Applying For Spanish Citizenship

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Applying For Spanish Citizenship

Having Spanish citizenship allows you to live in Spain permanently, gives you eligibility to vote, entitles you to a Spanish passport and also makes you an EU citizen.

If you weren’t born a Spanish citizen or have a Spanish parent, there are four ways to apply for Spanish citizenship;

  • By Residency
  • By Option – Through parents that have become Spanish citizens
  • By Descent – Through Spanish grandparents
  • By Marriage – To a Spanish citizen


By Residency

There are several set terms of residency required to become a Spanish citizen, depending on your circumstance;

  • Living in Spain with a residence permit, uninterrupted for 10 years.
  • If you arrive with refugee status, the period of residency is 5 years.
  • 2 years uninterrupted residency if you come from Portugal, the Philippines, South America, Equatorial Guinea.
  • Have been married to a Spanish national and lived in Spain for 1 year.

There are two exams to pass before attaining citizenship;

  • Spanish language test.
  • Spanish cultural test.

Your records will then be checked for ‘civic behaviour’ which could take into consideration things such as late tax payments, criminal records, police reports.

Documents required are;

  • Pass certificates for both citizenship exams.
  • Passport and NIE number.
  • Resident register (from El Padron).
  • Proof of sufficient economic means to remain in Spain.
  • ID of your spouse and marriage certificate (if applicable).
  • If you later want your children to be granted Spanish citizenship by option, you should also include their birth certificates.

The process can take up to 2 years.


By Option

If you are not a Spanish national by birth, once you have gained Spanish citizenship, you can then apply for your children to also become Spanish citizens. Your children must be under the age of 18 at the time you were granted citizenship.

  • Before the age of 14, citizenship can be decided by the parent or guardian.
  • Between the ages of 14 – 18, the child can decide if they want citizenship.
  • Once a child has turned 18, they have a further 2 years in order to apply for citizenship.

The process generally takes between 6 – 14 months.


By Descent

Grandchildren and in some cases great-grandchildren of Spanish citizens can apply for Spanish citizenship if they meet certain criteria which include;

  • Grandchildren of Spanish nationals who left the country and obtained Citizenship of the country they moved to; hence losing the Spanish Citizenship before their children were born.
  • Grandchildren of Spanish women who were born in Spain and married to non-Spanish individuals before the 1978 Constitution came into force.

The process generally takes between 6 – 18 months.


By Marriage

Anyone married to a Spanish national and has lived in Spain for a minimum of 12 months can apply for Spanish citizenship.

  • You will need to pass the two Spanish citizenship exams (language and cultural).
  • Have a valid passport from your country of origin.
  • Undergo a police background check.
  • Have a marriage certificate and proof of residence for 12 months.
  • Demonstrate proof of financial means to live in Spain.

The process can take up to 2 years.


All the above information was correct at the time of writing. Spanish legislation is liable to change and we recommend you check with the correct Spanish authorities and service providers for the latest details.




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