For the comprehensive guide on eligibility for Portuguese
Nationality by Paulo Colaco Dias click
Government reviews working procedures at the Consulate
in Goa regarding applications for citizenship. 12 July.
Diario Digital. (In Portuguese – English translation
and comments by Paulo Colaco Dias..
Deccan Herald, 14 July 2003. Portugal to tighten citizenship
rules for former colonies. By Devika Sequeira.
UK Parliament. House of Commons. 18 March 2003. Goa
New York Times, 8 June 2003. Indians Pursue Portuguese
Passports as an Entree to Europe.
Publico, 9 Feb. 2004. Portuguese nationality has become
a lucrative business in the ex Portuguese State of India.
Deccan Herald, 23 July 2004. Portuguese passport racket
worries UK, US. By Devika Sequeira.
Gulf News (Dubai). 10 February 2005. Rush to gain Portuguese
passports. By Pamela Raghunath
12 May 2005. Dead men flying: Fraudulent claims to Portuguese
Nationality. By Prashant Shankarnarayan
reviews working procedures at the Portuguese consulate in
Francisco Mota Ferreira.
11 July, 2003
The Portuguese Government detected the existence of fraud
cases with national Portuguese passports issued by the Portuguese
consulate in Goa. This led to three months suspension of
the process of issuing those documents, said the secretary
of State for the Portuguese Communities", José
Cesário, in interview to Diário Digital.
The process re-started about one month ago.
to secretary of State, the fraud cases detected are under
investigation and there is now total control of the situation
at the consulate in Goa. The process is, however, considerably
more complicated in relation to the applications from Damão
and Diu territories.
reassures he has now given instructions to the Goa consulate
to proceed with maximum strictness. The process is now dealt
strictly by appointment and with a limit number of cases
Cesário, who returned from a three days visit to
the ex-Portuguese territory, says that he saw posters in
Goa advertising about Portuguese nationality agency services,
as if it was something extremely easy and available.
is unaware of how long this has been happening and how many
new citizens have become citizens of Portugal. The only
thing he was made aware is that the Portuguese Consulate
of Goa is being used as an open door for many non-eligible
Indian citizens to freely enter the European Union space
sources from Goa contacted by Diário Digital said
the process is widely advertised, accessible and difficult
to be controlled since the Portuguese Nationality law allows
to the Portuguese legislation, a citizen of Goa, Damão
and Diu (the ex-Portuguese state of India) born in these
territories before 18 December 1961 (date of the military
occupation and annexation by the Indian Union) can apply
for Portuguese nationality.
1975 Portuguese Nationality Law, still valid, allows descendents
of those born before 1961, until third generation, the possibility
to apply for Portuguese citizenship.
to our Goan sources, there are gangs that act in the territory,
advertising the easiness that one can acquire Portuguese
nationality and offering the services to do it at large
amounts of money.
network of gangs have established contacts with the Central
Offices of the Registry of Births and Marriages, in Lisbon,
and managed to get preference and speed up the process,
with less control and checking procedures than in Goa.
process is with each passing day more complicated because,
as noted by the secretary of State, the Republic of India
holds the old register of births and, therefore, it is easy
enough to get false documents and impersonate legitimate
citizens of ex-Portuguese territories, allowing non-eligible
Indian Citizens to become legitimate Portuguese citizens.
situation is very delicate for Indians, comments the Secretary
of State, because Portugal does not want that this situation
to be a reason for litigation between the two countries.
current fraud investigations, the Government wants to reassure
that the process is now as safe and as strict as possible.
Only if necessary, the government will request the help
from the authorities of New Delhi.
from the translator
The writer seems to ignore the background of the especial
case of the people born in the Portuguese State of India
(until 19 December 1961).
There are obvious differences in the analysis of the law
that can lead to large differences in opinion.
It is important to note that between 1961 and 1975, according
to the Portuguese Constitution of that time, the United
Nations and International Law, the state comprising of
the Portuguese territories of Goa, Damão, Diu,
Dadrá and Nagar Avelí was still under Portuguese
Administration and Portugal was the de facto administrative
power of the said territories according to the United
Nations. In fact, the government of Portuguese India and
the Goan Members of Parliament were still in existence,
working in exile from Lisbon. The Portuguese State of
India was, therefore, a state in international dispute,
with Portugal officially recognised by the UN as the de
facto administrative power and the Indian Union seen as
an illegal occupier of the territories.
