Becoming Portuguese

I have now taken decisive steps to recover my Portuguese nationality. At the registration office I was told I needed a criminal record for both the UK and Sweden and some type of proof that I could speak or understand the Portuguese language.

As to whether I could speak Portuguese or not it was easy enough for the the officer at the local agency to decide in that but we agreed that it would be necessary to contact my old school and acquire a certificate of education ( habititações). This is what I did this morning.

The school where I completed my studies in Portugal was the Liceu de Oeiras. It was great fun to go into the premises and see that many things still looked the same.

At the school office I showed my school book that people at the office had not seen for a long time. This “caderneta escolar” followed the student throughout secondary school. This photo shows my marks at the 7 th year of schooling or 3rd of secondary school.

In those days the school had about 2000 students with girls in the morning and boys in the afternoon. We went from Monday to Saturday, Sunday was free.

The entrance to the school still looks very much the same. Here we can see how it looks like today.

Entrance to old Liceu de Oeiras.

In about one week I will return to get my certificate of education. Another small step for man, and another small step for mankind.

What am I?

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The nationality question has undergone a lot of mental and legal changes since the Second World War and the development of the European Union.

Certain countries such as Britain have long had the principle of “Jus Soli” which means that the place of birth defines the nationality. As I was born in Stafford, England my nationality was British from birth. Portugal in turn defines nationality as connected with the father’s nationality “Jus Sanguinis”. From the moment I was registered at a Portuguese consulate I became Portuguese.

Britain was one of the countries that first accepted dual nationality. That meant for practical purpose that in Britain I was both British and Portuguese whereas in Portugal only Portuguese. This created a problem and in order to be able to return to Portugal without risking being drafted to the war it was necessary to renounce the Portuguese nationality which was done through the consulate in London. I learned that this renouncement was finally granted but already after the 25th of April 1974. Soon after, and to comply with the interest of many Portuguese immigrated citizens, Portugal accepted dual nationality! For my part I had wasted time, money and fidelity points!

 

After many years, living in Sweden and because I did not have full political rights here, I decided to apply for Swedish nationality. This was granted but I was obliged to write to British authorities in order to explain that I no longer wished to be a British national. After this process was finalized and I had obtained a Swedish passport it was finally decide that Sweden would accept dual nationality.

It all boils down to the fact that I could have had three nationalities but have only one! My first passport is Portuguese and if it hasn’t been destroyed it will be filed in some Lisbon office dealing with nationality!