Immigration. Travel. Living.

Options of becoming a Citizen of Sao Tome

São Tome and Principe is the world’s smallest Portuguese-speaking country, containing aspects of both Portugal and Africa (owing to its history as a Portuguese colony with a considerable influence on its culture). More than half of the population of São Tome and Principe is Catholic, with Creoles-mixed descendants of Portuguese and Africans. Due to the abundance of pristine beaches, unusual animals and birds, jungles, and extinct volcanoes, this country can be considered a true natural kingdom.

The Constitution of São Tomé and Principe, as amended; the Nationality Law, as amended; and several international accords to which the country is a signatory govern São Toméan nationality law. These laws define who is a São Tomé and Principe national or who is qualified to become one. Nationality, or formal legal membership in a nation, differs from citizenship, which is a domestic connection of rights and obligations between a national and the nation.

Nationality refers to an individual’s international relationship with a state, whereas citizenship refers to an individual’s domestic relationship within a country. Birth in the region, or birth in São Tomé and Principe or abroad to parents with São Toméan nationality, are the most common ways to get São Toméan nationality. It can be awarded to people who have a connection to the country or to permanent residents who have resided in the country for a certain period.

In São Tomé and Principe, nationality can be acquired at birth or later in life through naturalization.

By Birth

In São Tomé and Principe, jus soli is used to determine nationality at birth. The following people are eligible:

– Persons born in São Tomé and Principe, provided their parents are inhabitants and do not hold diplomatic immunity;

– Orphans or foundlings having no clear indication of their parents’ nationality or identity; or

– People who were born in São Tomé and Principe and would otherwise be stateless.

By Naturalization

Naturalization can be given to people who speak Portuguese or another dialect of the territory and have lived in São Tomé and Principe long enough to demonstrate that they are familiar with the country’s culture and traditions. Applicants must have the legal ability, have not committed crimes against the state or offenses carrying a high penalty, and have sufficient financial resources to maintain themselves. Applicants must renounce their previous nationality and prove that they have lived in the United States for at least five years. Other people who can apply for naturalization besides foreigners who meet the qualifications are:

– If their birth was registered with consular authorities, people born abroad to São Toméan parents can gain nationality when they attain the age of majority.

– a woman who is married to a São Toméan national;

– Upon request, children of a naturalized São Toméan;

– When a legal adoption is completed, adoptees of São Toméan nationals automatically receive nationality; or

-Individuals who have served the state may be able to naturalize without satisfying all of the requirements.

São Toméans are free to abandon their citizenship as long as they do not become stateless. Denaturalization is required by the nationality legislation for native citizens who act as if they are foreign nationals, such as voting, or who serve in the government, including the military, of another country. Naturalized citizens can lose their citizenship for the same reasons, as well as for crimes against the state, state security, or treason to the state. Those who have previously lost their naturalization in São Tomé and Principe may return if they have lived in the country for at least two years.

Dual Nationality

Since 2003, São Tomé and Principe have enabled dual nationality for citizens from birth in the majority of circumstances. The president and Prime Minister must have only São Toméan nationality, which is the principal restriction on dual nationality.

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