Following the democratic revolution of 1974, in Portugal,
the Indian occupation of the Portuguese territories was
finally acknowledged and recognised by Portugal. In 1975,
the Portuguese minister of Foreign Affairs, Mario Soares,
personally visited New Delhi and re-established diplomatic
relations with the Republic of India. Mario Soares, representing
a new and democratic Portuguese Republic, withdrew any
claims the Portuguese Government still had over the said
territories in the United Nations and officially recognised
the occupation and annexation backdating it to 19th December
3. The new 1975 Portuguese Nationality Law took into consideration
that people born in those territories before the Indian
occupation and annexation were forced to take Indian Citizenship,
i.e., people did not take Indian citizenship voluntarily.
Instead, Indian citizenship was imposed on them.
Hence, those citizens were given the option to retain
their Portuguese Citizenship provided they officially
declare their intention to retain it by registering their
births and marriages in Lisbon. In other words, when India
annexed the Portuguese territories, the Portuguese citizens
from those territories did not lose their Portuguese Citizenship
even though India imposed Indian citizenship on them.
No timeframe was given in the law, which means that those
citizens can declare even today, nearly 42 years after,
their personal decision to retain Portuguese Citizenship.
5. The only real problems at the moment are based on the
fact that many non-eligible Indians are managing to get
false birth certificates and through impersonation and
fraud are transforming themselves into Portuguese citizens
with a free licence to live and work in all countries
of the European Union. Also, a large number of agents
are making a fortune out of it. While some are doing it
legitimately, others are involved in networks of corruption
and serious organised fraud with personal follow-up contacts
The cases of fraud are increasing with each passing day
and will ultimately lead to the irreversible change in
the Portuguese Nationality Law. So, sooner or later, it
will all be over…
up for a new life
News Service PANAJI, Monday July 14 2003
Portugal could soon tighten laws that have made it so easy
to attain a Portuguese passport with fake documents from
its former colonies.
move comes in the wake of pressure from other European Union
members and criticism by its media for blithely overlooking
a citizenships racket operating in the heart of Lisbon’s
deputed its Secretary of State for Portuguese Communities
(the position is the equivalent of a minister of state)
Jose de Almeida Cesario to Goa last week to look into the
functioning of the the consulate general here.
Cesario is said to have been shocked by the extent to which
agents in Goa have taken control of processing applications
for Portuguese nationality, turning it virtually into a
hoardings at the entrance of Margao, and advertisements
in the classifieds of local dailies flaunt with confidence
the services of the passports agents. Their charges range
from Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000 to only process one’s
entry papers. For 5,000 euros, one can have a Portuguese
passport within three months. Thousands of poorer applicants
here are known to have taken loans to pay off the agents’
agents, incidentally, do not operate through the consulate
here which has very little powers, but are directly linked
to Conservatorio dos Registos Centrais (central registrar)
Cesario told the media his government is aware of the falsification
of documents in citizenship applications, particularly from
Daman and Diu. “The issue of nationality cannot be
turned into a business,” he is quoted as having said
by a local newspaper.
is estimated that nearly a lakh Gujaratis from Daman and
Diu have settled in Portugal, compared to the 25,000 from
Goa. But Portugal has done little so far, to put an end
to the illegalities.
that could change now, as the Portuguese government works
on modalities to clamp down on an extremely porous system
that extends across half the globe. “It is not clear
how they will reorganise things, but we expect they will
take serious steps to set matters right after Cesarios’s
visit,” sources in the consulate said.
racket is said to be far larger in Brazil (Portugal’s
biggest former colony) and equally extensive in Angola,
Mozambique, Timor and Macau.
move would have a direct fallout on Goa, Daman and Diu,
where those born before 1961 (when Goa was liberated), and
their descendants up to a third generation, are still entitled
to Portuguese nationality. Those aspiring for nationality
must first register their birth in Portugal, after which
one is entitled to an ID card, and finally a passport.
of genuine applicants from Goa have been waiting for years
(some upto ten years) for the Portuguese ID. Following complaints
of mismanagement, the consulate here has put a ban on accepting
entry documents till 2004, and nationality applications
till 2005. Any attempt to streamline the system therefore,
could only work to clear the backlog.
as the key to enter any European Union country, a Portuguese
passport allows one to work in England as well.
