I. Law on Point

Law No. 5 of February 12, 2008[1]

II. Entry Criteria

The Portuguese National DNA database is made up of six sub-databases.  There are sub-databases that include DNA profiles from: volunteers, unidentified corpses, missing persons, crime scene stains, persons convicted and sentenced to not less than three years in prison, police and forensic specialists in the state’s employ.[2]


III. Sample Collection

Samples are collected via buccal swab.[3]  In criminal proceedings, sampling is conducted at the defendant’s request or upon judicial order.[4]


IV. Removal Criteria

The DNA profiles of volunteers are kept indefinitely or until permission is revoked.  Profiles of unidentified corpses and missing persons are removed from the database when an identification is made.  When a profile derived from an unidentified crime scene stain is identified with a defendant, it is removed.  Should that defendant subsequently be convicted, it is entered into the convicts database.[5]


V. Sample Retention

Volunteer and employees samples are destroyed immediately upon derivation of  a DNA profile.  Samples taken in a criminal proceeding may only be used as evidence in that proceeding.  All other DNA samples are retained for the same period as their corresponding profile.[6]


VI. Database Access

Genetic analysis is performed by the Forensic Science Laboratory of the Judicial Police and the National Institute for Legal Medicine (NILM).[7]  With the approval of the Ministry of Justice, other laboratories can be hired to conduct genetic analyses. The NILM, based in Coimbra, is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the DNA database.[8]  DNA profiles and any corresponding personal identifying information are stored separately at different physical locations.[9]



[1] Lei Aprova a criação de uma base de dados de perfis de ADN para fins de identificação civil e criminal [Law Approving the Creation of a Database of DNA Profiles for the Purpose of Civil and Criminal Identification] Law No. 5 of February 12, 2008, Diário da República, 1st Series, No. 30, February 12, 2008 (Port.) (hereinafter Law No. 5 of Feb. 12, 2008).

[2] Law No. 5 of Feb. 12, 2008, Art 15.

[3] Law No. 5 of Feb. 12, 2008, Art. 10

[4] Law No. 5 of Feb. 12, 2008, Art. 8

[5] Law No. 5 of Feb. 12, 2008, Art. 26.

[6] Law No. 5 of Feb. 12, 2008, Art. 34.

[7] Law No. 5 of Feb. 12, 2008, Art. 5(1)

[8] Law No. 5 of Feb. 12, 2008, Art. 16

[9] Art. 15(2)