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You are here: Home Moving to Getting Started How to apply for Spanish citizenship
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05/11/2012How to apply for Spanish citizenship

How to apply for Spanish citizenship We outline the procedure for becoming a Spanish national through residence.

Applying for Spanish citizenship is mainly on the basis of residence or birth. The following steps outline the procedure on how to become a Spanish national through residence.

Conditions
The principal routes to acquiring Spanish citizenship are by residence with qualifying criteria, as follows:

  • You must have been legally resident in Spain for a continuous period of 10 years prior to the application. This is the maximum period allowed under the 1997 European Convention on Nationality (ECN).
  • If you have obtained refugee status the period is reduced to 5 years
  • If you are a national of an Ibero-American country or of Sephardic origin the period is reduced to 2 years. Ibero-American countries include: Andorra, Brazil, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea and Portugal.
  • If you have been married to a Spanish citizen for at least 1 year the period of residence required is reduced to 1 year. The marriage must also still be alive. If your spouse has died you may still apply for Spanish citizenship.
  • If one of your parents or grandparents is/was Spanish you may apply following 1 year’s residence.

In addition to the residential criteria, the government requires individuals to demonstrate:
  • Good civic conduct in the form of a lack of criminal record or certificate issued by national or regional authorities
  • Knowledge of the Spanish language
  • Integration into Spanish society

Discretional naturalisation
The Spanish government also confers citizenship on the basis of exceptional circumstances via a Royal Decree. Cases where this has occurred have included artists, athletes or intellectuals.

Procedure
Applications for citizenship are submitted to the Civil Registry in the town where you are living or at the consulate of the country in which you are residing. The documents required are:
  • Passport
  • Birth certificate and that of the Spanish party (if applicable);
  • Residence card;
  • Foreigners Identification card;
  • Census certification (issued by the city hall);
  • Marriage certificate (if applicable);
  • Cohabitation certificate (if applicable) (issued by the city hall);
  • Certificate certifying refugee status issued by the Ministry of the Interior’s Asylum and Refugee Office (if applicable)
  • Police certification of a lack of criminal record;
  • Complementary declaration of citizen behaviour, supplied by the registry office.

A copy of the application is sent to a judge at the registry office. The judge will interview the applicant and if it is approved the application will be sent to the General Directorate of Registers and Notaries (Direccion General de los Registros y del Notariado) who have up to one year to decide on the application.

Once an application has been approved you must go to your local Civil Registry within 180 days to complete the naturalisation process, which involves swearing an oath of loyalty to the king and the constitution and relinquishing your existing nationality.

Cost
Spain does not charge a fee for applying to become a naturalised citizen.

Consequences
Spanish citizenship confers the full rights of an EU citizen in terms of movement and residence in EEA member states. However, once you have acquired Spanish citizenship you must declare that you renounce your prior citizenship, unless your case is one where you are entitled to dual citizenship. This includes Latin American countries and others such as Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea and Portugal. It is possible to have two nationalities, if your existing country does not allow citizens to renounce their citizenship (e.g. the UK).

 


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16 reactions to this article

Denise posted: 2012-11-14 18:10:56

My son would like to work for the National Police here in Spain, and has been told many times that you must be a Spanish citizen, or renounce your British citizenship. Having read your article, this now seems to not be the case. [Edited by moderator. Please post (elaborate) questions on Ask the Expert or on our Forums. If you have questions for the Expatica staff, please contact us directly.]

josan posted: 2013-05-10 02:12:07

[Edited by moderator. Please post (elaborate) questions on Ask the Expert or on our Forums. If you have questions for the Expatica staff, please contact us directly.]

jose posted: 2013-05-31 09:45:03

[Edited by moderator. Please post (elaborate) questions on Ask the Expert or on our Forums. If you have questions for the Expatica staff, please contact us directly.]

Julio posted: 2013-06-09 18:32:29

[Edited by moderator. Please post (elaborate) questions on Ask the Expert or on our Forums. If you have questions for the Expatica staff, please contact us directly.]

David posted: 2013-08-14 12:08:54

Thanks for the article. Getting ready to submit my documents but concerned about the 'test'. Your article suggests this is performed later by a judge during an interview. Is this correct or should I expect an evaluation during submission of documents?
Do you know an internet site where I can I find information about the infamous 30 questions that will be asked?
Regards

Lucas posted: 2013-09-26 23:24:24

Hola! my name is Lucas, i have submitted the documents and paperwork at the ministry of justice. Now how long does it usually take to procure the Spanish Passport. Prior receiving it do i have to undergo any interview and any other formalities that needs to be followed.

David Jenkins posted: 2013-10-29 00:43:12

Applying for Spanish citizenship is not straightforward. Firstly, it can take nearly two years. Secondly, there is no interview with a judge. Thirdly, be careful about your "legal residency".. This means ten years of having your residency card. That you are an European citizen with a right to llive in Spain from the moment you arrive does not seem to count.

Seth Yumich posted: 2014-01-03 10:00:13

[Edited by moderator. Please post (elaborate) questions on Ask the Expert or on our Forums. If you have questions for the Expatica staff, please contact us directly.]

nessa posted: 2014-02-03 09:31:43

[Edited by moderator. Please post (elaborate) questions on Ask the Expert or on our Forums. If you have questions for the Expatica staff, please contact us directly.]

rima posted: 2014-03-20 20:21:39

[Edited by moderator: For expert help, please direct your question to our 'Ask the Expert' service http://expatica.com/ask_the_expert] hi, my mum is going to submit her documents for spanish citizenship but she did not inform about the test. so she just want to know what kind a question can be asked, when is the test and is it vocal test or written? many thanks

Dennis posted: 2014-03-22 16:58:46

[Edited by moderator: Please direct expert questions to our 'Ask the Expert' service http://expatica.com/ask_the_expert] One of my Dads grandparent was from Spain , can I obtain citizenship thru them? I am an American

JR posted: 2014-03-25 09:30:01

I am from the Philippines and currently working in the middle east. My family name is Rojas. I am interested in in becoming Spanish citizen is it possible?