Kingdom Parliament. House of Commons proceedings 18 March
2003 at: click
Question by Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary
of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether
he has had discussions with the Indian Government on applications
to the Portuguese consulate in Goa for Portuguese passports
from Indian residents, and the use of such passports subsequently
to facilitate entry to the UK; and if he will make a statement.
by Mr. Mike O'Brien: We have had no discussions
with the Government of India on this issue. We have discussed
the matter with the Portuguese Consulate in Goa. We understand
that some residents of the former Portuguese enclaves
in India (Goa, Daman and Diu) are eligible to apply for
a Portuguese passport. Holders of Portuguese passports
are entitled to enter the UK freely as citizens of an
EU member state.
Pursue Portuguese Passports as an Entree to Europe.
June 8, 2003
Michael Fernandes, 24, a boat mechanic, and Glaston Luis,
20, a student, applying for passports at the Portuguese Consulate
DA GAMA, India On the highway to the international
airport here, a travel agency uses billboards to hawk one
of Goa's most popular products: Portuguese passports.
after the Portuguese seafarer Vasco da Gama crossed the
Arabian Sea and explored this land of coconut palms and
creamy sand beaches, young Indians are embarking on reverse
migrations. Taking advantage of history, they are obtaining
Portuguese passports, transforming themselves into card-carrying
"Sure, I'll go to Lisbon I have eight cousins
there," said Stuart Michael Fernandes, a 24-year-old
boat mechanic, who stood in a rundown hallway by an iron
gate used to control passport applicants at the Portuguese
Consulate General here. "But then, I will go straight
His friend, Glaston
Luis, 20, an engineering student at Goa University, said
he, too, would stay only briefly with cousins in Lisbon
before going "to Scotland or London."
law, all inhabitants of "Portuguese India"
Goa and the northern coastal enclaves of Damão and
Díu were considered Portuguese citizens. In
the months after Indian troops ended colonialism here, in
December 1961, thousands of Goans left for Portugal or its
A decade ago, as
the European Union was shifting to visa-free travel among
member nations, Portugal opened a consulate here. Suddenly
Goans realized that anyone living here in 1961 and
their children and grandchildren could get a Portuguese
Portuguese passports as a means to employment in all of
Europe," said Alírio da Costa, the manager of
a travel agency here.
In a newspaper
on his desk, classified advertisements offered the services
of "experts in Portuguese passport submission to Lisbon."
"It's a business,
as if Portuguese citizenship is for sale," Miguel de
Calheiros Velozo, Portugal's consul here, grumbled in an
interview. "It is a way to go around immigration laws.
This morning, the consulate was full of people who had nothing
to do with Portugal."
Goa, India's smallest
state, is but a microcosm of a national mania for emigration.
Today, about 20 million Indians live overseas.
The process is
slow, though, and with hundreds of passport applications
backing up here and reports of Portuguese passports falling
into criminal hands, on March 1 Mr. Velozo stopped accepting
applications for 90 days.
The issue blew
up last fall when two cases involving high-profile fugitives
who held Portuguese passports came to light. Neither man
had ties to Goa. The Indian and Portuguese-era archives
are poorly maintained and their staffs vulnerable to bribes,
Portuguese officials here say.
have a hard time telling who is who even in face-to-face
interviews, and many people who lived here before 1961 did
not have Portuguese names. Furthermore, many passport requests
are made directly to Lisbon. As many as half of the requests
come from people outside of Goa, even outside of India,
according to Eduardo Faleiro, a Goan member of Parliament.
In March, Narana
Coissoro, a Portuguese of Goan origin who is deputy speaker
of the Portuguese Parliament, visited here and promised
to expand the local consular staff to tighten checks against
fraud. But no ships bearing aid are on the horizon.
