Becoming a Dual citizen was much harder than I originally thought…

Hey guys, quick update.

Back in February of last year I posted an article called, Obtaining Dual Citizenship: How to Become a Portuguese Citizen through Parents. I wrote this after handing over all the necessary documents and fees the Consulate requested. I was told, “congratulations you’re officially a Portuguese citizen!”

I walked out of there uneasy about not having anything physical to show for it, but I thought, “Hey, I’m in the ‘system.'”

Whatever that means.

I was told that when I got back to the Azores I could go to the respected office and print the citizens card out, so It wasn’t a big deal that I didn’t have it In my hands.

But then COVID happened.

In July of 2020 I bought a ticket back to the Azores, but was rejected at the airport when I couldn’t provide proof of citizenship. Without a citizens card or Portuguese passport I couldn’t go home.

SATA didn’t make those specific travel requirements known on their website, but they reassured me once I got a “temporary citizens card” I could come back without any problems.

So back to the Portuguese Consulate in Providence, RI I went.

The Providence Consulate simply didn’t answer their phone or email no matter how many times I tried. The only way to reach them was to show up at their offices on Pine street and knock at the door.

When I explained my situation they told me something along the lines of my paperwork hadn’t been processed by the offices in Lisbon (mind you that its been five full months since I brought everything in.)

There wasn’t anything they could do except keep me updated. So I patiently waited.

One week.
Two weeks.
Three weeks.
No update.

A month goes by and I hear nothing. I send an email. No response. Two emails. No response. I dial their number.


I dial again.


One day I called every thirty minutes from 9 A.M till 2 P.M (open to close) and still,


Every time I made an attempt at contacting them they never answered. When I did show up It always surprised me how few people were there. I would’ve guessed there was a line that extended from the sixth floor to out into the street.

I struck up a conversation with other people in the waiting room. Every person I talked to experienced the same appalling customer service: No updates, no responses, no communication, no urgency. Worst of all, there was neither care nor empathy in dealing with people who’d been consistently returning to the consulate.  Everyone got the wrap around. We were told to do one thing and then once we did it there was multiple other things we needed to do that they didn’t tell us about beforehand. 

Looking back on it now, I feel like they were either intentionally deceptive or genuinely incompetent at their jobs, which isn’t easy to write considering I sort of liked the three people working there (idk why.)   I want to give them the benefit of the doubt, but for a process that’s supposed to take no more than a few weeks to complete AND the continuous  failure to communicate on every medium leads me astray from any sense of reconciliation.

I wouldn’t dare recommend the Portuguese Consulate in Providence, RI. I just couldn’t do it after my experience. If that’s the closest one to you I would advise you to go the Consulate in New Bedford instead. It may be further away but it’ll save you time, money, and a migraine in the long run. 

After all is said and done, I do have my citizens card and passport. I accomplished the goal I set for myself back in 2019 in spite of the numerous setbacks 2020 presented. Most of the time things don’t go as planned and life is composed of unforeseen obstacles that require adaptation, improvisation, and patience. This is for our own good, our own personal development and ability to solve future problems. 

Though I grudged all the way through this I’m still happy it all worked out. I didn’t plan to stay in New England for anywhere near the amount of time I’ve been here (more than a year now) but in the midst of it I’ve been fortunate to reconnect with family and friends.

For that I’m thankful and grateful for.

Published by

Ryan Quaresma

Writing to understand | Photographing to remember

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