Immigration. Travel. Living.

Options of becoming East Timor Citizen

East Timor is located off the coast of the Malay Archipelago and borders the Lesser Sunda Islands to the east. The little nearby islands of Atauro and Jaco are examples of other isles, the enclave of Ambeno, which includes the town of Pante Makasar on Timor’s northern coast, and the Ambeno enclave, which encompasses the Pante Makasar town. Dili is the capital and largest city. The prominent tribes at the Islands are the Papuans, Malayans, and Polynesians. The Lingua Franca though not quite popular among the people in Portuguese. Other than Dili, which is an urban city, a high percentage of the population is rural.

This is a guide covering all the basics you need to know to acquire citizenship here.


Becoming a citizen as a foreigner here is almost impossible.

So just, give up.

Lol…just kidding.

Jus Suli(birth) and Jus Sanguinis (birth outside the country) are the only two regulations for obtaining citizenship. by birth outside of the country. Through naturalization, certain persons such as permanent residents can become legal residents with access to all the benefits it brings such as the right to vote, own a Timorese passport, etc.

Birth, adoption, marriage, or naturalization are all methods for acquiring nationality for a foreigner.

By Birth

Persons born within the country to a parent, who was also born on the island irrespective of their original nationality. People whose grandparents’ nationality is unknown. Persons born to foreign parents who have declared the desire to become nationals. Individuals born outside the country to national parents.

By Naturalization

To apply for this, a person will have to obtain the online form from the Ministry of Justice, and then submit it along with the required documents. The applications are reviewed by the Minister of Justice, who administers all matters of nationality except those of service to the country. To qualify, applicants must file a request and present evidence to prove that they are of legal age and have continually resided here for ten years. The categories listed below specify who can become a citizen

  • About-to-be-adopted minor kid under the age of 15
  • Non-nationals who have been residents of at least 10 years.
  • Minors of parents who have been naturalized
  • Persons who have been married to native citizens for a minimum of five years, have stayed here continuously for two years, and can speak either Portuguese or Tetum fluently
  • Persons who have rendered services considered exceptional to the development of the island

Dual citizenship is permitted


The citizenship requirements are:

  • being married for more than five years and a resident of at least two years, being a regular resident for at least ten years,
  • Can communicate in one of the official languages and be knowledgeable about the people’s history and culture
  • Has the ability to sustain him/herself

Documents required include birth certificates, criminal records, marriage certificate, language proficiency certificate, self-support, residency permit, etc.


The requests are evaluated in order of submission and the actual handling time for each application differs by individualistic conditions. The processing time frame is usually within 9 months.


Applicants must pay for the application fee, which is a one-time payment, and would also have to pay for the final certificate upon approval. Other charges include government fees, due diligence, etc.

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