"Goa is seen
from a distance, and listened to too late," João
Nunes de Cunha, governor of Goa, once complained bitterly
in a letter to Lisbon. The letter was written in 1668.
nationality has become a lucrative business in the ex Portuguese
State of India
IMPORTANT NOTE: The text below is an edited version of a
machine translation and its accuracy is NOT guaranteed.
The original text had five useful related links. They are
reproduced in a box at the end of the article.
about the future and want to keep the options open for the
family? Take advantage and benefit from the Portuguese nationality
that is available to all people of Goan origin. You can
contact us for friendly and reliable assistance", announces
an agency in the Internet. "It is enough to send an
email to find out how much it will cost you."
is quite expensive for the normal Indian folk. The European
dream embraces the old Portuguese State of India with its
organized network of fake documents. The Central Civil Registry
Office in Lisbon has 11,221 pending applications.
from the freedom of circulation in the European Union that
all Portuguese enjoy, the benefits also includes visa free
for travelling to tempting destinations like the United
States. "Portuguese nationality has become a business
- in the old territories as well as in Portugal", admits
the Secretary of State of the Communities, Jose Cesário.
Secretary of State saw "posters of five meters by three"
in the streets of Goa, when he visited that city last year.
Along the highway from the international airport one of
the most popular products of the city are advertisements
regarding the Portuguese passport.
this moment, it is much more difficult than before,”
certifies a Goan lawyer, Teresa Colaço, but the advertisements
continue to appear every day in the classified pages of
to the current law, the citizens born in the old State of
India before 19 December 1961 (day of the invasion and military
annexation) have the right to Portuguese nationality. The
legislation assumes that, at the time, the people had acquired
the Indian nationality forcibly. It gives them the possibility
of, still today, to rescue their old status. It also grants
nationality to their descendants - until the third generation.
integration of Portugal in the European Union increased
tremendously the number of applications for registration.
The processes are submitted in the General Consulate of
Portugal in Panjim or directly in the Conservatória
of Registos Centrais (CRC), in Lisbon, where they tend to
sleep forever. Some people thought they could profit from
this situation. In exchange of considerable amounts of money,
the specialized agencies started promising to obtain the
documentation in record time.
exception granted to the native inhabitants of Goa, Damão
and Diu started to be abused by other people as well. A
large number of fraudulent applications, based on false
birth certificates, have been detected. Even people from
out of India applied, namely from the Bangladesh and Pakistan.
In the Internet, for example, some people have asked for
further information from places as far as Qatar.
According to CRC, between the 2000 and 2002 a number of
applications were duplicated. From 2000, it increased the
number of cases of "identity usurpation": it had
each time more people to register a name that already had
been successfully registered, says the coordinator of the
Department of Fake Documents, of the Judiciary Police, Conceição
started to become very obvious that the Portuguese nationality
had transformed into a business", says Cesário.
Not only because of the advertisements. The authorities
of other countries had dismantled organized nets and exhorted
Portugal to take a stance. "We received some protests,
mainly from the United Kingdom", confessed the Secretary
law, a brazen way to skirt the laws of immigration, will
be to be used even for terrorist causes. Masood Azad and
Abu Salem, two Islamic extremists, have been captured with
Portuguese passports although neither of them had links
with Goa. These two cases elicited harsh criticism on the
part of the international community - particularly Indian,
devastated by the perpetual Kashmir conflict.
of that "the scandal puts in question in our credibility
- not only to the partners of the Union, but to all the
members of the Shengen Space" - the Government ordered
the suspension of the activity of the Portuguese consulate
in this case. In October, it formed a working group, to
involve the ministries of the Foreign Affairs, Justice and
Internal Administration, to analyse the situation and to
confidential report has been delivered. In the beginning
of this year it gave origin to changes. "We have new
strategies", affirms Jose Cesário, disclosing
that the consular services had come back to accept new applications.
In order to validate the place of birth of the candidates,
it will be necessary to present official documents",
explained Jose Cesário to the PUBLIC. "They
have to be valid the copies".
Secretary of State asserts that the Indian notaries "are
sufficiently corrupt", to facilitates the fraud. Also,
the documents “ had been, during years, kept in conditions
that were not the best ones". But the Ministry of the
Foreign Affairs of India has also pointed the finger at
Portugal, since the illegality functions through agents
who have contact with employees of the services of the Registers
of Portuguese central offices.
