisamente por causa da UE que tudo isto aconteceu. É óbvio que a retórica vai continuar tóxica durante os próximos anos também.


*=sim, após de 3 anos a evitar brasileiros aleatórios que queriam mudar os meus estou-a-fazers para estou-fazendos, agora estou a fazer um intercâmbio linguístico com um brasileiro, mas mora lá em Portugal e por isso as aulas não são assim tão confusas!

Thanks to Fenrnanda for more rigorous corrections on this one. Previous version still full of undetected fuqueups.

Posted in English

It’s Not An Eric Clapton Song

Favourite word of the day: “Leiloeiro” – auctioneer. It came up with my Brazilian language partner when we were discussing that Banksy stunt at the auction (o leilão). As it turns out, Shredded is a very difficult word to say if you’re Brazilian.

It was a welcome relief from politics. We’d just done Brexit (during which he discovered that we British have over 300 was of saying “completely buggered”) and Bolsonaro (he’s a fan, gawdelpus)

Anyway, for a bit of light relief – I did a consoante perdido on twitter today so here it is:

Faustus, you have dominion over all powers and cities of the world. Fair Helen of Troy is your wife. The time has come to fulfill your sacred obligation: help me create an aquatic bird.

OK, sure, I’ll make a [pato=duck/pacto=pact] with the devil.

Not sure how well it works. I was a bit worried the spelling of pacto would have changed due to the AO, meaning they’d be um… Homonyms… Do I mean Homonyms? I think I do. Luckily the Brazilians seem to have see sense this time.

Posted in Portuguese

A Entrevista

Warm-up text, written on iTalki shortly before the interview with the tech company in Portugal to get my brain going…

Amigos Portugueses, algo esquisito e surpreendente aconteceu: uma empresa convidou-me a uma entrevista de emprego. Isso propriamente não é assim tão estranho, porque sou bastante competente na minha área de especialização, mas neste caso, a empresa fica no Porto. É uma empresa de tecnologia informática e ao que parece tem muitos empregados que falam inglês. Não vou ter de encarar clientes e por isso espero que a minha falta de conhecimento da língua portuguesa não seja uma grande desvantagem, mas apesar disso, fiquei muito surpreendido quando recebi o convite, e ainda mais surpreendido quando ela não se riu ou como terminou a telefonema quando ela me ligou para combinar o encontro, mas ainda bem, porque a entrevista começa daqui a uma hora!
Se eles aceitassem a minha candidatura, mudar-me-ia para Portugal, alugaria um apartamento lá e visitaria a família aos fins de semana. Soa horrível, mas… No curto prazo, o objectivo é ganhar dupla cidadania, praticar a língua portuguesa e estabelecer a família no país. No longo prazo, depende do resultado de Brexit, porque somos uma família anglo-portuguesa. Se tudo se torna mais difícil para cidadãos portugueses, vale a pena ter um pé em cada país, mas não é provável (ou seja não é provável que coisas sejam pior para nós do que para os outros desgraçados que partilham uma ilha com Boris Johnson).
Enfim, seja o resultado o que for, a entrevista vai ser uma experiência interessante. Desejem-me sorte!

Thanks Paulo, Evandro, Leonardo e “WoLvS” for the help

Posted in Portuguese

As Redes Sociais e a Democracia

As notícias da semana passada demonstraram, para quem ainda não soubesse, que há um problema muito grave que está a afligir os nossos sistemas democráticos. É um problema unicamente moderno, que surgiu nos primórdios da época das redes sociais e estava a crescer, ano após ano, enquanto todo a gente se tornava todos os anos viciado nestes sites.


O modelo negocial duma rede social consiste em vender os dados pessoais dos utilizadores. De forma geral, assumimos que os clientes são agências publicitárias, e aceitamos que vermos anúncios em cada página é justo em troca de um serviço útil e gratuito. Mas agora fica claro que existem empresas que aproveitam este oceano de dados para influenciar a sociedade através do método de mostrar anúncios e notícias falsas, direccionadas a cada um dos eleitores. Isso ultrapassa o efeito das publicidades tradicionais porque pode manipular não só os medos e as esperanças específicas das pessoas mas também a percepção da realidade. O resultado: ainda menos diálogo, ainda mais polarização entre a direita e a esquerda, e uma diminuição da confiança na democracia. É muito, mas mesmo muito importante restabelecermos um diálogo entre iguais, sem influência das empresas, ou das forças desconhecidas que os usam.