Rose posted: 2014-03-27 11:54:51

[Edited by moderator: Please direct expert questions to our 'Ask the Expert' service http://expatica.com/ask_the_expert] I am from Philippines and currently living and working in Madrid Spain for 5 years. I would like to obtain the spanish citizenship, I am on going of completing my requirements. I just would like to ask what are the possible questions in the interview in obtaining a citizenship? That would be nice if you can help:)

Joey posted: 2014-03-28 04:08:30

[Edited by moderator: Please direct expert questions to our 'Ask the Expert' service http://expatica.com/ask_the_expert] I am from the Philippines. With the passing of the Sephardic Jew Law, and since i decended from the surname in the list, i think am eligible to apply for a Spanish citizenship. What are the guidelines to start the process? Am excited with this development. Thank u Spain!

miguel posted: 2014-03-28 22:24:20

@joey, you must be a JEWISH SEPHARDIC first to be eligible.The surname list only applies for those who are with the blood of sephardic jew. Filipinos are welcome to be a citizen of spain as long as you are legally residing on spain for at least 2 years.

Albert posted: 2014-04-17 20:18:12

Where do you find this list of surnames?

16 reactions to this article

Denise posted: 2012-11-14 18:10:56

My son would like to work for the National Police here in Spain, and has been told many times that you must be a Spanish citizen, or renounce your British citizenship. Having read your article, this now seems to not be the case. [Edited by moderator. Please post (elaborate) questions on Ask the Expert or on our Forums. If you have questions for the Expatica staff, please contact us directly.]

josan posted: 2013-05-10 02:12:07

[Edited by moderator. Please post (elaborate) questions on Ask the Expert or on our Forums. If you have questions for the Expatica staff, please contact us directly.]

jose posted: 2013-05-31 09:45:03

[Edited by moderator. Please post (elaborate) questions on Ask the Expert or on our Forums. If you have questions for the Expatica staff, please contact us directly.]

Julio posted: 2013-06-09 18:32:29

[Edited by moderator. Please post (elaborate) questions on Ask the Expert or on our Forums. If you have questions for the Expatica staff, please contact us directly.]

David posted: 2013-08-14 12:08:54

Thanks for the article. Getting ready to submit my documents but concerned about the 'test'. Your article suggests this is performed later by a judge during an interview. Is this correct or should I expect an evaluation during submission of documents?
Do you know an internet site where I can I find information about the infamous 30 questions that will be asked?
Regards

Lucas posted: 2013-09-26 23:24:24

Hola! my name is Lucas, i have submitted the documents and paperwork at the ministry of justice. Now how long does it usually take to procure the Spanish Passport. Prior receiving it do i have to undergo any interview and any other formalities that needs to be followed.

David Jenkins posted: 2013-10-29 00:43:12

Applying for Spanish citizenship is not straightforward. Firstly, it can take nearly two years. Secondly, there is no interview with a judge. Thirdly, be careful about your "legal residency".. This means ten years of having your residency card. That you are an European citizen with a right to llive in Spain from the moment you arrive does not seem to count.

Seth Yumich posted: 2014-01-03 10:00:13

[Edited by moderator. Please post (elaborate) questions on Ask the Expert or on our Forums. If you have questions for the Expatica staff, please contact us directly.]

nessa posted: 2014-02-03 09:31:43

[Edited by moderator. Please post (elaborate) questions on Ask the Expert or on our Forums. If you have questions for the Expatica staff, please contact us directly.]

rima posted: 2014-03-20 20:21:39

[Edited by moderator: For expert help, please direct your question to our 'Ask the Expert' service http://expatica.com/ask_the_expert] hi, my mum is going to submit her documents for spanish citizenship but she did not inform about the test. so she just want to know what kind a question can be asked, when is the test and is it vocal test or written? many thanks

Dennis posted: 2014-03-22 16:58:46

[Edited by moderator: Please direct expert questions to our 'Ask the Expert' service http://expatica.com/ask_the_expert] One of my Dads grandparent was from Spain , can I obtain citizenship thru them? I am an American

JR posted: 2014-03-25 09:30:01

I am from the Philippines and currently working in the middle east. My family name is Rojas. I am interested in in becoming Spanish citizen is it possible?

Rose posted: 2014-03-27 11:54:51

[Edited by moderator: Please direct expert questions to our 'Ask the Expert' service http://expatica.com/ask_the_expert] I am from Philippines and currently living and working in Madrid Spain for 5 years. I would like to obtain the spanish citizenship, I am on going of completing my requirements. I just would like to ask what are the possible questions in the interview in obtaining a citizenship? That would be nice if you can help:)

Joey posted: 2014-03-28 04:08:30

[Edited by moderator: Please direct expert questions to our 'Ask the Expert' service http://expatica.com/ask_the_expert] I am from the Philippines. With the passing of the Sephardic Jew Law, and since i decended from the surname in the list, i think am eligible to apply for a Spanish citizenship. What are the guidelines to start the process? Am excited with this development. Thank u Spain!

miguel posted: 2014-03-28 22:24:20

@joey, you must be a JEWISH SEPHARDIC first to be eligible.The surname list only applies for those who are with the blood of sephardic jew. Filipinos are welcome to be a citizen of spain as long as you are legally residing on spain for at least 2 years.

Albert posted: 2014-04-17 20:18:12

Where do you find this list of surnames?

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