To that it selected the PUBLIC, since when the General Consulate
of Panjim opened, in 1994, it had dealt with about five
a thousand applications. Lisbon received, directly much
more than fifteen thousand. They estimate that only half
of the applicants have valid documents. But Cesário
does not admit that it has "vulnerability" on
the part of the employees accepting bribes. "We do
not have this diffidence", he pointed out. The PJ is
to investigate, but so far it has not make any arrests.
fact that Portugal has currently a right-wing Government
causes some concerns in Goa. If the clause was annulled,
India would read "an unfriendly act here", said
Eduardo Faleiro, of the Foreign Affairs, to the local press.
But Cesário guarantees that this is not the intention
of the Government. The new rules are only aimed to fight
TO OTHER ARTICLES IN THIS ISSUE:
|• Nacionalidade portuguesa tornou-se negócio
lucrativo no antigo Estado da Índia
passport racket worries UK, US
News Service PANAJI
assurances to the contrary, Portugal has failed to crack
down on a passports racket that goes to the heart of Lisbon’s
civil registry, as the Abu Salem case shows.
Rumour has it that Abu Salem acquired a Portuguese passport
(one of many found on him when he was arrested in Lisbon
in September 2002 with fake residence permits) for US $
5,000 (Rs 2.3 lakh).
the Kandahar hijacking in 1999, Jaish-e-Mohammad militant
Maulana Azhar Masood travelled to Burma and Bangladesh from
where he crossed into India on a Portuguese passport.
is no secret in Goa that Portuguese nationality is up for
grabs. For US $ 3,000 (Rs 1.38 lakh), a Goan agent based
in Margao, who claims to have a “five-man team of
top lawyers in Lisbon” working for him, promises his
clients a quick and effective processing of documents for
we were in Lisbon, a very authoritative source in the Conservatoria
dos Registos Centrais (Portugal’s civil registry office
that processes nationality documents) offered us immediate
citizenship — passport, ID and driving licence —
all within seven days for US $ 4,000 (Rs 1.84 lakh)”
a non-resident Indian of Goan origin told this newspaper
has been chasing his wife’s Portuguese nationality
application for 20 years with little success. “She
has a moral right to Portuguese citizenship. So we refused
to pay,” he said.
So profitable is the business for those processing documentation
in Lisbon that a former diplomat, who served as vice-consul
in Portugal’s Delhi embassy, gave up his foreign office
career to become a passport facilitator in Lisbon.
former judge from Goa too figures in the list of upmarket
Lisbon-based agents provided to this newspaper. The ex-judge
is said to average Rs 40,000 a case.
“We recently paid a very basic retainer of 250 pounds
sterling (Rs 21,000 approximately) to the venerable former
vice-consul in Lisbon, without any success at all,”
says the NRI.
implications of Portugal’s passport racket (said to
extend to its missions abroad) and the wide and blatant
misuse of the nationality rights offered to those born in
Portugal’s former colonies in India before 1961, has
both Britain and the US worried in the post-9/11 scenario.
diplomatic sources admit that the numbers of false passport
holders (many on assumed identities picked off tombstones
in Goan cemeteries) would run into thousands.
Punjabi applicant we were trying to trace surfaced in Belgium
on a Goan Catholic name,” an official said.
to reports in the Portuguese media, over 11,200 passport
applications are being investigated in Lisbon.
about the new tide of migration via the Portugal route,
the UK is said to have lodged a formal protest with Portugal.
A British team also travelled to Goa to speak to Portuguese
consular staff here. The Americans, too, are believed to
have launched an investigation.
is most worrying that many are getting entry into the US
based on their Portuguese citizenship. It’s a scandal
that those with no ties to Portugal are getting these passports,”
a US contact said.
Under pressure from the more influential European Union
members, Portugal could review its 1975 nationality law
that allows citizenship to those born in Goa, Daman and
Diu before 1961, genuine applicants fear. The consulate
in Panjim has been on a ‘go slow’ on new applications.
have heard the law may be reviewed,” says former Congress
Union minister of state for external affairs Eduardo Faleiro.