Posted in Portuguese

As Notícias Do Brexshit

_98357533_mediaitem98357532Talvez já saibam que não sou fã do Brexit. O nosso governo aqui em Inglaterra está dividido, um contra o outro por causa deste referendo, efectuado numa atmosfera de hostilidade e nostalgia duma época dourada imaginária. Hoje, foi anunciado que o governo pretende começar a adicionar cidadãos europeus a um novo registo. Apenas europeus, mas não cidadãos dos outros países. E por quê? Porque devemos aguentar tanta estupidez? Porque querem trazer tantas chatices às vidas dos portugueses, alemães, franceses, dinamarqueses que vivem cá? Não faz sentido nenhum. Todos nós merecemos liberdade e temos o direito a uma vida sem interferência.

Os europeus, incluindo os ingleses hão-de permanecer juntos e trabalhar pelo benefício de todos.


Thanks Joaquim, Máyra, Andressa and Renata for helping me correct the text

Posted in Portuguese

Demasiado Democracia

Desde a eleição nacional de 2015, o povo do meu bairro tem tido três oportunidades para utilizar o seu poder para escolher o governo de qualquer nível:
Em Maio de 2016, aconteceu a eleição do Presidente da Câmara de Londres. O nosso deputado (do partido conservador) candidatou-se mas falhou porque a sua campanha foi racista. Ficamos surpreendidos porque naquele ponto, parecia um homem decente.
No mês seguinte, o Reino Unido inteiro votou para sair da União Europeia. Os eleitores daqui opuseram-se à decisão por 70:30 mas este mesmo deputado apoiou-a. Claro que ficávamos chateados com isso, e para mim, casado com uma portuguesa, isto foi inaceitável!
Então, no fim do ano, o governo tomou a decisão de acrescentar a capacidade do aeroporto Heathrow apesar das manifestações. O deputado demitiu-se, o que forçou a uma nova eleição. Nesta altura, estávamos todos fartos dos bitaites dele. Votámos na candidata liberal-democrática, a Sarah Olney.
Hoje, estamos no meio de mais uma campanha. A primeira ministra, Theresa May, iniciou uma eleição geral para consolidar o seu poder antes dos negócios do Brexit em que pretende seguir um curso confronto; sair do mercado único e do tribunal europeu. Os seus principais oponentes, o partido trabalhador adoptou a mesma proposta: eles também pretendem sair do mercado único. Além disso, o candidato outrora do partido conservador voltou a candidatar-se apesar da politica do governo sobre o aeroporto. Por isso, decidi de entrar no partido liberal democrática. Passei 4 horas desta tarde a tocar nas portas da cidade para perguntar aos eleitores “em quem pretendem votar?” entre outras perguntas. É muito importante: se votássemos no conservador, depois de tudo, deveríamos de estar envergonhados. Mas paradoxalmente, há pessoas que se queixam demasiado da democracia: uma e outra vez, temos que votar. Nós ingleses acostumamo-nos a escolher entre partidos de centro-direita sem diferenças. Enfim, tudo muda; os votos importam e devemos de prestar atenção ao mundo da política.

Posted in Portuguese

A Traição

E M Forster, um escritor Inglês, escreveu na sua dissertação “O Que Creio” em 1938 “Se eu tivesse que escolher entre trair o meu país ou trair o meu amigo, espero ter a coragem para trair o meu país.”
Lembrei-me desta citação ontem enquanto discutia o futuro com a minha esposa. Ela é portuguesa, e a situação para os cidadãos europeus aqui em Inglaterra está incerta. Por isso, eu, e a nossa filha pensamos em candidatar-nos à dupla cidadania. Mas tenho sentimentos mistos. Não quero ser cidadão de qualquer outro país, mas sei que é essencial manter a família unida, aconteça o que acontecer, e por isso, acho que vou pedir um formulário e preenchê-lo.


Obviously this is a little overstated because it’s difficult to convey subtle nuance in a language I don’t speak fluently still. I don’t really think of this as a betrayal; it’s really just a precaution in case the worst happens but the way the world is lately, who the hell knows? There are Trump supporters in this country for Christ’s sake!

Thanks to Sophia Celso and Iramao for the corrections

Posted in Portuguese

O Dia B

This texto has been on iTalki for a while now, which is why it’s not as topical as it once was!

Para nós ingleses que votámos contra o Brexit, a semana passada foi triste. Afinal, a primeira ministra, Theresa May mandou uma carta ao Presidente do Conselho europeu, para iníciar o que consta no artigo 50 do Tratado de Lisboa e começou o processo de saída da UE. Sem adiar, um líder outrora do partido conservador tentou provocar uma guerra contra os nossos amigos espanhóis. Tanta loucura!

Li uma piada seca numa rede social “Uma grande vantagem de ser gay é isto: Nunca vou ser obrigado a explicar aos meus netos o que aconteceu hoje”.

Infelizmente não sou gay.