Rajya Sabha member argues that misuse of the Portuguese
passport was no excuse for the consulate to stop accepting
genuine applications. “Those who are entitled are
being denied a passport. What action has Portuguese officialdom
taken to stop the racket?” he asks.
consulate’s ‘go slow’ has not deterred
resourceful agents in the least. With direct and influential
links to Lisbon, they’ve been sending four applications
to Lisbon for every one handled by the local consulate.
In the month of June 2003, the consulate received 2,000
applications for the attestation of documents from one Margao
North Goa Collector’s office told Deccan Herald it
receives 10 to 12 applications for attestation a day.
facts speak for themselves: While the Portuguese consulate
has handled 3,800 applications from 1994 (when it was established)
to date, 11,592 applications have been processed up to July
2000 by Lisbon’s civil registry.
News (Dubai) 10 February 2005
to gain Portuguese passports
Pamela Raghunath, Correspondent
: The rush among Goans to become Portuguese nationals is
continuing though they use that country's passport these
days to gain entry into Britain or other European countries.
But the Portuguese government is going slow on processing
thousands of applications especially since this facility
is being misused these days even as genuine applicants have
to wait for years.
the Portuguese left its colonies in India in 1961, it was
a gesture on their part to look after its former citizens
and therefore those born before 1961 were given Portuguese
citizenship if they made an application for it," a
senior official from the Consulado-Geral de Portugal told
the Portuguese government is now rethinking a legislation
passed in 1975 allowing citizens of its former colonies
to be given Portuguese nationality.
to withdraw this legislation would take a long time and
therefore, there are instructions to go slow and restrict
the number of applicants being given nationality.
through fraudulent practices a Portuguese passport can be
obtained within a short time for a tidy sum by submitting
the 9/11 terror attacks and subsequent hunt for various
terrorist groups, the United States, Britain and other European
countries have put pressure on Portugal to screen all its
problem has worsened with even non-Goans applying for Portuguese
has become a free for all", says the official who receives
around 30-40 applications in a month.
the slowdown, there are 18,000 applications from Goa for
Portuguese passports waiting to be processed.
are submitted directly to Lisbon by travel agents from Goa
whilst the Consulate here has sent 2,500 applications since
to the Consulate official, there are around 40,000 Goans
and 100,000 Gujaratis from Daman and Diu who have settled
down in Portugal since 1961.
most recent entrants use their Portuguese nationality as
a gateway to better prospects in other countries.
why not?" asks Bruno Gomindes, Managing Director, Travco
Holidays Pvt Ltd, an international travel company operating
Portuguese passport gives you a clean and decent entry into
all the European countries and even the United States, not
to speak of other countries," he says.
older Goans speak Portuguese, the new generation only knows
English and therefore the choice is Britain or the United
fact, suburban Swindon near London is full of immigrant
himself is a Portuguese passport holder who is carrying
on a thriving travel business as a Person of Indian Origin
here by helping young and even older Goans by doing the
entire documentation required for obtaining a Portuguese
a citizen of Portugal and can even become the president
of that country," he said.
12 May 2005
men flying: Fraudulent claims to Portuguese Nationality.
By Prashant Shankarnarayan
have lived a major chunk of your life in your motherland.
One fine day, you get an opportunity to leave for foreign
shores, to earn a livelihood or maybe to simply roam around.
You approach the concerned officials to prepare your passport.
Therein lies the twist. Say the authorities, that you do
not exist in this country.
fact, you have migrated to another nation ages back to earn
your daily bread. Shocked! Now read the fact - many Indians
have already faced such a situation, especially while travelling
to Portugal. The reason behind this human smuggling involves
a bit of history, culture and legalities.
phenomenon of sending false candidates abroad to Portugal
is rampant in Goa and Daman. An astonishing fact is that,
rather than certain Goans, who have the right to stake a
claim for Portuguese nationality, it is the Gujarati community
that has capitalised on the legal loopholes, or can we say
1975 Portuguese National Law also holds that, descendants
of those born before 1961, until their third generation,
can apply for a valid Portuguese passport…
many non-eligible Indians took this rule as an opportunity
to gatecrash into Portugal and then other European nations…
culprits obtained the details of dead Catholic citizens
from graveyards and used them to fabricate documents.
text, 1483 words click
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